The African Union (AU) commemorates its second decade this year. This milestone presents a moment to reflect on the founding aspirations of the body, assess the current progress in achieving these, and provide suggestions of what the continent should do to achieve these aspirations. This piece assesses the AU's role in peace and security on the continent as far as election-related violence (ERV) is concerned and the linkages between various organs of the AU to achieve this, particularly the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). Timothy Sisk defines ERV as 'acts of verbal assault, intimidation, coercion and physical harm used to sabotage an electoral process (at any given point) or eliminate electoral competition.' The United Nations recognises ERV as a 'form of political violence which is often designed to influence an electoral outcome and, therefore, political power distribution.'
It is critical for the AU to become more open and aware of the role of CSOs in Africa and to engage with them meaningfully as partners in the continent's development, as opposed to its antagonistic relations with the CSOs on the continent. Meaningful and inclusionary engagement with CSOs is also essential and must allow for the input of expert CSOs as well as internationally funded CSOs. As mentioned in the preceding sections, the expertise and the critical voices of these CSOs can play an essential role in increasing the capacity of AU organs and ultimately amplifying the citizens' voices from a wider base.
This short piece explores the role of norm generation at the continental level in Africa and its impact on the integration effort. It examines notable developments in Africa that impact the normative and legal developments, including colonisation, Pan-Africanism, the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the African Union (AU). Particular attention is paid to the AU Constitutive Act and its significance.
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The new collection Visions of African Unity edited by Matteo Grilli and Frank Gerits is very welcome. Pan-Africanism and African unity are highly significant in the modern history of the continent, yet have too rarely received the sustained academic attention they deserve. The editors have done well to establish a diverse set of contributors from Africa, Europe and America, with specialisms in history, law, and international relations. The subject is a broad one, and the chapters reflect this. Many of them are highly engaging and informative and will be of value to scholars interested in the particular facets covered as well as in the broader subject
The edited volume Visions of African Unity. New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects (palgrave macmillan, 2021) by Frank Gerits and Matteo Grilli (eds), is an ambitious and welcome publication on varying but complimentary aspects of Pan-Africanism in the 20th and 21st centuries. The book´s forte lies not only in its historical approach to the topic at hand but also in the bringing together of current research angles on matters of African unity, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and the later African Union (AU). Also, the diverse set of contributing authors in terms of geography (Africa, Europe, USA), professional backgrounds, and gender makes this publication a welcome read.
The chapters present a broad lens for understanding how historical conditions have mediated and moderated the business of uniting the peoples of Africa. Issues such as ideological cleavages, trade union politics, interference of external actors in domestic politics, perceptions of civil society and cultural actors on African unification, and transnational institution building in post-colonial Africa are some of points analysed in this book.
This edited volume explores continental and international visions of African unity. Continental integration had many different iterations beyond the OAU and it is therefore approached by contributors not only as a political project, but also as an ideology, a cultural marker and a legal issue. This collection is also a discussion of the place of African unity within the international system, a topic that is underreached despite the archives revealing how officials in the Global North struggled to understand the pan-African and pan-Arab challenges to international relations.
Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University; African Studies Center; and Global Development Policy Center present an online Event themed: "Foreign Economic Policy & the African State: African Agency in the 21st Century"