In Dar es Salaam, leaders from the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (Sadc) member states are coming together for yet another assembly to deliberate and celebrate the strength of their unity. This meeting is a valued asset to continue moving Sadc countries deeper into the arena of working together to further the African integration and ultimate unity of the African continent.
Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, the principal forefather of pan-Africanism and his pan-African colleagues like PatriceLumumba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Sékou Touré of Guinea, Léopold Senghorof Senegal, Muamar Gaddafi of Libya, NelsonMandelaof South Africa and many others were very right when they envisioned that without a candid African unity the African continent would remain at the mercy of neo-colonialists and imperialists’ domination.
They understood that a divided Africa would constitute a divided market that cannot act as one powerful market. A divided Africa was a scenario to be used by developed nations to divide and rule. Therefore, since the down of these first generation of African leaders; African unity was then and is still considered the final winning stage of the African liberation struggle that will ensure African countries complete freedom from neo-colonial economic bondage.
Since then the desire to have one grand African nation grewand unending activities to unite the African continent began. But it remained a challenge on how this unity could be achieved.Not all leaders agreed on how this unity could be achieved. In the early 1960sin West and North Africa two camps emerged.
The Casablanca Bloc, formed in Casablanca, also known as progressive statescomprised of Ghana, Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Egypt, Mali and Libya; wanted an immediate continental government. The other group was theMonrovia Blocknown as moderate states;formed in Monrovia andcomprised of Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Liberia, wanted a gradual approach to continental unity, employing regional cooperation and integration.
However, in 1963, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia invited the two groups to a Conference in Addis Ababa, to achieve a dynamic compromise between the two. The two groups were in attendance among 32 independent African states from across Africa. The Conference drew and signed a Charter to create the Organization of the African Unity (OAU) and the two groups ended. The OAU later in 2002 metamorphosed into the African Union (AU).
However,in the East and Southern Africa the East African Community (EAC) began in 1967 and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (Sadc)was founded in 1980 as regional integration groups all reflecting the hope of achieving a future united Africa.Much later the Economic Cooperation of West African States (Ecowas) emerged in West Africa and was yet another activity of African States to journey to the African unity.
Sadc as is the other regional grouping like EAC and Ecowas is a springboard to the pan-African unity. The meeting in Tanzania must bea valued asset to move Sadc countries deeper into the arena of working together by sharing talents; technology; investments; resources; political and socio-economic activities. Sadc countries and Africa in general was and is still one territory and must always come together.
Sadc meeting in Tanzania once again reminds us that it is only in cooperation and unity, Africa will be able to pull together and be in the best position of negotiating win-win bilateral and investment agreements with nations and foreign investors.
Sadc must always endeavour to vanquish the lone ego of our nations to accomplish the harmonisation of our country’s political ideologies, socio-economic policies, legal and fiscal frameworks to align to the Sadc vision of integration.
Sadc nations need to continue building strong integration institutions that will ensure equitable use of natural resources within the region as we aspire to achieve aunited Africa that will have a giant one government and one market that will disentangle Africa from the neo-colonial economic bondage.
Dr Peter Kafumu is a Tanzanian Member of Parliament