Can a pan-African state be a reality?

Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi has described the African Union as a failure and vowed to press ahead with plans for a single African government .

It’s hard to imagine the African continent turning into a pan-African state. There are many difficulties in the way for this. Many veteran African leaders will find it difficult to step down like Omar Bongo of Gabon and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. African states have different agendas as they have different alliances outside the African continent. Up to now they failed to unite regionally, let alone continentally. African unity has been a dream for decades and it is likely to remain so. African union needs democratic basis, which is lacking in many African countries. Sooner or later, differences will emerge on how to conduct internal and external policies. Small states like Benin will be just swallowed or marginalised by big states like Nigeria. Countries doing well won’t seek to be embroiled with the difficulties of other countries.

African countries can’t now become federal states. They still have a long way to go before we see them with a common policy that can enable them to have a common government.

It’s rather ironic to see the African Union cherishing the idea of a pan-African state while they have among them the Algeria-backed Polisario front ( in conflict with Morocco since 1975) years seeking to form a state in the Western Sahara. They should first convince it to accept the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco for this territory to ease an effective Arab Maghreb Union.

The EU wasn’t made of its current members from the start. At first there were just three countries which formed the Benelux. That expands through 50 years to be made of 27 states. Perhaps African countries should be successful at regional integration with realistic aims before they dream of becoming one super state. Without peace in the whole of Africa and without putting an end to the current conflicts, especially in Sudan, Chad and DR Congo, the idea of a pan-African state will remain a joke among the African ordinary people, let alone political experts who can draw tens of examples of why the idea for pan-African state should be shelved before the majority of African countries should clean their houses before inviting their neighbours in and or getting into theirs.

Listen to part of the conversation on Africa have Your Say

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