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Pan-African challenges and opportunities!

Dr. Elshafie Khidir Saeid

Five centuries ago, the Western colonization began the exploitation of Africa with human attrition in terms of the mass human slavery. This was closely followed by the wealth drainage, i.e. the theft of the natural resources of the richest continent in the world. Later on, and for more than half a century, with neocolonialism and globalization assuming different forms during Africa’s post-independence period, Africa has been suffering a new form of attrition, the brain or intellectual drain which is depleting the continent from its best competent human capital. This human capital drain is involving Africa’s best  and most educated or talented human resources in fields such as medical sciences, electronics, engineering, arts, management, research, and literature; leaving behind a poor situation where institutionalized and sustainable development, as well as key areas of innovation, are almost impossible to compensate.  The continent’s ability to recover its control over its own resources and destiny is constantly undermined by this loss of human capital as well as its weak state institutional frameworks and governance capacity. Thus, the exploitative trade and investment relations maintained by neocolonial forces continue plundering Africa’s natural resources. As a result of that colonialism and neocolonialism in Africa under dependency regimes of tyranny, and as a consequence of the failure of the nation-building processes and the stumbling of the renaissance project, the continent today is suffering from the ethnic bloody conflicts, civil wars, political oppression, increasing poverty, hunger, diseases, corruption and other developmental challenges
         Now, as we are witnessing the 65th anniversary of independence from colonial rule of majority of African states, painful questions loom.  In brief, the hopes and dreams of the African peoples promised emancipation from exploitation & underdevelopment in at the height of the Pan-Africanist promise have been shortchanged. The post-independence history of Africa is a dreary tale of tragic developments in the continent, mainly in eastern and central African, i.e. the post-independence civil war in South Sudan; the continuing civil war in Sudan; the tragic conflicts in the Central African Republic and the DRC, the chronic violence in Somalia that has now gripped coastal Kenya; & recently the eruption of fighting in Ethiopia, etc.Rich and powerful Europe fathomed the obvious fact that a pan-European project was essential for its sustained peace and prosperity. We must then ask, what stands between the beleaguered and economically ravaged African masses and a pan-African agenda of struggle for a popular African project of emancipation? To address this horizon, there is a need to shift the emphasis from the national and sub-national political contingencies and survivalist agenda to a wider vision that reclaims the pan-African scope of action where the contradictions of Africa’s post-independence course could arguably be addressed in earnest. I do believe that when direct political approaches fail to achieve its objectives & goals, why not trying the indirect ones, in terms of organizing a series of meetings, of the leading figures of academia, civil society, business, media, visionary politicians and futurists from the continent, from both the government & opposition sites but not attending as representative of either, to address the issues of economy, regional developmental integration, shared utilization of natural resources, globalization….etc.  
We draw inspiration in our endeavor from the memorable words of that great pan-Africanist Frantz Fanon writing on the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in July 1961. Fanon declared: “Africa’s first great crisis, for she will have to decide whether to go forward or backward. She must understand that it is no longer possible to advance by regions, that, like a great body that refuses any mutilation, she must advance in totality”.

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