What is the point of the African Union

posted in: Politics | 0

Before you write me off completely for asking such a question let me explain

The African Union  (AU) describes itself as  A NEW EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE UNION FOR FOR AN NEW AFRICA. That is all very well but what does it really mean.

This conversation started on Twitter with my  buddy Jimmy after he posted this article. We agreed that Africa would benefit from having an organisation such as the G8/G20 as recommended by the author of the article. I suggested that perhaps the AU would take on such a role.

We then wondered what the Mandate of the AU is and whether in fact it has more clout than its predecessor the Organisation of the African Union (OAU) to take on such a role!

One of the African leaders that is keen on the idea of an African Union with clout is  Gaddafi and the Libyan Students Union here in the UK is leading the Agenda of Diaspora involvement in the new AU. The Agenda is wide ranging and during last Saturday’s (26th June 2010) conference a resolution was passed to formalise the African Union Diaspora arm.

There was a lot of excitement on the day as to the possibilities of such an organisations and the main point of discussion was around the quality of life for Africans in Europe. A question was asked whether it is possible for Africans to have a dignified life in Europe and if not is it best to return home.

An even more important question is what would the AU do to facilitate the diaspora who opted to return to Africa? Are there jobs for the African diaspora to return to? What about human rights? Does the AU guarantee human rights? Does it have enough clout to bring those that abuse human rights to task?

The next AU meeting is Kampala Uganda on 19th July 2010 and there is trouble brewing from this as far as I can work out. This is centered on the outstanding arrest warrant for the Sudanese leader who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for the troubles in Darfur. Would a United States of Africa sign up to International courts that allowed for the arrest of fellow African Presidents or would it protect its own?

The question that I and I suspect some of you reading this is why hasn’t the AU done anything about Somalia, Darfur, Zimbabwe or the millions that end up on the beaches in Spain

I read a journal the other day where the author was calling for a single currency and political system in Africa under the AU and please forgive me for thinking that whilst we still have DR Congo, Darfur etc such a Union is only but a desire and if this BBC article is  to be believed trouble is already  brewing over the  recently formed East African Community.

I don’t mean to be a pessimist and would love to see an organised Africa Union, with clout to negotiate trade terms with the West,  manage its own affairs without reliance on outside forces etc. I however can’t help but wonder if the the right structures and processes are in place for such a Union.

Some amongst us believe that this will happen but the diaspora need to take the lead!

So what do you think?

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