Pan-Africanism is a movement that focuses to motivate and strengthen bonds of solidarity
between all native and diaspora ethnic groups of African descent. Pan-Africanism can also be
defined as the idea that peoples of African descent have common interests and should be
unified. Historically, Pan-Africanism has often taken the shape of a political or cultural
movement. There are many varieties of Pan-Africanism. In its narrowest political
interpretation, Pan-Africanists imagine a unified African nation or state where all people of
the African diaspora can live.
On the ideology of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who believed that European
imperalist rule of Africa could be quenched if Africans could unite politically and
economically. Nkrumah went on to lead the movement for independence in Ghana, which
came to reality in 1957. Amongst the numerous things which make Nkrumah stand out as an
unprecedented personality was his realization that Africans everywhere needed to unite in
common effort to venture their dignity and exploit their resources for meeting their needs and
acquire their aspirations. His concepts for the unity of all Africans have come to be popularly
known as Pan-Africanism.
Nkrumah stated at the 5th Pan African congress hosted in Manchester that: “We believe in the
rights of all peoples to govern themselves. We affirm the rights of all colonial peoples to
control their destiny. All colonies must be free from foreign imperialist control, whether
political or economic. The peoples of the colonies must have the right to elect their
government; a government without restrictions from a foreign power. We say to the peoples
of the colonies that they must strive for these goals by all means at their disposal. The object
of imperialist powers is to exploit. By granting the right to the colonial peoples to govern
themselves, they are defeating that objective. Therefore, the struggle for political power by
the colonial and subject peoples is a first step towards, and the necessary pre-requisite to
complete social, economic and political emancipation”.
He worked tirelessly to the formation of the Organisation of African Union abbreviated the
OAU. The drivers of the unity of Africa were; anti-racism, political Independence, economic
independence and the overall security of the African people.
Establishing the Map according to Nkrumah’s vision of Unity with Political, Social and
Economic Emancipation.
One of the reasons for the formation of the OAU was the African free trade which has been
one of the relevant factors when considering OAU. Nkrumah said “We need it to secure total
African liberation. We need it to carry forward our construction of a socio-economic system
that will support the great mass of our steadily rising population at levels of life which will
compare with those in the most advanced countries”. A meeting was hosted in November
1959 a Accra, Ghana. It was well attended by representatives of trade unions all over Africa.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the USA were united which made them
a strong force when it came to the economic freedom and wealth. Currently, the EU trade free
among themselves without borders allowing workforce and resources travel across Europe
which encourages industrialization rather than the exportation of their raw materials. In
Africa, many countries export raw materials for a few dollars which is industrialized in the
west and imported again in Africa with higher price margins. Recently, The African
Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have been implemented seeing the economic
dependence of Africa which was the vision of Nkrumah. With this free trade Agreement,
Africa would be inclined to organise the workforce across the continent without restrictions
to industrialize their natural resources and extinguish foreign help. The combination of the
workforce of Africa will enable joint innovation which will instigate the production of goods
and service Africans will need for their survival. Innovation in the sectors of technology,
education, governance and inventions according to the cultures of the African people. Then
and only then Africa can be economically independent.
Another reason for the united African front was to fight for the civil right of Africans
wherever we are. Nkrumah kept his contacts with Africans all over the world. He voiced out
for the civil rights course in the USA and met with Malcolm X on several occasions.
Malcolm was even invited to visit Ghana and to hold serious heart-to-heart conversations
with the Ghanaian authorities on the connections that existed between the struggle of BlackAmericans and socio-economic developments on the African continent. Nkrumah was also a
powerful inspiration for the Black Panther movement. Africans all over the world in their
numbers could eliminate racial abuse when they stand together such as recently the murder of
an African-American has raised eyebrows in many countries where demonstration are ongoing against racism.
In some African countries such as the francophone countries have not yet gained full political
freedom from their colonies. Their imperialist are still having a say in their selection of
leaders which contribute to conflicts among countrymen stunting the growth of most
francophone countries in Africa. Before a country could develop, citizens should be free to
choose their leaders without foreign intervention hence its leaders would implement decisions
in favour of their people.
To conclude, the most important freedom Africa should achieve is economic freedom
because it paves a way for Africans to stop migrating from their homeland to another for
greener pastures. Africans should fight for industrialization and be dependent on their
budgeted income rather than financing from IMF which is dominated by western funds with
large interest rates or foreign nations for help. Professions such as scientists, physicist and
other occupations not based in Africa will setup when Africa achieve economic freedom. It
will also initiate the respect of the African people because they would not have to depend on
the west for everything as they do now. Nkrumah argued that the imperialist could come back
in a disguised form, indeed they returned as investors, contractors, creditors. African must
unite to jointly become economically independent.
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URL:https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pan-Africanism. Access Date: June 08, 2020. Date
Published: April 29, 2016.
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https://www.modernghana.com/news/236966/nkrumah-and-pan-africanism.html. Access
date: June 08, 2020. Date Published: September 8, 2009