On January 24th, African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma released her vision for Africa’s future.
The African Agenda 2063 seeks to rekindle the passion for Pan-Africanism. It calls for promotion of peace and stability, expansion of agricultural production, inclusive economic development and industrialization, and mainstreaming women and youth participation in African Union activities.
On Saturday (March 15), Africans worldwide are being invited to attend a conference call to discuss Dlamini-Zuma’s vision.
Chika Onyeani, publisher of the New York-based African Sun Times newspaper, and chairman of the Celebrate Africa Foundation, said this is the time for all Africans to make their voices heard.
“This conference call is not about intellectuals. We want every African to participate. For too long, this has been consigned to the intellectual class. We want business people to participate; we want the women to participate; we want the youth to participate in this discussion of the future of Africa,” he said.
Onyeani said Africans should stop depending on their leaders to always decide issues for them because most of those leaders have their own agendas.
“It is up to us, if we want to be the sixth region (of Africa) to be a legally constituted part of the African Union, it’s up to the Africans not only in the Diaspora but all over the world to say, ‘Yes,’ and this discussion should be part of how do we get our so-called sixth region to be a legally constituted part of the African Union,” he said.
Onyeani says the most important thing about the conference call is that the African Union does not have to spend a dime. He said the African Union did not ask him to organize the discussion.
Onyeani said, had ordinary Africans been involved in issues affecting their continent, perhaps the African Union would not have gotten money from China to build the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“Can you imagine what would have happened if we had had this type of discussion before? Would Africans have agreed for the Chinese to bring a paltry $200 million to build our headquarters? It’s a total disgrace. People make fun of Africa because of that,” Onyeani said.
The Agenda 2063 foresees a fully functional African common market with free movement of people, goods, capital and services. It also calls for the establishment of a single domestic market, Pan-African Economic and Monetary Union, with a single African central bank, currency and parliament.
It also foresees a “transformed continent where economic growth is translated in wealth and employment creation, guided by sustainable environmental policies.”
The document would also “address the root causes of conflicts, including economic and social disparities, and address the plight of internally displaced persons and refugees.”
Agenda 2063 makes little or no mention of the ongoing fight against official corruption in Africa.
Onyeani said the fight against corruption would be one of the priorities under the new United States of Africa. But, he said Africans must get involved in determining the future of their continent.
“These are some of the issues that the people of Africa, through this discussion, would be able to talk about. Africans should make their voices heard about corruption,” Onyeani said.
He said Africans everywhere would be able to join the conference call on Saturday.
“On the east coast (of the US), it would be at 5 pm EDT; on the west coast, it would be at 2 pm and in the Central region, it will be at 4 pm. Of course, from Ghana, that would be at 9 pm; from South Africa that would be at 11 pm; from Nigeria at 10 pm; from Addis Ababa it would be at 12 am (Sunday)” Onyeani said.