African leadership and EU patience needed to achieve African integration

Weekly Compass African countries need to be prepared to pool their sovereignty and entrust their collective sovereignty to common institutions that are given appropriate powers of action in order to ensure continental integration according to a report by ECDPM and the Nordic Africa Institute entitled “Building the African Union: An assessment of past progress and future prospects for the African Union’s institutional architecture”.

The report comprises analysis and a collection of papers presented by African and European policy-makers and researchers at an informal, high- level seminar which considered progress in the Pan-African integration agenda; the continuing development of the African Union (AU) institutional architecture; and the status of key reforms and future challenges. Participants also discussed the nature of the role played by the European Union (EU) – and, to an increasing extent, also the roles played by other international partners – where there is a risk of a heavy preponderance of donor funding, raising questions of ownership and legitimacy.

The authors present a list of concrete action points for strengthening the AU and its institutions to achieve African leaders’ commitment to a ‘United States of Africa’ and an analysis of the role the EU could play in supporting the AU’s institutional development. The issues covered in the seminar are highly topical in the light of the forthcoming 3rd EU-Africa Summit of Heads of State and Government (on 29-30 November 2010) and the current debate on the relevance, focus and impact of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy.

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