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A United States of Africa

Elinor Tatum | 4/12/2011, 5:30 p.m.

And what role could those of us in the Diaspora play in such an integration? Wade suggests that we could play a critical role in the advancement of the continent, and I think he is absolutely correct. People of African descent from the Diaspora can bring economic and intellectual capital back to the continent, while those of us living in the United States can lobby our country to increase investment in the continent, rather than looking for the means to exploit, which has all too often been the world's narrative towards the people and continent of Africa for generations.

The examples are endless, as we have just seen in Senegal. Wade made a deal with the North Koreans to create the African Renaissance Monument. In exchange for the building of the monument, land was given to North Korea to develop. While we have acknowledged in the paper the statue is beautiful, and may have economic benefits, what was the cost in land? In Nigeria, most of the road works and new development is coming from money from China. And while infrastructure improvement is critical, the Chinese have a habit of bringing their own labor into Africa, rather than creating jobs and training local people, which would build a sustainable class of workers with real skills and abilities.

So while the players have sometimes changed--less Europeans and more of an Asian influence--are we seeing simply another type of potentially damaging colonialism in Africa?

And while an African Union or a United States of Africa is a bold idea, the question is, with 53 countries mostly led by men with a grand need for power, could the idea of power sharing work? Would it lead to a united Africa or an African civil war?

These are all issues that the more than 100 million of us from the Diaspora must learn and be concerned about, since we should want peace, stability and prosperity for the states and people of our motherland.