Will the African Union become the United States of Africa similar to the United States of America and the European Union? Globalization has made it somewhat fashionable to establish political mergers, and the African leaders’ plan seems like a bright idea at first sight. So much for the good news though.
I am rather curious to see how such a union would work – one where:
- there are hardly any stable democracies
- a lot of countries (Zimbabwe, Libya, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Somalia, Chad and others) are either controlled by dictators or controlled by military juntas and have unstable territorial integrity and corrupt governments to the extreme
- most of the Member States (every African country is member of the Union) lack experts in finance and economics. In his book called “The White Man’s Burden” William Easterly talked about the ways a Gambian bank sums up its money – by using a notebook and a pencil
- corruption level is high almost everywhere. Check out Transparency International’s press kit
- a lot of the Member States are among the ten poorest countries in the world and/or among the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), and Zimbabwe suffers from hyperinflation. I can’t imagine a single-state federation with so many Member States suffering from monetary instability to have a single currency
- history has done a lot of harm. There’s still genocide in Sudan; Senegal, the Gambia and Guinea-Bissau have their own conflicts, etc.
- like Europe most of the Member States would want to retain their national sovereignty which more or less makes such union politically pointless in great extent
Overall I can’t see any good reason why African countries should create a single-state federation all the more if people will be allowed to cross borders without being checked. If the possible United States of Africa allows free movement of people, this will very likely lead to overpopulation in the few stable democracies in Africa thus creating tension there.
The fact that the Americans have created a functional system doesn’t mean that that system is going to work in Africa, not in those circumstances to say the least.