The New African Initiative and the African Union: A Preliminary Assessment and Documentation

Synopsis

During the year 2000 an initiative among the African states to transform the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) gained momentum. It resulted in the ratification of the Constitutive Act and its adoption at the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka. Parallel to this process of reorganisation towards closer inter-state collaboration on the African continent in the spirit of Pan Africanism emerged the systematic effort to redefine developmental priorities and to claim a new common position of African states in the globalised world. The "African Renaissance" initiative of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki resulted in a "Millenium Africa Recovery Programme", which was finally revised and presented as the "New Africa Initiative" (NAI). Adopted at the same OAU Summit in Lusaka in July 2001, the NAI serves as a blueprint for Africa's development strategy at the beginning of the 21st century. It was presented to the G8 summit in Genoa, where the leaders of the world's powerful countries decided on a follow up by appointing individual special advisers to explore support to the NAI and future collaboration on the basis of this document.