On 09 September 1999, the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity issued a Declaration calling for the establishment of an African Union (AU) Some of the primary objectives of the AU are to accelerate the process of integration on the continent and enable it to play its rightful role in the global economy; while also addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems. It further seeks to: rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonisation and discrimination; promote unity and solidarity among African States; co-ordinate and intensify cooperation for development; safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and; promote international co-operation within the framework of the United Nations.
Amelioration and consummate self-reliance are undoubtedly still the majority of Africans’ dreams. It is attainable. However, it will have to take passages from the Freedom Charter and apply them to succeed. Such passagesinclude:the people shall govern; all national groups shall have equal rights; the land shall be shared among those who work it; all shall be equal before the law and; there shall be peace and friendship.
These are the noble and essential aspirations, mandatory if Africa is ever going to finally be rid of the curse of ‘The Scramble for Africa’. There are literally scores of organisations devoted to the restitution of Africa. However, the true driving force founded by Africans for Africans and solely about Africa – with no underlying agendas – is the African Union (AU).
Born from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the founding of the AU was an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent.
The Member States of the AU are the 54 sovereign states that have ratified or acceded to the Constitutive Act of the African Union. Only one member state, the Central African Republic, had been suspended due to political struggles and a coup d’état. Indeed, as a continental organisation, the AU provides an effective forum that enables all its Member States to adopt co-ordinated positions on matters of common concerns to Africa and to defend and protect its interests.
While Africa may never have a squeaky clean reputation, it can be turned into a safe and fair haven, free of corruption. It can be a continent where people want to live and belong. In turn, all must play a part in ensuring that the scourge of corruption, theft and fraud are curtailed to the lowest possible levels.
The AU has been instrumental in governments working together more frequently, especially across shared boarders, to curb drug and human trafficking, money laundering, influxes of illegal immigrants and the recapture of escaped fugitives. Such partnerships have paid off handsomely and great inroads have been made in preventing corruption, which very often require cross-boarder liaison to be successful. Internally and internationally, the highest officials of the different States have joined hands and shared resources, which are also paying dividends. While Africa may never have a squeaky clean reputation, it can be turned into a safe and fair haven, free of corruption. It can be a continent where people want to live and belong. In turn, all must play a part in ensuring that the scourge of corruption, theft and fraud are curtailed to the lowest possible levels.
Through the AU’s Co-ordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa, the continent has worked and spoken as one. With combined determination, the AU is forging an international consensus in support of the liberation struggle and the fight against inequality and dominance. The AU has cemented commercial and cultural partnerships with virtually every important nation in the world. One of the most rewarding and beneficial partnerships to date is with China.
This article was written by FREDERICK ERASMUS