The current African Union Permanent Representative to the United States of America, Her Excellency Dr Arikana Chihombori Quao gave a speech not too long ago which highlighted some very important points and information every African should be aware of.
According to Dr Chihombori Quao, the two mandates of the African Union Ambassador to the US are:
- To promote Africa in the Americas
- To encourage Africans in the diaspora to participate in the development of Africa.
African diaspora, according to the African Union definition consists of all the people of African descent living outside Africa. Per the ambassador, in order for Africa to take its rightful place on the world stage and for sustainable development to come to Africa, the African diaspora must be at the front and centre of that conversation.
According to Dr Arikana Chihombori Quao, while it is believed that Africans do not get along at the moment, if we try to understand one another and get together, we will be able to speak with one voice which will allow us to grow and succeed as a continent.
How do we address the problems in Africa?
- Dr Quao emphasizes that first, we need to understand the problem that is the Berlin Conference.
- Then, we must realize on an individual basis that we as Africans are suffering from an affliction called the legacy of colonization and slavery.
In a detailed message shared in an unscripted video (below), Dr Quao asserts that in order to understand Africa’s problems, we have to understand the root of the problems which is the Berlin Conference. History has it that in November 1884, colonizers met to discuss how to make sure Africa would forever be dominated. The then Chancellor of Germany, Otto Von Bismarck called a meeting among colonizers when there wasn’t unison among them to discuss how they would effectively loot from Africa. The summary is that colonizers ultimately divided Africa into little colonies which we see today as countries so they won’t be able to survive on their own.
The division was arbitrary and it scattered powerful African kingdoms. Fast forward to 2019, not much has changed. African countries are either developing or underdeveloped. The small economies can only do so much on their own.
When the colonizers were leaving Africa between 1958 and 1961, they made African leaders sign a pact for the continuation of colonization. A perfect example is the power France has on Francophone countries. France reportedly takes at least 500 billion dollars from the francophone countries yearly. The francophone countries can purchase military equipment only from France and all mineral resources discovered in the said countries all go through France first. France also still prints the CFA, the money the francophone countries spend and close to 50% of the food in francophone countries come from France. All of these and more make it easy for France to have a good one at the expense of these largely impoverished countries.
A divided Africa easy to destabilize
She adds that Africans are very easy to destabilize because we’re divided. African leaders have tried to pull back from the pact but this has led to a coup in the countries which ultimately benefit the colonizers. Dr Quao said: “when we want to complain about issues, we should complain about the ones that matter and not the ones thrown at us to benefit the colonizers.” This statement has so much power.
Per the ambassador, Africa is like a tree and problems such as unemployment, poverty, diseases, starvation, etc. are the leaves on the tree drying up. They come and go. Until the issues are addressed from the roots, there will always be a problem. For Africa, the Berlin Conference is one of the major problems which is still alive till date.
In a ploy to divide and conquer, the colonizers made us believe everything African is bad while everything European is good. Africans discriminate against themselves and give better treatment to Caucasians. This needs to stop. For true healing and sustainability to take place, it has to start with a conversation with ourselves. A conversation about what is really going on in Africa.
A call for unity
In 1963, Pan African leaders realized that in order for Africa to move forward, Africa must speak as one voice, one continent. African leaders met in Addis Ababa and created the Organization of African Unity. It was an attempt to regroup and undo the boundaries that were imposed upon us. Unfortunately, only seven countries (Pan African countries) supported immediate African Union; Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The other countries (The Nationalists) insisted on going slow. It is believed that when the African Union was rejected in 1963, Africa lost and 55 years later, Africa is still stuck.
However, in 2018 our leaders came together in Kigali and agreed on a decision called the African Continent of Free Trade Area which means African countries must speak and negotiate with one voice, as one Africa because as One Africa, we are strong enough to make decisions with “first world” countries and China.
In conclusion, Dr Arikana Chihombori Quao implores Africans to learn from other diasporas (Indians, Asians, etc.) whose agendas and voices are loud and clear. This is where we fail ourselves. Africans do not take action and speak with one voice. We must realize our sheer survival depends on us speaking in unison. We as Africans have every reason to stand at the top of the highest mountain to proclaim who we are. The indestructible Children of Africa.
Watch the video of Dr Arikana Chihombori Quao’s speech here…
Photo credit: Facebook | Arikana Chihombori Quao
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A fashion and pop culture writer who watches a lot of TV in his spare time. At Style Rave, we aim to inspire our readers by providing engaging content to not just entertain but to inform and empower you as you ASPIRE to become more stylish, live smarter and be healthier. Follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_ ♥