Ghanaian economist Professor George Ayittey says the African Union should be disbanded because it serves no purpose in the continent.
“Not surprisingly, the AU has achieved spectacularly little in its decade and a half of existence,” says Ayitte.
The professor says the AU Commission’s authority mostly serves to create suspicion and intrigue and ultimately to instill resistance in member states to the body’s dictates.
He also says that the union has embraced a policy of noninterference in the affairs of member states, so as not to scare off those governments accused of war crimes or with abysmal human rights records.
“It is famous for its annual summits, where unrepentant despots sip champagne and applaud their own longevity while issuing preposterous communiqués that nobody else in the world pays attention to. Instead of a centralised but weak organisation like the AU, Africa needs a looser style of confederacy that allows national actors to coordinate decisions with one another, rather than imposing choices on them,” he says.
Prof Ayitte says that since at least the start of the global financial crisis, and certainly since last month’s Brexit referendum, the EU has proved it can’t work for Europe. African leaders should now admit that a meretricious caricature of it can’t possibly work for Africa.
“Equally misguided is the AU’s preference for inclusivity. Unlike EU countries that had to meet certain political and economic benchmarks for membership, any rogue or deadbeat African country has always been allowed to join the AU,” he says.
He goes on to add: “In fact, 18 countries should have been disqualified for not paying membership dues to the OAU, but Qaddafi paid off their debts so they could join. The AU also embraced a policy of noninterference in the affairs of member states, so as not to scare off those governments accused of war crimes or with abysmal human rights records. Every African country except Morocco is currently a member.”
He says the AU has proved equally inept on the economic front.
“The body couldn’t even afford to build its own headquarters, so China picked up the tab for its glitzy $200 million building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” he says in an article written for Foreign Policy.
Here is a link to the Prof delivering a TEDEX talk.