The saying that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is most commonly taken to mean that there is strength in numbers and people can exert far more influence when united and working together as a team.
That phrase, rather than flowery commitments to freedom and praise for past leaders, should be framed and hung upon the walls of any pan-African organisation.
That’s because, manifestly, this continent of ours, its leaders and its people (often following the message of their leaders) have failed to work in unison to become the global political, social and economic powerhouse that we deserve to be.
In the 60 and more years since the independence process began and Africa’s countries threw off the shackles of colonialism, unity has been an illusion and concerted effort to improve the lives of ordinary people has, by and large, been an abject failure.
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Take the painful example of the South African Development Community (SADC).
This organisation first saw the light of day as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference in 1980, with the stated aim of reducing economic dependence on the then apartheid-ruled South Africa.
When Nelson Mandela was free a decade later, dependence on South Africa for the Frontline States had actually increased markedly.
The latest African economic kite-flying is talk about reviving the African Continental Free Trade Area which has been going the way of other African attempts to build economic and trade power.
President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the Intra-African Trade Fair in Durban this week about the potential financial muscle of Africa: a market of 55 countries and 1.3 billion people.
Working together, such a bloc could change global dynamics.
Yet, Botswana and Zimbabwe are imposing business ownership restrictions on foreigners and border bureaucracy across the continent is frightening.
We’re all still pulling in different directions.