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African Union, myth or reality of African integration?

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In the beginning of the 21st century, Africa gave the indication of a continent which benefited little from the economic globalization. The African countries became aware of the early interest which represented the co-operation and regional integration as factors that were likely to contribute not only to the acceleration of its economic growth, but also with its integration in the global economy. In July 2002, the African Union (UA) succeeded the Organization of African Unity (OAU). This comprised 32 Member States, and was led by Thabo Mbeki, the former president of the OAU.

Created with the image of the European Union, its ultimate goal was political integration of the continent. Its objective was to work towards the promotion of the democracy, the human rights and the development throughout Africa, especially by the increase in the outside investments via the program of the new partnership for the development of Africa (NEPAD).

These objectives of the African Union also comprise the creation of a central bank of development. According to Article 5 of the partnership deed, the UA includes the Conference, meeting of the heads of state and government annually. It is the decision-making body of the Union. It also comprises the Executive council, the court of justice, the Pan-African Parliament, and the Council of Peace and Safety. Thus, the UA is a very young organization; and it is premature to carry out a true assessment of its action at the present moment. One can analyze some data which made it possible to imagine the future of this new union. However, beyond the enthusiastic official discourses, it is essential to examine the chances of success of this ambitious project. In 2005, after the failure of the OAU, one can analyze how this new union with broader and complicated objectives can succeed. Does it have all the charts in hand to take the political and economic integration of the continent forward? Does the African Union, symbol of a renovated pan-Africanism, constitute the strategic instrument of Africa to take up the challenges of the 21st century?

Therefore it is necessary to analyze how the UA reflects the failures of its predecessor the OAU for effective action and to enable the African continent out of its state of marginalization. And finally to integrate economically and politically. But one will also see the context in which this organization takes its first steps and what obstacles they may face and that could make this task difficult. One will see at first what the UA is threatened by and the problems of Africa, then in a second phase whether the UA is a new organization created to make the real African integration?

Tags: Economic and financial difficulties of the African continent; The symbol African Union; political and economic integration of the continent

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