Continental Government for Africa: by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (1st President of Ghana)

We have seen, in the example of the United States how the dynamic elements within society understood the need for unity and fought their bitter civil war to maintain the political union that was threatened by the reactionary forces. We have also seen, in the example of the Soviet Union, how the forging of continental unity along with the retention of national sovereignty by the federal states, has achieved a dynamism that has lifted a most backward society into a most powerful unit within a remarkably short space of time. From the examples before us, in Europe and the United States of America, it is therefore patent that we in Africa have the resources, present and potential, for creating the kind of society that we are anxious to build. It is calculated that by the end of this century the population of Africa will probably exceed five hundred millions.

Our continent gives us the second largest land stretch in the world. The natural wealth of Africa is estimated to be greater than that of almost any other continent in the world. To draw the most from our existing and potential means for the achievement of abundance and a fine social order, we need to unify our efforts, our resources, our skills and intentions. . .

At present most of the independent African states are moving in directions which expose us to the dangers of imperialism and neocolonialism. We therefore need a common political basis for the integration of our policies in economic planning, defense, foreign and diplomatic relations. That basis for political action need not infringe the essential sovereignty of the separate African states. These states would continue to exercise independent authority, except in the fields defined and reserved for common action in the interests of the security and orderly development of the whole continent.

In my view, therefore, a united Africa – that is, the political and economic unification of the African Continent – should seek three objectives.

Firstly, we should have an over-all economic planning on a continental basis. This would increase the industrial and economic power of Africa. So long as we remain balkanized, regionally or territorially, we shall be at the mercy of colonialism and imperialism. The lesson of the South American Republics vis-à-vis the strength and solidarity of the United States of America is there for all to see. . .

Secondly, we should aim at the establishment of a unified military and defense strategy. I do not see much virtue or wisdom in our separate efforts to build up or maintain vast military forces for self-defense which, in any case, would be ineffective in any major attack upon our separate states. If we examine this problem realistically, we should be able to ask ourselves this pertinent question: which single state in Africa today can protect its sovereignty against an imperialist aggressor?

. . .The third objective which we should have in Africa stems from the first two which I have just described . . . a unified foreign policy and diplomacy to give political direction to our joint efforts for the protection and economic development of our continent . . . The desirability of a common foreign policy which will enable us to speak with one voice in the councils of the world, is so obvious, vital and imperative that comment is hardly necessary.

I am confident that it should be possible to devise a constitutional structure applicable to our special conditions in Africa and not necessarily framed in terms of the existing constitutions of Europe, America or elsewhere, which will enable us to secure the objectives I have defined and yet preserve to some extent the sovereignty of each state within a Union of African states.

We might erect for the time being a constitutional form that could start with those states willing to create a nucleus, and leave the door open for the attachment of others as they desire to join or reach the freedom which would allow them to do so. The form could be made amenable to adjustment and amendment at any time the consensus of opinion is for it. It may be that concrete expression can be given to our present ideas within a continental parliament that would provide a lower and an upper house, the one to permit the discussion of the many problems facing Africa by a representation based on population; the other, ensuring the equality of the associated states, regardless of size and population, by a similar, limited representation from each of them, to formulate a common policy in all matters affecting the security, defense and development of Africa. It might, through a committee selected for the purpose, examine likely solutions to the problems of union and draft a more conclusive form of constitution that will be acceptable to all the independent states.

The survival of free Africa, the extending independence of this continent, and the development towards that bright future on which our hopes and endeavors are pinned, depend upon political unity.

Under a major political union of Africa there could emerge a United Africa, great and powerful, in which the territorial boudoirs which are the relics of colonialism will become obsolete and superfluous, working for the complete and total mobilization of the economic planning organization under a unified political direction. The forces that unite us are far greater than the difficulties that divide us at present, and our goal must be the establishment of Africa’s dignity, progress and prosperity.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

11 thoughts on “Continental Government for Africa: by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (1st President of Ghana)”

  1. Africa, my Africa. Ghana my motherland. We hail and mourn for thee. Great minds, wasted lands, and your offspring like me have been gone for a very long time as a wanderer. I remember when Hail Selasie visited Ghana; I was then a kid and we welcome him on the streets of Accra…
    Thank God for such valiant people. We applaud your courage!
    Long live Africa, long live Ghana!

  2. As a native Black American, I’ve always wondered why the countries of Africa were not united as one nation. I’d love to see this because I believe that in the next 10-15 years or sooner, I am going to have to find another place to call home as America continues on her path of self destruction and isolation. I wish all the African leaders and people of Africa good luck in this endeavor. Long live the African Union!

    1. WE ARE EAGER TO SEE
      THE RED, BLACK AND GREEN
      FLAG OF AFRIKA.INDEED WE
      YEARN TO BE FREE
      UNTIL AFRIKA UNITES
      WE ARE NOT FREE UNDER
      THE SUN THAT SHINES SO BRIGHT
      EVERYDAY
      WE ARE HOPING TO SEE THE NEW
      FACE OF AFRIKA ONE OF THESE DAYS.

  3. It is unfortunate that today’s so-called leaders do not see the need to unite the Continent of Afrika in order to save it from being recolonised. Part of this situation is that perhaps the union idea is too elitist. The masses of Afrikan people should be involved in uniting the continent. If a referendum were to be held in a number of Afrikan countries today, more than majority of the ordinary people will vote for political union. IF AFRIKAN UNITY MUST COME UNDER A NEW ISM, LET IT BE SO. Afrika must unite!

  4. THE UNIFICATION OF AFRICA RELIES ON AFRICANS. AFRICANS MUST LIVE UP AND WISE UP IN THIS NEW ERA. I AS AN AFRICAN CHILD, AN UPCOMMING AFRICAN ARTIST OWES THAT OBLIGATION TO WORK TOWARD A UNIFIED AFRICAN REPUBLIC. ONE CONTINENT, ONE GOVERNMENT. A UNIFIED POLITICAL SYSTEM AND CONTINENTAL MILITARY STRATEGY WILL ONLY SAFE US FROM EXTERNAL AGGRESSION. THE POSSIBILITIES OF AFRICA UNITY IS STILL ALIVE MAKE NO MISTAKE. AFRICAN YOUTHS OF TODAY NEED THE EDUCATION. THEY NEED TO START LEARNING ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE MARCUS GARVEY, KUA

  5. WE ARE WHAT WE ARE
    WE ARE THE NATIVES
    OF THE STREETS FROM AFAR
    WE IN HOT SHOES OF POVERTY
    WE ARE YEARNING TO BE FREE
    WE ARE THE YOUTH
    WE ARE YEARNING TO BE FREE
    WE WANT TO SEE THE TRUE
    LIGHT OF OUR DEAR AFRICA.

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