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Afrian Public Administration

Essay by review  •  November 8, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,194 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,067 Views

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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 Africa's 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 "Plan"

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 Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Guinea's Seko Toure, sought an immediate union of African states. However, the conservatives, led by Ethiopia's Haile Selassie, Senegal's Leopold Senghor, and Ivory Coast's 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 OAU's appeal to stop civilian massacre in Rwanda in 1994, nearly 800,000 people had been killed.

Because the OAU's stance originally was sort of "hands off", it's own legislation did not allow it's 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.

What's 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 Africa's 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 it's 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

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