POINTING THE WAY TO prosperity
AFRICAN UNION >Introduction
SUSTAINED POLITICAL STABILITY AND SWEEPING ECONOMIC REFORMS ARE THE TWIN PRIORITIES OF THE NEWLY-FORMED AFRICAN UNION, A EUROPEAN UNION-STYLE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL BLOC THAT HAS REPLACED THE FORMER ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY (OAU). THREE AFRICAN STATES-GHANA, THE IVORY COAST AND MALI-ARE SET TO PLAY A KEY ROLE IN THE UNION'S FUTURE
nearly four decades of serving as the symbol of a pan-African ideal,
the Organization of African Unity is finally
focusing on the bread and butter issues that it needs to address in
order to gain an advantage in a global economy. After reaching its main
goal of African liberation after decades of struggle and aid from the
international community, the 53-nation OAU voted this summer to give
the body political and economic teeth, transforming itself into the
African Union, a stepping stone for greater continental unity and integration.
success of the African Union will depend on the individual states
commitment to sustained political stability and to economic reforms
that will allow them to meet the financial criteria. Three of those
states, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Mali have shown amazing resilience
to political bumps and have bounced back to the forefront to become
case studies upon which other poor African nations can model themselves.
its last summit in Zambia this summer, the OAU chose former Ivory Coast
foreign minister Amara Essy as secretary general of the newly formed
African Union. Mr. Essays job will be to steer the new body through
its transition into a European Union-style economic, social and political
bloc. I have been elected to build the structure of the African
Union, Mr. Essy said following the vote. The main task is
clear, because the mandate of the new secretary general is to transform
the OAU into the African Union.
which the United States considers an African gem of democracy
and economic reforms, is expected to be a key player in African integration.
Its president, Alpha Oumar Konare, has been a leading proponent of securing
further direct foreign investment, a major concern of the continent
and of its plan for a successful African Union.