Africans Rising, a Pan-African movement, has launched African Liberation Week with the objective of mobilizing citizen movements to engage and build solidarity and unity of purpose across the African continent toward free movement.
The Week’s celebration will span from May 22 to May 28 under the broad theme of “Borderless Africa” and will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which later became the African Union (AU).
Addressing a press conference, the Coordinator for Africans Rising, Hardi Yakubu, indicated that these mobilization efforts will be replicated in other AU member countries as they observe the 60th anniversary to reflect on a “Borderless Africa”—the vision of the forebears of the AU.
He also bemoaned the infiltration of foreign powers in what the Movement described as “neocolonialism” in the governance of African countries, which has stifled development and growth in countries across Africa.
“Today, the African continent is deeply entrenched in neocolonialism, which has become the anchor of geopolitical, financial, legal, economic, and cultural institutions that have been formed to ensure that the structure of engagements and interactions between the oppressed and the oppressor remains extractivist in nature. While we are the producers of materials that feed the world industrial economy, our people still remain poor, and despite the abundance of water, we are thirsty. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect and act in our own best interest, which is to unite our forces as Africans. African Unity is the only panacea to rescramble and recolonization that is being unleashed upon us in the 21st century despite the best efforts of our forebears to make sure this did not happen,” Hardi Yakubu said.
To this end, Africans Rising called for the abolition of visa requirements for intra-African travel, the removal of all border restrictions, and the mass roll-out of the African passport, including making it available to Africans in the diaspora.
The group says that this will boost the “Borderless Africa” agenda, which aims to ensure that African people move freely without any hindrance. Additionally, the group called on all African states to immediately ratify the Free Movement of Persons Protocol under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The movement says that this will enable the continent to harness the full benefits of the AfCFTA.
“We are aware of the protocol on the free movement of goods, which brought the African Continental Free Trade Area into being, and we appreciate the momentum that has been garnered in the pursuit of movement of goods. However, it is important to note that it is people who move goods. Therefore, the full benefits of the AfCFTA can only be achieved if it is accompanied by the free movement of persons. We, therefore, call on all African states to immediately ratify and implement the free movement of persons protocol,” he added.