Today marks exactly 50 years since the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), was established through the foresight and vision of some of Africa’s foremost leaders.
And in celebrating this Golden Jubilee, it remains to be ascertained whether the objectives for which the union was set up have been achieved or not.
Indeed, the trappings of power, the North-South divide, the Cold War, among others, have, invariably, hampered the effective functioning of the union and the continent as a whole.
However, Africans can say without any doubt that the AU has served many good purposes, in spite of the challenges that faced Africa and continue to face it.
Currently, many states in Africa, such as Somalia, Mali and Libya have lost their shine to unending internal strifes which are impinging on the overall development of the continent.
Many a time, one wonders what the AU has been doing as far as the political will to tackle problems on the continent is concerned. This has become so because during times of conflict, such as coups d’etat and political insurrections, it is outside forces which intervene first before the union is awoken from its slumber.
The Daily Graphic believes that for the continent to achieve the objectives of the charter, the AU must be alive to its mandate and acclamation.
Furthermore, it is incumbent on the governments of the various countries to come up with policies to promote good governance and the harmonisation of the economies of Africa, otherwise nothing tangible can be attained.
It is trite that the movement of goods and services within the continent is still a problem in this era of global village.
These include the many blocks in existence, such as road checks and unharmonised fiscal policies that hamper the free movement of people and goods.
Africa’s continued reliance on the exportation of raw materials, instead of finished or processed products, is the bane of the continent and until pragmatic measures are put in place, Africa will continue to wobble in its development drive.
The time has also come for Africa’s leaders and politicians to realise that they have been put in public office by the people and should not use that opportunity to amass wealth for their personal well-being.
In realising the dreams and objectives of the AU, there is the need for Africans to unite and forge ahead with common policies.
The Daily Graphic is of the firm conviction that Africans should take advantage of improved communications technology to make the dreams of the continent come to fruition.
The continent boasts 54 nations of various backgrounds which are in various stages of their development. What remain to be pursued are a common purpose and the willpower to make the continent a major force in global geo-politics.
African countries need to open up their economies to avoid dependence on outsiders to develop, otherwise we shall be independent politically but dependent on the economies of the advanced world.
In spite of the challenges confronting the continent, the Daily Graphic salutes the founding fathers of the continent and the present leaders for holding the flag of the continent aloft.