Thursday, March 19, 2009
Look through the blogosphere and you'll notice that while a lot of people write about Africa, rare is the blog that looks at citizenship of the African Union. To that end, I would like to introduce you to one here: http://african-union-citizen.blogspot.com.
If you are on Facebook, you can also join the "I am an African Union (AU) Citizen!": http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=70453161507&ref=ts.
Also join the AFRICAN UNION page on Facebook here: http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/Addis-Ababa-Ethiopia/African-Union-AU/54117436963?ref=ts. You don't have to be a member of Facebook to follow updates there.
On that page, you'll see that there are a number of questions I have posed about the AU, and making it REAL for Africans. These include:
1. Are people tired of hearing themselves being referred to as African? Have you tried calling yourself an "AU-frican"--as in a citizen of the AU countries?
2. What have you experienced today that made you proud of being an AU-frican?
3. Is an AU FBI conceivable? Can we have an African interpol, an ECOWAS/SADC/COMESA/IGAD?etc,...FBI??
4. where are the African diplomats on Facebook? If they're not Facebook shy, are their emails working ok? What is the AU position on technology on the continent?
5. Can AU countries ever have a position on international trade? Ever thought how juicy it would be to have 53 countries negotiating against even the almighty EU of 27 countries?
6. ECOBANK is originally a West African bank that is now Pan-African, being represented in Eastern and Southern Africa as well. Where are the other African banks?
7. What are the biggest African currencies on the continent? CFA? Naira? Rand? Shilling? The others?
8. For the average AU-frican, it's so costly to travel on the continent. Airlines are costly, and visas? Don't even mention them! Some AU countries don't even want to grant them to their compatriots? What's with that? What are some of the ideas to counter this?
I hope you will be able to pass the word round.
AFRICA CAN--MUST-- UNITE!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Department of Social Affairs explained that the AU Executive Council in July 2008 adopted the Decision, declaring the last Friday of February each year as Africa Healthy Lifestyles Day upon the recommendation of the AU Conference of Ministers of Health.
The decade is an opportunity to advance the agenda of youth development in all member states across the African Union, to ensure effective and more ambitious investment in youth development programmes and increased support to the development and implementation of national youth policies and programmes.
Addis Ababa, 04 March 2009- The Pan-African e-Network Project formally inaugurated on 25 February 2009, in the Addis Ababa University Tele Education Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The inauguration was held in the presence of H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission; H.E Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for the Infrastructure and Energy of the AU Commission; H.E Ambassador Gurjit Singh, Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia, and other Ministers.
In his speech Mr. Mwencha recalled that it was on May 2005 that the government of India presented the detail proposal for the AU commission to establish a Pan-African e-Network, which linking Member States of the AU and India. “The network composed of optical fiber connections and V-SAT satellite station to provide Member States with Tele-Medicine, Tele-Education and Diplomatic Communication services”. He added.
He also underscored that the inauguration of the Pan African e-Network project has become a reality and it is a perfect example of South-South cooperation.
Friday, March 13, 2009
"My people perish for lack of knowledge"--The Bible
Welcome to the first ever Friday segment of Facebook Friday, where I outline to you the latest discussions coming from AU citizens--either in their countries, or from the diaspora. African--like every one else--have a lot to say.
Sometimes, it can be a tad negative to stomach, but I believe that the change won't come overnight. I sincerely believe this will go a long way to creating concentric circles that will trigger major change in our outlook in the conception of any kind of AU government.
I understand fully the apathy out there, but I'm ready to counter it, with YOU! Enjoy!
"It is time that African youth woke up from their slumber and start a strong grass-root movement empowered by internet technology to remove current dinosaurs from power and shake up the status quo in favor of progress towards the establishment of a United States of Africa!" hear, hear!!!! I do not know which of the African youth you are referring to. I guess you do not mean the lazy, uncreative, malleable, greedy and downright selfish ones around!
Sadly, they abound on our campuses, in our churches and offices.
I used to have so much faith and hope in Africa's youth, but my experience in dealing with a number of young people in the last couple of years, some holding Masters degrees, has made me change my mind.
And please, be mindful of the fact that today's myopic African leaders, were once the youth of the continent!
This would be ideal,however there are so many things to consider. We'd need a constitution that all agreed on &to develop an electoral system that was viable. Who would lead? What political parties would there be? All currently in Africa or two like in the states? How would we ensure that when borders opened that ppl wouldn't flood into more economically viable countries. The admin nightmare of creating govt institutions would take years. What currency would we use? I don't mean to be pessimistic but in reality,we'd need buy in from everyone to pull this off,and as it was pted out both our youth ¤t leaders are not up to this monumentus challenge... but before African youth will wake up from the slumber you are talking about i think we still have to be reeducate ourself or even the youth because we have be educated wrongly with the western education, its high time we start to educate ourself that being African means having ability to do all things. I strongly believe that that human being who has the tendency to do everything right or wrong that why if you take a look at environmetal and genetic which has more influence of course the environmental which mean we have to cleanse our system our education and the demonic attitude that has been embedded towards money making over the years. I believe we can do it if they come with a good motive. BTW, guys, kindly spread the word on joining the AU page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Addis-Ababa-Ethiopia/African-Union-AU/54117436963. Cheers! I read what X said in reaction to your piece. I work with the youth. I know what it means to look in the face of a person who has succumbed to a system that constantly says you are not smart enough to understand this! I know how hard one has to work to get the dialogue going. I also know that the awakening is not impossible. Do you really think the youth have non dreams and no aspirations. They just need to be challenged to believe in their potential. These things take time. It's agonizing and downright boring at times but when the light shines through thats where it is. That's the hope for the youth who have been neglected and beaten down in a society that places excessive emphasis on hierarchy. I know there is hope. It's slow but musicians can speed it up. Movie makers can act as catalysts in this movement. ...well said. I work with the youth too. And I can tell you that I have seen some very bright young people who take no initiative, cannot identify an opportunity even if you thrust it into their hands and simply want things already made.
