AU adopts plan for African integration

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AU Adopts Accra Declaration to Plan Integration

BuaNews (Tshwane)
Posted 4 July 2007
By Lavinia Mahlangu,Accra

Timelines and the method for Africa's integration are to be set out according to the Accra Declaration, adopted late on Tuesday night by the 9th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of Summit
"We emerged from the Grand Debate with a common vision," AU Chair John Kuofor and President of Ghana said on Tuesday, minutes before midnight. "We all have a shared vision for a united, vibrant continental union."
"To this end, we agreed to strengthen capacity of the Commission and the organs of our union. This will be reassuring to Africans in the civil society and diaspora who have been calling on us to build synergy within these organs." 
The re-energising of the union would depend greatly on the will of the member nations, he explained. Vice President of the AU Commission Patrick Mazimaka, read out the Accra Declaration which states the leaders are convinced that the ultimate objective of the African Union is the United States of Africa, with a Union Government as envisaged by the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity and, in particular, the visionary leader, Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.
The summit also convinces, said Mr Mazimaka, "of the need for common responses to the major challenges of globalisation facing Africa and boosting regional integration processes through an effective continental mechanism." "We agree to accelerate the economic and political integration of the African continent, including the formation of a Union Government for Africa with the ultimate objective of creating the United States of Africa," he said. He also outlined the following steps to attaining the Union Government: 
* to rationalise and strengthen the Regional Economic Communities, and harmonise their activities...with a reviewed and shorter timeframe to be agreed upon in order to accelerate the economic and, where possible, political integration; 
* to conduct immediately, an Audit of the Executive Council; 
* to establish a ministerial Committee to examine the following: 
- identifying the contents of the Union Government concept and its relations with national governments;
- identifying the domains of competence and the impact of establishing the Union Government on the sovereignty of member states; 
- defining the relationship between the Union Government and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), 
- elaborating the road map together with timeframes for establishing the Union Government; and 
- identifying additional sources of financing the activities of the Union. 
"The outcome of the audit and the work of the Ministerial Committee will be submitted to the Executive Council, to make appropriate recommendations to the next ordinary session of our Assembly in January," Mr Mazimaka said. 
"We agree on the importance of involving the African peoples, including Africans in the Diaspora, in the processes leading to the formation of the Union Government."

General News of Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Endorse concept of United States of Africa now - Liberia

Liberia on Tuesday urged African leaders meeting in Accra to endorse "without further study" the concept of the United States of Africa.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf addressing her colleagues at the African Union Summit said they should also "instruct, in no uncertain terms, all regional economic commissions and community institutions to formulate and adopt the roadmap and the timetable for the achievement of this goal using or revising these details in the report of the Obasanjo Committee and the proposed integrative structures before us".

She recalled that Liberia belonged to the Monrovia/Sanquelli Group in the early 1960s that preached a gradual approach in the establishment of an African government as opposed to the Casablanca Group that wanted a radical approach and asked whether gradualism had served her country or Africa.

"This is why Liberia endorses, in principle, the spirit of African unity as expressed in the proposed establishment of the United States of Africa."

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf said Liberia was trying to regain her lost progress through years of conflict by becoming an active member in promoting integration of the continent through regional and sub-regional bodies such as the expanded Mano River Union and ECOWAS. She said her country was also playing an active role in regional integration mechanisms such as the West African Gas Pipeline, the West African Power Pool and the fully operational ECOWAS passport. Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf said Liberia was also working towards admission and participation in the process that would lead to a common West African currency.

Accra, July 3, GNA- Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has questioned the degree of commitment of African leaders to the continental body- the African Union- and the essence of their "Africanness", an issue critical in the grand debate for an African Government.

"To the extent that we continue to subscribe more allegiance to extra-continental bodies to the neglect of the AU, our steps towards functional integration will remain faltering", he said. "We must stay focused on forging common standards of political and economic governance, and create enabling factors that will connect our peoples, enhancing the free movement of our people, goods and services within and among our nations."

Addressing the Heads of States at the AU meeting in Accra, President Yar'Adua said whilst his country supported the move for one government for the Continent, the critical issue was whether to fast-track the process or to pursue the objective through a gradualist approach.

This perspective, he said, is informed by the critical need for the nations of Africa to focus more on the strengthening and consolidation of internal governance and growth structures, and on more robust regional integration.

"We however, must not loose sight of the crucial fact that the desire is for the union of the peoples of Africa and not the union of States and Governments", he said.

President Yar'Adua stated that the social, economic and political inequalities within and among states, should be bridged, otherwise it would pose daunting obstacles to the continent's quest for a viable political and economic union.

Conversely, these issues, along with the challenges of conflict, disease and poverty, drive the imperative to present a united and common front in the global arena, he said. He expressed optimism that the Accra meeting would chart a "definitive" roadmap in the continent's quest for secured, strong, progressive and prosperous United States of Africa.


Publié dans contemporary africa

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