African political unity must be more selective: A blueprint for change

22 September 2011

There cannot be any clearer illustration of the impotence of Africa’s continental and regional institutions to find local solutions to the continent’s problems, than their numbing inaction in the face of the wave of popular rebellions against dictators in North Africa sweeping across the continent.


A Foreign Policy Center briefing about reforming the African Union. 

For all the rhetoric of ‘African unity’, African Union member states have rarely voted together in international fora to safeguard common African interests. The ‘unity’ record of regional institutions such as SADC and ECOWAS are similarly compromised. Individual African countries are usually often bought off by big and former colonial powers. Continental and regional institutions have had no uniform mutually beneficial policy towards interacting with outside powers. The only unity had often been of Africa gangs of dictators clubbing together behind the AU, SADC or Ecowas, to shield each other against criticisms by ordinary Africans, civil groups and outsiders when battering their citizens.