African leaders don’t meet to deliberate as a ‘unit’ after gaining independence- Prof Kojo Yankah

The declaration of this year as “The Year of Return” by the president His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo has been an insightful decision that has brought some well-known celebrities to the country fostering unity and growth. Popular wrestler Kofi Kingston and football star Memphis Depay are few people who visited Ghana in the last 3 months as a sign of appreciating their roots.

HBCUs (Historically Black College Universities) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. During this period, segregation in the United States prior to the Civil Rights Act and the overwhelming majority of higher education institutions were predominantly whites. With the aim of establishing a close relationship with Africans on the continent and Africans in the Diaspora,the initiative to return home is a key factor to facilitate this journey. With the Ebola outbreak in some parts of Africa in 2014,the initiative to return was halted due to fear of being affected by the disease. Five(5) years on and Ghana has been the ideal location hosting the Homecoming initiative dubbed “HBCU Africa Homecoming” at Akosombo on 2nd August 2019.

The event saw dignitaries such as Dr.David Wilson(Prez. Morgan State Univ.), Dr. Samuel Donkor (Prez.All Nations Univ), Prof.Kojo Yankah(Founder, AUCC) etc. gracing the occasion with contributions aimed at projecting the brand Africa. On the Global Sustainability Panel, Prof.Yankah also the author of “From Jamestown to Jamestown” emphasized that Africans need to unite to become a force for the western world. He stated that it is the dream of some continents to separate Africa and deal with them in piecemeal. Our leaders have not been meeting to deliberate on issues that will unite us as a continent like how it was done before they gained independence. Through these meetings prior to the 1950s leaders were able to share ideas from which Dr. Kwame Nkrumah went on to use some for Ghana’s independence. “Why are our leaders not meeting again since 1945”? he quizzed. After the African countries gained independence, they have forgotten about the content and are hiding behind “Self-reliance”.

In brief,Pan-Africanist ideals emerged in the late nineteenth century in response to European colonization and exploitation of the African continent. Pan-Africanist philosophy held that slavery and colonialism depended on and encouraged negative, unfounded categorizations of the race, culture, and values of African people. These destructive beliefs in turn gave birth to intensified forms of racism, the likes of which Pan-Africanism sought to eliminate.

In 1897, Henry Sylvester-Williams, a West Indian Barrister , formed the African Association in London,England to encourage Pan-African unity, especially throughout the British colonies. Sylvester-Williams, who had links with West African dignitaries, believed that Africans and those of African descent living in the Diaspora needed a forum to address their common problems. In 1900, Sylvester-Williams organized the first Pan-African meeting in collaboration with several black leaders representing various countries of the African Diaspora. For the first time, opponents of colonialism and racism gathered for an international meeting. The conference, held in London, attracted global attention, placing the word “Pan-African” in the lexicon of international affairs and making it part of the standard vocabulary of black intellectuals.

The final declaration of the 1945 congress urged colonial and subject peoples of the world to unite and assert their rights to reject those seeking to control their destinies. But while the Pan-African congresses lacked financial and political power, they helped to increase international awareness of racism and colonialism and laid the foundation for the political independence of African nations. African leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya were among several attendees of congresses who subsequently led their countries to political independence. In May 1963, the influence of these men helped galvanize the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) , an association of independent African states and nationalist groups. But in recent time, these organizations have not been up to the task. The Late Kofi Annan played a major role with ECOWAS but unfortunately, we are still not seeing the effect of ECOWAS on Africa Unity for quiet some years now.


By: Harry Ahovi (Harry Graphicx)

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