Africa Day and the Need for Development
Africa Day is a day set for the commemoration of the foundation of African Unity which was first held on 25th May 1963. The African day was formerly known as Africa Liberation Day and African Freedom Day. 32 countries came together to form the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and held the first meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1963. As of today, 22 additional countries have joined with South Africa being the last to join in 1994 after the apartheid ended.
An African child’s Hopes
As a child, it is easy to believe everything but as age sets in, the tendency to question and doubt all you’ve heard increases. This was exactly how Chidinma felt when she was told at age 5 that ‘civilization began in Africa’. She took it proudly and moved around with confidence telling anyone who dared to ask in a childish voice I am an African talent. She even learned songs of some rivers in Africa and would sing at will “some rivers in Africa Nile, Niger, Benue, Congo, Orange, Limpopo and Zambezi. With high hopes, she excelled in her academics, moral and societal values. At 15 she was made to believe that Nigeria was the giant of Africa – due to its population and economy. This brought smiles to her face and hope renewed, believing she was the strongest of them all. By the time Chidinma was 20 years; she had questions, doubts and fears surged in her, challenging the very knowledge she had believed for several years. Is there an Africa of our dream or an Africa we want she asked?
Chidinma wondered in her mind, travelled in her thoughts and searched for answers. Every page that has the word Africa was worth a read. until she came across the scramble for Africa, this ignites more questions as she wondered what was Africa ever like before colonisation?
In a historical overview, Dr Clarke for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York explained how Africans influenced America in forming a current Social and dynamic society as far back as the 15th century. Indeed, the rich history of the early Africans is known by only a few who searched beyond the stories.
There are few works of literature across Africa on Africa before colonisation meanwhile Europe and America including Asia have a rich catalogue concerning Africa. Many African schools rarely teach it as well. She began to search for more: she reads how Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney, The Rise Of African, The scramble for Africa also known as the partitioning of Africa and the conquest of Africa about the invasion, occupation, division and colonisation of Africa between 1881 and 1914.
Towards an African Agenda
For several years the Africa we want has been a topic of discussion among African leaders and international organisation. Africa Day reflects on the fight against colonialism and apartheid, the progress made and the common challenges that face Africa. Of course, no one talks about colonisation and the impact it had on Africa when discussing the growth of the continent. Therefore, Chidinma asked How did Africa end up being described as an object of squalor and abject poverty?
The answer she seeks could be found in the role Africans (leaders and citizens) play towards the growth and development of the continent. Patrice Lumumba in 2017 explained that “Africa will write its own history and it will be to the north and to the south of the Sahara, a History of glory and dignity”. The coronavirus pandemic has presented a chance for Africa to write its own history from every pages, rocks, crafts and tales as remembered. The task is who is listening, what are the actions to be taken and How will such actions be implemented successfully and sustainably?
Moving Forward in Africa
African leaders are beginning to realise there is a need to reprioritise and refocus Africa’s Agenda from the struggle against apartheid and the attainment of political independence for the continent which had been the focus of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), since the inception of the African Union; and “instead to prioritise inclusive social and economic development, continental and regional integration, democratic governance and peace and security amongst other issues aimed at repositioning Africa to becoming a dominant player in the global arena”.
AGENDA 2063 is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It is the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development.
The Pan-African Solutions
Pan-Africanism believes in the ideas that African descents must have a common unified interest which has also taken the form of a cultural or political movement. According to some Pan African enthusiast from the Nigeria, Kenya and the Netherlands
- Africans need to purge themselves of ideas that are unprogressive. Africans need total renaissance to move forward as a race. We need to fashion African solutions to every problem starting from the educational system.
- Africa needs to purge itself of contaminated/ corrupt leadership practices to achieve its Agenda 2063.
- Effective and efficient Decentralisation of powers to subnational government at all level could fast-track Agenda 2063.
- Governments must listen to the citizens – oppressive and dictatorial leadership must be eradicated for Africa to achieve its stated objectives.
Consequently, notwithstanding the current predicament, Africa is still known to be a wealth of natural resources beyond doubt with many countries having the potentials to become the world superpowers of the world – Human capacity, Minerals and ores, rich soil for agriculture and precious metals.