The OAU/AU at 50: Democratic Governance as a Precondition for a Sustainable African Future

Photo © Embassy of Equatorial Guinea/Flickr
Image: Flickr, Embassy of Equatorial Guinea

The 50th anniversary of the African Union (AU), previously the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), in May 2013 provided a fitting moment for the continental body to reflect on its achievements, challenges and the way forward.

When compared with the OAU, the AU has been more successful in achieving greater security on the continent, thereby allowing development to take place. However, many challenges still beset Africa and the continental institution is currently unable to present a united stance on governance challenges through the consistent application of agreed-upon continental policies on democratic governance.

Under the leadership of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who assumed office in October 2012, hopes were raised about the body becoming a more effective agent of change. However, there has not been sufficient political will at the level of the Assembly to implement governance reforms that would create the basis for sustainable continental integration. To support the changes that are articulated in a myriad of policy documents, African leaders should commit to regional integration by ceding more sovereignty to regional and continental institutions.

26 Jan 2014