Monday, February 11, 2013

The true size of Africa

The debate is over. Africa is not a country. It is 56 countries which collectively constitute a continent. An enormous continent. An enormously rich continent, populated by far more than a Billion people. But the management of its vast resources, and the fine-tuning of its 56 economies, constitutes a very complicated, tricky puzzle(s), effective and just solutions of which should be our great and sincere hope. May the solutions be by and for Africans.

Westerners seldom comprehend the vastness or the diversity of Africa. My father, among the brightest people I know, recently expressed his concern for me because some doctors were killed in Nigeria, which is like an African father being concerned about his son living in California because he read that someone was killed in Guatemala. Have a look at what you can squeeze into the footprint of Africa: ALL of the United States, Europe (including U.K.), China, Japan, and India.

For more than 50 years there has been much interesting debate over "Pan Africanism," which has various definitions and forms. Perhaps (but not very likely) a unified country. Perhaps a Federation, "The United States of Africa." Whether Africa should be or could be or will be unified is a matter for Africans to decide and my opinion is not important. However, it is important to recognize that the countries of Africa, unified or not, are emerging powers determined to take their proper place in the global community.