Africa is a large landmass encompassing people of differing ethnic groups but with one identity. It is a continent that is suffering an identity crisis. It is a continent that has undergone one of the massive exploitation in the history of mankind. Africa suffered many years during the trans-Atlantic Slave trade that drained its human resources, brought all normal life to disarray for more than four hundred years within which virile young men and women were either raided and sold or captured as prisoners of war were shipped en-mass to the Americas to work. Its land was carved and shared among European interests. These artificial barriers which were created will perhaps remain forever the same, unless Africa unites (a task that is becoming seemingly impossible). This is because countries now have national identities and shared interest which would be difficult to collapse into one African identity.
One way of uniting Africa without collapsing and compromising these artificial political and sovereign barriers is for African countries to build a railway line round the continent.
This will extensively open up the continent; will make it easy to move from one place to the other at a much cheaper cost. This will increase trade within the continent. Businesses will no longer have to worry about transportation in large quantities from country to country.
This will radically integrate Africans. It will make it possible for Africans and even tourists, to move within, explore and expand their businesses, create employment opportunities and quickly transform the continent from a dull huge landmass, to one bustling with business crisscrossing and searching for African consumers and customers.
This can be done simply.
|AU Chairman: Bingu Wa Mutharika and |
Chinese PM Wen Jiabao
Now, the AU is strategically placed to carry this out. The AU would have to impress on its member states the significant quantum leap that awaits Africa with the creation of the African Railway Line. This would be communicated to member states to be debated in their various countries to solicit public view and support for the project. If at the end of the process, countries express interest, they would now have to commit themselves financially and politically.
Each country would have to fund the construction of the lines within their territory along agreed routes. In that way, the actual cost of the overall project would be widespread and manageable for even poor member states.
With Africa's current good relations with the Chinese, it would be very easy to enlist the support of Chinese railway construction companies to carry it out.
It was the railway lines that opened up Europe and ensured a fast tracked economic integration and the dissolution of borders making it possible for citizens of member states to freely move about from one country to the other. This drastically increased trade within the European shared market and also embraced multi-culturalism in Europe.
The US with its big states and vast landmass is well connected and opened because of the construction of rail way lines. Canada which is also huge is opened up because of the construction of the railway lines.
The AU should rather in the meantime, concentrate on this and stop playing the usual unification sing song which had been sang for more than fifty years now and has yielded no significant results.