Grace Tsotsoo Quaye on whether eradicating colonialism has been achieved by the AU

Photo: AU Headquarters building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with Ms Quaye on insert / © Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Following the inception of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) — now African Union (AU) — in 1963 with only 32 independent African states under one spirit, togetherness, and optimism, the independent states were able to assist other African countries in gaining independence from colonial rule.

Gradually, membership in the AU has increased from 32 to 55 and this shows how unity among groups can spearhead improvement. Sudan was partitioned into two with its south known as South Sudan becoming the latest sovereign state on the continent on 9th July 2011.

This year’s May 25 was a special and memorable day for all Africans because exactly 60 years ago, strong and resilient African leaders like Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, H.E Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, H.E Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein of Egypt, H.E Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal, H.E Apollo Milton Obote of Uganda, H.E Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria, H.E Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania, H.E Abubakar Tefewa Belewa of Nigeria, H.E Ahmed Sékou Touré of Guinea, General Ibrahim Abboud of Sudan, and Haile Selassie of Ethiopia stood firm in one accord to bring all African countries under one Umbrella with the then single name Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now, African Union(AU).

Students, and staff in various working fields commemorate this day to celebrate the founding fathers of the African Union and represent their true identities as Africans with their traditional outfits.

Photo: A young girl in a traditional attire native to the people of Ghana.

The founding fathers of the African Union did not only want to bring African countries together but they had some key objectives in mind which were to promote the unity and solidarity of the African States, coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa, defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity and independence, eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa, and promote international cooperation, having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Reflecting on the grand vision of our fallen heroes who met in Addis Ababa Ethiopia 60 years ago to plan and reshape the destiny of the African continent, it seems Africans are gradually deviating from the foundation that was laid by the patriotic leaders.

It is time all African countries rise up to fight the newly decorated form of colonialism that has been parcelled to Africans.

What do we see about offering employment opportunities to people in Africa? Oftentimes, contracts are awarded to foreign companies instead of Africans who are able to do the same job professionally.

Most influential people from Africa travel to other European countries for health treatment although there are skilled, professional, and quality health centers in Africa.

Another instance has to do with some Africans preferring to purchase products made in European countries and not their own in Africa.

We must wake up Africans. This is not what the founding fathers thought of before dreaming of putting all African countries under one umbrella.

Collaboratively, we can achieve more as Africans. We are not beggars and ”shithole” countries as others may say. Africa is blessed and endowed with rich natural resources, indeed the continent also boasts 50 percent of all arable lands.

It is time the people of the continent and diasporans plan together to do great and rewrite the narrative.

I appreciate African leaders for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is to accelerate intra-African trade and boost Africa’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.

This new development is in line with the vision of the founding fathers of the African Union which seeks to coordinate and intensify the cooperation and efforts of African leaders to achieve a better life for African people.

AfCFTA has created opportunities for entrepreneurs in Africa to extend their products and services to member states easily.

Moreover, great minds and business moguls in Africa are able to exchange ideas, and that in a way expands their scale of production in Africa.

There’s more room for improvement.

Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, DR Congo, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Algeria, Morocco, Mozambique, Angola, Madagascar, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi, Zambia, Senegal, Somalia, Chad, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Rwanda, Burundi, Benin, South Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Libya, Congo, Liberia, Central African Republic, Mauritania, Eritrea, Namibia, Gambia, Botswana, Gabon, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritius, Eswatini, Djibouti, Comoros, Cabo Verde, Sao Tome & Principe, and Seychelles.

Remember, the name is African Union and with togetherness and hard work, we will be able to achieve more than we can ever imagine.

Written by Grace Tsotsoo Quaye

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