Economic integration

Africa is marching towards meaningful unity and economic integration

By personal writer

The African region
that the European colonizers called the “dark continent” was the
main source of slave trade and raw materials for industries that flourished
during the industrial revolution in Europe and the expansion of cotton farms in
United States.

At the advent of the
African decolonization in the early 1960s sounded the death knell for Africa. Many
African leaders felt the need to create a continental organization that
promote unity among African countries and accelerate the decolonization of

The historical foundations of the African Union
finds its origin in the First Congress of Independence of African States, held
in Accra, Ghanafrom April 15 to 22
1958. The conference to form the Africa Day,
to mark each year the liberation movement concerning the will of the
African peoples to free themselves from foreign dictatorship, as well as
subsequent attempts to unite Africa, including the Organization of African Unity (OUA).

The OAU was created on
May 25, 1963 at Addis
, Ethiopia with
32 signatory governments. Among the main founders of the establishment of the OAU were
Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
from Ghana, Gamal Abdul Nassir from Egypt, Léopold Sedhar Senghor from Senegal,
Milton Obote from Uganda Jomo Kenyatta from Kenya, Julius Nyerere from Tanzania,
Sekou Ture from Guinea and Al Haji Abubakir Tefewa Belewa from Nigeria and others
African leaders.

Some of the main objectives of
the OAU should encourage the policies and economic
the integration
among Member States, and to eradicate colonialism
and the neo-colonialism of African continent.
Although he had some success, there were also differences of opinion as to
how it was going to be done.

Shortly after gaining independence, a number of Africans
States expressed a growing desire for more unity within the continent. Not
everyone agreed on how this unity could be achieved, however, and two
opinion groups have emerged in this regard:

The Casablanca blockdirected by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghanawanted a federation of
all African countries. Apart from Ghana, it also included Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Egypt, mali and Libya. Founded in 1961,
its members were referred to as “progressive states”.

The Monrovian Blockdirected by Senghor of Senegal,
believes that unity must be achieved gradually, through economic cooperation. This
did not support the idea of ​​a political federation. Its other members
were Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia,
and most of the former French colonies.

Some of the initial discussions took place in Liberia. the
dispute was finally resolved when Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I guest
the two groups at addis ababawhere the OAU and its headquarters were located
subsequently established. The Charter of the Organization has been signed by 32
Independent African States.

At the time of the dissolution of the OAU, 53 of the 54
African states were members; Morocco to the left
on November 12, 1984 following the admission of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic like
the government of Western Sahara in 1982.

In accordance with the Charter signed by the founding member
states, the OAU had several objectives which included the coordination and
intensify the cooperation of African States
in order to offer a better life to the inhabitants of Africa.
Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Africa

The OAU has also devoted itself to the eradication of all forms
of colonialism and
white minority rule because when it was created there were several states that
had not yet won their independence or were ruled by a white minority. South Africa and Angola were
two of these countries. The OAU has proposed two paths to rid the continent of
colonialism and domination of the white minority. First, it would defend the interests of
independent countries and help pursue independence those of
those still colonized. Second, it would remain neutral in terms of the world
affairs, preventing its members from being controlled once again by the outside

the continental organization had other objectives, notably that of ensuring that all
Africans appreciated human rights. Raise the quality of life of
all Africans and resolving disputes between members – not by fighting
but rather a peaceful and diplomatic negotiation.

The OAU has succeeded in several respects. Many of his
the members were also members of the UN, and they united within the latter
organization to safeguard African interests – particularly with regard to
persistent colonialism.

The organization played a central role in the eradication colonialism and
white minority rule in Africa. He gave arms, training and military bases to
rebel groups fighting the white minority and the colonial regime. Groups like the ANC
and PAC, fighter asideand ZANU and ZAPUstruggling to overthrow
the government of Rhodesiahave been assisted in their efforts by the OAU.

The OAU has also worked with the UN to alleviate refugee problems.
He set up the African development bank for the economy
projects aimed at strengthening Africa financially. Although all Africans
countries finally won their independence,
it remained difficult for them to become completely independent of their elders
colonizers. There was often a continued reliance on former colonial powers
economic aid, often with conditions attached: the loans had to be repaid
at high interest rates, and the goods had to be sold to helpers at low prices.

Among other things, the OAU formulated the Lagos Plan of Action, (1980), the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (1981), the African Priority Program for Economic Recovery, (1990) , the Treaty on the African Economic Community, (1991) , and formulation of NEPAD in 20001.

OAU initiatives paved the way for the birth of the African Union (AU). In July 1999, the Assembly decided to convene an extraordinary session to accelerate the process of economic and political integration of the continent. Since then, four summits have been held leading to the official launch of the African Union:

  • Sirte
    Extraordinary Session (1999) decided to establish an African Union
  • The Lomé Summit (2000)
    adopted the Constitutive Act of the Union.
  • The summit of Lusaka
    (2001) mapped out the roadmap for implementing the AU
  • The Durban Summit
    (2002) launched the AU and convened the 1st Assembly of Heads of State of
    the African Union.

The vision of the African Union is that of: “An integrated, prosperous society
and peaceful, driven by its own citizens and representing
a dynamic force on the world stage.

The structure of the AU comprises the Assembly of Heads of State and Government,
the Executive Council, the AU Commission, the Committee of Permanent Representatives,
Peace and Security Council, Pan-African Parliament, Economic, Social and
Cultural Council, Courts of Justice and 7 specialized commissions.

Some of the objectives of the AU

  • To achieve greater
    unity and solidarity between African countries and the peoples of
  • To defend the
    the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States;
  • To speed up the
    the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
  • Promote and defend
    Common African positions on issues affecting the continent and its
  • To encourage
    international cooperation, with due regard to the Charter of the United Nations
    United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • To promote peace,
    security and stability on the continent;
  • Promote democracy
    principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;
  • To promote and protect
    human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
    peoples’ rights and other relevant human rights instruments;
  • To establish the
    necessary conditions that allow the continent to play its rightful role in
    the global economy and in international negotiations;


The AU has recorded
positive achievements, especially in paving the way for the creation
integration between Member States. In this regard, one of the main measures taken
by member states is the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement
(AfCFTA). Many believe that Africa’s free trade area can
generate considerable inclusive economic growth for the continent. According to
the World Bank, the AfCFTA will create the
largest free trade area in the world measured by number of countries
participant. The pact connects 1.3 billion people in 55 countries to a
combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion. He has the
potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieve its goal
its full potential will depend on the implementation of significant political reforms and
trade facilitation measures.

In matters of conflict
prevention The AU has recorded impressive positive achievements. According to information obtained from the
The AU, within the framework of conflict prevention, the AU and its sub-regional
organizations have developed significant institutional capacity in recent years
decade to undertake early warning and conflict prevention analyses.

The 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State
and the government will meet in Addis Ababa from February 5 to 6, 2022 with a theme
“Strengthening resilience in nutrition on the African continent, accelerating
Capital, social and economic development. .