TRANSCEND PEACE UNIVERSITY | PACS6922 University of Sydney |
Advanced Conflict Transformation | Collective Assgt 3 | DPT/PEEMC | Africa
“How can ‘Africa’ get its act together?” – Political, economic, ecological, military and cultural therapies to motivate ‘Africa’ to get its act together should be built upon respect for the basic needs of the people, land and the interrelated relationships between these by having local input feeding into regional and continental forums to inform decision-making so that continental self-reliance results, creating a panacea that liberates Africa from the imperialism it has and is enduring.
Political – Think Continental, Act Local. African communities need to constantly recognize and acknowledge that a united African community is necessary to overcome neo-colonialism. Nevertheless, any current or future African inter-governmental and pan-continental organizations (Grimm, S. & Katito, G., 2010) should not be designed to be relied upon to be the sole salvation for all African continental problems. The political design of such organizations should focus on empowering each African community to start taking responsibilities for their own political, economical, socio-ecological, military and cultural (in)actions, which collectively would form a stronger and united Africa. At which point could each African community confidently relies on its representatives within these organizations to truly represent African communities interests to its own people and to foreign actors. In regards to collaboration amongst communities, two-chamber system of governance and non-territorial federalism models could be adopted to empower local communities to greater self determination within cultural communities that reach across state boundaries.
Political empowerment design, involving local Africans, Africans in diaspora and non-bipartisan international actors from developed and developing countries, needs to include the development and training of sound political governance with priority in achieving African communities common goals rather than State political leaders or military regimes self-serving interests heavily depended on and influenced by neo-colonialist powerhouses (Nkrumah, 1965).
Respect to Native title as well as education and technology exchanges to be included in African international discourse to empower African people for a sustainable continental growth. In negotiations of any form of international aid, highest priority should be on human rights (The United Nations, 1948) by improving the conditions and resources of health, safety, security, food, housing, fair trade, transport, education and freedom of political voting for African people.
Mandatory condition for government official election should list that in the absence of candidates without past violence record, only candidate with the highest contribution toward his or her communities could apply or carry on political campaign. Although it is rather obvious, such process is intended as NOT to single out self-elected warlords which often results in (prolonged) violent outbreak; it is also intended to enable community dialogue in addressing past violence during campaigning period.
Think Continental, Act Local, Act Now. There needs to be awareness of the importance of short-term visions and missions, as well as actual short-term progressive actions to put the ground work for successful accomplishment of Agenda 2063 (African Union, 2013). Otherwise, such long-term agenda could very well turn out to be another extended neo-colonial strategy.
Economics – Secure a positive economic future for all Africans, not just the elites. The UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights specifies proceeds from the natural resources of a country should accrue to its people – not to foreigners and/or business-partner elites. Make ‘basic needs for all’ the first priority of pan-African economic development, including for outside investors. Ensure all Africans have access to adequate food, housing, medical services and education.
Insist on adherence to the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights (such as the due diligence in the supply chain) by African and foreign firms. Reduce economic drivers of violence, corruption, slavery and child labor.
Increase national budget allocations to promote economic, cultural and social rights. Expand economic initiatives targeting formal or traditional income-generating activities for people (such as tontines, saving loans, microfinance). Develop complementary institutional and regulatory framework at regional, sub-regional and national levels (Mehdi Haman, 2011).
Accelerate empowerment of women, increasing families’ wellness through better food, health and education (Titeca, Kimanuka, 2012). Strengthen large- and small-scale, cross-border trade at regional/sub-regional levels, fostering greater equilibrium in socioeconomic prosperity and stronger incentives to address crises and conflicts before violence arises (Conciliation resources, 2011).
Process natural resources in Africa rather than export raw materials. Develop alternative energy sources for export, especially wind and solar energy.
Ecology – Ecological and sociological therapies are intertwined and should concentrate on building sustainable socioecological freedom, prosperity and wellbeing by encouraging representation, ownership and collaboration throughout Africa’s continental diversity and heterogeneity.
Implementing a regionally-administered, whole-of-Africa sociological governance framework would help to ensure zonal sustainability projects satisfy the basic needs of the populations they service. This would require political support at all levels to ensure systematic regional approaches integrate into a continental framework, and that they respect shared and differentiating regional characteristics (Caminero-Santangelo 2014). Because local knowledge, expertise and input is therefore critical, region as are therefore appropriately positioned to protect and preserve Africa’s socioecological diversity.
This is essentially reflected in an approach rooted in Permaculture theory, and would place emphasis on the economic and environmental independence that defines small-scale local communities (Simberloff 1991). The establishment of a holistic Permaculture approach as communal therapy is unprecedented on a macroscale. The idea of developing communities that are wholly self sufficient and environmentally sustainable as well as based in the that mimicry of the environmental patterns and relationships that are indigenous to a specific land are, however, arguably inherent to the ecological needs and prosperity of Africa as a continent (Holmgren, 2006).
