Deputy Speaker, we cannot overemphasise the need for an integrated approach to African development.
When Africa emerged out of the colonial repression and underdevelopment, those who came before us understood fully well that for each of the newly independent countries to shed off the yoke of colonialism and neo- colonialism, Africa had to be united politically, economically, socially and culturally. It is for that
reason that the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and the others called for a United States of Africa.
The Abuja Treaty that was adopted in 1991 by all members of the then OAU, sought to lay the foundation for that continental unity. Unfortunately, the continent has lacked leadership that would have propelled Africa to higher levels of development for the past decade or more.
In our country, we have lost the strategic leadership voice on matters of continental unity and development. We have been aimlessly moving along, and there has been no improvement in our conceptualisation of African development, and we have allowed ourselves to be captured by western interests.
Agenda 2063 will remain a beautiful wish list for the continent if we do not deal with the necessary requirement of visionary leadership, working institutions, the rule of law, and merciless uprooting of all neo-colonial remnants still seeking to control the continent, and to steal the resources of this continent for the development of imperial powers.
The Pan-African Parliament must be strengthened to have overarching legislative making powers for areas which deal with exclusive African trade.
We must as the continent have a single trade policy, which must, amongst other things, remove trade barriers between African countries, impose tariff and non-tariff barriers to cheap importation of goods, for goods that can be produced within the continent, and aggressively promote industrialisation and manufacturing in the continent.
Agenda 2063 will remain a pipe dream if we do not, today; start connecting the continent by rail, by air, by sea and by road.
The free movement of African goods from one country to another must not benefit European or American transport companies.
To date, the development of the African continent is highly dependent on the financing and the financial aids from the colonisers. Initiatives such as the Programme
for Infrastructure Development in Africa are still reliant on and utilising private sector institutions to develop the African infrastructure.
African development must be driven by African people, represented at the highest level by African states. We can no longer be dependent on those who are the primary causes of our suffering.
The African Continental Free Trade must be used for the development of the continent and seen as a vehicle for a programme of massive inward industrialisation of the continent. This will make Africa the centre of manufacturing of African minerals and other resources.
Most importantly, Deputy Chair, we must guard the Free Trade Area so that it does not become a mechanism for moving goods manufactured by companies from outside the continent. This will never be realised if African leaders are continuously looking for a European master to lead Africa.
All this will not be possible, and will not succeed if there is no broad enough movement across the continent, that seeks to engender radical Pan African development, democratisation of politics, and uprooting of dictatorships that exploit our siblings and force them to look for economic opportunities elsewhere.
The African Union does not represent those ideals; it is a group of neo- colonial representatives that must be claimed back by progressive forces in the continent. Thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]