Toward Unity in Africa

No one who looked down from the galleries last May on the glittering array of African heads of state assembled in Africa Hall at Addis Ababa could fail to see that this meeting constituted an historic landmark. But just what sort of landmark was it? Clearly it had greater significance than a gathering of emperors, kings, presidents and prime ministers at a single sparkling event-like, say, a coronation in Britain. But was there as much common purpose in Addis as moved the 55 men who met in Philadelphia in May 1787? President Nkrumah of Ghana had hoped and intended that there should be; in speeches, memoranda and even a full-length book he had urged the states to form a single parliament forthwith. But gazing down on the patrician head of the Mwami of Burundi facing the taut Ben Bella, observers must have realized that the differences of past experience and future problems impeded any such swift fusion into one close entity. It is still too early to assess the full achievements of the Addis conference-how far short it fell of Nkrumah's ideal, how much more important it was than just an imperial jamboree. But enough has happened in the months since May to attempt at least a progress report.

The Addis Ababa conference marked the end of the period when, beginning with the first meeting of the Independent African States in Accra in May 1958, the states were "feeling out" the ways in which they might achieve both greater unity and the liberation of the whole continent. They had experimented with organizations for close coördination in economic matters alone, and at the new Addis airport the Union Africaine et Malgache (U.A.M.) was able to display an impressive advertisement of the successful coöperation by its 14 member states-a jet airliner of their Air Afrique fleet. There had been more dramatic attempts at political union, such as the Ghana-Guinea-Mali union announced in December 1960; but the coolness obvious between Nkrumah and President Sékou

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