For too long African leaders have been globe-trotting in the name of international relations. It is Europe, if not, they are in the United States, and if not there, then it is in China or Russia. It might not be long before UAE, India, Japan and Brazil make summons of their own. All these travels carry similar interests of exerting influence on the continent to remain a meal on the dining table. But the time is ripe for Africa to rest from the travels. How can a continent so endowed with resources in all directions be scavenging the world in buses?
The most recent trip was to the Soviet Nation. No doubt, the Russians have been in the shadows of all-African countries, just like all other global powers in the neo-colonialism efforts. If you don’t find their footsteps in the Central Africa Republic, you will find it in Uganda, if you don’t see their influence in Egypt, you can be sure it is in Morocco or Ghana. This has been the case for far too long, the Arabs were here, the Europeans were here, the Americans were here and the Chinese have also arrived. The fundamental question is: how does Africa safeguard its interests and build itself?
African can only rest if they unite and take full control of their affairs in the rhetoric of Kwame Nkrumah in his book titled “Towards Colonial Freedom”. Not so long ago, H.E. Dr. William Ruto, Africa’s rising star, reminded us of the need to strengthen the African Unions and rethink how we approach global relations, but a few weeks later, 43 African heads of states are in Russia. Although this time round not in a bus. However, you can be sure as light follows day, that the objectives remained the same, find what you can take from Africa and renew the weakening ties following the Russia-Ukraine war and the unfolding global geo-political gymnastic. Consequently, Africa must search for her heart and evolve from within but not from without. A negotiation that converges all African leaders on a table facing one person, is a regrettable show of weakness especially when the continent is the largest of all continents. Today we ask, where is the focus point of Agenda 2063? Where are the high-speed train networks? Where is the progress on AfCFTA? Are the guns now silent? How far with Africa's out space strategy? And where are the Africa VISAs issued? Indeed, these are complex questions that require critical thinking and intra-synergy within the continent before resorting to a multi-edge sword.
It’s now a public secret, the more you bundle together in a foreign land the more countries seek individual interests rather than looking at the continent first. It becomes, what piece can I carry for my people? This approach can only make the centre stumble than keeping it firm. Since the days of Kwame Nkrumah, W.E.B Dubois, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Marcus Garvey Ahmed Sékou Touré, Patrice Lumumba, and Thomas Sankara among others, the centre never held. The African leaders of today such as: Yoweri Museveni, William Ruto, Nana Akufo-Ado, Cyril Ramaphosa, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and Paul Kagame among other His Excellencies now have a responsibility to make the centre hold and certainly a summit that pulls all African leaders to face a single person ought to end. If it must happen and as important as it is, then Africa ought to be willing to host any of them at the continent's Capital, Adis-Ababa.
PhD Candidate in Public Policy and Governance.
Research Fellow, University of Ghana