African unity at 50: Integration is the only way – Samia Nkrumah

By rejecting continental unity, Africa is depriving itself of wealth and autonomy, says Kwame Nkrumah’s daughter

by Samia Nkrumah, interviewed by Billie Adjoa McTernan

Pan-Africanism is crucial for our development on the continent and for the restoration of the dignity of Africa.

The main objective of linking up with the African diaspora is to restore the dignity of Africans that was diminished after slavery and colonialism. We came to realize that our very survival socially, economically and politically depends on that unity.

JR-Samia-Nkrumah-RaShida-Malcolm-at-Tripoli-Libya-conf-0111-by-JR-web2, African unity at 50: Integration is the only way – Samia Nkrumah, World News & Views As long as we are small economic states we will be at the mercy of others.

Kwame Nkrumah said it: As long as we are divided by nation states, we will be faced with internal conflicts, we will be threatened with economic marginalization as we are now and, most importantly, we will be threatened with lack of self-confidence and belief and lack of the ability to solve our own problems.

We are moving too slowly and are not sufficiently focused on continental integration.

The only way we can meet the basic needs of our people quickly is if we harness our continental material and human resources.

The power of negotiating as a bloc is something we are deprived of and we will continue to be deprived of until we can plan development in a continental manner.

Look at Ghana and our neighbor Côte d’Ivoire – we are the two largest cocoa producers in the world, together accounting for more than 50 percent of the world’s output.

If we adopt a common negotiating position and harness the potential to increase and improve cocoa processing and manufacturing together, imagine the impact we would have!

We could do the same with gold, diamonds, oil – this is the richest continent in the world.

Samia-Nkrumah-supporters-celebrate-election-victory-082012, African unity at 50: Integration is the only way – Samia Nkrumah, World News & Views Most of our conflicts in Africa are because some minorities don’t feel they are part of the decision making.

If today we had leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, who called for an African High Command many years ago, the situation in Mali would have been contained and resolved.

There would be no need for any power outside of Africa to intervene in our conflicts.

It is one of the projects that the AU must focus on without delay. The dream of our political independence was meant to pave the way to economic self-reliance.

Our progress will not happen as long as there is that division in our minds and our lives, in our politics and our economics. We must never underestimate any small progress that we make.

But of course he [Kwame Nkrumah] would have been disappointed. And I think that we have not progressed from where we were in the early ‘60s, we were pioneers in integration.

But if, as some say, Kwame Nkrumah was ahead of his time, then now is the time for us to revisit his passion and spirit for African unity.

We cannot waste another 50 years deliberating.

Samia Nkrumah chairs the Convention People’s Party in Ghana. Find her on Facebook at and follow her on Twitter @SamiaNkrumah. This story previously appeared on