The African Union at Ten: Problems, Progress and Prospects

The year 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of post-independence pan-Africanism with the birth of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in May 1963. As the golden jubilee is celebrated, this report reflects on the hopes for an “African Renaissance” embodied by the continental body’s successor, the African Union (AU), and the challenges that it faces in fulfilling its role of promoting political unity, democratic governance, and economic development on the continent. The AU was founded in 2002 on a wave of optimism about Africa’s future and was equipped with stronger administrative mechanisms and greater powers of intervention in the affairs of its member states than its predecessor, the OAU. Since its birth, the AU has sought to establish integrated frameworks to address Africa’s security, governance, and development challenges. The Berlin 2012 colloquium analysed the AU’s achievements and challenges, and crafted concrete recommendations to strengthen its effectiveness. The meeting considered the history of the AU; reviewed the implementation of its peace and security architecture; compared the regional integration efforts of the AU and the European Union (EU); assessed African strategies to achieve socio-economic development; and reviewed the AU’s global role.