Africans must give substance to Pan-Africanism – Lopes

Carlos Lopes - ECA Executive Secretary
Carlos Lopes – ECA Executive Secretary

Dr Carlos Lopes, United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has challenged Africans to give substance to the meaning of Pan-Africanism by ensuring solidarity for their self-reliance efforts.

He said it is critical that the visions of the advocate of Pan-Africanism be revisited and pursued to provide equal opportunities and global recognition for Africans to perform and compete favourably at the international scene.

“How can we justify the continued restrictions on the movement of our people and the goods they produce within the continent? Or the increasing levels of inequality and segregation within our countries

“Have we as yet solved the identity crisis between citizens and subjects? Or the political agency that democratisation brings? What about the dilemma of wars and insecurity based on lack of inclusiveness?

Dr Lopes was delivering a keynote address at the opening of a three-day International Conference on African Studies in Accra on Thursday, on the theme: “Re-visiting the First International Congress of Africanists in a Globalised World.”

He urged African intellectuals to examine and clearly understand what the African Movement entails.

He said advocates of Pan-Africanism envisaged the need for the union of all Africans around a unique and integrated struggle against all forms of discrimination, allowing the continent’s potential to independently provide for its people to be fulfilled.

He said it was believed that an all-African alliance would crucially empower African peoples globally and thus the realisation of the Pan-African objective would lead to “power consolidation in Africa,” which eventually would compel a reallocation of global resources, as well as unleashing a fiercer psychological energy and political assertion to unsettle social and political structures in the Americas.

Dr Lopes said a united Africa would have the economic, political and social clout to act and compete on the world stage as do other large entities.

He expressed the need for Africans to understand the details, both past and present intentions and values of Pan-Africanism.

According to him the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which seeks to bring about the structural transformation of the continent should be premised on controlling the narrative and creating the opportunities for Africans to industrialise, control their natural resources with value addition and creating jobs that are required by the youngest workforce in the world.

“We cannot hide behind simplicity, and be content to proclaim an African Renaissance as a new wave of Pan-Africanism. We have to give it content,” he said.

Rather, Africans must show greater commitment to the practice of revolutionary democracy in every aspect of their lives, with individuals having the courage of exacting from others proper respect for their work and respecting the works of others.

Dr Lopes said path to  Pan-Africanism had  been injurious with many sacrifices by advocates such Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, W.E. B Du Bois and others in the Diaspora to whom Africans must feel highly indebted to.

It has been an enduring ideal in the continent with the degrees of engagements ebbing and flowing over the years, thus “we are certainly in a period of revival of Pan-Africanists spirit, as shown by the fact that the theme of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the African Union has been dedicated to Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance”, he said.

The conference which was part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies and attracted people from the academia, Africans in the Diaspora, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Professor Ngugi Wa Th’ongo, a prolific Kenyan writer and academician.

The celebration, which also coincides with the 65th Anniversary of the University of Ghana, would among other activities, hold lectures on African Culture and its relevance in the socio-economic development of Ghana and the African continent as a whole and mount an exhibition on African fashion, a session for students of senior high schools on African Heritage and Renaissance and the formation of an Association of African Studies.

There were also solidarity messages from the African Union Commission, Association of African Universities and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.

Source: GNA

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