The Organization of African Unity and the Rest of Africa
The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra, dedicated
Courtesy Embassy of Ghana, Washington
Beginning with the independence of Ghana in 1957 under Kwame
Nkrumah, Pan-Africanism, as a movement uniting all peoples of the
African continent, was attempted in earnest. Pan-Africanism became
identified with Nkrumah more than with any other African leader.
During the period 1950 to 1965, the aim was to achieve political,
cultural, and economic integration at the continental level.
Beginning in 1958 with formation of the Ghana-Guinea Union,
followed shortly by the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union, Nkrumah
relentlessly pursued his goal of a Union of African States. Working
with leaders of other independent African countries, he convened a
series of conferences to promote the Pan-African cause. Finally, a
summit conference met in Addis Ababa in May 1963 to resolve the
divisions, unite the leaders, and establish a common Pan-African
After many proposals and counterproposals at the Addis Ababa
conference, thirty African heads of states and governments signed
the historic Charter of African Unity, which established the
Organization of African Unity (OAU). The charter, however, fell far
short of Nkrumah's ideal of African continental government. At
practically every meeting of the OAU until his overthrow in 1966,
Nkrumah continued to campaign vigorously but unsuccessfully for the
transformation of the OAU into a continental government of a United
States of Africa. Ironically, as independent African states
concentrated on domestic problems and internal developments, they
found themselves compelled to strengthen ties with their former
colonial rulers rather than with each other. In Ghana's case, this
meant closer relations with Britain, particularly after the
overthrow of Nkrumah.
In recognition of Nkrumah's stature in the Pan-Africanist
cause, PNDC chairman Rawlings in June 1985 dedicated the W.E.B.
DuBois Memorial Center for Pan-African Culture in Accra. The DuBois
center was established to serve as a Pan-African research center
and library for scholars and students of Pan-Africanism and to
promote research and scholarship in the tradition of the AfricanAmerican scholar, W.E.B. DuBois.
The PNDC made a determined effort to revive Ghana's historical
role as a leader in the OAU and in the struggle against apartheid
in South Africa. The PNDC stepped up material and financial
assistance and diplomatic support to the OAU Liberation Committee,
to the African National Congress in South Africa, and to the South
West Africa People's Organization in South West Africa, now
Namibia. In 1987 Ghana also became a member of the permanent
steering committee of the OAU, which was charged with forging a
common African position on the continent's debt problem. The same
year Ghana made a substantial financial contribution of US$5
million to the African Fund set up by the Non-Aligned Movement to
assist African liberation movements and to strengthen resistance to
South African destabilization activities in southern Africa. The
PNDC also contributed US$1.3 million annually to the OAU budget.
Ghana contributed generously to the OAU's Liberation Fund for
Namibia as well as US$5 million to the African Fund for the
repatriation of Namibians to enable them to participate in preindependence elections in February 1990.
The PNDC regime sought to strengthen ties with all African
countries. Good relations with the countries of eastern and
southern Africa were established in the spirit of south-south
relations, Pan-Africanism, and nonalignment. In addition to
visiting many West African countries, Rawlings traveled to
Mozambique in October 1986 for the funeral of Samora Machel.
Ghana's contribution of US$250,000 toward famine relief in
Mozambique was a practical demonstration of commitment to the
principles of the OAU. In late January 1989, Rawlings paid a threeday official visit to Uganda on the occasion of the third
anniversary of the government's victory in a long civil war. He
also visited Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Ghana's political and diplomatic resurgence in Africa and in
world affairs under PNDC leadership was evident from the number of
reciprocal visits to promote bilateral ties and cooperation. Among
those visiting Ghana between 1987 and 1994 were Zambian President
Kenneth Kaunda; Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni; former Tanzanian
president Julius Nyerere, who received Ghana's highest state award,
the Order of the Star of Ghana, in recognition of his life-long
devotion to Pan-Africanism and the nonaligned movement; Libyan
Colonel Muammar al Qadhafi; and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
In September 1994, President Rawlings paid a ten-day visit to
Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, signing bilateral agreements in
the latter two countries for political cooperation, trade, and
industrial development. Ghanaian diplomats are expected to arrive
in Pretoria, the Republic of South Africa, in early 1995 to open
Ghana's new High Commission.
Data as of November 1994