Dream of Unity: From the United States of Africa to the Federation of African States

African and Asian Studies

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The Pan-Africanists leaders’ dream of unity was deferred in favor of the gradualist/functionalist perspective embodied in a weak and loosely-structured Organization of African Unity (OAU) created on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). This article analyses the reasons for this failure, namely: the reluctance of newly-independent African leaders to abandon their newly-won sovereignty in favor of a broader political unity; suspicion on the part of many African leaders that Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana intended to become the super-president of a united Africa; and divide and rule strategies on the part of major Western powers (including the United States and France) meant to sabotage any attempt at African unity. The African Union which, on 26 May 2001, formally replaced the OAU, is also bound to fail because it is modeled on the European Union. The article then briefly surveys proposals for a re-configuration of the African states and a revision of the political map of Africa put forth by various authors, namely: Cheikh Anta Diop’s Federal African State; Marc-Louis Ropivia’s geopolitics of African regional integration; Makau wa Mutua’s and Arthur Gakwandi’s new political maps of Africa; Joseph Ki-Zerbo’s Federal African State; Daniel Osabu-Kle’s United States of Africa; Godfrey Mwakikagile’s African Federal Government; and Pelle Danabo’s pan-African Federal State. The article concludes with an overview of Mueni wa Muiu’s Fundi wa Afrika paradigm advocating the creation of a Federation of African States (FAS) based on five sub-regional states with a federal capital (Napata) and a rotating presidency, eventually leading to total political and economic integration.

Dream of Unity: From the United States of Africa to the Federation of African States

African and Asian Studies



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