How can African Union be more relevant?

African union headquarters
AU headquarters

Since its inception, African Union member states are been actively engaged in the building, defense, and growth of the African continent. It is the dream of most African countries to see a United African continent which is devoid of the usual squabbling and violent conflict.


Africans all over the continent are beginning to reap the fruit of a  fast-growing continent with international relationship between various countries currently at it's highest point. African leaders are working together to spearhead the continent’s transformation and direct its development.

African Union General meeting (Photo credit: Reuter)

African Union was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa, with the aim of replacing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union.


Role of the African Union

AU is in a position to provide the leadership for Africa to develop into a much more effective competitor in the global economy and a full participant in global governance. To do so, the AU must move aggressively to deal with some pressing issues in order to secure peace and security in several countries and avert descend into anarchy and genocide. In the long-run, the AU should help its member countries develop and adopt institutional arrangements and governing processes that guarantee the rule of law, enhance the protection of human rights (including especially those of women and other vulnerable groups), and promote inclusive growth and development.

Since it became operational, the AU has faced many challenges, some of them linked to problems that have plagued the continent for many decades such as chronic poverty; political instability and violent mobilization by various subcultures; corruption and other forms of impunity and others like terrorism and violent extremism that have come to the fore since the turn of the century.

The African continent is currently plagued with social, political and economic upheaval, the lack of trade between member states is also an important issue preventing the rapid economic integration and expansion in the continent.

The AU's future goals should include the creation of a free trade area, a customs union, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency, thereby establishing an economic and monetary union. The current plan is to establish an African Economic Community with a single currency by 2023.
Africans must know that an African Union Defense Force (AUDF), a Joint Standing Army, a Quick Responsive Police, all with the required expertise and logistics, multi-layered strategies and rapid mobilization, for example, will make Africans begin to live in peace, in tranquility, and in harmony.

So, with the continent's many problems still unresolved, just how relevant is the African Union? And is real African unity achievable?

AU Troops on parade

The new headquarters of the African Union (AU) is a $200m building, the tallest in the Ethiopian capital and was built entirely by the Chinese, Paid for with Chinese funds and constructed by Chinese workers, the AU's new home in Addis Ababa is concrete evidence of Beijing's desire to increase its influence in Africa.

Early January 2018, French reports indicate that the Chinese were spying on African Union using sophisticated eavesdropping device.

Some foreign analysts suggest that AU nations will still need to work closely with Europe and the United States and more recently, the Chinese.

"The AU saw Sudan as a possible success story, with it leading the peacekeeping force in Darfur, but there was an attempt by America and the West to take this over, and this continues to be a matter of tension." - Abdelwahab El Effendi, a former Sudanese diplomat

A United Africa will break this system of exploitation by foreign nations as well as challenge the historical basis for slavery and colonialism in Africa.
It will also bring to an end the ongoing use of Africa as the dumping ground for western toxic waste; for using Africa as the experimentation ground for western diplomatic and foreign policies. Giving Africa a voice in the international stage.

Geography of African Union.
Member states of the African Union cover almost the entirety of continental Africa and several off-shore islands. Consequently, the geography of the African Union is wildly diverse, including the world's largest hot desert (the Sahara), huge jungles and savannas, and the world's longest river (the Nile).
The AU presently has an area of 29,922,059 km² (18,592,705 mi²), with 24,165 km (15,015 mi) of coastline. The vast majority of this area is on continental Africa, while the only significant territory off the mainland is the island of Madagascar (the world's fourth largest island), accounting for slightly less than 2% of the total.

African Economic Outlook 2018 presented to African Union.

Potential for growth
Do Africans really know that Africa has 770 million people which will make an African Union one of the biggest and most attractive markets in the world? Do they know that an African Union will be blessed with 40 percent of the world’s potential hydroelectric power supply?


Have Africans realized that an African Union will have the bulk of the world’s diamond supply? Do they also know how that an African continental government will inherit over 90 percent of the world’s cobalt, 70 percent of its cocoa, 64 percent of its manganese, 60 percent of its coffee, and 50 percent of its palm oil? Do Africans recognize that they are the potential owners under a continental commonwealth of the 50 percent of the world’s phosphates, 50 percent of its gold production, 40 percent of its platinum, 30 percent of its uranium, and 20 percent of the total petroleum traded in the world market?

True African Union will only succeed when the people of Africa are ready and willing to press for success.

Ekene Lionel

Techy, Futurist, Award-winning defense technology writer.