How AU can exert influence internationally

BY DYLAN CHAWAWA

THE creation of African Union (AU), beginning with its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, was styled on the European Union model.

The AU initiated the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights and plans to have a single currency. Yes, to date the organisation has made a huge progress but there is a lot which has to be done so as to attain its vision 2063.

AU should try by all means to fashion itself in a way which will help it attain sustainable development and get an influential seat in the international community.

It is clear that the organisation is reading from a script full of cracks and a script which lacks some links. The AU must think of a paradigm shift from the wretched paper. The EU script was fashioned by objectives which suit Europe, and not Africa. Africa is full of technocrats who must come up with an Africa-styled script. This will just show the world that even here, we can come up with our new concepts.

The Euro-crisis is a solid reason why Africa should think of a paradigm shift from the script which is in the midst of chaos. Even though Europe had already developed, the single currency system led to a sudden shake and economies like Greece suffered some blows.

Many parts of Africa are in a process of developing, a small part is roaring and this shows that a single monetary system is not feasible. BREXIT should not just be a mere shock to AU, but it should send signals that the model we are using should be revised.

If we revisit the model we are using, we can come up with something good for our own development, and this will make the continent be regarded as a hub of thinkers and we will actually grab an influential international seat.

AU can manage an influential position in the international community only if it comes up with an integration plan driven by the needs of the continent. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an agreement which aims at promoting intra-trade and creating an atmosphere for industrialisation and sustainable development in line with the continent’s vision.

The AfCFTA is an integration plan for addressing key issues, but more has to be added on the chart. A lot is affecting the realisation of full potential of the trade area for example, the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from other blocks.

There is need to come up with effective mechanism which can for see future pandemics which are a threat to security such as coronavirus and Ebola. Coronavirus is a clear acid test for the AU, a test the organisation has scored good average points, but more has to be done so that we can come up with even our own effective responses in the future.

More investments should be done in the technology sector so that we can unlock the continent’s potential. Food security is a plan the AU should try to meet. The organisation should engage and collaborate with countries like Zimbabwe, which have the capacity of being the breadbasket of the whole continent, so that food issues can be met. If the AU tackles these issues, the international world will surely respect the bloc.

The AU should by all means try to be independent so as to attain an influential seat in the international community which is key for its vision 2060. As long as the organisation is dependent, it will remain subservient to the direction given by European capitals and Brussels.

Donor dependency is cancerous for development because those donors will be donating so that they can further their selfish interests. 70% of the AU budget is funded by western countries.

The organisation will never be influential as long as it portrays itself as full of beggars. AU will find it difficult to develop as long as it is funded by those who are supposed to be its competitors.

Africa has the resources which are key for development. By donating to our budget, selfish actors would only want to fish in our resource ponds.

Every country and individual should contribute to the organisation so that it can craft and implement well its projects in line with vision 2063. This will help the AU to regain its identity and pride in the international community.

There is no way Africa is going to be recognised and respected internationally until it is united. On the AU script and on map, Africa is solid but the reality shows something different.

A threat to security of any member state should be considered as a common security issue to all AU members. Terrorism has become a dimension of new wars. Yes, Nigeria is a powerhouse but it needs strong hands in initiating wars on terrorism.

Ebola is now an old disease in a new context that favours rapid and initially invisible spread. Such pandemics require preparedness and mutual cooperation because such a virus knows no boarders. Any threat to security originating anywhere must become a threat to everyone, everywhere.

As Africa we should not use discriminatory languages and terms western countries use on each other. Everyone should try to halt and attenuate the usage of the term “South African COVID-19 variant”.

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