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“The Africa we dream of is not farfetched”
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“The Africa we dream of is not farfetched”

A united Africa is possible, writes Kiiza Saddam Hussein, 27, a Commonwealth Correspondent who lives in Uganda and Rwanda, who believes there are a few steps that Africa can take to unify the continent.

Can you imagine a united Africa? You may be thinking:” What is he talking about? We have the African Union (AU) where all African countries are united under one umbrella. But when I refer to a united Africa, I’m talking about an Africa with no internal borders,  an Africa with its own heritage language, an Africa that does not require African citizens to apply for visas to cross to the neighbouring countries, an Africa that young people would be proud of, where no one runs away from his/her black country for economic and political reasons.

The Africa I refer to is the same Africa Muammar Gaddafi had in mind, the same Africa Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, and Patrice Lumumba aspired to see. It is the same Africa Julius Nyerere advocated for, and is  similar to the Africa Robert Mugabe and President Paul Kagame advocate for: Gladly the Africa we dream of is not farfetched.

Late last year, we saw youth across Africa and beyond convene in Kigali, Rwanda to deliberate on how young people can transform Africa, while championing the empowerment of girls and women.

The vision ofYouth Connekt Africa summit is the tackling of African and global challenges such as youth unemployment and other cross sectional challenges and presents a paradigm shift in the way Africa interacts with young people, reshaping the continent, and  breaking the barriers as the youth find solutions to Africa’s dynamic challenges. Africa needs to learn how the continent can transform itself by removing all obstacles that impede progress.

Among the challenges to be tackled are Africa’s low intra continent trade, which is lower than the trade African countries conduct with the European Union.Africa is a continent where one country decides to boycott its neighbours high standard products in pursuit of China’s products that are sometimes substandard and expensive, not to mention the distance and cost of their importation. When will African countries learn how to be united and support each other for betterment of the continent and her people?

Africa has the potential to feed itself. It has enough agricultural produce and enough raw materials that can turn the wheels of factories using clean renewable energy. We also have the potential to be the next Silicon Valley where technology and innovation can create jobs for its world estimated largest young population by 2050.       

One wonders what Africa needs to do to be truly united. First, we have to get our political and democratic leadership right. They say politics determines everything. Shouldn’t we get rid of all the dictators who are plundering our countries for their personal enrichment to the detriment of our poor citizens. Shouldn’t we adopt one African language such as Swahili as a means of communication?  How about putting the  structures in place that would allow respect for human rights and economic development to flourish.

We should also make changes to Africa’s education system where it fails to nurture problem solvers and instead creates bystanders, if not contributors to the problems we face. Why not craft our education system so that it responds to the challenges the continent is facing.

We don’t have to walk this path of developing our continent alone, we can learn from those who have been where we are and have managed to transform their continents. Asia and Europe are great examples.     

Reach me on Twitter: @saddamhusseink

photo credit: Kiiza Saddam Hussin

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About me: I am a lawyer by profession, with an established career in human rights and climate change activism. Ultimately I believe in the values of democracy and rule of law.

I serve as  Program Manager at Uganda Youth Society for Human Rights Organization. Throughout my life I have advocated for girl child rights, youth rights, women’s rights and climate action. I aspire to become a leading figure on the international level and to lead others in addressing global challenges.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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