Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Have YOU done for Africa / your sub-region Today?

For the past week, have spent the better part of the period reading through and around issues of African regional integration. It hasn't been an easy feat as I am a fan of both other regionalisms beyond that of Africa.

As this is one dedicated to Africa, permit me to stick solely on this and refer you to my Critiquing Regionalism website for other ones.

Germany seems to be particularly interested in the ECOWAS region, describing it thus:

Being the prime engine of regional integration on the African continent, ECOWAS is currently undergoing impressive transformations aimed at defining new priorities and objectives. The ECOWAS priorities and objectives may also serve as a source of inspiration for other regional groupings anywhere else in the world.

I could not help but wonder if Germans could be so enthused about ECOWAS, what are we Africans, and West Africans specifically doing about it? I appreciate the fact that many of us would prefer thinking about trekking overseas before anything else, and that some of us already have been and are thinking of staying to make our sub-region better. But at least, I cannot but wonder why,say, those in West Africa--where there are many intellectuals and intelligent youth are not making--or taking--the time to extol the virtues of a secure and safe West Africa.

Do we have to wait for Westerners to do it for us?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Facebook Friday: AU government--Realistic?

Below is just a sample of what some Facebookers were saying earlier this year about AU government. Enjoy!:

  • the EU, USA are not in favour and will fight it with the backing of some AU country Heads. Remember, the our skin colour even gives us away most of the time when black africans deal with light skinned africans. Besides, our barriers are many: language, democratic/coup d'etat/dictatorship rule, currency and so on..

  • I guess what we need is the proverbial eternal vigilance!

  • I think the government is realistic. We just have to educate our people on the benefits and sell the idea wholly to them. We do preach Africa Unite sometimes but we are mostly locked into our nationalities.

    The language barrier isn't too much of an issue, they have had AU meetings since time immemorial. We need the AU gov't to push for a currency, better trade, communication, cross-country infrastructure as well.

    Why is the EU or USA not in favour?

  • I think it's simply that they would consider a population of 900million people working hard to strengthen Africa a veritable threat. It's that simple.

  • its a question of challenging the ideas that have come to dominate our lives. The task of re-orienting the minds of a people is huge. One cannot underestimate the nationalism that has taken hold of Africans...the funny ideas that they can be superior to others simply by being who they are.

    What we must focus on is what binds us and to reach out for the younger generation who may not be too stuck in their ways. (We cannot also forget the oldest among us who still hold on with nostalgia to the early years of African Independence) Simple things like football music the arts and culture can speak to people in ways that words may not easily do...But it has to be sold as part of a wider plan to improve the peoples lot. In the end it has to be a Peoples Initiative!

  • Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    Travelling Through the AU States--Headache City!

    I am a Ghanaian--and a proud ECOWASian. Given that I was born in Ghana, I am free to travel through West Africa without a visa.

    Literally, I could get up tomorrow, go to AIR SENEGAL, go and pay and visit the country for a day. Provided I have the money, ofcourse! No visas would be expected of me.

    The same cannot be said about travelling through the rest of the AU; most often countries outside West Africa make it a HUGE hassle to procure a visa. Don't even mention South Africa or East Africa if you're a West African! They'll make your life like hell as if you're not African!

    It certainly is not an easy task, but all of us have to do our best to discuss this very important issue. Why should otHer parts of Africa complicate my desire to visit their country with a small document they call a visa?

    What are YOUR experiences? Would love to hear them!


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