Britain’s decision to exit the EU has triggered a huge debate on regional integration. Should a country be responsible for its welfare and negotiations? Or resort to negotiating by bloc?
In Ghana, the focus of the debate has been on the implications of Britain’s exit on Ghana. Few have questioned our continuous membership of the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). So I ask the question; should Ghana exit the African Union? Before you attempt an answer, consider these questions.
- What has been the relevance of the African Union since its formation?
- How has the African Union been able to promote the prosperity of Africans?
- How has the African Union solved the trade and industry gap facing Africans?
- Has the African Union ever been a united force promoting the welfare of Africans?
So let us begin the analyses. I have been struggling to pinpoint how the African Union has contributed effectively towards the well-being of the African. It is as though the AU is a group of heads of state meeting biannually to discuss a theme chosen for the year and that ends it.
Unlike the EU where you can clearly see integration, the same cannot be said for the African Union. Recently during the World Trade Organization elections, African could not present one candidate for the election. I remember that even though the AU endorsed Alan Kyerematen, another African contested the Director-General position. Is this what you call a united front?
Has the AU been able to liberalize trade within the region? The answer is no. There are barriers everywhere. There is no free movement within the African Continent and yet every year our leaders purport to be taking decisions that would enhance the livelihood of the suffering African masses.
Sadly however, we have instituted an AU Day in Ghana, which is a holiday. That has actually contributed to the unproductivity in this Country. How do you institute a holiday for an institution, which does not contribute so much to your development?
I know there are many of you who will disagree with me citing how Africa has to be united and how that is the only way we can stand up to the Western Powers. But ask yourself for how long are we going to continue talking about this unrealistic unity which has eluded us for 50 years.
It is better to know you are in charge of your own destiny than to rely on a group of people who pretend to care when they do not care.
I believe it is time that Ghana exits the African Union and focus on its membership of the Economic Community of West African States. If for nothing at all, the ECOWAS has shown that it stands for the economic development of West African states. Yes there are challenges but at least you see efforts being put in place to ensure that these challenges are addressed. Can the same be said about the AU? Certainly not. The time has come for us to take a second look at the AU. We don’t need to be part of the AU.
By Winston Amoah
The writer is the host of 3FM‘s Sunrise, which airs 5:30am – 10:00am from Monday to Friday