The visibility of African youths in peace building efforts is impossible to ignore. However, the effectiveness of their efforts is still to be researched
Prosper Maguchu Dr. Juris – Researcher specializing in Human Rights, Financial Crimes and Large Scale Conspiracies/Serious Crime, Sanctions, and Odious debts. (Zimbabwe)
What makes a union in Africa a positive element of development, when in Europe people or countries are choosing to exit from their union?
It has now become a cliché to talk, write, or teach about the upside of regional integration in Africa. A plethora of articles and books have been and are still being published on the same. However, the concept still remains elusive-- a mere hope that Africa will be united. After all this was the idea of the Pan Africanist founding fathers of the Organization for African Unity a predecessor of the AU. This could still work and the devil is right in the detail. Unity in African is synonymous to trade integration. This explains why economic integration is so critical on the African continent and citizens than elsewhere. In a globalized economy, size that matters. This is why, even in Europe where some member states of the European Union yearning to withdraw from the commonwealth may suffer from being kicked out from a single market. The single market has been one of the stratagems for integration. A large internal market for Africa will provide the strong platform needed to compete across the world, driving industrialization and attracting investment.
Why is movement of people and goods within Africa difficult for Africans? How can this situation be redressed?
Movement within Africa of things or people alike is probably among the most dreaded notoriously expensive, slowest endeavour. One may need to travel via Europe particularly to a former colonial country to travel within Africa. Conspiracies aside, travelling in Africa is debilitating simply because of economics, the demand to travel is low, and there is no spirit to travel even within ones state. Secondly, poor infrastructure, it is hard to find a country in Africa with all modes of transports i.e. road, rail, air, and if there is water functioning. Bad policies within member states which priorities maintaining their own boundaries’ and keeping others out inhibits free movement. Then of course corruption, the missing page in the passport.
How effective is the role of young people in Africa union’s peacebuilding processes
Youths in Africa are making fantastic strides to forge peacebuilding. They have formed alliances that could traditionally have not been heard off, they are lobbying and advocating at important forums. The visibility of African youths in peace building efforts is impossible to ignore. However, the effectiveness of their efforts is still to be researched. African Union is cynically known as a club for the old boys where youths do not determine decisions.
What global lessons can help ameliorate the Africa Union regional integration process?
There are many challenges associated with regional integration and Africa need not to nose dive but should learn from others experiences. Among them regional agreements suffer from a gap between intentions and implementation. One way to address this would be to set up credible institutional to monitor compliance and outcomes, Africa might not need to look far, its own regional economic communities such as the secretariats such as COMESA offers good examples. Take advantages of existing opportunities again it need not to look further than the current RECs with the central currency by some central and western African francophone countries as one of the many examples, the one stop boarder post in SADC etc.
Finally, Africa should learn that once in it, there is no more going back, Brexit serves to illustrate this poignant reality. Such disintegration can be funnelled by a rise in nationalist sentiment led to the disastrous rise in xenophobia already witnessed in South Africa of lately. Therefore, key part of any integration process is the movement away from a strict identity based on nationalism to a broader continental identity. There is need to build strong identity of being “African” rather than “Zimbabwean” or “Cameroonian”. As Ryan on his seminal blog correctly points out the process of integration cannot be simply economic or political, it has to be coupled with a cultural shift in identity. The idea of being an African has to be stronger than any national identity.
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