As we speak, there is no Italian bank in sub-Saharan Africa with a strategy of opening up to markets of Africa, she told a gathering in Rome, the Italian capital. The occasion was to mark the city of Rome’s version of African Union Day. Under the theme, OAU/AU @50 in Rome, it was attended by Mr Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy; Hon. Emma Bonino, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs; the African Diplomatic Corps in Italy and ministers of state including Hon. Cecile Kyenge, Minister of Integration and first minister in Italy of African origin.
According to Ms Nkrumah, “In Ghana, for example, in the last three years, the economy grew by an average of eight per cent. The USA, UK, China and Turkey have doubled their investments in Ghana.
I have no doubt it is the same for many other African countries. I am using this occasion to urge Italian Industrialists and bankers to be courageous and innovative.Show the same courage of your visionary industrialist, Enrico Mattei, who in the 60s helped us build our infrastructure and gave opportunities to so many ordinary men and women who started a new history of development, co-operation and self-reliance. We want to see in Africa many more men and women such as Enrico Mattei”.
These were contained in a statement issued in Accra yesterday and signed by Nii Armah Akomfrah, CPP Director of Communication.
According to the statement, Samia Yaba Nkrumah was in Addis Ababa to mark the historic 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU, then moved on to Italy where the city of Rome also marked the anniversary with its own event.
The CPP chair and leader, in her address, expressed deep gratitude and thanked President Napolitano for his visit to Ghana in 2007, his first official trip a few weeks after his election as President.
She also thanked Foreign Minister Emma Bonino who she called an activist and an Italian Rosa Parks.
“For years, Emma has sought to make the West and Africans alike understand that there is no Africa tomorrow without human rights for her women today,” she said.
She reminded her audience that 50 years ago, independent African countries came together to consolidate their newly won freedom by committing themselves to think together, work together and organise African economies as one unit.
The CPP leader noted that “Our colonisation came with our division, so it is only logical that our freedom comes with our unification”.
Ms Nkrumah told the gathering that the journey towards continental integration had not been smooth, saying “That there have been some achievements along the way such as de-colonisation and ending settler regimes and apartheid, but that there has also been some rough patches as well.”
She said “We hesitated between regionalism and continental planning. We argued over the fast-track or gradualist approach to integration: A United States of Africa including political and continental planning as a necessary basis for economic and social integration, or economic associations anchored on a gradualist approach to integration”
She added that notwithstanding the setbacks, Africa had managed to generate some excellent proposals – “the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action, with its vision of an integrated African Market by 2000 (sadly we never got there), the Abuja Treaty which envisaged an African Economic Community by 2028 (too far away) and the establishment of an African Economic and Monetary Union by 2023 to 2028 and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. We have also recognised the African Diaspora as the sixth region of the continent but we are hoping to make this relationship legally binding by a constitutive act. We want to see every single African outside the continent as part of the economic and social transformation of our continent”.
The CPP chair went on to say that “notwithstanding the rebranding of our continental body in 2002 into the African Union (AU) of today, if we want to be honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that efforts at regional integration have not yet borne satisfactory results”.
“Today, I am revisiting our original vision for African Unity, that vision of an integrated continental planning that transcends the limitations of tinkering "with inter-territorial associations within customs union, trade agreements, inter-communications services and the like", quoting her father thus - "for such tinkering does not create the decisive conditions for resolute development, since it ignores the crucial requirement of continental integration as the essential prerequisite for the most bountiful economic progress, which must be based in the widest possible extension of land and population".
Samia Nkrumah continued by saying “Imagine an Africa in which our leaders are prepared to seriously consider ceding some powers to a supra-national body showing real commitment to the development, well-being and prosperity of our citizens.
Imagine an Africa, confident and assertive; a continent free from food insecurity, rather than one that imports one-third of its grain. We want an Africa that is making use of the economies of scale, with bigger markets more attractive to investors both local and international; a continent whose people have high purchasing power to strengthen local economies and absorb the manufactured goods of other continents. Developed countries should have a vested interest in Africa's prosperity and the well-being of Africa because only with bigger markets and wealthier people can Africa absorb your goods. Only then will our continent bring opportunities for Europe in times of crisis.
“Once the average citizen of Africa can enjoy the freedom that comes with prosperity such as access to quality education, basic healthcare, potable water, adequate sanitation, confidence in our rich cultural heritage, then we will be able to strengthen our institutions such as Parliament, anti-corruption institutions and the like that deal with governance, citizens’ rights and public welfare. We will be better to fight corruption and consolidate our democracy and realise social transformation.
“Our prosperity is in unity and control of our resources for the benefit of our citizens. We do not want the billions we receive from the West through aid to be wasted through weak institutions but we want them to benefit the millions of young Africans who want, and have every right to achieve something of significance.
“I can assure you that the average African, who is by the way a young person, is suffering from this unequal relationship with other continents. The average African pays the price when we produce only basic raw materials. In the 60s, a ton of cocoa could purchase a small car. Today you need at least 10 tons of cocoa to get the same car. We must add value to what we produce so we can earn more and translate that greater revenue into the well-being for our citizens”.