Evidently, the African Union was established in May 2001 to replace the defunct OAU. Its role is wide-ranging and among them to achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa. Since 2001, the body served as a platform that enabled all member states to adopt coordinated positions on matters of common concern to the continent in international fora and defend the interests of Africa effectively.
Indeed, despite this important function, the AU is regularly criticised in the discharge of its duties. It has often been accused of being an institution that keeps failing. There is also growing opinion that its existence is only to organise regular summits and come up with resolutions that are never implemented. Certainly, such thinking needed to be reversed.
While the views of the body continue to vary on Africa’s challenges, expectations remain high. The African Union is placed to provide solutions to Africa’s problems. The recent xenophobic attacks apparently instigated by a combination of factors, including the pervading level of unemployment and poverty is worrying. This is also true of the thousands of African youths trying to reach Europe illegally.
Thus, the African Union must as a matter of urgency step up in the discharge of its duties. Clearly, the need to galvanise Africa’s resources for the greater good is the way forward. This will actually be dependent on the AU’s ability to apply strategies that are friendly to the continent’s collective progress.
Our concern is that the integration of Africa, which has been pointed to as one of the most important steps to secure Africa’s well-being, may be significantly affected if the AU fails to address these problems. It is a tall task, but it has to be done with utmost seriousness.]]>