Among sovereignties there can be 3 unions: 1. Service Union, 2. Economic Union and 3. Political Union. We all know about Economic and Political Union. What most people don’t know is what I call the service union.
Merger or rationalization of services between 2 or more sovereignties for cost-effectiveness and security of service delivery.
Let me give you 3 examples:
- Within the same nation
I live and work in the North-West region of the State of Victoria, 20minutes from the border with the State of New South Wales (NSW). I am 3hours away from Melbourne, the State Capital and 1.5hours from Bendigo, the Regional Capital.
The border town on the NSW side is 6hours from Sydney, their State Capital and 3hours from their regional capital.
So although politically this town is in NSW, all their service needs are met in Victoria. Their ex-Mayor is my patient. They use Victoria telephone exchange. All their sick patients get transferred to Bendigo and very sick to Melbourne. This is how brothers live.
- Between neighbouring countries
Australia and New Zealand – The population of NZ is 4.2m, the same as Melbourne. The 2nd largest and probably the most equipped Children Hospital in the world is the Royal Children Hospital in Melbourne.
NZ doesn’t need to have the same Children Hospital. A very sick child in NZ is flown to Melbourne (2hrs).
New Zealanders get their pensions transferred to Australia and vice-versa. NZ students come to Australia and get the same HECS subsidy for university education.
Until very recently, you come with NZ passport and you get automatic Australian passport. Many Ghanaians came to Australia via that hiatus.
- Friendly nations
Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Netherland, Canada have health service reciprocity. Citizens from these countries will have free medical treatment among themselves. I know patients from England coming to use the public system here for surgery.
They have free visa and in Australia where the drivers’ licence is everything, they just go to any licensing office and swap their licences. They are in the system.
Conclusion – all these people feel home away from home. That is what matters. They know they are one people under different sovereignties. Who cares? NZ has its own $, its own stock exchange, its own parliament and government but they know Australia is its big brother. Who cares?
In poor Africa where resources are scares, they way to go is to rationalize the little we have through sensible regional SERVICE UNIONS. That is what matters to the people. But what do we do? Ghanaians sacked Nigerians; Nigerian retaliated, South Africans burn Zimbabweans, and the madness goes on. Then once a year, sleepy leaders go and ”pour libation” in Addis Ababa on an altar of African Unity and they think anyone takes them seriously!!
Just one example
US and Canada are 2 sovereign nations with total land size probably 2x that of West Africa. Their population is more than that of West Africa. Yet they have one international telephone code. So, it is much cheaper for a Canadian to call an American 3000km away than a Ghanaian to call a Togolese. Why should Togo or Sierra Leone have their own codes when Canada shares with the US?
Unfortunately, we have leaders who think they can defy nature by running without sitting, crawling and walking 1st. And some of us make life easy for these delirious leaders by trumpeting their thoroughly thoughtless ideas. But everything will change because the time for real change is here. Africa will receive its promise.
Tswa omanye aba.
Written by Dr Nii Amu Darko President, ARM on 25 May 2016