African unity seeks new life

This Thursday, May 25 is Africa Day

African unity seeks new life

This Thursday, May 25 is Africa Day. Indeed, it has been sixty years since the idea of ​​African unity made its way to become more concrete through a dedicated institution. After the first Conference of States, which brought together in Accra in 1958, the eight independent African States, nearly thirty countries decided to found, in Addis Ababa, on May 25, 1963, the Organization of Unity Africa (OAU). And this despite the divisions between “progressives” and “moderates”. Among the objectives set, beyond the content and form to be given to unity, the urgency was to stand together to obtain the decolonization of the continent and put an end to apartheid. Since then, the institution has only grown, with a total of 55 member countries today and as many challenges. 60 years later, what is the assessment of the action of this organization? What remains of the dream of the founding fathers? What future for the pan-African institution?

Africa must not once again become a "geostrategic battleground", the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, insisted on Thursday, calling on the countries of the continent to "resist the instrumentalization" of the great powers. against the background of the conflict in Ukraine. "In this international context of confrontation, divergent geopolitical interests, the will of each other threatens to transform Africa into a geostrategic battleground, thereby recreating a new version of the Cold War", launched the leader of the pan-African organization, from the headquarters in Addis Ababa. “In this zero-sum game, where gains for others translate into losses for Africa, we must resist all forms of instrumentalization of our Member States,” he continued.

Africa is at the heart of international struggles for influence which have intensified since the Russian offensive in Ukraine. Against the backdrop of Western sanctions, Moscow is seeking support in Asia and Africa, where many states have not openly condemned the Russian military intervention. Russia has multiplied initiatives on the continent in recent years, aimed at posing as an alternative to the former colonial powers.

Moussa Faki Mahamat hailed the successes of the OAU, "that of independence and victory over apartheid, that of significant economic progress, of sports, of the arts, of increasing the international role of Africa". At the same time, he listed "the negative factors, such as the unconstitutional changes of government and their procession of oppression and gagging of freedoms, insecurity, the spread of terrorism, violent extremism, the uncontrolled circulation of arms, the negative effects of climate change". “Despite the difficulties of all kinds, Africa remains characterized by its great capacity for resilience. She was able, despite pessimistic forecasts at the time, to hold firm in the face of the prevalence of Covid-19. Better, she took the opportunity of this misfortune to rethink her health strategy, ”he recalled. "Proof that if Africa wills, it can, whatever the nature and types of adversity it may face," he insisted.

President-in-Office of the AU, the Comorian Head of State Azali Assoumani has also denounced "the unconstitutional changes of power" which have multiplied in recent years in Africa. Yet the 1999 Algiers declaration against unconstitutional changes of government put Africa on the right track to end putsches. With five coups in the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) area in two years, it is clear that the AU must still mobilize. "Inter and intra-African conflicts but also terrorism persist and therefore the peace, security, democracy and development of our continent are threatened in many of our countries," he continued. "In this regard, we must convince our brothers in Sudan to favor dialogue so that the fratricidal war that is raging in this country ends," he added.