afrian public administration
The continent of Africa, although rich in land and natural resources, has been ravaged in ways no other continent has seen in modern history. From droughts and famine, to dictatorial regimes and HIV/AIDS, Africa has been plagued by many troubles leaving many to argue that Africas lack of organization, power, and lack of resources has only made things worse. The creation of The Assembly of the African Union, originally called the Organization of Africa Unity was established to unite Africa politically with one military force, one head and an organized governing body to watch over its development. However, as you will see, both organizations are the prime example of inefficient bureaucracies.
The OAU had been formed in 1963, a time when African nationalism was on the rise and demands for independence began spreading throughout the continent. It originally was a compromise between two different visions. The progressives, led by Ghanas Kwame Nkrumah, Egypts Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Guineas Seko Toure, sought an immediate union of African states. However, the conservatives, led by Ethiopias Haile Selassie, Senegals Leopold Senghor, and Ivory Coasts Felix Houphouet-Biogny, advocated the creation of a loose organization that would allow leaders to meet annually and discuss African problems. The OAU did much of both originally by fighting to end colonialism in Africa and providing diplomatic and financial support to nationalist movements.
However the organization soon proved incapable of solving many serious African problems or mediating conflicts within African countries. Having no military force of its own, the OAU often sought the help of the United Nations to dispatch peacekeeping forces to separate warring factions (for example Somalia and Sierra Leone) or to supervise the implementation of political settlements that ended civil wars (for instance Angola and Mozambique). This approach had its flaws. For example, by the time the UN acted on the OAUs appeal to stop civilian massacre in Rwanda in 1994, nearly 800,000 people had been killed.
Because the OAUs stance originally was sort of hands off, its own legislation did not allow its members ability to stop military officers from overthrowing civilian governments and establishing authoritarian regimes. Neither could it convince African leaders to pursue sound strategies for economic development. According to some critics, the OAU protected the interests of African heads of state without addressing the real problems that plagued the continent.
So What Happened?
After many embarrassing failures as a governing body, African leaders wisely saw the need to bury the OAU and to create a new organization to start a new course for Africa. They could no longer ignore old problems, which have caused widespread poverty, hunger, and diseases across the continent. Nor could they ignore globalization and the lagging role they played in it.
The 53 African states who composed the OAU are now members of the new inter-governmental organization, the AU, modeled after the European Union (EU). It currently headquartered in Ethiopia.
Whats happening now?
Ok, so let me give the AU some credit before I completely rip them into shreds.
AU, the new organization, has a better structure than the OAU. It includes a legislature, a Security Council, and peacekeeping force. South Africas President Thabo Mbeki is the first AU chair. Its core mission is the essentially to put Africa back on the map so to speak, with plans to increased foreign aid, trade, and investment along with pledges by African states to promote democracy, a free market economy while at the same time reducing debt. Quite a smart plan. With millions of people affected in some overt way by HIV/AIDS, famine and the likes, I think its important to focus on the structure of governments in finding ways to now only rid the problem but also to prevent such issues in the future.
The new African Union is designed to help integrate African economies into the global economy. An important component is peer review to ensure compliance by member states and to identify needed action to correct any failures to implement agreed upon reforms. The African Union also has a long-term goal of eliminating national currencies and using a single currency for the whole of Africa, similar to the Euro in Europe.
Now, lets discuss my issue with the new and improved AU. Sure Africa needs a Big Brother. With dictators/ abusive military governments, there needs to be a strong force within the continent that can work as an advocate for the rights of the people of Africa. With that being the case, this is organization is a Yes Man disguised as an affirmative leader. Dont get me wrong; I think The AU has better plans to include Africa in the world market while at the same time doing some other really important things. However, there is a major genocide going on in Sudan. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 1 million black Africans have fled from Arab henchmen. Although the African Union has sent out 300 troops to combat this problem, such a small number of troops cannot put a dent in the largest country in Africa.
The AU released a statement saying “The crisis should be addressed with urgency,” however the same statement also read “even though the crisis in Darfur is grave, with unacceptable levels of death, human suffering and destruction of homes and infrastructure, the situation cannot be defined as a genocide.”
If the nations of Africa cant (1) intervene in the politics of there own continent with resilience and be effective and (2) see things for what they are, which in this case is clearly genocide, then what other international governing body (the U.N for example) will.
This is not the AUs its first shortcoming. Shortly after its creation in 2002, the African Union deployed several thousand peacekeepers from South Africa, Ethiopia and Mozambique to Burundi, but that country remains mired in conflict.
In regions that have fallen prey to the control of dictators and military governments, along with mismanaged governments and weak leaders, there definitely needs to be a watchdog group to work as a protector of the people. I think nothing would be better than to have that group be one thats closer in region, culture and beliefs to the people they are watching. However, the AU is a perfect example of a weak bureaucracy that has little power mostly because of the same factors. I am of the opinion that this organization has done a disservice to the people of Africa by sitting by while genocides, not just in Sudan, take place and doing nothing more than releasing statements about what they hope the UN will do. Give me a break. With all the people and monetary resources in Africa, this group needs to stand up and demand a fair value for natural resources taken out of Africa and they need to work as there own police.