Pan-Africanism embodied in Egypt

Bukar Mohammed Atiyaye
Thursday 3 Jun 2021

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Martin Luther king


Pan-Africanism is a global movement meant to encourage and strengthen unity between Africans, including those in the diaspora that are of African descent. The movement promotes peace and prosperity while boldly stressing that Africans don’t only share a common history, but a common destiny, and that unity of those of African descent is needed for economic, social, and political progress.

Pan-Africanism, which can be traced back to the 19th century, was initiated to constructively fight against the enslavement and colonisation of African peoples. The movement recorded a massive success, one of which was giving birth to the Organisation of African Unity, which later became known as the African Union (AU).

The primary goal of Pan-Africanism to eradicate enslavement and colonisation was achieved. Emphasis has now shifted to promote unity and solidarity among African states, enhance economic development, and stimulate international cooperation. The AU's Agenda 2063 gave us all we need when it comes to Pan-Africanism, such as the drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress, and collective prosperity of African peoples. In its precise term, the agenda envisions “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”

The vision of Agenda 2063 can be fully realised through the collective efforts of African states. African states made practical contributions, that are commendable and encouraged, to their counterparts.

Egypt for example, has a long history of strong advocacy of Pan-Africanism that can be traced back to the rule of late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser. Until today, under the leadership of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the spirit of Pan-Africanism has been geared up where the country has continued to play key roles in the areas of peace, security, education, humanitarian affairs, and cultural affairs across Africa.

South Sudan is a very good example. It is the most recent sovereign state and has gained widespread recognition both in the continental and global arenas. It is also one of the youngest nations in the world, with half of its 12 million population under 18 years old.

Egypt supports South Sudan and many other African countries in the spirit of Pan-Africanism. It has left a mark in the recovery and development of South Sudan.

Recently, under the ambassadorship of Mohamed Kadah, who has been regarded by many as the ambassador of Egypt to the whole of Africa, a lot has been remarkably achieved.

During his tenure, Egypt has been supporting the implementation of the Revitalised Peace Agreement in Southern Sudan, as it sent military aid to South Sudan on board a number of Egyptian military aircraft, including 32,000 full military uniforms (14,000 full military uniforms in May 2020, and 18,000 in September and October 2019), in addition to 1,000 tents and 10 tons of medicines and medical equipment as part of the Egyptian contribution to the establishment of troop assembly centres (cantons).

Egypt organised an air bridge to transport humanitarian aid to alleviate the catastrophic repercussions of the floods in southern Sudan in September 2020, based on the directives of President El-Sisi, and in response to President Salva Kiir's declaration of the "state of emergency." The total volume of aid provided reached about 80 tons of food, tents and supplies. Food and medicine were dispatched in three shipments.

The aid was received by Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Manawa Peter, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Peter Mayan, Governor of Jonglei State Dinai Shagur, President of Pibor District Administration Joshua Kony, and Deputy Minister of Finance AgokMcCur.

Egypt also sent humanitarian aid on 1 March 2020 on board two military aircraft, according to the directives of President El-Sisi, to alleviate the suffering of the southern citizens who were affected by the floods that struck the country. The aid included 14 tons of medicine.

Cairo dispatched a shipment of medical aid to curb the spread of the coronavirus on 5 September 2020, amounting to about 1.5 tons of gloves, sterile masks, goggles, medical shoes, and protective suits (estimated at about $100, 000).

The aid was sent within the framework of a presidential pledge, granting $4 million in aid to the African Fund to Combat the Coronavirus, by providing in-kind assistance to 20 African countries.

The shipment was received by Elizabeth Ashoy, the southern minister of health, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Health and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A shipment of medical aid arrived on 6 June 2020, and included 12 tons of disinfectants and medical supplies, as part of the Egyptian Ministry of Defence efforts to provide medical assistance to combat the pandemic in 10 African countries, including South Sudan.

Egypt sent two shipments of medical aid to southern Sudan on board two war planes on 18 and 21 May 2020, based on the directives of President El-Sisi, to combat the pandemic. They included 11 tons of medicines in addition to 15,000 protective suits and eight tons of baby milk.

In addition, the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development provided a shipment of relief aid on 8 March 2021, which included half a ton of medicine to alleviate the human suffering as a result of the floods for IDP centres in South Sudan. The shipment was delivered to Rebecca Garang, vice president of South Sudan, who expressed her appreciation for the immediate response to the request for assistance. She also noted that Egypt was one of the first countries to respond to her country's needs.

In March 2021, Egypt delivered another patch of Humanitarian aid to the IDPs in South Sudan. The aid was issued by Kadah and received by Garang. Targeting the displaced persons as a result of communal violence and floods, another massive assistance of 26 tons of food from the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development is on the way. It will similarly be handed over to Garang.

These are but a few examples of the humanitarian assistance Egypt has provided over the last couple of years. And even more importantly, Egypt is a long-standing development partner of South Sudan, providing assistance in vital areas, such as education, healthcare, training, and capacity building. What is very unique about this is that Egypt has always been the first country to offer support to South Sudan whenever the need arises.

It is widely accepted that “behind every success is a great team and the core of every great team is a strong leader.” These were only possible under the passionate and sincere leadership of Ambassador Kadah who pledged to tirelessly promote the Agenda of Egypt and President El-Sisi by being a great support in the development of every country he’s assigned to, especially African countries.

I personally think it is high time all strong African countries emulate Egypt in supporting their African counterparts. That is surely a promising way of attaining Vision 2063.

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

* The writer is a fellow of the Pan-Africa Summer School Egypt. 

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