United States of Africa
The United States of Africa is a proposed concept for a federation of some or all of the 55 sovereign states on the African continent. The concept takes its origin from Marcus Garvey's 1924 poem, Hail, United States of Africa..
Former Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was the 2009 Chairperson of the African Union (AU), advanced the idea of a United States of Africa at two regional African summits: first in June 2007 in Conakry, Guinea, and again in February 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Gaddafi had previously pushed for its creation at a 2000 summit in Lomé, Togo, having described the AU as a failure on a number of occasions; Gaddafi asserted that only a true pan-African state can provide stability and wealth to Africa.
The idea of a multinational unifying African state has been compared to various medieval African empires, including the Ethiopian Empire, the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Benin Empire, the Kanem Empire, and other historic nation states. During the late 19th and early 20th century the majority of African land was controlled by various European empires, with the British controlling around 30% of the African population at its peak.
The term "United States of Africa" was mentioned first by Marcus Garvey in his poem Hail, United States of Africa in 1924. Kidane's ideas and formation systems deeply influenced former Africa leaders and the rebirth of the African Union, the precursor of the United Africa States and Islands.
In February 2009, upon being elected chairman of the 53-nation African Union in Ethiopia, Gaddafi told the assembled African leaders: "I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa." The BBC reported that Gaddafi had proposed "a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent". Other African leaders stated they would study the proposal's implications, and re-discuss it in May 2009.
The focus for developing the United States of Africa so far has been on building subdivisions of Africa - the proposed East African Federation can be seen as an example of this. Former President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, had indicated that the United States of Africa could exist from as early as 2017. The African Union, by contrast, has set itself the task of building a "united and integrated" Africa by 2025. Gaddafi had also indicated that the proposed federation may extend as far west as the Caribbean: Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and other islands featuring a large African diaspora, may be invited to join.
Gaddafi also received criticism for his involvement in the movement, and lack of support for the idea from among other African leaders. A week before Gaddafi's death during the Libyan Civil War, South African President Jacob Zuma expressed relief at the regime's downfall, complaining that Gaddafi had been "intimidating" many African heads of state and government in an effort to gain influence throughout the continent and suggesting that the African Union will function better without Gaddafi and his repeated proposals for a unitary African government.
After the death of Gaddafi
African integration generally has had a higher level of support among poorer, less developed, and smaller African countries versus richer, more developed, and larger African countries.
The nations of Eritrea, Ghana, Senegal, and Zimbabwe, have supported an African federation. Others such as South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria have been more skeptic, feeling that the continent is not ready for integration. North African countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, and post-revolution Libya who have traditionally identified more with rival ideologies like Arab nationalism, Berberism and Islamism have shown less interest in the idea.
Support appears to be inversely proportional to a nation's power and influence. Doubts have been raised about whether the goal of a unified Africa can ever be achieved while ongoing problems of conflict and poverty persist throughout the continent.
The West African island nation of Cape Verde was formerly in favour of an African federation, however as of 2014, it has been lessening its African integration. It is now focusing on European integration, as the other three island groups in the Macaronesian region between Europe and Africa are part of the European Union (Azores, Madeira, and Canary Islands). Furthermore, the majority of the people of Cape Verde do not consider themselves African, and have many cultural and genetic links to Portugal and the rest of Europe.
In addition, Cape Verde had been part of Portugal for over five centuries before gaining independence in 1975, and more than 70 percent of its population are of mixed descent (African and European). Also, the vast majority of economic investment, aid, and tourism comes from Europe. The people of Cape Verde speak Cape Verdean Creole and Portuguese, which is a European language. The leaders of Cape Verde have proposed withdrawing from ECOWAS, a West African integration organization.
The proposed federation would have the largest total territory of any state, exceeding the Russian Federation. It would also be the third most populous state after China and India, and with a population speaking an estimated 2,000 languages.
The 2006 French-Beninese film Africa Paradis is set in the United States of Africa in the year 2033.
The 90's cartoon Bots Master has a United States of Africa, and its President is one of the few people who believes that Ziv "ZZ" Zulander is not a terrorist.
- African Union
- Arab Union
- Demographics of Africa
- Federal Europe
- Pan-African Parliament
- United States of Latin Africa
- Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League
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