• The African Union is celebrating its 20th Anniversary on 9th of July 2022.
  • The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.
  • In 1963, the Organization of African Unity was founded by the independent states of Africa. The organization aimed to promote cooperation between African states.
  • The 1980 Lagos Plan of Action was adopted by the Organization of African Unity. The plan suggested that Africa should minimize reliance upon the West by promoting intra-African trade.
  • In 2002, the Organization of African Unity was succeeded by the African Union, which had as one of its goals to accelerate the “economic integration of the continent”.

African Union Achieved in 20 Years

  • It was established in 2018 by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).
  • AfCFTA seeks to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.
  • The AfCFTA preliminary work is on steps such as incremental tariff reduction, elimination of non-tariff barriers, supply chains and dispute settlement.
  • It is expected to boost intra-African trade by about USD35 billion by the end of 2022.
  • The larger market area will likely attract investment for continental infrastructure development.
  • The increased trade will create jobs, enhance Africa’s global competitiveness, improve social welfare and position Africa for greater industrialisation.
  • AU has established a permanent mission in Beijing, China, to strengthen economic, commercial and cultural ties with Africa’s largest trading partner.
  • This consolidates Africa’s global profile and ability to speak with one voice on world affairs.
  • AU championed a 10-year continental declaration aimed at gender equality and women’s empowerment that was introduced in February 2020.
  • This declaration, called the Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion, sees African leaders commit to taking action for gender inclusion towards sustainable development at national, regional, and continental levels.

Challenges the African Union is Facing

  • Africa has seen a troubling resurgence of military coups and leaders using unconstitutional means to cling to power.
  • There have been at least 32 coups and coup attempts since 2013.
  • Five out of the seven coup attempts since 2020 succeeded.
  • The coup leaders in the five countries — Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali and Sudan — violently suppressed pro-democracy protesters.
  • The death toll from the suppression of anti-coup protests in Sudan, for instance, is over 100. Over 18 million Sudanese are threatened by food insecurity.
  • An increasing number of democratically elected and legitimate governments are cracking down on civil society organisations.
  • The governments are squeezing out institutions that should hold them accountable and are silencing the media.
  • They arrest activists and enact laws that restrict civil society organisations and their activities.

Recent Development:

  • India’s first high-level visit in Africa for 2022 took place and following developments took place:
  • India announced the Phase-II upgradation of Entrepreneurship Development and Technology Centre (CEDT) in Dakar, built with Indian grant assistance.
  • India also offered a Special ITEC English proficiency course for Senegalese public servants.
  • India announced a Special training programme for a batch of 15 Senegalese diplomats at Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Services.

Way Forward

  • The AU should deal decisively with member states that undermine the rule of law within their territories.
  • The rule of law is essential for sustained and inclusive economic growth, sustainable development, and the eradication of poverty and hunger.


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