Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Modern Languages and Literatures

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Daniel Mengara

Committee Member

Rabia Redouane

Committee Member

Joanna Dezio


The present study seeks to explore and analyze the fifty recommendations consigned in Le Manifeste du Cinquantenaire with regards to the project of an African federation in the form of the United States of Africa. This manifesto is the product of a meeting of African intellectuals and state actors in Cotonou, Benin, from the 16th to the 20th of November 2010, on the occasion of the celebration of the 50 years of African independences. It also offers insights into how such a project could become viable and feasible. Indeed, after centuries of colonization, the African continent saw most of the nation-states emerging from colonization become independent in the 1960s. Fifty years later on the occasion of the "International Symposium on the Fiftieth Anniversary of African Independence," African leaders gathered in Cotonou, capital of the Republic of Benin, to discuss the fifty years of independence of the continent. The overarching theme of this symposium was: “Boldness, an unique challenge for a new Africa.” While highlighting the obstacles both exogenous and endogenous that have hampered the development of the continent over the previous 50 years, the Symposium concluded on the need to promote the unification of African states into a federation of states that could empower it and create the conditions of a real Africa-inspired development. Although the idea of the United States of Africa is not new and has been discussed by the fathers of African independence over many decades, this study, which is the first to discuss the unity of Africans in the context of the recommendations of the Manifesto, makes our initiative one of the most original in the matter. While we agree with the proposal that acme out of the Benin symposium, it is our opinion that the success of the project of the United States of Africa will depend on the courage of the Africans themselves insofar as they are willing to move from the usual verbiage to action. Our position and proposal, as expressed in this study, is that for this project to be viable, it should take the form of a federation founded on the abolition of borders and the transformation of the present nation-states into constitutive federal states administered by governors.

As a message to fellow Africans, we would like to use one of President Kennedy’s words and say: “Let us never start out of fear. But let us never fear to start”.

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