Africa: Past, Present and Future of Caribbean Relations

Go Lean Commentary

“How good and how pleasant it would be before God and man,
To see the unification of all Africans”
– Bob Marley’s Song Africa Unite; see Appendix VIDEO below.

These rhyming words of this song are shaping up to be more than just platitudes. There is an actual movement to forge an integrated, united Africa … at least economically. This is the movement for a Free Trade area for the whole continent of Africa. (A previous commentary detailed a continental security apparatus for Africa that the Caribbean should model).

Wow! That would be a start to fulfilling the dream of people like Bob Marley … and others (think: Marcus Garvey).

What is amazing is that these two late-great role models where movers-and-shakers for Africa, though they were natives, citizens and residents of the Caribbean.

This is because there is a historic Africa-Caribbean relationship that transcends time; there is a Past, Present and Future to Africa-Caribbean Relations, and it is more than just song-and-dance.

The link between the Caribbean and Africa has always been one of interconnection. Yes, there is the ugly history of the African Slave Trade, but after that East-West human-capital flow ended (1807) the flow had since shifted to West-East between the two regions. (Think: Freetown, Sierra Leone and Liberia).

Following the Slave Trade, there was the legacy of colonialism and White Supremacy (think: South Africa’s Apartheid) until finally the post-colonial period arrived after World War II. This allowed for independence movements and nationalism, but not the integration and unity that Marley sang of.

Caribbean stakeholders where not just the singers and dreamers; no, they were fighters and soldiers as well. There is the one example of the southern Africa country of Angola. During their post-colonial independence drive, there were dissenting movements: one for a minority rule Apartheid-style system and one for majority rule democratic socialism. The Cuban Army helped to defeat the Apartheid-style regime.

This was the Caribbean reaching back and helping Africa.

Today, the southern African region is at peace, liberated and striving for the best way to advance their societies on the world’s stage. Though still trailing, they have made some progress.

Congratulations to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa who was crowned Miss Universe 2018 on November 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.[12] (Miss Jamaica finished 3rd). This is the fourth time a contestant from the African continent has been crowned with this honor; the others include: 2011 Miss Angola, 1999 Miss Botswana and 1978 Miss South Africa (Apartheid-era).

Africa has “come a long way, Baby”.

That “Dark Continent” may be the cradle of mankind and the Motherland for many people in the Caribbean, but “she” is playing catch-up in a lot of areas of modernity. For this reason, all embedded countries are considered “developing”. With 1.2 billion[1] people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world’s human population. (The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos). It contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition[3] (Western Sahara and Somaliland); a potential of 65 member-states.

There is the proposal for all countries on the African continent to convene and confederate and form a Single Market among the member-states. This would be transformative. See the full news article here:

Title: Op-Ed: How Africa can create a Continental Free Trade Area
By: Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority

Ours is a continent rich in resources. From the coffee beans and cotton to mineral ores and oil wells, Africa is world-renowned for its raw materials.

However, exporting raw materials alone will not allow Africa to reach its potential. Indeed, the recent slump in global commodity prices has served as a harsh reminder that our traditional reliance on raw materials needs to evolve. It is only by transforming our commodities into value added goods that Africa will reap the full benefits of our natural strengths. Transforming our resources will create larger profit margins, growth and jobs. This transformation will, however, require a big industrialisation drive across the continent to foster trade and growth.

In the wake of Africa Industrialisation Day, which this year reflected on how to accelerate Africa’s progress towards the creation of a Continental Free Trade Area, we must also consider the supporting infrastructure required to make this pre-eminent objective a reality. All economies – on the global scale, but also on the regional and local level – demand a high level of circulation, which is only possible through the development of the necessary infrastructure.

In Africa, the lack of infrastructure is one of the greatest inhibitions preventing transformative growth. Ours is the only continent in the world without a transcontinental railway; in a continent where 16 out of 54 countries are landlocked, this is a real issue. Our infrastructure development therefore needs to be multimodal, ensuring that our coastlines are connected to our railways, airways and highways so that in-land countries and coastal countries are sharing in each others’ successes.

Beyond our transport links and trade zones, we also need to develop one further key aspect in our infrastructure framework: energy production. Around 600 million Africans still live without power on a daily basis. Not only is this unsustainable for our own populations but it is untenable if we are to attract foreign investors. To truly be players on the global stage, Africa needs to make sure that it has the capacity to support the industrial needs of the best of business from around the world.

As the Chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority, I’ve made this industrial transformation, of both my country and the surrounding region, a priority. In the last year, we have completed and opened three state-of-the-art port facilities which have the capacity to welcome over 30,000 ships every year. As Djibouti sits on two of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes, our country has a key role to play in regional development, by ensuring our neighbours also benefit from this strategic location. Thus, the recently launched Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway will allow the continent’s fastest growing economy,

Ethiopia, to profit from our maritime façade. Already, over 90% of Ethiopia’s trade passes through Djibouti and infrastructure development is vital in ensuring that these trade routes are as efficient as possible.

In terms of our energy infrastructure, Djibouti has developed strong partnerships to strengthen investment in vital gas projects. Only last week, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Djibouti and the Chinese company Poly CGL. This MoU is the start of an important process which will see investment in a gas pipeline, a liquefaction plant and an export terminal in the south of the country, in Damerjog.

Industrial transformation is a long term effort. We will only achieve it with methodical determination and cooperation, as we enter a turning point for the continent. Africa is the second most populated continent in the world with over 1.2 billion inhabitants. By 2050, it is estimated that around a quarter of the world’s population will be living on the African continent. Several African countries are among the fastest growing in the world in terms of economic growth. Out of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, 3 of them are located in East Africa: Ethiopia, Djibouti and Tanzania. Now is the moment at which we must work hard to keep pace with the rate at which our continent is transforming.

