- The road map towards the united states of Africa will not come as easy as it has been said on numerous podiums and fora, but it is more a challenge that may need a commitment from each and every single inhabitant in the continent.
As many cities around the continent held different celebrations today, some with colour and others with a dark cloud of rememberance on a journey of yester-years to freedom, the message was a clear and a loud one that a lot of tilling on the land still needs to be done for the seeds of a united Africa to grow and bear fruits for the future generations.
In his Africa Day message, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Jean Ping, stated the strides that have so far been made, but at the same time outlined the challenegs ahead.
"It is incumbent on each State and Government to embrace good governance and meet the aspirations and basic needs of its citizens in a responsible manner. The establishment of the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance and the African Peer Review Mechanism is specifically meant to address this demand. Today, it is our common duty to pursue together and succeed in the drive to collectively build the continent and thereby achieve in a near future, we all hope, the development, prosperity and stability of Africa. Let us make this dream that our Fathers have for so long nurtured become a reality and let us march resolutely towards a united, peaceful and prosperous Africa," he reiterated.
Dr Ping said while there was a need for the willingness and commitment of states, the future of the continent will largely depend on the choice, commitment and participation of each of Africa's sons and daughters, calling for a more united response to both challenges and plans to achieve the dream.
He reminded that it was a sacred duty of every son and daughter of this continent to ensure that the historic significance and importance of the creation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963 remain engraved in the memory of one and all.
"Indeed, we should remember that through this act, the Founding Fathers of this prestigious Organisation, in a bid to preserve and consolidate the newly won independence of their countries, and anxious to strengthen solidarity across the continent in order to continue the task of the total liberation of Africa, not only laid the groundwork for our unity through a common African identity, but also set in motion the dynamics of action and efforts underpinning the process of integration and development being resolutely pursued today by our continent," he said.
He further said looking at this year's theme - “towards a united, peaceful and prosperous Africa” - and taking stock of the progress achieved against the goals set forth in this common vision, the balance sheet, from more than forty years ago, was encouraging and augurs well for the future, as evidenced by the irreversible process of continental integration that has galvanized the whole Africa since the vision of Sirte, transformed the OAU into the African Union (AU).
He said since then, there has been further strengthening of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and an acceleration of the mechanism for the establishment of such continental institutions as the African Economic Community, the African Central Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Investment Bank.
"The continent can and should therefore look to its future with confidence and, above all, forge ahead to give concrete expression to the dream that has charted its collective course towards the advent of an Africa that is united and strong, and able to influence the course of international events; an Africa that is free from want and free from fear!" Dr Ping stressed.
He also said the global nature of the threats facing the world makes it impossible for any state to face these threats on its own, adding that neither could the security of the world or the continent be ensured by working in isolation. "Everyone now knows that to succeed in a globalised world, common responses should be sought and collective action taken by drawing on the organisation of the world into integrated regional groupings, through regional cooperation. The awareness of this fact was recently echoed in the two strong and concrete signals jointly given by COMESA, EAC and SADC," he said, referring to the recent grouping of these three organisations into a single Free Trade Area, saying this was rightly considered as the precursor to the achievement of the total economic integration of the continent.
Across the continent, in South Africa or Zambia, the Libya or Egypt, leaders and citizens alike were today speaking in one voice, and a voice that if thoroughly followed carries a lot to the achievement of Africa's dream.
Zambian President, Rupiah Banda, when talking about "the United States of Africa" today, said through a gradual and incremental approach, the dream will be achieved.
He said a few steps were just needed to complete the formation of the total union, saying that in principle members states agreed on almost all, and were yet to agree on the approach.
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