In this article we are going to talk about the achievement and problems facing the African Union. It's one of the biggest Union in Africa
1. Promotion of African unity:
U has reduced conflicts, unhealthy rivalries, divisions, and blocs in Africa. It hag promoted African unity.
2. fought against colonialism:
At the time AU (formerly OAU) was formed, many African countries had not gained independence. The AU, therefore, united and fought for independence for the affected colonies. For example, as of 1963, there were only thirty-two (32) independent states in Africa. However, by 2003, all the 54 countries in Africa had gained their independence.
3. Dispute and Arbitration:
The AU has solved many disputes between member nations. For example, the border dispute between Algeria and Morocco, the triangular dispute between EthiopiaSomalia and Kenya, and the Ethiopia and Eritrea conflict have received prompt action by AU.
4. Provision of Funds:
The AU (i.e. African Development Bank) has provided funds to support many development projects in Africa. The funds are given under very flexible terms of payment and it has reduced Ghana's overreliance on financial institutions outside Africa.
5. Economic Assistance:
The AU has put in place the “Lagos Plan of Action” to improve trade among member states and fair trade with the outside world. For example, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) which was launched in June 2002 has created a new course of development for Africa.
6. Promotion of Sports and culture among member states:
The African Union has planned successfully sports and cultural programmes for member states. The All African Games, Confederation Cup, Confederations of African Federation (CAF), African Cup of Nations, and Athletic competitions have fostered unity, friendship, and good neighborliness among member states.
7. Increased trade among member states:
Ghana now has a large market in Africa where she can sell some of her goods and services. Agricultural produce, manufactured products, and services are sold to some member states of the AU. With an estimated population of 1 billion, this is a big market for all African states.
CHALLENGES/PROBLEMS OF THE AFRICAN UNION
1. Health issues:
The continent is faced with many health challenges such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Water-borne diseases. HIV/AIDS has claimed millions of lives in Africa. There is also a high maternal and child mortality rate in Africa. Many children die before age one. Life ®xpectancy in Africa has dropped over the years due to unresolved health issues.
2. Political Issues:
The continent is faced with military takeover or coups d’états in some countries. For 8xample, Mauritania had a coupon on 3 August 2005. They handed over power in 2007. However, a new coup took place on 6 August 2008. This has led to the
\uspension of the country by the Union. The refugee problem in the Darfur region o Sudan has been a serious political problem facing the Union. Armed militants Occasionally attack and kill some of the refugees in Darfur. Other examples include the ongoing civil war or conflict in Somalia which started in 1991, and political instability; in Zimbabwe and DR Congo.
3. Economic problems:
Rising global prices of crude oil and fallen export revenue of many Countries have affected the economies of African Union member states. The world financial problem that occurred in 2007 has adversely affected Africa, Financial pledges by developed countries to many African countries to support them were not honored. This has affected the budget of these countries. Most African states have not liberated themselves from their colonial masters. They depend on them for both technical and economic support. Such dependency makes the AU ineffective since members are manipulated from behind. The continent has most of the world's poorest countries. This puts the union in a poor financial position.
4. Environmental issues:
Desertification and deforestation are gradually depriving the continent of some of its trees and wildlife. This has reduced income from lumber exports in some countries in Africa. Climate change has led to unreliable rainfall patterns in Africa leading to drought, low production in agriculture, famine, low income, and poverty. This makes most African very poor. Air and water pollution has also affected the quality of air and water bodies in Africa. Many rivers in Africa are heavily polluted with households and industrial waste such as garbage, oils, and chemicals.
5. Divisions among member states on many lines:
Some of the member countries are still in a deep relationship with their former colonial masters. Members are divided on the proposal of the creation of the African Union Government. This proposal is aimed at moving the continent towards the United States of Africa. Some countries like Libya are demanding a common Government for all African states. Others are supporting the strengthening of the existing structures. A third group supports a reform to deal with administrative and political challenges facing the continent.
6.AU does not have a standing army:
AU does not have a standing army to defend member states against rebel activities and military takeover. This accounts for the military coup d’états, civil wars, border disputes, and conflicts in some parts of Africa. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and lately Cote D'ivoire are flashpoints of conflict areas on the continent.