A United States of Africa: arguments for and against

March 22, 2021 1284 views 3 minutes reading time
A United States of Africa: arguments for and against

For a United States of Africa Against a United States of Africa 
1. Regional integration

Through regional integration, Africa stands to gain access to larger markets, thus presenting a huge opportunity for its producers and consumers. This would mean that the continent could expand its manufacturing capabilities and experience tremendous industrial growth. Another notable gain would be the reduced cost of developing critical infrastructure, such as transport and energy.

1. Poor infrastructure 

The African continent has an infrastructure deficit that needs to be addressed urgently. The lack of functional infrastructure hinders integration both economically and socially. Without proper infrastructure consumers cannot access goods and raw materials used for production fail to reach factories on time. Infrastructure ensures that there is connectivity not only within a country but also within the region.
2. More prosperity for African nations

African unity would mean a continent without trade or political barriers. It would also lead to the development of structures that ensure its systems are working for the people of Africa. Unity would significantly enhance regional integration, a key pillar of inter-Africa trade. The implementation of policies that advocate for inter-Africa trade, as well as a single currency and a common citizenship, would be achieved more quickly and their impact realised sooner.

2. Disparities in development

Countries in Africa that have already developed significantly and maintain higher Gross Domestic Products (GDPs), as well as better performing economies, have not embraced the idea of a United States of Africa. Unification would mean that the stronger markets would have to support countries that are less productive, thus creating a divide between rich and poor African countries. Such disparities over the development in the continent might hinder the United States of Africa. 
3. Liberation of the African economy

The over-reliance on debt by African countries could be reduced through the unity of African countries. Inter-Africa trade, which currently stands at about 12%, in combination with good governance and political stability has the potential to propel Africa to become the single largest trade market in the world. Strategies, such as job creation, could easily be enhanced by inter-Africa trade. More trade means more money for the continent and thus the liberation of the African economy. 

3. Language barrier 

There is a variety of languages spoken in Africa. It is approximated that there are over 3,000 languages spoken on the continent. From Anglophone, Francophone and Arabic nations, each with unique regional dialects, variations and influences, the selection of a single unifying language could prove challenging at best and contentious at worst. With such a diversity of speech, often inextricably tied to culture and identity, language is an undeniable barrier to continental unity.

Image by Embassy of Equatorial Guinea via Flickr