Colonialism sliced Africa up into bits and pieces. When it ended following the Second World War, the new leaders of Africa fought to institute political unity for the sake of both social and economic development.
This demonstrated to be an exceptionally challenging effort and some 20 years later at a 1963 African leaders’ summit, the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah declared that if unity was not achieved soon, the result would be even more division and conflict for the African people.
The African continent is still separated by borders of colonial making. While it is a commonly held belief that political unity would strengthen Africa and many great people have called for it, at this point in time it merely is not a reality.
There are many intimidating difficulties in place that prevent the confederation of the African continent. The old and often irrational borders cause major problems for people. For example, trade across borders can be economically catastrophic. Women who wish to engage in activities as harmless as trading goods across borders face losing a significant amount of their goods to border officials. The presence of rape is always present.
For years African leaders have toyed with the idea of free movement by citizens across the continent, even raising the possibility of a single African passport. Now some African countries are taking bold steps to encourage borderless travel that could spur trade and economic growth on a continent in desperate need of both.
Trade among African countries is at just 16%, while trade among EU states is at 70%. Some African countries are going visa-free by region first. The Central African Economic and Monetary Community removed visa requirements for citizens of its six members.
Even the AU passport, launched in July 2016 and given to some heads of state, is yet to be offered to citizens. However, many are hopeful for a borderless Africa and urge their leaders to speed free travel and free trade.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro