By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Africans Rising, a Pan-African movement, has 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.
Africans Rising has, therefore, appealed to all African heads of state to immediately ratify the Free Movement of Persons Protocol under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The movement says ratifying the Free Movement of Persons Protocol will enable the continent to harness the full benefits of the AfCFTA.
According to the Pan-African movement, this will boost the “Borderless Africa” agenda, which aims to ensure that African people move freely without any hindrance.
The group made the call at the launch of African Liberation Week, which seeks to mobilise citizen movements to engage and build solidarity and unity of purpose across the African continent toward free movement.
The Week’s celebration starts from May 22 to May 28 under the theme of “Borderless Africa” and will coincide with the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which later became the African Union (AU).
Addressing some media personnel at a press conference, the Coordinator for Africans Rising, Mr. Hardi Yakubu, said his outfit is aware of the protocol on the free movement of goods which brought the African Continental Free Trade Area into being and appreciates the momentum that has been garnered in the pursuit of the free 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 person’s protocol, he added.
Mr. Yakubu indicated that these mobilisation 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.
The Coordinator for Africans Rising 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’s 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 recolonisation that is being unleashed upon us in the 21st century despite the best efforts of our forebears to make sure this did not happen,” Mr. Yakubu noted.