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Nkrumah's dream takes time to come true
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16:06, July 04, 2007

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It has been a dream of Ghana's founding president Kwame Nkrumah and many other pan-Africanists to establish a United States of Africa, yet there are many hurdles on the road to this dream.

Fifty years after Nkrumah declared Ghana's independence, which made it the first sub-Sahara African country to break the colonial yoke, Africa has diverted its goal of realizing continental liberation to achieving continental integration with establishing an African Union government as the first step.

"Continental Union will allow greater coordination and mobilization of our resources, which is fundamental for growth and development in Africa. It also gives better opportunities for economy of scale," said Roselynn Musa, African Women's Development and Communication Network.

"Our independence is meaningless if it is not linked to the total independence of the African continent," Nkrumah said 50 years ago.

The African Union (AU)'s 53 members have all agreed that the union's ultimate objective is the political and economic integration of the continent leading to the creation of the United States of Africa.

However, differences exist over the modalities and the time frame for achieving this goal and the appropriate pace of integration, hence the "Grand Debate on the Union Government," the sole item on the ninth AU Summit that closed on Tuesday.

Some think that the union should accelerate the pace of integration because as long as the continent remains a motley gathering of fragmented states, the ideal conditions for full integration will never be attained.

This group, which includes Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, wants the immediate union of the states with one government citizenship, common defense, a standing army, foreign minister and a president for Africa, etc.

Another school of thought is that the union should build and strengthen current AU structures, harmonize and rationalize regional economic communities before taking the bold leap to the United States of Africa.

"Africa should take a 'gradual approach' to achieve its integration because of the critical need to focus on strengthening and consolidating internal governance, " Nigerian President Umaru Yar' Adua said during the summit.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said, "I salute the enthusiasm of those who advocate for Continental Government now. I, however, do not want us to move from one mistake - balkanization - to another mistake of oversimplification of very complex situations."

Source: Xinhua

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