'Union govt will solve Africans' migration problem'

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- What, in concrete terms, do Africans stand to gain from a Union Government for Africa, which is being debated here by African leaders at their second summit of the year which opened Sunday (today).
How much of the issues involved is understood by the ordinary African as he struggles to eke out a living in an environment marked by dwindling opportunities? And how desirable is the United States of Africa, which is the ultimate goal of the debate? "A united Africa is big trouble for those who have benefited immensely from Africa's lack of unity," said Kwame, a taxi driver in Accra, as he powers his Opel Astra car towards a popular resort in the city a few days to the start of the historic summit.
"For one, it will create more opportunities for Africans, who will have no problem moving from one part of the continent to another in search of better opportunities.
"This means that hundreds of our young men and women, who are dying just to escape to Europe and America, will stop risking their lives," added Kwame.
In espousing such a positive view of the controversial issue of continental government, the talkative taxi driver was only following in the footsteps of his country's founding father with whom he shares a first name, Kwame Nkrumah.
Some 20 years before the taxi driver was born in 1983, Nkrumah had started pushing the issue of African unity and extolling the desirability of a continental government.
Like Kwame, more than half of Africa's current population of 800 million was probably not even born when the Pan Africanist Nkrumah broached the then radical idea of a continental government.
But thanks to oral and written history, Nkrumah's ideas have not only survived, they have been taught to millions of African children.
"Yes I was not even born before Nkrumah died, but I learned about him in middle school.
He was a great man, and I am sure all those who removed him from office are regretting their action now," Kwame said.
Bringing an intellectual dimension to the issue, a popular Ghanaian author, Molefi Kete Asante, said a United Africa would be that largest nation in the world, with more land space and a larger coastal area than any other state.
"Such a vast nation, larger than Russia, will constitute a veritable land for dreams, ambitions, scientific discoveries, education and commercial enterprises," Asante, author of the 'History of Africa', wrote in a contribution he made to a special magazine issued by PANA for the summit.
Speaking further on the benefits, he said "Africa would be the third most populous nation in the world, coming after China and India.
With one billion people, the continent will have the ability to influence the affairs of the world in ways no single African nation can do at the present moment.
" But he said it would take women and men of "extraordinary courage, daring and humility" to create the United States of Africa, adding: "These will be the leaders who will live forever in the hearts of the people as the Founding Elders of the Continental State.
" Ghana's President John Kufuor, who is presiding over the debate in his capacity as the Chairman of the AU, has assured that the leaders will not disappoint Africa, despite the believed division among their ranks on the desirability of the continental government and the timeline for its coming into being.
"Given our sense of responsibility to the cause of Africa, I am confident that this summit will rise to the occasion and the challenge," he said in an opening speech that set the tone for the debate.
That assurance may not provide enough comfort for Kwame, the taxi driver who, in response to a question on when the continental government should take off, said: "Tomorrow is too late!"

01 july 2007 18:42:00




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