Considering a ‘United States of Africa’

Gretchen Wilson Feb 1, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Half way round the world today, African leaders are meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Members of the African Union are considering a confederation into a regional bloc, similar to the E.U. Gretchen Wilson reports from Johannesburg.


Gretchen Wilson: Proponents of the so-called “United States of Africa” want to develop a central government, army, and foreign policy. They say a cohesive continent would better compete in the global economy.

But with 53 African countries, is it realistic?

Ross Herbert is with the South African Institute of International Affairs:

Ross Herbert: For Africa to come together as one nation-state I think is impossible for the foreseeable future.

Herbert says African nations have worked together in greater concert on the global stage in venues such as the U.N. and the WTO. But economies here are even more diverse than in Europe.

Herbert: And on trade matters, they also have wildly different objectives. Some are very dependent on food imports, and others are food exporters. Some are oil exporters and some are oil importers. And all those sorts of things affect whether one unified entity can work.

Still, some say to unite is the only way Africa will prosper in future generations.

In Johannesburg, I’m Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.

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