Nitty gritty of a federal Africa

African leaders who recently met in Ghana to discuss the United States of Africa didn't agree on the pace of establishing a federal African state, but agreed on a union of African states.

African leaders who recently met in Ghana to discuss the United States of Africa didn't agree on the pace of establishing a federal African state, but agreed on a union of African states.

A regional route might be an option. Individual countries must not lose their national character. Each nation must be autonomous, but political and economic life must be rationalised from a federal perspective. Defence, external trade and foreign affairs must be unified.

There should be an administrative authority for member states, but a federal umbrella government in charge of activities that go beyond national prerogatives.

Integrating the economies would allow for global bargaining of raw materials at prices advantageous to the continent. It would also provide a very important source of capital accumulation.

Political leadership could be based on rotation or alphabetical order to allay some people's fears. But states would have to accept a permanent, irrevocable transfer of national sovereignty to an executive council.

But to achieve all this, Africa's socioeconomic problems must be eliminated. A federal African state must be socialist. There must be democratisation beyond what a capitalist state can achieve.

Sam Ditshego, Kagiso

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