2 February 2017

Africa: 10 Yays for the AU!

Photo: Wikipedia
African Union Flag.

While the African Union gets a lot of flack for its inaction, they have taken *some* good decisions. We want to use Madam Chair's departure to highlight those...

1. The Continental Free Trade Area.

Trade among African nations is the lowest of any region in the world at 10%, the free trade area looks to remedy that by boosting inter-African trade and boosting local beneficiation and manufacturing.

2. The single African passport.

While currently only available to dignitaries and diplomats, when fully rolled out the passport will give holders visa-free access to all citizens of African Union states for regional travel.

3. Women's empowerment.

Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma was the first woman to lead the continent's leading organisation and it showed.

4. The prosecution of Hissene Habe, former president of Chad.

The Extraordinary African Chambers was jointly created by the AU and Senegalese government to prosecute Habre, who was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in jail. The trial has been hailed as a landmark victory for human rights and holding African leaders to account.

5. Drawing attention to illicit financial flows.

The political will - at least by African leaders - to address ilicit financial flows precedes Dlamini-Zuma's tenure, but it was during her time in office that this issue really rose to the fore due to collaboration by the United Nation's Economic Commission for African and the African Union Commission on the High-Level Panel for Illicit Financial Flows headed by Thabo Mbeki.

6. Morocco returns to the AU fold.

After a more than 30-year absence from the African Union and its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity, the Kingdom of Morocco is back. What this means for its colony Western Sahara remains to be seen.

7. Agenda 2063.

The African Union's vision for continent has been laid out. According to the African Union "Agenda 2063, rooted in Pan Africanism and African Renaissance, provides a robust framework for addressing past injustices and the realisation of the 21st Century as the African Century."

8. AU reform.

A task team was launched in 2016, headed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame,  to look at institutional reform including becoming financially self-sustainable.

9. West Africa's Ebola crisis.

The African Union mobilised health workers from across the continent to respond to the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The AU also mobilised private sector funding in the region of US$15million in addition to funding from its development partners.

10. Gambia.

The African Union reinforced the Economic Commission for West African States position supporting President Adama Barrow and calling for Yahya Jammeh to step down.

Did we miss any of the AU's achievements? Let us know in the comments.

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