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Richard Dowden is Executive Director of the Royal African Society in London ( Richard worked for the Times until 1986 when he became Africa Editor of the Independent and in[…]

Journalist Richard Dowden says solidarity is the goal but it’s handicapped by regional allegiances.

Question: Is there still a dream of African unity?


Richard Dowden: Well, it’s still a dream. The dream is of a united states of Africa. And I think it’s a good dream because that, again, is about building a sense of African identity.

But at the moment, it’s at the regional stage. And so, you think yes, if all the different regional groupings based on the economic trading partnerships.

When you look at them closely, you have the dreams there but, of course, it means we lose our taxes on this and we don’t; they could, then, destroy our industry on that. It gets very, very, very messy.

And they’re not moving ahead as fast as they should. Beause once you had an East African community or West African community that was real, I think investors would come in because the markets will be that much bigger. But knowing the difficulties you have crossing borders in Africa at the moment, I don’t think that investors will come in a sort of numbers they should, given the wealth of the place and the number of people there.


Recorded: March 16, 2009