The decisions on ‘global’ problems are still being made by an exclusive club of developed nations often serving their own interests. As the African Union strikes out for financial independence and self-determination, we asked:
Today’s important global issues, such as trade, climate change, terrorism and migration, impact Africans the most. Africa is undergoing transformation that is increasingly giving its people and leaders power, confidence and a voice. In the past countries were weak and open to arm-twisting and even blackmail because of political and economic fragmentation, corruption, and dependency on foreign financial support. To overcome this demands a unified voice on the issues and the muscle to back it. That’s what the African Union and its ongoing reforms provide: to make it more independent in funding its activities, to increase its domestic and global impact and to strengthen regional economic communities. The Continental Free Trade Area that will be signed in March 2018 in Kigali will reinforce regional economic communities such as the EAC, ECOWAS and SADC, provide a huge market to African goods, and give the continent a stronger hand in negotiating trade matters. Greater economic integration and opportunities within Africa should stem migration, which is linked to weak economies although it manifests as a security and humanitarian issue. To be heard you must be respected. Respect comes from doing right, being strong and possessing the ability to stand on your own. The good news is that this is already happening.
Joseph Rwagatare, Columnist, Rwanda