Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, July 05, 2007

United States of Africa
The concept of a United States of Africa has been raised before, without ever being a serious consideration. However, the latest attempt, fastidiously driven by Gaddafi's Libya seems to have gained some inertia. Bizarrely, Gaddafi was pushing at the recently concluded African Heads of State Summit in Accra for the immediate establishment of such an entity.

Just how he thought this would be possible is well beyond me. Such a scenario, with common monetary units, common regulatory environments etc would take decades, vis-a-vis the European Union. But, Gaddafi's never proved his patience, and is clearly cognisant of his legacy, on which he's pegging the United States of Africa.

The opposition to the move fortunately, is robust. The motion for immediate unity was denied by all of Africa's power-house states, including South Africa and Nigeria. Unity in this form is a boon to Africa's smaller, more troubled states, but is hardly has Africa's largest economies rushing to sign up. Economics in Africa is delicate at best, and trying to aggregate Africa's economies at this stage only means aggregating Africa's problems.

I sit on the opposite side of the fence to former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda who stated last week "This is a very beautiful idea. It can’t fail." Kaunda sees no difference between the USA, the EU and the proposed United States of Africa, stating “Europe brought two world wars in 1914 to 1918 and from 1939 to 1945. It is that same Europe which is now with a common currency called the euro." Yes, Kenneth, that took half a century and powerful, stable democracies. Africa's cup does not run over with the same.

In any event, having two USA's in global politics would just be confusing...