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I was torn between naming this article “The China Is Not To Blame” and “The Beautiful Ones Of Africa”. I decided to go with the latter because it portrays what we should stand for as a people as instead of pointing fingers at people which produces little results.

The aim of the African Union, formerly referred to as the Organization of African Unity, which was established in 1963,  according to Kwame Nkrumah was “to know ourselves and to encourage views on matters of common interest to explore ways and means of consolidating our hard-won independence to strengthen economic and cultural ties between our countries…”

The objectives of the African Union are to achieve greater solidarity between African countries and Africans, to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States and to accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent among others. What this means is that the African Union is supposed to be concerned about the welfare of its members and putting systems and structures in place which ensure that we are able to manage our own affairs.

I find it a bit ironic then, that in 2012, the Chinese government graciously gifted Africa with a constructed African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Why should the African Union (AU), an organization whose primary function is to advance the development of its continent and eventually reduce dependency on foreign bodies, have its headquarters built by the same organizations they are trying to wean themselves from?!!! Obviously, there is no such thing as a free lunch; hence, we do not expect the Chinese to gift us such a magnificent edifice with nothing in return.

According to an investigation published by French newspaper Le Monde, China also built the computer network at the A.U. and allegedly inserted a “backdoor” that allowed it to transfer data. The computer systems were fully equipped by the Chinese, allowing them to open an undocumented portal that gave Chinese administrators access to the A.U.’s computing system. The hack wasn’t detected until Jan. 2017 when technicians noticed that between midnight and 2 a.m. every night there was a peak in data usage even though the building was empty. After investigating, they discovered that the A.U.’s confidential data was being copied on to servers in Shanghai.

Of course, China’s Ambassador to the African Union denied the reports but the point I am trying to make is that we cannot afford to continually go to the West and other parts of the world “cup in hand” and expect that they will drip honey into our mouths.

After all the commotion that went on between the African Union and China over the “gift”, I thought we would do better and learn from our mistakes. However, our African leaders thought otherwise and rather decided that the new headquarters for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should be built by China….again!!!! A project expected to cost $31.6 million which will be provided by China as a grant. Only the gods can explain why China must “gift” the ECOWAS with another headquarters after all the hullabaloo that went on with the A.U.

As the youth of Africa, we must rise up and voice out our concerns on some of these issues. We cannot sit and watch our leaders destroy the foundation of what some of our forefathers shed their blood to achieve and protect. If our leaders cannot make decisions that ensure sustainability and promotes our welfare, then they should not destroy the little integrity that we have. We must rise up and change the narrative by challenging the status quo. We are the future of Africa!! How we treat it today will be how we treat it tomorrow!! Let us remember that the little ones are watching and the onus lies on us to leave a lasting legacy for posterity!!

I beg to differ with Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah who said some 50 years ago that The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born; that the political Messiah’s non-corrupt, selfless, competent, intelligent, compassionate and far-sighted leaders and citizens of Africa are not yet born. I believe we are in the generation of the beautiful ones!!! We must rise up and act as such!!

“I AM BEAUTIFUL AND I AM PROUDLY AFRICAN!!!” 

Take this oath with me as we strive to create an Africa we want to see.

We are responsible for creating the Africa we want!!

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