Diaspora Needs Voice in Africa Government
The Statesman - The African diaspora needs a voice in the African Union and any future African unity government to reflect the influence it exercises across the world on the continent’s behalf, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson said.
But while he supported a push for greater African integration, Jackson said issues like the conflict in Sudan"s western Darfur region and the crisis in Zimbabwe must be tackled if unity was to carry moral authority.
“The crisis in Darfur and Zimbabwe must be on the agenda,” Jackson told Reuters on the sidelines of an African Union summit in Ghana, which is debating a possible United States of Africa.
“Its moral authority would be determined by its ability to resolve conflicts, in Somalia, Darfur or Zimbabwe, they must in a meaningful way use their strength to fight for democratic principles, human rights.”
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and a small group of allies want a federal government in Africa now, but most of the leaders at the summit believe integration must happen gradually.
“They talk of the United States of Africa, it is inevitable, it is a question of time,” Jackson told Reuters on Sunday night.
“They need a common currency ultimately. Africa as a continent cannot be in the global family of currencies unless they make a move that bold. It is moving in that direction.”
The strong influence of the African diaspora around the world, lobbying their governments for fairer trade and more aid, gave it the right to a voice within the African Union and a future federal government, Jackson said.
The AU has recognized the importance of the diaspora, he added.
“The Africans come to America and seek aid, they go to the (Congressional) Black Caucus for support, they know that we in the diaspora are of value to Africa.
“It is a power that cannot be ignored ... we need to find a way to talk about the relationship that is mutually beneficial.”
The U.S. civil rights leader said Washington had made a mistake by reducing its influence in Africa at the same time as China stepped up its presence, sourcing raw materials on the continent and investing in infrastructure.
“While we are pushing off, China is about to build this huge structure for the African Union,” Jackson said in reference to Chinese construction of a new headquarters for the bloc in Addis Ababa.
“While we are pushing back, China sees this raw material base,” Jackson said.
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