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Integration is the key

Nov 1, 2013, 10:03 AM

We sincerely agree with the caution made by Donald Kaberuka, the president of the African Development Bank, that Africa’s recent economic gains will only be sustained by fast tracking and deepening regional integration across the continent.

We do so because we fervently believe that Africa needs integration now more than ever before, if we are to realise economic independence among the comity of nations.

It is evident that, for far too long, this continent of ours has been plagued by wars and conflicts, coupled with the spate of poverty, diseases and underdevelopment.

In making a comparison of the continent with other parts of the world, one would not lose sight of the fact that Africa, in terms of natural resources, is substantially rich.

Perhaps what is lacking is the knowhow to exploit those resources for the betterment of our people.

In the words of Kaberuka, the continent’s structural transformation cannot take place without investment in infrastructure and regional integration.

“Whoever believes that Africa is rising can find plenty of evidence, but we Africans should not make the mistake of confusing a turning point with a tipping point.

“We have come to a turning point, we are not at a tipping point,” Kaberuka cautioned.

He was speaking this week at the opening ceremony of this year’s African Economic Conference (AEC) in Johannesburg under the theme: “Regional Integration in Africa.”

Many a time, people ask whether the 54 countries in Africa are ready to compete with the likes of China, America, Europe or the Indians.

The answer is quite evident: unless and until we Africans discard regionalism, and focus on uniting the continent we will not make headway.

Several overlapping regional groupings throughout the continent are trying to knit their economies closer together, but the pace and extent of integration is slower than our hopes.

Moreover, we as Africans must get rid of corruption and all scourges be-devilling the continent, and come together for the betterment of our dear people.

“Marches alone won’t bring integration when human respect is disintegrating”

Barry McGuire