Someone killed Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. It might have been the National Transitional Council of Libya or a French spy but someone did it. Whoever killed the Colonel also killed off the prospects of a United States of Africa and its gold backed Afro–currency. Yes, it sounds interestingly similar to the Star Trek ideas of a unified Africa and who knows, maybe the good colonel was inspired by the film or maybe he was just a step ahead in the evolutionary curve. Gaddafi was a known advocate of one unified African country with one leader and no prizes for guessing who that would be. It would be him, the one true King of Kings; a title he manipulated gullible traditional leaders to accord him. Interestingly, after his death, President Robert Mugabe showed interest in the idea. Who better to lead the United States of Africa than a man with thirty-six years’ experience in African politics? Do not answer that.
Colonel Gaddafi pushed for the creation of the United States of Africa at the 2000 African Union Summit in Lome, Togo. He went on to provide financial incentives to encourage agreement with his ideas. In another world this would be bribery but in Gaddafi’s world, it was flawless politicking. The Wall Street Journal reports that the strongman at one point bankrolled African Union expenses by providing at least 15% of the African Union membership fees and helping nations in arrears like Malawi clear their balances. He then presented the USA idea in June 2007 in Conakry, Guinea and then again in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2009. It did sound like a power-hungry man’s plot to take over the world. If he had had the signature villainous laugh, it would have been clear that he was indeed the reincarnation of every glorified childhood cartoon villain anyone ever knew. His idea though grand and impressive on paper was a proposal to take 54 egos and make them pledge allegiance to one leader; himself! A little far-fetched one would think.
It is however true that the current hastily drawn state boundaries are a Western caricature of sorts. They are a disturbingly sharp echo of the Berlin conference and how men from without decided the fate of Africa’s within. It was an arbitrary process meant to save face and pretend an almost inevitable war at the time. These men ended up drawing boundaries on geographic lines yet Africa was based on ethnicity and tribe which blurred boundaries. Gaddafi’s idea was therefore a corrective measure which did not pretend to solve the complexities of African society. The Colonel was therefore very much in the right and to make certain he was going to be successful, he approached traditional leaders because these are in actual facts the true leaders of Africa. Modern day political leaders are again a shadow of Western civilization forced on Africa to strip tradition of its powers. Obviously people may roll their eyes at this seemingly idealistic and slightly quixotic idea but it is the truth. Gaddafi sought to bring back Africa to its state of nature where he would be royalty. The last bit did not get him any new friends and made his plans a toll order.
More so, the Colonel had suggested that the continent have one currency, the Afro.Clearly, a United States of Africa would do away with boarders between territories and enhance trade and travel. It has been estimated that intra-African trade hovers around the 12% range compared to Europe’s 60% and North America’s 40%. One Africa would take away the unnecessary boundaries that prevent free trade and impose unnecessary tariffs and punishment on trade. More so, the Colonel had suggested that the continent have one currency, the Afro. This would again do wonders for internal trade and create one robust economy. Some conspiracy theorists claim this is why he was killed. He wanted to create an economy that would challenge Western dominance. Now that he is gone, the world may never know. For now, everyone has to be content with regional trading blocs which have increasingly become a force in African economics and internal trade. In fact, Gaddafi’s idea of a single currency was approved in 1991 marking 2028 as the year by which this currency which Gaddafi hoped would be called the Afro would have been brought into circulation in the continent. Already, eight countries in West Africa maintain a single currency and six more in Central Africa are doing the same. The philosophy bankrolling these moves is that Africa can only be recognized as a force if and only if it stands up as a synergy in one accord to do away with the imperial powers’ divide and conquer strategies.
Though Colonel Gaddafi was buried together with Africa’s best chance of the United States, the dream has not entirely died off. It was not a Gaddafi original creation anyway since Bob Marley had sung about it and Marcus Mosiah Garvey had penned catchy poetry way before Gaddafi started advocating for it. It is a known fact that Gaddafi had tried to form some sort of coalition for the Arab nations and when this failed, he turned to Africa (maybe inspired by Garvey?) which resulted in his domestically unpopular “Africanization of Libya”. Maybe this was just a man trying to push his ends and achieve supremacy. President Zuma, in a speech soon after Gaddafi’s death said he was happy no one would intimidate other AU members in the manner Gaddafi didPresident Zuma, in a speech soon after Gaddafi’s death said he was happy no one would intimidate other AU members in the manner Gaddafi did. However, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has been heard to have accused the AU of an underwhelming discharge of its duties. He then suggested that a US of Africa would be better equipped to do away with the challenges the continent has been confronted with in the past few decades. Maybe the Gaddafi dream will come alive….maybe not but it is clear that unity has become an essential ingredient for African progress. It is no longer a matter of conviction and feeling but a necessity if the continent is to develop.