Africa must not become a "geostrategic battleground", stated Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, on Thursday, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity subsequently known as the African Union.
"In this zero-sum game where the gains of others would translate into losses for Africa, we must resist all forms of instrumentalisation of our member states," expressed the AU Chairperson.
Several African leaders, such as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took to the podium to share their thoughts on the ongoing issues the continent is facing. Amongst them, poor leadership, corruption, poverty, war and grim external influences.
"Can we proclaim we are free when our people are still in the grips of poverty and our systems are shocked by corruption, ineptness and indifference? Can we yet assert independence while we seek beyond ourselves and our continental borders to deliver us from the challenges we are faced with?"
"...peace, security, democracy and development of our continent are threatened in many of our countries. In this regard, we must convince our brothers and sisters in Sudan to give priority to dialogue so that the fratricidal war that has been raging in that country for weeks may come to and end," added Azali Assoumani.
Africa, home to the world’s youngest population, rarest metals and abundant resources is also the continent suffering repercussions of the climate crisis, blatant lack of unity and international power struggles that should have very little to no consequence on the continent.
“I think there has been lack of commitment among the political allies that are mandated to advance Africa’s regional agenda. Among the challenges is the lack of political will by leaders and in many cases, they form the political elite mandated to champion the direction of the African Union, thereby making it difficult for the AU to act accordingly against challenges faced by the continent. There is also this understanding in Africa that sovereignty of AU members must be respected, but several African leaders who are members of the AU are perpetrators of the challenges faced by the continent,” shared Professor Adeoye Akinola, an expert on African affairs in an interview for VOA.
African Leaders, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the substanceless institution, calling upon other leaders to do what they have not been doing in their own countries, is not only the perfect depiction of why the AU is a spineless organisation, it is also the reason why Africa isn’t the strong nation it can be.
Personal interests and egos prime over unity as African countries discuss the war in Ukraine and their role in it, whilst nothing of substance is done to counteract the ongoing war in Sudan.
As Professor Akinola puts it : “we should commend the AU for rolling out stimulating programs, […] but there is also the argument that the AU might not be able to push their member states to make their Agenda a reality. For example, if we discuss the promotion of democracy, we must note that elitist democracy is promoted in Africa. How can there be democracy in Africa when there are fellow Africans who are hostile to each other?”