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African Integration? Not yet!

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Integration is something that we have grown accustomed to hearing. If it is not on the Common Market of Easter and the Southern Africa [COMESA] front, it is the Southern African Development Community [SADC] and the East African Community [EAC]. And we all know that one of Africa’s most important rulers at one time Colonel Muammar Ghadaffi believed in the unity of Africa, hence the African Union.

But I don’t think that the discussion of how feasible integration for Africa is about to happen [1]. In a continent where there are about 1500 – 2000 African languages, unity is going to be one not just long but interesting road. It may happen, it may not. It could be in our times or in our children, children’s times.

[1]. The United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa [UNECA ] starts their summary on the state of integration in Africa by stating that the issue is and has been that  “ many African leaders have been preoccupied with integration since the early years of independence. Many have viewed it as a tool for promoting economic growth and sustainable development and improving the living standards of the African people. The overall strategic objective of regrouping African countries was to fight the impact of colonialism and build a united Africa”. Have we seen this come to pass? Or are we so past colonization that we actually don’t care much for if and when we get to become one?

Another school of thought put this down in regard to integration: [2] “Globalization and world trade liberalization mean that Africa cannot ignore the requirements of the multilateral trading system while pursuing integration . . . African regional economic communities need to respond to changing global realities, preparing their member states to take advantage of the opportunities of global trade—including building the capacity to successfully conduct international negotiations (such as those within the WTO framework) and ensuring that they adequately reflect African interests and concerns.” I don’t see this happening. What we have is our governments selling us short to China like the recent $5million deal between China and Kenya that according to specialists has more for Beijing than Nairobi [3]. The argument could go both ways depending on which side of the fence one is on.

All in all, integration is far from reality. We all have diverse interests and reasons as to why we should integrate. From our policy leaders to any of the people that can affect the change; there is little knowledge of what could help move this continent forward.




 

Ruth Aine Tindyebwa
Blogger/Online Communications

Read her personal blog; IN DEPTH which is at www.ruthaine.com

Read more about the author and her view on being a futurist.

 

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