We concur with President Jammeh that the sustainable development of the African continent lies in industrialisation, which would enable Africa to produce, distribute and exchange her resources for the benefit of her children. While the industrialisation of Africa is very important, we must stress that the continent cannot realise such a lofty objective unless its various states come together to build a strong economic base.
History already teaches that for centuries, Europeans dominated the African continent and arrogated to themselves the right to rule and to be obeyed by Africans. Under this cloak, the Europeans robbed the continent of vast riches and inflicted unimaginable suffering on the African people.
It is clear therefore that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in a united Africa with a strong competitive and productive economy. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.
Although most Africans are poor, our continent is potentially extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown anywhere. Our cash crops include groundnut, cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton.
As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed. This is one of the reasons why we have in Africa the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, and scarcity in the midst of abundance.
Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth. Individually, the independent states of Africa, some of them potentially rich, others poor, can do little for their people. Together, by mutual help, they can achieve much. But the economic development of the continent must be planned and pursued as a whole.
A loose confederation designed only for economic co-operation would not provide the necessary unity of purpose. Only a strong political union can bring about full and effective development of our natural resources for the benefit of our people.
Source: The Daily Observer