The Challenges Of The African Union In Durban, South Africa

1625 Words 7 Pages
1. Introduction
Durban, South Africa was the place 53 Head of States from across Africa met and created the African Union. The Head of States bid farewell to the defunct Organization of African Unity and welcomed the new African Union. All this happened on July 9, 2002. During the gathering, African leaders praised OAU’s achievements. They welcomed the new Union and argued that this was a new dawn for the Africans. The African leaders elected Thambo Mbeki, the host president, as the new AU president. Mr. Mbeki promised that AU would liberate Africans and bring stability to the continent’s economy. He correctly pointed out at poverty and perennial underdevelopment as the central issues to be addressed by the new union. Other African leaders
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Many Africans lay the blame on OAU. Political conflicts in Africa have become bloody and nastier. These political conflicts come from communities, and then it expands to the national level, then to the regional level. Many civil wars have turned into inter-state conflicts (Wallace, 2009).
Civil wars are a clear indication that OAU failed to achieve one of its critical roles, that of bringing unity and solidarity to African States. These are just evidences of how OAU was ill equipped to bring prosperity to Africa. States that have experienced civil wars have relied on foreign interventions to resolve these skirmishes. Political scientists had an emerging consensus that OAU was incapable of tackling the problems present in Africa. Therefore, Africa needed a new path and direction in order to survive (Wallace, 2009).
2.1 Road to
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The leaders wanted a new body because there was a demand for improvement of African economy and the need for political integration. Hopeful Africans saw this as a conceptual, theoretical construct, as well some truth element. Certainly, African’s flirtation began during the pre-independence period. Surprisingly, even in the 20th century, the idea of regional integration was with many Africans. For example, in 1910, there was the establishment of the Sothern African Customs Union. The union demonstrated the ability of Africans developing a regional integration. Other integration bodies were formulated in the mid of the 20th century, such as the short-lived Union Douaniere L’Afrique del’ Quest in 1959. There was also the Sene-Gambia confederation in 1981 and the Maghreb Permanent Consultative Committee in 1965. There was the three-member East African Community, which was an on-again-off-again local organization. EAC was formed in 1967, disbanded in 1977, and then revived in 1994. In 1983, 11 African countries established the Economic Community of Central African States. In 1993, 19 African countries formed the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. The same year, 1993, 13 countries in Southern Africa established the Southern Africa Development Community. In 1975, 15 states formed the Economic Community of West African States (Murray,

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