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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Is the United States of Africa already here?


The proposal to officially create a United States of Africa may not have come at a better time than now when international trade is dictating the pace of development thanks to technological innovation. You may not have noticed but recent trends indicate that the United States of Africa is already here. Through various communication technologies, Africa has transformed into a large business unit.

Over the past 5 years, the cost of communication in Africa has come down to manageable levels providing a wide menu over what communication technology to use.
Cost has been a major driving force over the choices made with an aim of bridging the digital divide to support business growth in the continent. All this is despite the reduction in regulatory barriers that were pushing communication prices to exorbitantly high prices in a larger chunk of the continent.

In a majority of countries where governments have deregulated information and communication sectors, considerable development has been made in the various industries thus enhancing regional and global trade. For example countries such as Kenya and South Africa are in the process of laying cables that would bring high-speed connectivity allowing the continent to engage in e-commerce, explore new markets and lower the cost of international bandwidth. Other countries are turning to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as an affordable alternative to bypass expensive conventional telephone systems, for long distance calls. The International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) annual report indicates that outbound VoIP increased to more than 2 billion minutes in the last one year. African countries have also chosen to embrace ITU endorsed switchover to terrestrial digital broadcasting for television and radio to enable high quality real-time exchange of information and cultures by 2015.

Mobile telephony has also been on the increase in the continent and is showing higher prospects for further growth supported mainly by increased need for global business communication. Mobile telephone service providers are embracing regional integration by converging their operations into single seamless networks ostensibly to improve access and lower the overall cost of international roaming. A good example is Celtel, whose operations in East and Central Africa are now seamlessly converged into one network that allows international roaming at existing local rates. Armed with your mobile telephone and a laptop, you can work from virtually anywhere.

Banking and other financial services are on the growth path with indigenous African banks opening up branches in regions where they were not allowed to operate before. For instance, Standard bank South Africa recently merged with CFC Bank Kenya to support their growth in East Africa. Foreign direct investments have also been on the increase within the continent thanks to technological innovation that allows all operations to be centralised.

Looking at history, various regional blocking in Africa have failed to meet their mandate due to various reasons mostly political. Only trade has been self-sustaining because of its direct influence in economic development. If the idea of creating a United States of Africa is to create wealth, then we may argue that it is already here. What Africa needs is to strengthen existing structures, invest more in ICT and establish structures that support international trade and wealth creation through value addition.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea. As a young European I see what benefits the European Union brings, foremost peace. I sincerely believe in cooperation and dialogue and a 'Union' can be an invaluable platform for so.

Nonetheless, the Europens (speaking as a group here, despite the differences between Germans, English and so on) came a long way and had learn their hard lessons from two world wars etc... Therefore, I am not sure how realistic an US of Africa is but believe in it's inspirational value.

Best,
Juergen

branded said...

Hi juergen
Just curious, what do you think would be the best way to establish a United States of Africa given the lessons that the EU has experienced and the kind of Africa that we have now?

branded said...

I asked this same question on yahoo answers.com which in part read....What are the prospects of having the United States of Africa?
I got several responses that I listed below.

stung4ever said...

Until they can have at least half their countries not fighting a civil war every 20 years, not a chance.

cmdrbnd007 said...

It seems pretty slim to me. They have been fighting each other for centuries over there. I think they really, I mean really hate each other.

Joseph, II said...

Not good. The Continent is just too politically & demographically fragmented to maintain a genuinely "united" structure. Maybe someday... :)

surlygurl said...

I don't think it is at all possible in the near future. A huge difference between Africa and the origin of the USAmerica is that the founders were all from the same country and based a political system on something they were all familiar with. Resolving the differences between political and ethnic factions within each individual African country is in itself such a difficult task, that bringing each country into a working federation is nearly inconceivable at this stage.
Source(s):
10 years living in Africa

zes2 z said...

A couple of centuries....maybe.
but by then everyone in world will be scrounging and preyed upon by Warlords and DICTATORS....
oh yeah....
and BIG BUSINESS

zes2 z said...

A couple of centuries....maybe.
but by then everyone in world will be scrounging and preyed upon by Warlords and DICTATORS....
oh yeah....
and BIG BUSINESS

Mark A said...

I sincerely doubt something like that could ever work. Way too many differing factions at work. Some of the nations don't even like their own people, much less one country over!

Unfortunately, I can see Islam trying to be the unifying force, kinda like the Borg from ST, TNG. "resistance is futile". Hey they want Islam to take over the world, it's not a bad place to start.

FRAGINAL-NOYPI said...

Ethnic differences will be a hindrance to a United States of Africa.

KISHOR LAL said...

VERY bright

Seano said...

Only if there is a dictator strong enough to conquer the whole continent. The would never willingly join such a union, the continent is a collection of dictators, kings and chiefs who have carved out their own little fiefdoms and fight and oppress all those who oppose them. Not exactly the founding father types.

John T said...

The chances are pretty remote.
The governments of Africa are some of the most corrupt in the world. None would want to give up *any* of their power.
The tribes in those countries hold great animosity towards each other. It's hard to keep a country together, much less a unity of nations.
Source(s):
Professional Experience in Africa.

John Kuntz said...

Until they can stop being so tribal and unite under a truly organized and civilied government. So yeah it won't happen

wild-man of Borneo said...

Without our creator the shepherd in ruling and leading in guiding them?
But with the dead Mummy with two hands stretching out creaking and rattling with skeleton of skull and bones blindly searching the way back to the graveyards in bringing them along too risen from the graveyards of failures and horrors of the past ancestor's custom.
What do you think?
Source(s):
decoded from the missing x-files.

mongolo said...

wow, i like the kind of work that you have put in this article. Keep up branded, its very informative.