African Union Summit

First: the website of the African Union.

African leaders discuss unity: Published on radio Netherlands, by Bram Posthumus, July 3, 2007.

Tuesday, 3 July is the last day of the African Union summit, the annual gathering of African heads of state. This time, the Ghanaian capital Accra was the highly symbolic venue. This, after all, was the country whose first president, Kwame Nkrumah, had been at the very forefront of the struggle for a united Africa. The summit was held in Accra this year to commemorate 50 years of Ghanaian independence and honour Mr Nkrumah’s legacy.

In 2007, African unity has an equally emblematic if somewhat less likely figure as its main mover and shaker: the Libyan leader Colonel Muamar Ghadaffi. He is not alone.

Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, an old friend of Ghadaffi’s is among those who thinks that the summit must produce a well laid-out roadmap towards the realisation of the United States of Africa.

Nothing of this is new, as Africa Confidential editor Patrick Smith reminds us. “The idea of a United States of Africa is as old as European colonialism in Africa. It was the original African response to European colonialism. And the African Union was founded five years ago with the explicit target of a United States of Africa, laid down in its Charter.”

Divisions: The AU Charter reflects unity of purpose: a united states of Africa will be established. Still, serious divisions have appeared during the Accra summit and this has everything to do with the way in which a formally united Africa must be achieved, as Patrick Smith explains.

“The real argument at this summit is about the modalities of getting there. The view espoused by South African president Thabo Mbeki and the presidents of Nigeria and Kenya is that there have to be building blocks. And these building blocks are in the Charter: a continental parliament, a continental justice system, central bank and currency. But what they are also saying is that you cannot just declare these building blocks into being tomorrow without preparation.”

So the division is about the pace of creating a United States of Africa: some want it as soon as possible; others want it brought about gradually. It is very likely that the “gradualists” will win the day, if only because among them are the two most powerful African states: South Africa and Nigeria … (full text).

More articles on the African Union Summit:

Slow crawl towards the United States of Africa: PAN-AFRICANISM: African Union leaders listen to a speech during the opening ceremony of the AU summit in Accra, Ghana, on Sunday. Seated, from left, are AU Commission chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali, AU chairperson Ghana President John Kufuor and AU Commission Deputy Chair Patrick Mazimhaka of Rwanda. More than 30 heads of state gathered in Ghana’s capital to debate a pan-African government and to update the bid for a joint UN-African peacekeeping force in Sudan’s Darfur region. (full text).

Stopping spread of HIV key to meeting most Millennium Development Goals, Deputy Secretary-General says in address to African Union summit;

Japan, Italy pledge support for African integration;

Africa: Youssou N’Dour Promotes Pan-African Vision;

Africa summit struggles to find deal on unity;

Summit focuses on African unity;

African Union Summit to Focus on Unity, Darfur;

Kenya: Kibaki for a United African State;

European leaders urge cooperation with Africa;

AU Summit Ends With No Consensus on US of Africa.

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has praised the “fruitful collaboration” between the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) in securing peace and promoting development, calling for strengthened ties between the two organizations to build on this success.


Another website: Transition from the OAU to the African Union – With ‘Background, Historical overview, Decisions of the Lusaka Summit re implementation, Design of the African Union, Organs of the African Union Challenges … ‘ (full text).

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