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Opinion

Support key for African Union

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Column by Alec Hamilton

AlecHamilton-w2000-h2000All international organizations are probably in need of reform.  Many times, the reason for problems in the function of such organizations is their structures and institutions.

This is often cited in the case of the United Nations, the Security Council or the European Union.  There is not a severe lack of funding, or recognition, or power but rather a lack of efficiency in the above cases.

However, the same cannot be said in the case of the African Union.  The African Union’s main problems are not institutional or a result of its own inefficiency.

Instead, the African Union was founded and expected to immediately address a multitude of problems that has afflicted the entire continent of Africa for decades.  The African Union does not need reformation, it needs better support from the international community.

This support needs to come in the form of economic assistance and training, recognition from the rest of the world of their influence over Africa and the African Union needs to be allowed to take the lead regarding Africa’s affairs.

The sheer amount of problems the African Union is expected to address and solve is mind boggling.  Rampant disease in the form of malaria, HIV/AIDs and other health concerns like malnutrition counteract all other efforts to improve standard of living.

Complete and utter exploitation by colonial Western powers has left the economies of most of Africa desperately behind the rest of the world in terms of industrialization and modernization.

Politically, Africa is still very unstable due to the presence of brutal dictatorships or complete chaos such as in Somalia.  The sheer amount of health, economic and security problems the African Union has to face leaves them desperately underfunded to make a positive impact in even one of these areas, let alone them all.

The rest of the world’s lack of recognition of the African Union and its role only further weakens its effectiveness.

When the African Union attempted to negotiate with Muammar Gaddafi, it was completely upstaged and ignored by NATO.

The temporary government installed after Gaddafi’s fall, backed by NATO and the Arab League, did not have the support of the African Union.

How is the African Union supposed to act with legitimacy and the weight of power behind it when the rest of the world does not even recognize its role in mediating a conflict in its own sphere?

To sum up, the African Union does not need to be reformed.  It needs to be supported in its efforts to solve Africa’s health, economic, political and security challenges.

Despite a lack of support it has made admirable progress in all of these areas.

The international community needs to give more economic and resource assistance to the African Union.

They need to support the African Union politically, recognize its influence over Africa and allow it to act as the premier power on the continent.

Hamilton is a senior international relations and news-Internet double major and can be reached at alec.hamilton@drake.edu

 

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