Africa will not Benefit from Ultra Nationalism

Speakers at a roundtable discussion have unanimously stated that Africa will not benefit from the wind of ultra nationalism blowing across Europe and North America. The roundtable discussion was organised under the auspices of the Faculty of Arts, College of Humanities and Legal Studies. The theme for the discussions was “The Rise of Ultra Nationalism in Europe and North America- Opportunities for African Political Unity and Economic Integration”. Speaking on the sub-theme ‘A historical framework for nationalism and ultra-nationalism, and the challenges and opportunities for African political and economic development’ Dr. K. B. Maison of the Department of History stated that until Africans retuned their minds, they could not unite. “We need to get real, without a change of our mindset, we cannot be ourselves and unite. Unity lies with us, we embrace others but not our own”. Other Speakers were Dr. Vladimir Antwi-Danso, of the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College and and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies, Dr. K. A. Tuffour. Dr. Maison who did not mince words said Africa defined itself from the side of Europe. This, he said has not helped the continent because it was not part of reality, since the Europeans forced their ideals on the continent, describing them as meaningless. He said Africans were suffering from “Psychological control” since they learn from someone else’s worldview. “ The narrative of Africa is controlled from Europe” “Till we realize that this is Africa and no whiteman comes to Africa for Africa’s interest, we will remain where we are”, he stressed. The History lecturer called on Africans to get real and have a change of mindset without which they could not be themselves and unite. “The one who divided you is benefitting from your division”. Citing an example from the Japanese, Dr. Maison said they took the bold decision to become who they are and now have common purpose. Similarly, he indicated that the Germans decided to speak German instead of French to take their destiny in their own hands and now have their identity intact. He noted that there was intellectual failure in Africa since people in the continent were always imitating the Europeans. “Let’s get real, we need to go to originality and not copy Europe hook, line and sinker”, he stated. Dilating on the sub-theme “New Opportunities for Economic Integration in Africa in the Era of Rise of Ultra-Nationalist Movements in Europe and North America”, Dr. Antwi-Danso explained for integration to possible in Africa, it has to be brewed in ‘an African Pot’. Dr. Antwi-Danso wondered how Africa could integrate while he could not for example drive from Ghana to Senegal, again, there was only 14% of trade among Africans and 86% with Europe. “So if Europe implodes which kind of benefits could inure to Africa?”, he asked. He stated that the only trade opportunity available to Africans was for us to create the infrastructure and trade among ourselves. “If Europe implodes how do we succeed, where will we get the 70% of AU’s budget from?” he asked. Dr. Antwi-Danso stated that there would be no opportunities, until African leaders understood integration in the African sense”, he said. He predicted that by the year 2030, most positions in Europe and America would have been taken over by foreigners such as African and Latinos. He indicated that as the reason why there was a sharp rise in ultra nationalism in those places. Taking his turn, Dr. K. A. Tuffour mentioned it was as a result of economic reasons that was why currently in Europe and America, some people believe that attacks must be on all fronts for those who did not have their colour to leave their domain. He added that ultra-nationalism has created hatred for foreigners. “If you do not belong to their culture or district you need to be sent away. This is even evident on election posters”. Giving examples, he mentioned that 200 Guatemalans have been sent away from America since President Donald Trump declared that “America should be for Americans”. He indicated that the Rwandan experience has created an awareness that Africans should always look for African solutions to their problems. It has also brought Africans together to the extent most people were prepared to fight authoritarian regimes. Dr. Tuffour however, deplored the way safe havens were being paved for despots to go and enjoy the loot from their prolonged stay in power, citing the recent African Union (AU) decision to get former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh a safe haven in an African country. “Even though recent history points to some form of change, recent events seem to negate the gains made”, he averred. Prof. Akua Britwum of IDS chaired the function and said the so-called change we all clamour for must start with the youth.