On compiling data on Africa, we always include the North African (or Maghreb) countries. The point many residents ponder on is: Am I an African, or Arab. The Africans feel Maghrebis are not African enought, the Arabs feel North Africans are not Arab enough. If you listen to Africans reciting the Quran, it is almost a heart-felt love affair in a jazzy fashion. For the Arabs it an art of recital and emphasis on accuracy of the word and diction.

For me, instead of starting a borderless Africa, we have to start by working through each regional entity. The UN has different regional divisions from say the Africa Report. But, it is a start as it will allow for five major areas. Imagine the power!

Economic Regions as defined by the UN

The leaders in each of these regions have to work together to deliver inter-country infrastructure links. I was most horrified to see how Zimbabweans living in South Africa travel to their home country, often at great expense and in overcrowded buses. We need a dedicated, safe and fast railway line. Air travel is already climate compromised, but rail is not. If we are to trade successfully and often, then the barriers have to allow for a ease of entry/exit.

The statistics in South Africa border crossing is quite revealing. Of the 10 million departure border crossing, one third are through Lesotho, followed by Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Mozambique and lastly Botswana. There have been fluctuations over a ten year period, with Mozambicans slightly higher over the past four years and Zimbabweans a little lower. This could be due to some of them living permanently in the country with families, so there is little need to travel annually.

The recent boycott of African countries from entry into the UK should be a bold step to create a higher volume of inter-African trade and tourism. This will make North African residents identify and also want to do what is best for the continent. #Africa
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