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The Rise of the African Union..How Africa Plans to Challenge the Global Heiarchy

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Imagine in today’s Africa finding a leader capable of forming a regional organization like OAU. Imagine a leader that stand out as role model for African leadership in the 21st century. And, imagine when an African leader would emerge that would earn universal respect like Mandela.

by Teshome Debalke

The International Monetary Fund has predicted that Africa will be the new China. There is talk of a East African Single Currency which will regulate markets and ensure economic growth. Africa's large amounts Natural resources i.e Gold Sliver Platinum, Crude Oil, Natural Gas combined with its fledgling markets and emerging middle class will be the center of economic exploration for the West and East i.e US/EU- Russia and Asia. Security will be a primary issue. I think the African Union is up to task of addressing such issues. A regional collective security initiative should be the answer.

Political Structure

The structure of the African Union is loosely modeled on that of the European Union (EU), with an Assembly of the 54 heads of state; the administrative Commission; and the Pan-African Parliament – made up of 235 representatives. Some have questioned whether adopting the EU model was the correct decision, given that the two continents face very different challenges, but there is still much they can learn from Europe.

For example, the EU’s strict entry requirements, known as conditionality, cover areas of human rights, economics and corruption among others, whilst seemingly the only criterion for AU membership is geography. The AU would likely benefit from adopting tighter conditions, though perhaps some of the EU’s stringent measures would prove far too draconian if applied to African states.

Currency Unification Could be a game changer.

This is where the competition will come in the African Monetary Union is the proposed creation of an economic and monetary union for the countries of the African Union, administered by the African Central Bank. Such a union would call for the creation of a new unified currency, similar to the euro; the hypothetical currency is sometimes referred to as the afro. The Abuja Treaty, an international agreement signed on June 3, 1991 in Abuja, Nigeria, created the African Economic Community, and called for an African Central Bank to follow by 2028. The current plan is to establish an African Economic Community with a single currency by 2023.

The African Central Bank

The African Central Bank (ACB) is one of the three financial institutions of the African Union. It will over time take over responsibilities of the African Monetary Fund. The creation of the ACB, to be completed by 2028 was first agreed upon in the 1991 Abuja Treaty. The 1999 Sirte Declaration called for a speeding up of this process with creation by 2020. When it is fully implemented via Pan-African Parliament legislation, the ACB will be the sole issuer of the African single currency (African Monetary Union/Afro), will become the banker of the African Government, will be the banker to Africa's private and public banking institutions, will regulate and supervise the African banking industry, and will set the official interest and exchange rates; in conjunction with the African Government's administration. My sources has confirmed that the current timeline established by the Abuja Treaty calls for a single African currency to be instituted by the African Central Bank by 2028 Although some countries have reservations about full economic and monetary union, a number of regional unions already exist, and others are planned. The African Central Bank (ACB) is one of the three financial institutions of the African Union. It will over time take over responsibilities of the African Monetary Fund.

The creation of the ACB, to be completed by 2028 was first agreed upon in the 1991 Abuja Treaty. The 1999 Sirte Declaration called for a speeding up of this process with creation by 2020. When it is fully implemented via Pan-African Parliament legislation, the ACB will be the sole issuer of the African single currency (African Monetary Union/Afro), will become the banker of the African Government, will be the banker to Africa's private and public banking institutions, will regulate and supervise the African banking industry, and will set the official interest and exchange rates; in conjunction with the African Government's administration. The current timeline established by the Abuja my sources have confirmed that the Treaty calls for a single African currency to be instituted by the African Central Bank by 2028. Although some countries have reservations about full economic and monetary union, a number of regional unions already exist, and others are planned.

Challenges

As with all regions there fundamental challenges of the “social contract” which is essential to regional stability. With the recent uprisings in the Middle East it is unambiguous that societies once thought to economic waste lands are rising through a new interconnected generation. Meeting and maintaining the major challenge facing the African Union is funding. The union’s 2013 budget was approved at a summit in July 2012 and totaled of which 44% comes from member nations, while the remainder comes from development partners. Of the amount being contributed by members, a mere m goes towards programs of the AU while 96 per cent funds operational costs. The significance of these numbers are that programed costs for key institutions such as the Pan African Parliament, the Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Corruption Board are being paid for by donors. Some have even started to ask: ‘Who is driving the true African agenda?’

It also highlights the need for some of the bigger and more developed AU states to take a lead in the continent’s affairs. Currently, only five countries contribute two-thirds of the portion from AU member states. From the so-called ‘Big Five’—South Africa, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt and Algeria—only two were paid up by mid-2012. In 2011, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi withheld his country’s contribution, voicing displeasure at what he believed to be a lack of progress in a move towards a ‘United States of Africa’. Meanwhile, only eleven of the 54 member states had fully paid their contributions by mid-2012. With such shortcomings as these in the area of funding, it is inevitable that the AU will fail to operate effectively.

The African Union has had little success economically yet in the area of peacekeeping has seen far more productivity since the early 90's. The Arab League on the other hand has accomplished the opposite. The Middle East has thrived yet has been unable to maintain a collective security apparatuses without western intervention and establish a regional consensus on how to approach it. I feel this is because of a general distrust among the large states I.e the monarchy.

Reshaping the Global Playing Field

This will alter the global playing on every level. Europe, Asia, South and Central America, and the Middle East will be forced to compete with a 50 country organization that holds the largest portion of the worlds natural resources… and formidable security apparatus that is the African Union Military. This will play into the hands of those who seek to reshape the global hierarchy and it will force the current G20 leaders to reassess their current economic trajectory.

If you wish to learn more click on the African Union's official page at : http://www.au.int/en/

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