This would potentially include collaborative development of ecological practices and guidelines based in natural boundaries and landscapes, the prioritisation of culturally sensitive reconciliation networks, development of regional legal systems rooted in the specific ecological contexts and histories, the establishment of regional ecological councils focused upon sustainable project management, and a collective refocus on agriculturally dependent communities, looking at their social and economic statuses and improving support mechanisms.
Thus, a continental socioecological support network informing a knowledge base through networked inter-regional collaboration would also help address neo-colonial structural and cultural violence and improve and safeguard local, regional and continental self-reliance. Regions would not only protect their industries (Chang 2003) but also their environment with the people contributing through local forums to whole-of-Africa sovereignty by strengthening their societies to contribute to continental prosperity.
The framework should also prioritise the creation of equitable, mixed-gender societies through a rights in education (rights-based) approach educating people through regional languages and cultural-appropriate settings instead of colonial languages (Babaci-Wilhite et. al. 2012). Benefits include education on native socioecological traditions to ensure environmental and societal sustainability is prioritised along with having peoples’ basic needs satisfied across all regions.
Long term, a continental socioecological governance framework would help to synthesise Africa’s heterogeneous diversity into uniform representation within continental decision-making forums. Uniform representation would help to reengineer imperial development by prioritising and promoting the development of more sustainable regionally-based, self-reliant, ecologically respectful trade relationships throughout continental Africa to reduce poverty and build prosperity.
Military – Reengineering the imperial development (subordination / domination) frame that has dictated Africa’s military interactions in the 20th Century is essential for successful therapies reducing historical trauma and conflict.[Joh16] Military-power governments should be trained by Swiss peacekeepers on peace-orientated governing practices, to be taught in Africa via the African Union’s capacities. [Ade11] Such training must see the military repositioned to focus on security capacity building and dialogue with holon bipartisan political systems, rather than violence-orientated law-making at a state-based level. [Kem00] Alongside existing UN and African Union (AU) Peacekeeping presence throughout Africa, reformat the constitution of peacekeeping troops to specific groups of peacekeepers from other imperialised holon regions (such as CELAC) with no historical imperialism of the African continent, who must reprioritise a “Do No Harm” approach in order to remove conditions that cause cyclical violence.[Mar14] "Mistrust breeds mistrust and disrespect”, [Mar14] and therefore the removal of lethal weapons from Peacekeeping forces, replaced with sessional education from UN- engaged civil society around positive (and, given recent events in the Central African Republic, gender-positive) peace with the community, would be beneficial. [Thu04] [Tha15] The African Union should create a convention in accordance with Article 3 of the AU charter that seeks to place sanctions on states that seek to control arms imports and exports, in which governments should be educated and encouraged to ratify. [Omo10] Arms production within the African Union should cease, with a buy-back by the AU of existing arms.
Cultural – Africa as a continent is comprised of countless diverse cultures, languages and religions. Each culture has its own identity and differences. However, it has been acknowledged that African unity can help to tackle the effects of neo-colonialism in Africa (Nkrumah, 1965), (Diop,1989). Africa’s challenge is to place modern African knowledge, which can be an amalgamation of traditional African knowledge and colonial knowledge, at the centre of the African culture. Africa needs to spend time thinking about its cultural values and priorities in the current age.
An Africa wide cultural symposium where leaders in community, education, civil society, politics, business and the arts come together to discuss what is important to African culture. To ‘reflect’ as Wiredu encourages them to do, on their approach to thinking about African culture, and to evaluate what elements of traditional indigenous culture and of post-colonial culture are relevant and important to African culture today (Wiredu, 1998, p.20). The leaders in attendance at this symposium would then be tasked to go into their communities and spark a continent-wide conversation on African culture and values.
Another priority needs to be education from kindergarten to university about other cultures in the Hawaiian tradition of curiosity and respect. Encouraging competence in other cultures, not just tolerance. As mentioned above Africa has a diverse range of cultures and each African should have competency in the cultures of those around them. It is the responsibility of each State to provide this kind of education to their citizens. This competency fosters a culture of peace and unity (Galtung, 2005).
The emphasis on African unity for African development is a strong one, and in a continent where war and conflict is widespread, working on a peace culture is also a key step. Harnessing traditional African peace-building approaches would be a way to incorporate culture and unity into a stronger peace culture and to tackle violence and division (Abselsayed, 2014).
Conclusion – The development of peace culture in Africa through nonviolent political, economic, ecological, military and cultural therapies should be underpinned by a continental framework supportive and respectful of the basic needs of all inhabitants, their legitimate beliefs and values, and nurturing self-reliance, sustainability and prosperity to enrich the lives of all people who collectively call themselves African.
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