Source: CNBC Africa; posted November 24, 2017; retrieved November 29, 2017 from:


The Caribbean will “pay more than the usual attention” to these developments of 65 member-states for Africa. We have our own roadmap for integration, convention and confederation here in the Caribbean region. This quest is projected in the book Go Lean … Caribbean as it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This would be the administrator – a federal government – of a regional Single Market of the Caribbean’s 30 member-states.

With the same goal, the same heavy-lifting is necessary. This is true for Africa and the Caribbean; there would be the need to forge “Pluralistic Democracies” in each region. Imagine the diverse languages, religions, tribes, ethnicities and colonial heritage.  This is the epitome of pluralism, the recognition and affirmation of diversity within a political body. Success or failure with the African pluralism efforts can provide a lot of lessons for the Caribbean effort.

This CU/Go Lean roadmap does more than just forge a Single Market; it has a charter to elevate all the societal engines. As there is the need to assuage the societal defects and deficiencies in the region – there are many. The following are the 3 prime directives designed to elevate society and assuage deficiencies:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

Wow, for the BIG ideas of fostering a Single Market … to elevate the economic engines for 1.2 billion people in Africa and 42 million people in the Caribbean.

The Go Lean book has a scope of the Caribbean only. Though we will pay attention to Africa, there is no effort to impact that region with strategies, tactics or implementations. We must sing the song, but have our own twist:

Africa Unite!

‘Cause the children wanna come home.
Not to fight your wars, but to love your shores.

Our limited scope is to “observe and report” on Africa and the rest of the world, while we “serve and protect” the Caribbean. The Go Lean book presented BIG ideas for reforming and transforming the economic-security-governing engines for the 42 million people in our 30 Caribbean member-states. The book stresses that our Caribbean effort must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

There have been a number of previous blog-commentaries by the Go Lean movement that have highlighted lessons-learned from Africa. Consider this sample here: West African Case Study: ECOWAS to Launch ‘Single Currency’ UberEverything in Africa Role Model: African Standby Force A Lesson in History – Royal Charter: Zimbabwe -vs- South Africa A Lesson in History – Royal Charters: Truth & Consequence The African Renaissance Monument

In summary, shepherding the continental region of Africa is no simple task. It requires the best practices of skilled technocrats. Hopefully the African member-states will thrive with this effort.

We will be watching!

Hopefully too, the Single Market efforts in our region – Caribbean Single Market & Economy – will proceed. This subject was detailed in the Go Lean book (Page 15); consider this sample:

What is the CSME? The initials refer to the Caribbean Single Market & Economy, the attempted integrated development strategy envisioned at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community which took place in July 1989 in Grand Anse, Grenada. The Grand Anse Declaration had three key features:

1. Deepening economic integration by advancing beyond a common market towards a Single Market and Economy.

2. Widening the membership and thereby expanding the economic mass of the Caribbean Community (e.g. Suriname and Haiti were admitted as full members in 1995 and 2002 respectively).

3. Progressive insertion of the region into the global trading and economic system by strengthening trading links with non-traditional partners.

What was the hope for CSME? Whereas CariCom started as a Common Market and Customs Union, to facilitate more intra-region trade, the CSME was intended to effect more integration of the economies of the member states. But this turned out to be mere talk, fanciful murmurings of politicians during their bi-annual Heads of Government meetings. No deployment plans ever emerged, even though up to 15 member-states signed on to the accord; (and 10 more as “Observers” only).

The benefits of a Single Market are too alluring to ignore: larger market, expanded trade, leveraging economic shocks across a larger base naturally associated with a Free Market economy.

Let’s do this … more earnestly in the Caribbean region.

We need to follow through on the words of Bob Marley – “African Unite” – and apply them here at home:

Caribbean Unite: ‘Cause the children wanna come home.

We urge all Caribbean stakeholders – government officials, residents and Diaspora – to lean-in for the empowerments detailed in this Go Lean roadmap. Yes, we can!  We can make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

How good and how pleasant it would …

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO – Africa Unite –

Published on Jun 24, 2009 – Lyrics

Africa, Unite
‘Cause we’re moving right out of Babylon,
And we’re going to our Father’s land, yea-ea.

How good and how pleasant it would be before God and man, yea-eah! –
To see the unification of all Africans, yeah! –
As it’s been said a’ready, let it be done, yeah!
We are the children of the Rastaman;
We are the children of the Iyaman.

So-o, Africa unite:
‘Cause the children (Africa unite) wanna come home.
Africa unite:
‘Cause we’re moving right out of Babylon, yea,
And we’re grooving to our Father’s land, yea-ea.

How good and how pleasant it would be before God and man
To see the unification of all Rastaman, yeah.
As it’s been said a’ready, let it be done!
I tell you who we are under the sun:
We are the children of the Rastaman;
We are the children of the Iyaman.

So-o: Africa unite,
Afri – Africa unite, yeah!
Unite for the benefit (Africa unite) for the benefit of your people!
Unite for it’s later (Africa unite) than you think!
Unite for the benefit (Africa unite) of my children!
Unite for it’s later (Africa uniting) than you think!
Africa awaits (Africa unite) its creators!
Africa awaiting (Africa uniting) its Creator!
Africa, you’re my (Africa unite) forefather cornerstone!
Unite for the Africans (Africa uniting) abroad
Unite for the Africans (Africa unite) a yard! [fadeout]

  • Category: Music 
  • License: Standard YouTube License


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