ROAD TO AFRICAN UNION: RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT
The thesis “The Road to African Union” explores previous and present initiatives to unify African states.
The examination spans over a century, from the end of the nineteenth to the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The primary goal of the research is to determine whether there were (are) necessary prerequisites for African unification, such as political value compatibility, increased economic and social transactions, peace and security,
and a positive external environment.
The thesis states that the necessary conditions for unification have not been sufficiently available in africa, notwithstanding significant improvements that happened following the end of the Cold War in the 1990s.
The study also seeks to assess the Organisation of African Unity's (OAU) successes and weaknesses.
It claims that the OAU's achievements in the political, economic, and social spheres were inadequate.
Finally, the study seeks to demonstrate the structure, objectives, and functions of the new African Union while also comparing and contrasting it with the former OAU.
Africa is a diverse collection of peoples, cultures, ecosystems, and histories. The continent covers 11,677,240 square miles (30,244,050 square kilometres), ranging from the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic-Indian Ocean meeting point in the south (Chazan 1999: 5).
It boasts the most arable land per capita in the world; its landmass of 2.1 million hectares, with 32% forest and woodland and 6.2% arable land, is double its share of the world population (Mosha 1981). Africa has a population of over 730 million (nearly 10% of the world's population) who speak over 800 languages.
Seventy percent of the population lives in rural regions and makes their income via farming or animal husbandry (Chazan 1999: 5). Africa is also abundant in minerals and other resources. It has one-quarter of the world's hydroelectric power, although only 3% is being utilised.
The continent has the most reserves of metallic ores (top producer of cobalt and nickel), nonferrous base metals (top producer of copper, lead, and zinc), precious metals (top producer of gold and diamond), and nonmetallic deposits (a leading producer of phosphates) (Mosha 1998).
Africa's worldwide contact in the 16th and later centuries was detrimental to its development. European merchants sent millions of Africans to labour on their plantations in the Americas.
Between 1500 and 1890, more than 30 million Africans were carried to America as part of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, leaving the continent devoid of youthful cultivators.