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“There comes a time in all political struggle hard to distinguish yet fatal to less slip. Then all must be set on a hazard, and out of a single man is ordained strength.” – Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
You may not be aware, but our continent Africa is actually going through a new phase of colonialism – referred to as neo-colonialism. Nkrumah defined neo-colonialism as a situation of infringed and compromised national sovereignty where foreign interest remains economically – and hence politically – dominant in strategic decision making.
On July 10, 1953, the then head of government business of Gold Coast, Kwame Nkrumah, moved the “motion of destiny” in the British Parliament to legally succeed in leading Ghana to independence in 1957. Subsequently, he actively pursued the independence of almost two-thirds African states in the 1960s. However, this was plummeted by a CIA-sponsored coup in 1966, in no small but largely due to the publication of his work in 1965 condemning neo-colonialism in Africa as “the last stage of imperialism.”
Consequently, colonialism left Africa through the political door; but, playing possum, it has veered back through the economic door calling itself neo-colonialism. The blight of Africa’s freedom and independence is her economy. It has become a cliché that Africa has all the resources to develop, yet, they have become a source of exploitation stumbling her path to development.
The term “development”, has more often than not, been used in an exclusive economic sense – the justification being that the type of economy is itself an index of other social features, i.e., it lays the foundation for social development.
TOWARDS AFRICA’S ECONOMIC FREEDOM
The prescient knowledge of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah outlined four stages to achieve the task of complete freedom and independent for Africa, which are: first, the attainment of political freedom and independence; second, the consolidation of that freedom and independence; third, the creation of unity and comity between the free African states, and fourth, the economic and social reconstruction of Africa.
The competition for sources of raw-materials by the most advanced and industrialized economies makes continental Africa the focus of imperialists. China has been the latest with her “debt-trap diplomacy” or “debt-colonialism” – offering enticing loans to countries unable to repay, and then demanding concessions when they default.
Zambia is a prime example this year. China has invested more than $2 billion in the country - in the areas of copper mining, agriculture, and the service industries. Economic analysts foresee the handing over of the country’s international airport and power station to China if the country fails to adhere to the loan agreement – and to a larger degree become the first Chinese colony. This, of course, should be a precautionary tale for the rest of African states in their spree borrowing from China.
So the question arises: what is Africa’s alternative to the Euro-America-China economic association which had had deadly implications to Africa’s independence and progress? The answer lies in an African Common Market.
AFRICAN COMMON MARKET
According to Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, it is an African economic community in which we can all pull our production and trade to a common advantage. For example, Africa produces more than 62% of cocoa in the world – 35% from Ivory Coast, 21% from Ghana and 5% from Nigeria. Harnessing these productions together in an African Common Market would build a global cartel to determine cocoa prices in the world market.
In the area of energy, although the continent is a haven for both renewable and non-renewable energy sources, there is somewhat a prevailing energy crisis across the continent. Undeniably, the fragmentary state of Africa cannot resolve the adversity. It requires an entire continental effort. For instance, Ghana’s Akosombo Dam hydro-electric power benefit is shared with immediate neighbours within a common economic framework.
Nkrumah elaborated in his work on “Africa Must Unite” that the proposed Inga hydroelectric dam on the trans-boundary Congo River cannot go beyond the blueprint stage without the co-operation of other African states. Indeed, no single African state can afford to build it. The dam, when completed, would be the largest hydro-electric power generating facility on earth providing 25 million kilowatts of electricity capable of electrifying the whole of the African continent.
In the agricultural sector, Africa holds 60% of the world’s arable lands. However, farming in Africa is mostly faced with multiple challenges. The most important include inadequate funding on farming equipment and machineries, poor storage facilities and rural infrastructure, inadequate land and water resources. UNICEF projects that Africa will be home 2 to 5 children by 2050. The youngest population yet the most starving. Leadership demands that African youth are empowered in this area of the economy to provide the much needed manpower to support the backbone of Africa’s economy.
We have seen that since independence, the fragmentation of Africa into series of small states has left the states with little or no resources to provide for economic integrity and viability. Without the means of to establish their own economic growth, they are compelled to return to the colonial framework of economic bondage bolted in neo-colonialism. In the eternal words of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, “a state in the grip of neo-colonialism is not master of its own destiny. It is this factor which makes neo-colonialism such a serious threat to world peace. The forward solution is for African states to stand together politically, to have a united foreign policy, and a fully integrated economic programme for the development of the entire continent.”
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