I have had a young university graduate working under me resign because as he put it "you set high standards and work to achieve it, but I am not like that."
I have given most of these young people tasks in areas they have trained and supposedly have skills in, but they failed to deliver. This has happened so many times.
By the way, do you know the creator of Facebook is only 24 years old? If facebook is five years old, then he started when he was 19 years old.
We have so many IT graduates in town, some are certainly doing great, but where are they?
The others have the skills, but are not creative, just mechanic! And doing routine things does not take people anywhere. That's the problem.
Let's just say that I agree that the African youth--and look, we might be generalising here--is lazy and apathetic. Examples of those with Masters and degrees who cannot think for themselves, or who chase only money can be inimical to the facilitation of a united African government, because the bottom line will be only about,well, the bottom line!
The solution to moving forward is unlearning all the bad things that the youth have learnt--starting with appreciating and understanding their history, and those who sacrificed for us. The story of Kwame Nkrumah and his multi-pronged agenda could be a good start?
When he talked about "the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa", he was not on a flight of fantasy: I believe he was talking about using Ghana as a springboard--what with it being the Black Star and all--to liberate the minds of Africans, and remember the African personality.
Most of us who patronize Facebook and use the 'Net are mostly middle class Ghanaians who have been the beneficiaries--directly and indirectly--of Western education. I believe it is possible to embrace these benefits alongside the appreciation of the knowledge of Africa.
In so doing, we become once again inspired to feel part of the Pan-African project. Whether that is expressed in a belief that there can be a United Africa or not is moot. What is most important is the belief within that we Africans are the agents of change to make the continent a better place.
Let's face it: we're 53 States; multi-cultured; 900 million people. We are perhaps the only regional organisation that embraces all the member states--good and bad. Latin America. The EU. Asia. How many have so many regional economic communities to grapple with, what with all the imperatives associated with them?
Think of ECOWAS, SADC, COMESA, Arab Maghreb Union; ECCAS; East African Community; IGAD; CEN-SAD; CEMAC. Only some of the regional economic communities (RECs) that offer possible salvation to the sub-regions on the continent. Then we have the AU that is seeking to coordinate these RECs.
This is a unique continent that we must not take for granted and help to build. The conception of a union government does not have to be dissimilar to strengthening the RECs. It can be a twin-track process that sees the sub-regional organisations strengthened and the AU oversight over them.
The person who talked about the constitution was right: the AU has a Constitutive Act that would need amendment to make the AU govt/Authority a reality. Then there is the idea of borders.
Yesterday, I looked briefly at crime prevention. I do not think we can think about loose borders without strengthening our borders with effective monitoring mechanisms like the police.
I would call for a regional FBI in every regional organisation to monitor and coordinate intelligence. If we can do it with Standby forces, surely we can do it with crime prevention? I am encouraged that the AU has an AU COnference on Drug Control & Crime Prevention, but can we not do more?
On films, I agree that the arts can work well. Films like Blood Diamond helped me obtain a profound insight into West Africa--though I must say I am a proud ECOWASian (West African). It is true that the arts (music and film, and drama) can do more to inspire Africans in their citizenship.
To that end, I fully support those ideas--plus the role of technology--!!!--in the development of a citizenship that is quintessentially AU-frican!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
So there I was thinking about what needed to be done about the spate of drug trafficking in the sub-region of ECOWAS, when I started thinking about what ought to happen at the continental level.
Did you know that the AU has an AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention ? I started looking closer to home, remembering that there was an institution in Senegal--an ECOWAS institution--that is supposed to combat fraud. I'm not too sure about crime. The website is http://www.giaba.org, and is known as the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money-Laundering in West Africa.
Could the AU ever think about establishing an AU equivalent of the FBI? Talk of it in the ECOWAS region has resulted in names like the ECOWAS Criminal Intelligence Bureau.
As far back as 2001/2002, talks had been there for one. It's been a good seven years now, and I don't see anything concrete coming out of that--but, hey, let's not lose hope.
This is the first-ever post, and it is bound to sound a little pessimistic about the whole Pan-African project. I will certainly keep the fire burning, and be blogging more about some of the challenges that exist that we can talk about to bring pressure to bear on our dear AU member states.
I look forward to seeing some comments and [constructive] criticisms. I hope to paste some Facebook queries and concerns every Friday here.