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Should the African Alliance replace the African Union?

Should the African Alliance replace the African Union?

For too long, we've carried the weight of our tremendous potential without fully embracing it. This alliance is our moment to shed that burden and embrace our glory. It's time for this spirit of unity to spread like ripples in a pond, touching every corner of our continent.

As I sit here, reflecting on the Alliance of Sahel States, the recent alliance formed by Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, I can't help but feel a surge of hope and excitement for the future of our beloved continent. This alliance, born out of necessity and a shared vision, represents more than just a political agreement; it's a clarion call for a new Africa, one that stands united and self-reliant.

My journey across this vast continent has been long and enlightening. From my early days as UNEP's Regional Coordinator of Africa Environmental Outlook for Youth, to my current roles as founding Chairman of Africa Youth Trust and Executive Director of Environmental Africa, I've had the privilege of witnessing the pulse of our people. And let me tell you, that pulse beats with a rhythm of change, of unity, of progress.

Such is the energy pulsating through the newly formed Alliance of Sahel States. This Alliance isn’t just a political maneuver; it's a manifestation of the dreams and aspirations I've encountered in the eyes of countless African youth, in the determined voices of community leaders, in the weathered hands of farmers tilling the soil. It's a reflection of the Africa we've always known we could be.

For too long, we've carried the weight of our tremendous potential without fully embracing it. This alliance is our moment to shed that burden and embrace our glory. It's time for this spirit of unity to spread like ripples in a pond, touching every corner of our continent.

Imagine, if you will, this alliance expanding outward, enveloping neighboring countries, crossing regional boundaries, until it encompasses all of Africa. Picture a new African Union, one built not on the remnants of colonial borders, but on the strength of our shared heritage, our common struggles, and our collective aspirations. Picture the African Union renamed as the African Alliance.

This is not a pipe dream. In my travels, from the bustling streets of Lagos to the serene shores of Lake Victoria, I've felt the undercurrent of this desire for unity. I've seen it in the eyes of young entrepreneurs in Nairobi, heard it in the voices of elders in Addis Ababa, and felt it in the firm handshakes of farmers in Mauritius.

We stand at a crossroads. We can choose to maintain the status quo, to cling to outdated structures that have failed to deliver on their promises. Or we can embrace this new paradigm, this alliance that dares to dream of an Africa united not just in name, but in spirit and action.

In the words of Capt Traoré Burkina Faso’s President, “this continent has suffered and continues to suffer from the fire of the imperialists. These imperialists have only one cliché in mind: 'Africa is the empire of slaves'.”

And in the words of Bob Marley, that gallant, lyrical son of Africa, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.”

The alliance of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso is showing us the way. They are demonstrating that we can overcome our differences, that we can pool our resources, that we can stand together against external pressures. This is the Africa I've always believed in, the Africa I've dedicated my life to nurturing and supporting.

As Chairman of Africa Youth Trust, I've seen firsthand the power of unity among our youth. As Executive Director of Environmental Africa, I've witnessed how collective action can transform our relationship with our land. With the motherland. Now, it's time to take these lessons to a continental scale.

We must seize this moment. We must fan the flames of this alliance until they engulf our entire continent in a blaze of unity and progress. We must transform the African Union into a true reflection of our collective will, or if necessary, build a new institution that embodies the spirit of this alliance. We must birth the African Alliance.

The path ahead will not be easy. We will face resistance, both from within and without. But as Coates reminds us, "The struggle is in your name, but you are not the struggle." We are not defined by our challenges, but by how we rise to meet them.

As Thomas Sankara once said, “you cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness.” In order to stride into a new African Alliance, we must go crazy.

So I call upon every African, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope, from the Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean: Let us embrace this spirit of unity. Let us build upon the foundation laid by Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Let us create an Africa that stands truly independent, tall, united, and prosperous.

This is our moment. This is our time. This is our Africa. Let us seize it with both hands and shape it into the continent we know it can be.

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