The African Union marks its 50th anniversary at a time when Africa-optimism is high. Sub-Saharan Africa's economic growth is bound to accelerate to more than 5 percent over the next three years, far outpacing the global average, according to the World Bank’s Africa’s Pulse, a twice-yearly analysis of issues shaping Africa’s economic future.
The world over, the perception about the continent has changed from the proverbial gloom to a story of growth, progress, potential and profitability. The continent’s population is also gradually thinking continental, thanks to the African Union’s encouragement of regional economic communities. The current growth however remains unevenly spread and has not yet translated to a rise in living standards comparable to those observed in other rapidly developing regions. While the Union has set milestones around human development, infrastructure, agriculture, women’s empowerment, health, industrialization, political unity and integration, it needs to translate them to action. The Union will not do this unless it quits the dependency syndrome which sees over 97% of its programs funded by external donors.
Africa’s unity is in the best interest of the continent and globe. EU, China, USA, India, Brazil and Russia for example, are keen on an integrated African market. The African Union has an onerous task to rally both the African citizenry and governments to sustain the growth momentum and make it coordinated, inclusive, sustainable and able to rapidly improve living standards for all Africans. Africa’s growth should not leave Africans behind!