‘Let’s build the Africa we want’ Africa

Nqobile Tshili – [email protected]

AFRICA should determine its development agenda and resist being turned into the battleground for geopolitical interests by developed countries whose aim is to control the continent’s resources.

The continent yesterday commemorated 60 years following the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which later transformed into the African Union (AU).

Africa’s founding fathers had envisioned a self-determined Africa.

Organisation of African Unity (OAU)

In a statement to mark the AU’s 60th anniversary, Chairperson of the African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat commended the continent for being resilient despite challenges being experienced.

He said geopolitics is at play on the continent as developed countries aim to control the rich resources found in Africa.

Mr Mahamat said political freedom, peace and social prosperity are an essential prerequisite for development.

“To the shocks linked to the classic factors of fragility, such as excruciating debt service or the fall in the prices of raw materials, have been added the consequences of the intensification of the hegemonic struggle between the big powers,” he said.

“In this international context of confrontation of divergent geopolitical interests, the will of each side threatens to transform Africa into a geostrategic battleground, thereby, recreating a new version of the Cold War that is very detrimental to the effectiveness of multilateralism, on which global peace and security depend.”

Mr Mahamat said the continent should stand united against the divisive external forces, whose aim is to control African resources.

“In this zero-sum game, where the gains of others would translate into losses for Africa, we must resist all forms of instrumentalisation of our member states, taken individually and collectively, by sharing the strong conviction that our future remains and will depend on the patient and methodical building of our unity. ‘Africa must unite,’ said Kwame Nkrumah,” said Mr Mahamat.

“The imperative duty that challenges us, today, with insistence, in this international environment marked by identity withdrawals and outbursts of protectionism, is to give real, dynamic content to this unity, if we are determined to build the Africa we want.” He said the voices and ethos of the OAU founding fathers continue to guide the continental aspirations beyond their graves.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said Africa Day commemorations speak to how the continent has prevailed against conquest, colonialism, slavery, apartheid and the many acts of barbarism directed against Africans.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

“We observe Africa Day to remind ourselves of the resilience we possess as Africans, which has taken us from where we have come into the future. We observe Africa Day to celebrate our unity as Africans, and to remind ourselves of the responsibility we all share to bring about an Africa that is peaceful, prosperous and united. We know that when we are united, we can overcome even the greatest of difficulties,” said President Ramaphosa.

He said it is unfortunate that in many parts of the continent, battles for control of Africa’s natural resources are fueling conflict, instability and terrorism.

Mr Mahamat said Africans should leverage strength in unity to create an indispensable continent and advance the aspirations of the masses.

He said Africans should introspect in addressing some of the challenges affecting the continent including unconstitutional changes of government, oppression and gagging of freedoms, insecurity, the spread of terrorism, violent extremism, the uncontrolled circulation of arms and the harmful effects of climate change

President Ramaphosa said it was disheartening that Africa is being dragged into conflicts that have nothing to do with continental borders. —@nqotshili

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