Kuhnhardt, Ludger. (2008) African Regional Integration and the Role of the European Union. ZEI Discussion Paper C184, 2008. [Discussion Paper]
[From the Introduction]. African regional integration has had a remarkable new beginning since the formal beginning of the African Union (AU) in 2002. Following the Treaty of Abuja, in force since 2004 and envisaging an African Economic Community in six stages by 2028, and following the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), since 2002 a mandated initiative of the African Union including NEPAD’s unique African Peer Review Mechanism for the measuring of good governance, the African Union has become the frame for a new African regionalism. The new beginning in African integration is impressive, promising and creative. It is not only a rhetoric operation but a substantial recognition of the need to redefine the parameters of political, socio-economic and security developments on the African continent. (1) The independence of African nation-states was accompanied and supported by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), founded in 1963. The OAU was driven by an anti-colonial impulse and aimed at protecting the national sovereignty of each African state. To prevent a revision of borders, often drawn artificially during the age of colonialism, was a prime concern of the OAU. Non-intervention into domestic affairs became the main application of the principle of protecting national sovereignty. The OAU failed to link the principle of national sovereignty with the principle of popular sovereignty that is with the principles of human rights, rule of law, democratic accountability and good governance. The economic decline in Africa between the 1970s and 1990s became an almost all-pervasive stereotype that was reinforced by the sad realities of civil wars and failed states, failing regimes and widely spread bad governance. For some, Africa was already considered a lost continent. (2) Until the turn of the century, Africa’s image in the world became blurred by negative stereotypes and widely perceived experiences of frustration and decline. The positive examples of some African success stories did not serve as model for other countries. In fact the positive examples became the sad exceptions to a rule of decline and disaster.
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