Editor's Comment

Unity is strength

PRESIDENT Lungu poses with African diplomats accredited to Zambia at State House yesterday. PICTURE: MACKSON WASAMUNU

AN AMERICAN poet and philosopher Mattie Stepanek once said “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
And an English author Bill Bailey said: “In unity there is strength; we can move mountains when we’re united and enjoy life –Without unity we are victims. Stay united.”
The words of these great men resonate well with President Lungu’s call for Africa to join forces in a bid to develop and improve the lives of its people.
Recently, President Lungu met 20 African diplomats accredited to Zambia and called for more intra-African collaboration to enhance development and improve standards of living on the continent.
It is only when African countries realise the power of unity in lifting the continent from its current quandary, will they attain significant development and consequently improve the living standards of the people.
As long as African countries work in isolation in their quest to develop, Africa’s potential to transition to a world power with an audible voice on the global scene will remain elusive.
African countries must embrace integration if the continent is to become stronger in the global market and be able to compete favourably.
For centuries now, there have been series of unending debate on how Africa can make progress in its developmental effort. Different people have come out with blueprints; with others suggesting varied political ideologies for various African countries.
Nonetheless, not a single of these expert minds and critics have debunked the argument on the need for Africa to unite in a bid to conquer its challenges.
It is indisputable that in unity lies the socio-cultural, political and economic development which Africa so much desires.
Actually, unity marks the threshold of our journey from third world to first world.
It is therefore inspiring that President Lungu realises that Zambia cannot work in isolation in her quest to develop.
This is why the Head of State pledged that Zambia will in the next five years seek to work closely with other African countries to promote closer interaction on the continent before seeking relations in far-flung parts of the world.
Africa, as it stands today, lacks the political and economic muscle to transition to a first world, but it is only when the strengths of different countries are harnessed and put together will the continent start recording meaningful and widespread development.
This means each African country should bring what they have to the table for the benefit of other countries thereby enabling the continent to develop as a whole and subsequently enhance its global standing.
As President Lungu rightly pointed out, there is hope because the African Union has fostered an unwavering unity of purpose to find solutions for the continent’s challenges.
Other organisations such as the African Development Bank are also working on various initiatives in some sectors including energy and agriculture which African countries can harness by way of forming clusters.
Diplomats as representatives of respective governments should therefore take the leading role in ensuring collaboration among African countries.
In an effort to accelerate development, African countries can also collaborate in areas such as expertise, natural resources, trade and transportation.
The markets of Africa’s 54 states are small and isolated by trade barriers such as border restrictions. It is therefore in the interest of Africa’s progress to eliminate all trade barriers.
Countries with stronger economies will do well to look at the bigger picture of the continent by pulling up those countries in weaker positions. This will help us to build a stronger Africa.
Individual African countries should also take responsibility by ensuring democracy and political stability because this is the only way cross-border trade will thrive in the continent.

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