Any philanthropist would love to see the birthplace of humanity united, at peace within, and with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Africa is home to a large diversity of ethnicity, all the 50 plus countries and territories are divided along different lines. Rampant corruption, illiteracy, and poverty are the main challenges obstructing peace and prosperity throughout African nations. There have been efforts by the African Union, but the formation of a continental army for limiting war-crimes and bringing warring nations together for dialogue, has yet to bear fruit.
At a time when the integrity of EU is being challenged, the African nations are increasingly realizing the importance of coming closer through a common passport. The union hopes that by 2020 all the inhabitants of the continent will enjoy visa-free travel throughout 54 countries. It is hoped that the new Open-Door Policy will considerably enhance economic growth as in the case of Rwanda. Dr. Khabele Matlosa, director for political affairs of AU, and the African Development Bank believe that easing entrance requirements would greatly benefit the economy, and the working class, in particular, would gain widely (Monks, K. 2016).
In the nineteenth century, European imperial powers occupied most of the countries in Africa. During this era, almost all of African population came under the influence of Europeans who increasingly imposed their ways of life, promoting integration with the outside world. In due time, the masses realized the importance of modernization and gradually started evolving. Today the processes of technological, social, cultural and political evolution are going on with the ages old bullock cart pace; and the inspiration still comes from Europe. The creation of EU could be seen as the inspiration for founding the AU but realities are conspiring against it; nations living in Europe are culturally, socially and technologically much evolved as compared to the nations occupying Africa. Historically European nations have been through a number of wars; millions lost their lives during the evolutionary process of learning coexistence; still the future of EU is uncertain because living together also means sacrificing some of one’s own rights and accommodating foreign views. Socially integrating African nations is a beautiful dream, but it can only be achieved through universal education and/or after passing through long and painful evolutionary phases.
Since the departure of European imperialists, African nations have been fighting with each other. Africa is the second largest continent in the world with a diverse human population; most of its inhabitants are young who were deprived of their parents in early childhood (Johnnesburg, 2012). Use of child soldiers over long period of time has kept them out of schools; these youngsters lack the opportunities as well as the necessary tools to rebuild their lives; a great number of them are not only uneducated but also unskilled. They simply cannot play any constructive role in shaping the future of their nations. Moreover, corruption has taken strong roots in African soil and the billions of dollars, funded for education, reconstruction and eradication of poverty, have not produced any significant results.
Africa has produced great peace activists like Nelson Mandela, who has been a phenomenal inspiration not only for Africans but for the whole world. Unfortunately today few can claim that Africa has great leaders who have the caliber of Martin Luther King Jr. or Mr. Mandela. Africa is in dire need of genuine leadership capable of bending foreign vested interests in favor of African masses. Africans do have an inspiring dream of a consolidated Africa, but they do not have genuinely motivated leaders to arouse the compassionate will, necessary for making a great people. The demagogues themselves consider it as fools’ gold currently marketable. Scars of brutality, visible on the bodies of so many natives, have not been inflicted by any foreigner. These wounds are skin deep and will take longer to heal. Until the thirst for blood is satiated and the spirit of brotherhood triumphs, one cannot expect any kind of unity.
By Hassan Azra
Monks,K. (2016, July 19) United states of Africa? African Union launches all-Africa passport Retrieved from http://www.edition.cnn.com/2016/07/05/africa/african-union- passport
Johannesburg, (2012, May 22) Trauma travels too. The Inside Stories on Emergencies. Retrieved from www. irinnews.org/feature/2012