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Senegalese President Promotes Pan-Africanism

The late presidents Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya promoted the idea of Pan-Africanism in the 1960s. Recently, Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade has been speaking about the idea within the framework of the African Union. Cheikh Tidiane Gadio is Senegal’s foreign minister; he told VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty why President Wade has been pushing the idea of a United States of Africa.

“What we notice, frankly, is that the people of Africa are ahead of their leaders when it comes to unity. Every African feels comfortable anywhere in Africa…. But some of our leaders still believe that we should strengthen our nation-states…and then go…gradually toward the United States of Africa. But this is not happening. Kwame Nkrumah said everything in 1963…. People did not listen to him. So President Wade, President Obasanjo, President Museveni, of course the Libyan leader, Ghadafi, and many other African leaders – now we have agreed that we should go to a union government first and to the United States of Africa,” he said.

Kenyan-born analyst Professor Ali Mazrui once said that Pan-Africanism requires exceptional leadership.

“Pan-Africanism is not about socialism versus capitalism, versus liberalism. You can be whatever you want to be. The common denominator for all of us…is the fact that we believe that Africa lies in a United States of Africa,” he said.

In regards to Sudan, he says that African nations must be willing to help each other but that international assistance may be necessary.

“It’s easy to say African solution to our African problems. But then we have to put our hands in our pocket, pull out the resources needed. We need 400 million dollars to launch a true peacekeeping mission in Sudan, and then we have to give some additional 8,000 troops. If African countries can do it, then they don’t need anybody else. But unfortunately I don’t think that people are ready to do it, and I don’t think also that the suffering population of Darfur have the time to wait for African leaders and African countries to make up their minds and give the right number of troops and the right money to handle the mission. So that’s why Senegal believes that we start with African forces and then transform those African forces into an international force,” he said.

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