Monday, February 08, 2010

Supersize Africa?

I had written in the past about how the fractious geographical and political state of Africa paralyzes the continent and her people and puts them at obvious disadvantage in the world. Part of the reasons for this fractious state was the Berlin conference, and the other which led to the Berlin conference was the fractious state pre-colonialism that saw development of miniature states (and few empires that lasted). As a result, Africa is a variegated maps of many colors, tongues and tribes...yelling for unity. Unity for the sake of it (Nkrumah and Ghadaffi style) is however unrealistic. 

Any unity in Africa must be premised on the concrete distinctions between the rich cultural diversity that abound on the continent and must give a nod to this diversity. The resulting states must be drawn along the lines of ethno-religious commonalities and deep rooted cultural shared norms. States that result from this super-sized African phenomenon must also adopt political system that acknowledged the diversity of modern history (differing colonial masters and languages) as well as broad cultural swath that exists within the federations while adopting systems that unite her. To this end it makes sense to recommend these super states take on multiple capitals; it makes sense that they adopt unifying languages and encourage a truly multi-lingual society; it makes sense to practice lose federation where local and municipal governments wield greater influence than the center. It also makes sense that they acknowledge the traditional system of government in place prior to colonization while ensuring democratic ideals and development remains at the core of the new enterprise. 

However to ensure political unity, these states must move towards a system that disallow miniaturization of the political system. I am not sure the classical western systems that allow formation of multiple parties will suffice i.e. multi-party democracy. I think a society sponsored (constitutional mandated) binary structure is probably more realistic model to meet this goal sans the 1990-93 experiment in Nigeria: Africa's most populous nation (which worked ). 

I think this language map shows the "ideal" 6 nation states that should emerge from a less fractured Africa, divided into nation-states along common ethno-lingua lines that generally correlate with common cultural will involve breaking up present countries and being willing to see Africa as a cluster of language nations rather than a creation of Berlin conference with rigid boundaries determined by non-Africans with no recourse to realities of commonalities on ground..To make more states participate in these lose unions, the South African strategy of multiple capitals for each arm of government (Executive, Legislative, Judiciary can be adopted)

Of course this is a fantasy and my new fantasy nations read as:

  • United Afro-Asiatic Confederations - Capitals: (Cairo, Addis Ababa, Tunis) Official Language : Arabic, Hausa  
  • Federation of Niger-Area States - Capitals: (Abuja, Abidjan, Accra) Official Language: Pidgin English, French  
  • Swahili Republics of Africa - Capitals: (Nairobi, Harare, Kinshasa)  Official Language: Swahili, English  
  • Saharan Federation States of Africa- Capitals: (Tripoli, Maiduguri, Niamey) Official Language: Arabic
  • Federation States of South Africa: Capitals (Pretoria, Luanda, Gaborone) Official Language: English & Portuguese
  • Island Republics of Africa (Madagascar, Seychelles and Comoros Islands) : Capital (Antananarivo, Moroni , Victoria) Official Language: French 

May be the Niger Area states and States of South Africa will face some language problems, but pidgin English is fast spreading like wild fire in West Africa anyway! 


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