May 09 2007
formation of a "United States of Africa" will dominate debate at the three-day retreat of African foreign affairs ministers
which opened at Zimbali Lodge, north of Durban, on Tuesday.
Fifty ministers are discussing
methods of achieving political and economic integration on the continent, which would end with the formation of a union in Africa along the lines of the
The Chairman of the Zimbali conference, Nana Akufo-Addo, the Ghanaian Foreign
Minister, said the union had been first mooted by the first president of Ghana, Nkwame Nkrumah.
gives us an opportunity to define where the union is now, where it is going and how to get there," he said, adding that the
idea had found favour within many African states.
Already several regional
bodies - including the Southern African Development Community and the Economic Community of West African States - had met
to work out time frames to achieve free trade agreements and customs unions. The Zimbali discussions would feed into the African
Union summit of heads of state scheduled for Accra, Ghana, in July.
opening the retreat, South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the founding fathers of liberation
in Africa had achieved the
decolonisation of the continent, and that the challenge facing leaders was how to take the continent forward in the next few
"It is upon us to take the continent forward. We want a united
continent," she said.
However, she warned that no economic and political integration could
take place while the continent was ravaged by wars and conflict.
"It is our collective responsibility
to make sure that there is peace," she said.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The
on May 09, 2007