A More Perfect Union: The AU's Failures and Future

By Han, Yuna | Harvard International Review, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

A More Perfect Union: The AU's Failures and Future


Han, Yuna, Harvard International Review


Does the African Union have a future? Founded in 2002 to replace the preexisting Organization of African Unity (OAU), the AU originally championed a "United States of Africa" that would work toward collective security and prosperity. Yet as the AU reaches its half-decade mark, many have critiqued its lackluster performance and questioned its future. Despite repeated calls for a supranational organization modeled after the European Union, the challenges of internal political instability, ideological confusion, and funding continue to diminish hopes for a united body. Is there a place for the AU, with or without a pan-African state? The answer, while not a flat-out "no," does suggest that a revolutionary unification of Africa is unlikely. Instead, as exemplified by recent efforts to organize various diasporas and implement anti-corruption measures, the AU's more immediate role seems to be that of a provider of public goods and a catalyst for reform.

The organization's most fundamental problem is its ideological vacuum. The AU has adopted the vague notion of "pan-Africanism" as its guiding principle, but this term can be used to support opposing goals and priorities. During the formation of the AU, support was divided into two camps: the Casablanca group and the Monrovia group. The Casablanca group argued for extensive unification of defense and economic policies, while the Monrovia group championed a "United States of Africa" that would respect individual state sovereignty. The Sirte Summit, during which the AU was founded, ostensibly echoed the ideology of the Monrovia group. However, key AU figures still support the Casablanca doctrine, leading to contradictory policies on the direction of the organization. Pan-Africanism, as a result, has fallen short of being a full-fledged ideology for the AU. Instead, it has become a catch-all phrase for political expediency.

On a more practical level, the AU lacks the political credibility to be an effective source of power on the continent. Currently, the membership of the AU includes all African states but Morocco, so that even the most egregious violators of human rights, such as Zimbabwe, are represented. Although the AU supposedly only extends its membership to "democratic" regimes, the criteria are far from rigorous. Unlike the EU. it does not require extensive protection of rights or the establishment of rule of law. This undermines not only the AU's commitment to the protection of human rights and democratic institutions, but also the legitimacy of the organization itself.

Furthermore, the AU's lack of funding reduces its relevance as a serious political player. The Pan African Parliament (PAP), which serves as a regional body for popular sovereignty, has not been able to convene as frequently as necessary because of financial shortages. This incapacity has diminished its role in the decision making process.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A More Perfect Union: The AU's Failures and Future
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.