In a recent statement from South Africa’s vocal opposition politician, Julius Malema that challenged Africans to work towards having a decolonised continent, adding that the journey can start with small steps before taking on grand ambitions. Malema, who was briefing journalists in the wake of the visit to South Africa by British prime minister, Theresa May, said the policy of his Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF) is to withdraw the country from the Commonwealth.
This is a bold statement, but if it becomes widely adopted by other African nations can this lead to Marcus Garvey dream of a unified Africa which can expand beyond the scopes of the African Union (AU). Currently the African Union is a continental union consisting of all 55 countries on the Continent of Africa, extending slightly into geographical Asia via the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, except for territories of European countries located in Africa.
It was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa, with the aim of replacing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, with 32 signatory governments. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU’s secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa.
The principal topic for debate at the July 2007 AU summit held in Accra, Ghana, was the creation of a Union Government,with the aim of moving towards a United States of Africa. A study on the Union Government was adopted in late 2006, and proposes various options for “completing” the African Union project. There are divisions among African states on the proposals, with some (notably Libya) following a maximalist view leading to a common government with an AU army; and others (especially the southern African states) supporting rather a strengthening of the existing structures, with some reforms to deal with administrative and political challenges in making the AU Commission and other bodies truly effective.
Following a heated debate in Accra, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government agreed in the form of a declaration to review the state of affairs of the AU with a view to determining its readiness towards a Union Government. In particular, the Assembly agreed to:
- Accelerate the economic and political integration of the African continent, including the formation of a Union Government of Africa;
- Conduct an audit of the institutions and organs of the AU; review the relationship between the AU and the RECs; find ways to strengthen the AU and elaborate a timeframe to establish a Union Government of Africa.
The declaration lastly noted the “importance of involving the African peoples, including Africans in the Diaspora, in the processes leading to the formation of the Union Government.”Unified Economy
Unified Foreign Relations
The individual member states of the African Union coordinate foreign policy through this agency, in addition to conducting their own international relations on a state-by-state basis. The AU represents the interests of African peoples at large in intergovernmental organisations (IGOs); for instance, it is a permanent observer at the United Nations General Assembly. Both the African Union and the United Nations work in tandem to address issues of common concerns in various areas. The African Union Mission in United Nations aspires to serve as a bridge between the two Organisations.
Membership of the AU overlaps with other IGOs and occasionally these third-party organisations and the AU will coordinate matters of public policy. The African Union maintains special diplomatic representation with the United States and the European Union.
In 2016, the Union introduced continent-wide passports.
Upon the election of Donald Trump for the presidency of the U.S., in 2017, the latter passed an executive order for a ban on citizens from seven countries with suspected links to terrorism, that concerns three African countries. During the 28th African Union Summit, in Ethiopia, African leaders criticized the ban as they expressed their growing concerns for the African Economy, under Trump’s policies.
The AU’s future goals include the creation of a free trade area, a customs union, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency (see African Monetary Union), thereby establishing economic and monetary union. The current plan is to establish an African Economic Community with a single currency by 2023.
The process of establishing a unified African Nation is already in progress but it will take time, resources and unbiased, uncorrupted human engagement and willful participation to make the dream of Africans from past and future generations a reality. What do you think?