Besides, it was Friday.
As on most Fridays, The Ambassador walked to the embassy, breathing the fresh clean air, while enjoying the quiet cleaned streets in the Frogner district.
His motto was “start early on Friday in Norway.”
By lunchtime, most of the offices are empty!
He picked up his mobile and dialled. The mobile on the other end rang twice.
“Oddvar,” he said. “Ambassador,” Oddvar answered.
“I was wondering whether you are available for lunch today. I know its short notice,” the Ambassador said.
“Yes, I was just thinking the same. You know it’s a lot going on and we need to meet,” Oddvar replied.
“Noon at Bristol,” the Ambassador asked.
“Sounds perfect, Ambassador. See you.”
From the sound of Oddvar’s voice and his comments about “a lot going on,” the Ambassador sensed urgency in their affairs.
Now though, times have changed.
His job was to safeguard the interests of the African countries through the AUF. Ambassador Geraldo did not want to see the kinds of deals that were struck in the past, which many African countries benefited little from.
Africa has now defined its own interests. Globally, she is a major player. Through the African Union Federation, the interest of 54 countries has been pushed on the global agenda. Through the African Union Federation, African now exercises soft and hard power.
Individual countries were projecting a confidence never seen before. The days when they had “their hands tied” were gone!
Some countries were choosing their friends carefully based on common interest and respect and not based on how much Aid or other largesse was forthcoming.
“Muslim bashing” disguised behind the principle of freedom of speech was not popular with some African Governments. Those that had large Muslim populations were wary of doing business with European countries that were seen to be “bashing Muslims,” as this could create instability within their countries.
Oddvar had given him an impression of genuine interest, but had inadvertently left with him with some uncomfortable feelings.
The intention of giving a prize to a man who could hardly read or write worried the Ambassador.
The Ambassador was also aware of the direct talks the The Natives Government was having with some African governments, sidestepping him.
The extended family acted as a corporate unit, marshalling the labour needed and decided what crops to grow on the land-which was owned by the lineage.
The produce they harvest was for the family and any surplus was sold in the village, in a free market.
Markets were found everywhere in pre-colonial Africa. If it was not the weekly rural markets, it was the larger regional markets. The Ambassador remembers his economic history lessons on the growth of Timbuktu, Kano, Salaga, Sofala and Mombassa.
Free trade routes crisscrossed the continent and prices were not set by any of a chief or King, but through bargaining and market clearing practices.
The industries that grew up in the pre-colonial era was impressive-brass-works, pottery, cloth weaving and mining. Indeed, in the Ambassador’s own country, the glass industry was well advanced.
Well-advanced and flourishing were the clothing and textile business. In the fourteen century, Kano was prominent for its fine indigo-dyed cloth; the Igbo people made cloth from the fibrous bark of trees and the Asante people where famous for their kente and adwumfo.
The Ambassador was a man who believed Africa lost its economic development and industrialization when European colonialist arrived.
His mind went back to his grandparents. He recalled how the colonial exploitation of his people kept them backwards for generation.
Now he was Ambassador. The Ambassador of the forerunner to a United States of Africa. As a diplomat, his job was to represent and protect the interests of the nations and nationals of the AUF.
Copyright. The Diplomat. Francis Stevens George