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State development concepts
State development concepts
State development concepts
State development concepts
State development concepts
State development concepts
State development concepts
State development concepts
State development concepts
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State development concepts

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This presentation is a simple overview of the African union, featuring its main objectives and some of the major challenges it is facing as a union. it helps to answer the question; who truly drives …

This presentation is a simple overview of the African union, featuring its main objectives and some of the major challenges it is facing as a union. it helps to answer the question; who truly drives the sole African agenda?

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  • 1. 1 INTRODUCTION The African Union (AU, or, in its other official languages, UA) is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. The AU was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South African to replace the Organization of African Unity (OAU). 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, Ethiopia. The African Union is made up of both political and administrative bodies. The highest decision-making organ is the Assembly of the African Union, made up of all the heads of state or government of member states of the AU. The Assembly is chaired by Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, elected at the 20th ordinary meeting of the Assembly in January 2013. The AU also has a representative body, the Pan African Parliament, which consists of 265 members elected by the national parliaments of the AU member states. Its president is Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi. Other political institutions of the AU include the Executive Council, made up of foreign ministers, which prepares decisions for the Assembly; the Permanent Representatives Committee, made up of the ambassadors to Addis Ababa of AU member states; and the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), a civil society consultative body. The AU Commission, the secretariat to the political structures, is chaired by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa. On 15 July 2012, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma became the first female head of the African Union Commission, replacing Jean Ping of Gabon.
  • 2. 2 The objectives of the AU are: 1. To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the people of Africa; 2. To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States; 3. To accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent; 4. To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; 5. To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 6. To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent; 7. To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance; 8. To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments; 9. To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations; 10.To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies; 11.To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples;
  • 3. 3 12.To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union; 13.To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology; 14.To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent. Challenges facing the African Union: 1. Funding A major challenge facing the African Union is funding. The union’s 2013 budget was approved at a summit in July 2012. 44% of the funds come from the member states, while the remainder comes from development partners, leaving the question; who truly drives the African agenda? Only 4% of this goes towards programs of the AU, while 96% of the funds go to operational costs. This means that program cost for key institutions are being payed for by the donors. While only 5 contribute 2/3 of the portion from AU member states. AU also faces a major task of dealing with corruption and illicit flow of money from Africa especially by the extractive industries. The continent possesses great wealth but little of this is used for the development of the continent. These problems have seen most of the AU’s development programs unachievable or rather paralyzed. Lack of enough funding has also crippled some of the AU’s important operations such as peace keeping missions. For example, in response to the Darfur conflict in Sudan, the AU had deployed 7,000 peacekeepers, many from Rwanda and Nigeria, to Darfur. While a donor's conference in Addis Ababa in 2005 helped raise funds to sustain the peacekeepers year and into 2006, in July 2006 the AU said it would pull out at the end of September that year when its mandate expires. Critics of the AU peacekeepers said these forces were largely ineffective due to lack of funds. In June 2006, the United States Congress appropriated US$173 million for the AU force. Some, such as the Genocide Intervention Network, have called for United Nations (UN) or NATO intervention to augment and/or replace the AU peacekeepers.
  • 4. 4 The UN had considered deploying a force, though it would not likely enter the country until at least October 2007.The under-funded and badly equipped AU mission was set to expire on 31 December 2006 but was extended to 30 June 2007 and merged with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur in October 2007. 2. Political issues. Africa is still in the political development phase, confronted with the challenge of promoting: - Greater democracy - Good governance - The rule of law and respect for human rights - Effectively addressing humanitarian crisis. Despite the progress achieved, there still remains a formidable challenge facing the African Union in the above areas. Confronting undemocratic regimes and mediating in civil wars has deemed to be a major hurdle facing the AU. Although democratic principles have been adopted by major countries, political pluralism, transparency and freedom are still lacking in many countries that is conducive in bringing about sustainable development and accelerating economic integration of the continent. The union is trying to assist in ensuring that all African countries respect human rights and finding durable solutions for problems of refugees and addressing the causes and symptoms of humanitarian crisis such as civil wars and terrorism. For example; The African union is also faced with an uphill task of ensuring compliance by member states and facilitating inter-African cooperation in political affairs. Poor cooperation among the member states has weakened the process of development of common political positions for use in international negotiations and also mobilization of international mobilization of international support for the African political agenda. The AU is also trying to deal with the problem of divided loyalties in that the member states are also members of other organizations. This in a way affects the member states’ full commitment to the union.
  • 5. 5 Countries belonging to different organizations have different ideologies and also advocate for different interests this brings a form of virtual ideological rivalry which indeed affects the unity of the African member states. Africa also lacks core representation on the international `table’ of negotiation and decision making thus facing some form of virtual isolation by being on the peripheral when it comes to pushing for the sole African agenda. 3. Economic issues The current economic situation in Africa is paradoxical although it is the richest continent in terms of natural resources; Africa remains the poorest and the least developed region in the world. The African union is trying to resolve the numerous problems accounting for this paradox so as to see Africa emerge as a major global partner and become a continent of opportunities and a large potential market. AU’s concerted efforts together with the international community can accelerate this process. Although the economic growth over the last few years have been impressive, it is still below the rate of 7% pa that is required for Africa to achieve the millennium development goals. The AU has to focus also on the global economy especially the increased demand for commodities. The rapid growth of the economies of the emerging powers of the south eg China has intensified global competition for Africa’s natural resources which has become a major source of their recent economic growth. The union has to ensure it maintains and enhances this economic growth through introduction and deepening of economic reforms. These reforms are necessary for the continent to effectively mobilize domestic resources and attract its fair share of global foreign investment and capital flows. There are still major challenges with regards to the promotion of business in Africa. AU is working on ensuring legal and regulatory frameworks, governance and accountability, policy reforms, incentives and support for business have been enhanced in most African countries. Generally, the AU is faced with a major task of creating a more investment and trade friendly climate. The AU is also working on ensuring that Africa is able to industrialize and produce finished goods instead of selling raw materials which only fetch less income to the
