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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

NCCE/IDEG on paradigm shift

....to involve the people) in Africa union affairs


The Africa Union (AU) previously called Organization of African Unity (OAU) is fifty years old. It was established on 25th May 1963, by founding fathers of modern Africa including Ghana’s first president ,Dr Kwame Nkrumah , Sekou Toure of Guinea and Emperor Haile Salassie of Ethiopia to mention but a few. The primary aim of these leaders has been to forge unity integration and orderly development of the nations on the continent. Over the past years the continental body had worked so hard that many African nations have gained political independence from their colonial masters.
Africa has also achieved economic growth to the extent that the continent is regarded as an emerging power on the globe even before adding value to many of our primary products such as gold, diamond, crude oil and cocoa. In spite of all these, the continent has largely remained a club of leaders who meet regularly to discuss issues regarding problems confronting the continent and how to find solutions to them.
The African leaders scarcely discussed issues regarding the continent with the people.
The protocol signed to allow people and goods free passage by citizens of Africa into each other states is working partially as it is fraught with lots of problems. Most people now find it difficult to move freely with goods to neighboring countries. Most feuding factions in nations of Africa such as Nigeria, Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan the youngest nation of the world, are engaged in all kinds of conflicts resulting in loss of many lives. The conflicts have also resulted in increase in large numbers of refugees on the continent.
With regard to sports, Africa has made progress in soccer and athletics in which our sons and daughters from West, East and North Africa dominate in some of the sports on high levels. African intellectuals are also hired to offer assistance in many international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations and some donor agencies, banking and marketing firms. There were no mechanisms for the people to discuss the issues with their leaders.
African leaders in promoting the spirit of unity were able to achieve some measure of friendship in Africa to the benefit of the people of the continent. Again through the help of its leaders Africa showed commitments in the formulation of good protocols at Sirte, Libya, in September 1999, Lome Togo in July 2000, and Lusaka Zambia , in July 2001 that led to the creation of the African Union in Durban in July 2002. The African Union represents a historical decision by Africa to fulfill the aspirations of Africans by achieving regional economic and political integration. Because the people of Africa were not involved in decision making the leaders were forced to make amends.

After its achievements and a deep reflection the Africa Union commission and the heads of states at a meeting last year , went ahead to embark on a paradigm shift to involve the ordinary people in the decision making process of the continent. After the leaders had served for fifty years in the club of leaders the leaders then realized the need to do things differently in the next fifty years (from now till 2063)
In order to achieve the African Union’s 2063 vision of Africa’s renaissance of “An Integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”, the leaders decided that this vision must be driven by its own citizens to represent a dynamic force in the global arena”. To this end the leaders decided that significantly more action would be required to involve the people to ensure positive socioeconomic people on all front to include discussions with all stakeholders under the, “Agenda 2063”.
The main elements of “Agenda 2063” at the operational level will be to emphasize the importance of rekindling the passion for Pan-Africanism, a sense of unity, self-reliance, integration and solidarity being highlight of the triumphs of the 20th century.
Still at the operational level, the possible major risks/ threats and critical success factors should be discussed. These include regional politics, institutional renewal and financing/resource mobilization issues, as well as the changing nature of Africa’s relationships with the rest of the world.
Following the various debates and consultations held with the Youth, Women and Diaspora representatives, during the OUA/ AU 50th Anniversary Celebration, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2013, The African Union Commission has set priorities that include meeting people at national and local levels and through the internet.
Through various actions including this Web site dedicated to the Agenda 2063, the Africa Union Commission would like to have larger contribution from all Africans and friends of Africa in order to enhance the Agenda 2063 to be presented to the AU Summit in January 2014.
As part of the continent-wide consultative meetings with cross section of people the National Commission for Civic Education in conjunction with the Institute of Democratic Governance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration held a meeting with a cross section of forty Ghanaians in Accra. They considered a draft Africa Union (A U) agenda on Africa’s development for the next fifty years. The forum was participated by youth groups, political parties, traditional and religious leaders. It forms part of ongoing stakeholder consultations by the people of Africa. The consultative program (being held in all parts of Africa) is meant to sensitize the people of Africa on development agenda adopted by Africa’s leaders and known as ‘Agenda 2063’.
Mr. Kwesi Quartey Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration who chaired the function commended the founding fathers of the AU, formerly Organization of African Unity and said that in-spite of some achievements chalked by the AU the continental body needs to do more to help achieve its aims and objectives. He praised Dr Kwame Nkrumah and other African leaders for their pioneering roles in setting up the OAU in 1963 and said that Ghana under Nkrumah went further to assist some nations like Guinea financially when the nation was rendered poor by their colonial masters France. He said Ghana also inspired other nations of Africa to fight for independence. He said that Ghana’s football team was not named Black Stars for nothing but meant to symbolize the unity of all Africans and the black race all over the world.
Alhaji Haruna Attah High Commissioner designate who spoke o behalf of N C CE said Africa Union must be a union of the people not a club of heads of states and urged the ordinary people to take part in the decision making process. The high commissioner designate expressed concern and dissatisfaction over the existence of unfriendly borders where travelers within Africa are subjected to unfriendly behavior by border guards. He prayed and hoped for the period when Africa would be truly united to harmonize trade and allow free movement of the people cheaply. He decried the situation where most African countries could not fly directly to African counties without passing through Europe
He called for the involvement of the civil society including women groups to work for the development of the continent adding that the people must engage parliament to enrich debate in development agenda in Africa.
He called on the media to play their part in promoting peace through good and truthful reportage and advised the media to desist from causing conflicts through bad reportage as happened in Ruanda where war and destruction occurred through a hate statement made in a radio program.

Professor Lehlohonolo Associate Director of Center for Regional Integration in Africa- CRIA who facilitated the program took the participants through the agenda 2063. Professor Kwame A. Ninsin scholar in residence at the Institute of Democratic Governance who delivered the welcome address said the consultative meeting was timely because it would lead to involving the people in decision making process in Africa. At the end of the program the participants pledged to take part in the year long 50th year anniversary of AU by debating a range of issues from regional integration to peace and security , the African identity, economic transformation, Africa’s search for prosperity and self-reliance; to questions of governance , social inclusion, gender equality and Africa’s place in the world.


Executive Director
eanfoworld for sustainable development
0244 370345/ 0264370345/0208844791 abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com