HENRY MAKORI: African Union needs overhaul
1 weeks ago, 01:13
The African Union held its 11th Extraordinary Summit in Addis Ababa November 17-18, which adopted reforms to make the continental bloc financially independent and more effective.
The reforms were crafted by outgoing chairman Paul Kagame. The Rwandan president was mandated to conduct a study on the state of the union.
The study, released last year, frames the AU’s problems as management failure. It identifies poor implementation of decisions, a perception of limited relevance to Africans, fragmentation of the organisation with numerous focus areas, overdependence on donor funding and limited managerial capacity.
Proposed reforms include focusing on key priorities with continental scope, realigning AU institutions to deliver against those priorities, efficient management of operations and financial self-reliance.
But implementation of these proposals will not cure the AU’s fundamental problem, namely, its loss of ideological grounds. As it stands today, the AU is little more than a club of African heads of state and their imperialist allies competing for African resources and other geostrategic interests.
The AU long lost its bearings as a Pan-Africanist organisation whose raison d'être is anti-imperialism.
The Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner of the AU, was inspired by generations of Pan-Africanists across the Black world who wanted political unity, an Africa union government, global Pan-African solidarity, participatory democracy and a non-capitalist people-centred economy.
Ikaweba Bunting, secretary general of the Pan-African Movement, writes that Pan-Africanism aims to “empower African peoples to control our political destiny, overcome imperialism, impoverishment, racial based oppression and the structural violence of global white supremacy.”
The AU no longer pursues these high ideals. The heads of state who dominate it simply want an efficient corporation without ideological ambitions that might upset their capitalist backers. The AU is wholly run by foreign money. The donors leverage their dollars to get their way around Africa.
China fully funded the new $200 million AU headquarters in Addis. Today, the Chinese footprint is rapidly expanding across the continent. In 2014, the AU budget was $308 million, more than half of which was funded by imperialists or “development partners”. In 2015, the budget rose by 30 per cent to $393 million, 63 per cent of which was funded by imperialists. In 2016, imperialists contributed 60 per cent of the $417 million budget.
Last year, AU member states were expected to contribute only 26 per cent of the $439 million budget, while imperialists were to give the remaining 74 per cent. The union’s programmes are 97 per cent funded by imperialists.
So, who owns the AU? The African people? How? Could imperialists fund an anti-imperialist organisation? Can the AU as it is today champion Pan-Africanist objectives?
What is the AU’s Pan-Africanist agenda when 101 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange — most of them British — have mining operations in 37 African countries where they collectively control more than $1 trillion worth of the continent’s most valuable resources?
How is that organisation working for Africa’s total liberation when the currencies of 14 African countries are still controlled by the French central bank?
One of the things that disturb ...
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