  • 6. 6 continent, or better still try to see to it that Africa’s raw materials are bought at the right prices to avoid exploitation. 4. Illiteracy Illiteracy is the quality or condition of being unable to read and write. It has got serious effects especially on Africa as a continent. Illiteracy is found to increase the vulnerability of the people to various problems. The African union has undertaken several attempts especially towards the millennium development goals on education. Illiteracy has been mostly increased by economic poverty, poor education goals and some cultural aspects. In fact it is said that poverty has got a ‘genetic’ element, that is to say that children of the illiterate are likely to illiterate too. Education should be seen as an important aspect through which knowledge and skills on various ways in which the community or nation develops are passed, therefore it is true to say that an illiterate person may no acquire these skills. Various opportunities that may earn a country foreign exchange come with education, which most of the African union member states have not perfected. It is true to say that an illiterate nation is likely to import skilled labour, this is expensive not only to the nation but also to the African Union as the overall body since most of the member states are affected by illiteracy. This happens due to the inability of the illiterate to access the skills necessary for such opportunities. The African Union therefore needs to fight illiteracy by; improving on the funding of the education sectors of different member states for instance the Union may offer scholarships to a higher number of bright students, the Union might also try to help the member states improve on their education policies by offering technical advice. 5.Promoting peace. For the promotion of peace, security, and stability on the continent, the AU allows for intervention, however, they have had very limited access in doing so. One of their few successes was in the deployment of troops to Somalia in 2007, and some analysts believe the AU, along with the Kenyan and Ethiopian forces, to have done a better job of pacifying Mogadishu than any other outside force. More recently, however, the AU came in for criticism for its failure to intervene earlier in the civil war in Libya, as well as its delay in recognizing the new Libyan
  • 7. 7 leaders. It is understandable that the AU would be reluctant to recognize the rebels who overthrew a man who did much to found the union, but it was also a failure to act decisively at a time when intervention was needed. AU continues to face similar challenges in other war ridden countries. 6. Poverty. Africa’s economic growth in recent years has been impressive, but it has not translated into any meaningful reduction of poverty. According to a recent report on Millennium Development Goals. Africa is not on track towards meeting the MDGs. The challenge that the AU is facing in general therefore is how to promote equity with growth and improve the quality of their economic growth by making it pro-poor and ensure that growth is broadly shared in terms of generating decent employment, poverty reduction and attainment of the MDGs. Poverty in Africa is heavily concentrated in rural areas and among disadvantaged groups, especially women, youth and informal sector operations. It is a great responsibility of the AU to ensure empowerment of people at the grassroots level and disadvantaged groups to enhance their capacity for productive employment and decent income which is critical to the attainment of sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. The AU is faced with the need to reduce poverty which entails putting more emphasis in monetary and fiscal policy especially public expenditure on meeting the basic needs of the poor. Measures such as the provision of the free or subsidized basic health and education, rural water supply, subsidized farm inputs. By eradicating poverty among the member states, the AU will be able to not only be able to fund its operations and institutions but also focus on other objectives an drive the sole African agenda successfully. 7. health
  • 8. 8 Most nations under the African Union face heath problems and hence high mortality rate. This leads to loss of labor and eventually slow economic growth rate. Inhibited economic growth rate in the member states results to slow economic growth of the union too. One of the major health constraints faced by these nations is the problem of disease burden, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis being the major diseases. These diseases overwhelm the heath sector, despite the health sector being heavily invested on the member states still cannot completely eradicate these diseases. Limited financing and poor health policies affect most of these nations; the health sector in these nations does not receive enough funds to solve these problems due to young economies. The nations on the other hand do not effectively plan for the health sector. Poor planning leads to minimum utilization of the less funds allocated to the health sectors. This may even discourage donors. Most of the population under the African Union falls below the poverty line. This means that even the little health facilities available and the drugs; affordability and accessibility is still a major problem. Most of these people cannot afford drugs and the services. Most of the labour in the health sectors of these nations lack the adequate skills needed to solve the problem of most of these diseases. This is a major setback in the health sector. The African Union as an organization bears the responsibility to guide the health sector of the member states. The union should therefore offer more technical training on important skills and knowledge about the diseases. Due to the poverty levels of the people, the union may offer important services to the people for free, for example running vaccination in the villages. Another challenge being policies on the health sector, African union may try to offer technical advice that may help the nations to develop their health sectors. Health still remain a major challenge to the African Union and therefore ken interest should be taken to ensure the elimination of these problems hence reduce the mortality rate. CONCLUSION: It is too early to declare the AU a failure after a mere eleven years in existence. It could be argued that African countries have been remarkably successful in maintaining Africa’s colonially demarcated borders, which has brought a degree of harmony to inter-
  • 9. 9 continental foreign relations. Perhaps we are asking too much from a continent still trying to terms with its colonial past. The existence of AU is crucial despite the challenges it faces. However a greater effort is needed to show its relevancy and ensure the continent has a stronger voice in the global area rather than a mere whisper drowned out by stronger players. REFERENCES: -www.africa-union.org - www.hiiranonline.com/au -w ww.Africamasterweb.com "The African Union, NEPAD and Human Rights: The Missing Agenda" Human Rights Quarterly Vol.26, No.4, November 2004 - 13th AU summit June 2009, Sirte, Libya -"African move on Bashir dismissed". BBC News. 5 July 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010 - www.bbc.co.uk/news/worldafrica. - www.au.int/en/commission

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