The aims of the African Union, formerly referred to as the Organization of African Unity which was established in 1963 was “to know ourselves and to encourage views on matters of common interest to explore ways and means of consolidating our hard won independence to strengthen economic and cultural ties between our countries..”
The objectives of the African Union are to achieve greater solidarity between African countries and Africans, to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States and to accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent among others. What this means is that the African Union is supposed to be concerned about the welfare of its members and putting systems and structures in place which ensure that we are able to manage our own affairs.
It is a bit ironic then, that in 2012, the Chinese government graciously gifted Africa with a constructed African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Why should an organization whose primary function is to advance the development of its continent and eventually reduce dependency on other foreign bodies have its headquarters setup by these same organizations they are trying to wean themselves from?!!! Obviously there is no such thing as free lunch, hence we do not expect the Chinese to gift us such a magnificent edifice with nothing in return.
According to an investigation published by French newspaper Le Monde Afrique, China built the computer network at the AU and allegedly inserted a “backdoor” that allowed it to transfer data. The computer systems were fully equipped by the Chinese, allowing them to open an undocumented portal that gives Chinese administrators access to the AU’s computing system. The hack wasn’t detected until Jan. 2017 when technicians noticed that between midnight and 2am every night, there was a peak in data usage even though the building was empty. After investigating, it was found that the continental organization’s confidential data was being copied on to servers in Shanghai.
Of course China’s Ambassador to the African Union denied the reports but the point here is that we cannot afford to continually go to the West and other parts of the world “cup in hand” and expect them to drip honey into our mouths.
After all the commotion that went on between the African Union and China over the “gift”, one will think that African leaders will do better and learn from past mistakes. However, our African leaders thought otherwise and rather decided that the new headquarters for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should be built by China….again!!!! A project expected to cost $31.6 million which will be provided by China as a grant. Only the gods can explain why China must “gift” the ECOWAS with another headquarters after all the hullabaloo that went on with the AU.
As the youth of Africa, we must rise up and voice out our concerns on some of these issues. We cannot sit and watch our leaders destroy the foundation of what some of our fore-fathers shed their blood to achieve and protect. If our leaders cannot take decisions that ensure sustainability and primarily promotes our welfare, then they should not destroy the little integrity that we have.
We must rise up and change the narrative by challenging the status quo. We are the future of Africa!! How we treat it today will be how we treat it tomorrow!! Let us remember that the little ones are watching and the onus lies on us to leave a lasting legacy for posterity!!
We are responsible for creating the Africa We Want!!