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What becomes of Africa five decades from now?

By Donasius Pathera - posted Friday, 19 February 2016

In 2002, most Africans became angry when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was being changed into the African Union (AU). The citizens of Africa described African leaders as members of a dictators' club for failing to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens.

Many Africans believed that the summit that African leaders were holding was useless and would never benefit the continent. Some believed that the meetings were held to express personal pride to fellow leaders.

The struggle to make Africa a united bloc has failed many times due to differences between leaders. Starting from way back before the formation of OAU, President Kwame Nkrumah, advocated for the United States of Africa; he faced resistance and his quest for the federation was shot down by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny of then Ivory Coast.


This created two blocs, one called the Casablanca Bloc, led by Nkrumah while the other one was called the Monrovia bloc.

Split into two blocs, total unity was difficult to achieve. The former French colonies, still dependent on France, had formed the Monrovia Group, and there was a further split between those that supported the USA and those that supported the USSR in the Cold War of ideologies.

The pro-socialist faction was led by Nkrumah, while Félix Houphouët-Boigny of the Ivory Coast led the pro-capitalists. Because of these divisions, it was difficult for the OAU to take action against states involved in internal conflicts because it could rarely reach an agreement on what was to be done.

Despite its differences, the continent later agreed to form a union for all African states. The formation took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the year 1963. The continental bloc was named Organisation of African Unity.

The OAU was mandated to do a number of things. The most obvious objective of the OAU was to combat racial discrimination. So its first resolutions were about combating apartheid and about the liberation movements.

Among the OAU’s missions are strengthening unity and solidarity between African states, coordinating cooperation for development, preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states and promoting international cooperation in the framework of the United Nations.


The African Union apparently, through its coordination committee for the liberation of Africa, the OAU supported the emancipation of African territories that were not yet independent. The aim was achieved in 1990 with Namibia securing its independence.

The mother continent also witnessed the crowning achievement of its fight against apartheid with the liberation of Nelson Mandela and his election as President of South Africa. Thirty years after the creation of the OAU, South Africa became its 53rd member during the Tunis summit in June 1994.

Though the OAU had promised to help other countries gain independence, it failed to conquer civil wars that were booming in the continent almost each year. Many countries in the continent were involved in civil wars that had claimed most Africans. The coup de tat that have frozen most countries, seem to overpower the OAU.

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About the Author

Donasius Pathera is a Malawian young writer and he contributes to Malawi’s premier newspaper, The Daily Times. He works for the Malawi Revenue Authority in the Corporate Affairs Division.

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