When the delegation of African Union and African Diaspora Leaders met at the Schomburg Research Center in Harlem, Abdoulaye Wade, former president of Senegal called upon leaders of Africa to ensure the realization of the United Africa vision by 2017.
Before then, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya had made a similar call when he was elected as the AU chairman in February 2009 in Ethiopia. Ghadafi had demanded at the time that the continent should own and use a common currency, passport and military force.
He further strengthened his claim at the African Union summit held in Kampala, Uganda in 2010 reiterating his proposal by adding that he believed Africa could achieve more and ward off foreign control and relinquish the continent’s reliance on aid.
He garnered support from former Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe who also believes the United States of Africa could be the unifier the continent needed after the divisions instituted by colonialism.
However, this proposal was criticized by leaders such as South Africa’s Jacob Zuma who believed that Gaddafi’s stance was only to enable him to exert control on the whole of Africa.
The idea of a United States of Africa was earlier embraced and championed by African leaders such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser
Some African leaders including Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal and leaders of Nigeria, Liberia and Ethiopia who were referred to as the Monrovia Bloc wanted unity to be achieved gradually while Africa remains a continent of independent states. Their idea is what remains today.
It has been 62 years since Dr. Kwame Nkrumah proposed that the countries in Africa unite into a federation but it still remains an idea that looks impracticable. Here are some four factors that hinder the long-cherished dream of a United States of Africa in the 21st century.