Africa just like USA

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.


Filed under Economy, Politics

5 responses to “Africa just like USA

  1. Dima

    The concept of African Union is certainly new for me and, just like you, I have the hardest time trying to picture how this could even begin to work. By definition, a union requires communication and cooperation which appears to be impossible for a great part of the African countries. Whoever came up with the idea is either an unbelievable idealist and optimist, or maybe just wanted to see how far the idea might go. As much as I would like to see African countries establish order within a functional system, it just seems to be divorced from reality at this point.

  2. Thank you for using the word idealist. From idealistical point of view United States of Africa is the most brilliant idea ever created. However, from realistical point of view it is currently impossible for such a federation to work out, not to mention the possible establishment of a united African army in such an insecure environment.

    Actually African nations have been seeking such a unity (a single-state federation similar to that of the United States of America) for the last 10 or 15 years. Interestingly enough (and that’s another thank you for using the word idealist), one of the biggest advocates of the idea of United States of Africa is the African Union’s new leader Muamar Gadhaffi (whatever the spelling of his last name is) of Libya. I see him as more of an opportunist rather than an idealist.

  3. Dima

    Excellent point! This is, probably, an opportunistic attempt to further exploit the peoples of Africa, as if we haven’t seen enough of that. In a way, it is a rotten, but brilliant idea, having in mind a new unity of the sort would depend on a lot of foreign subsidization, investments and so one. The ‘optimal’ conditions for corrupt leaders, pretending to be idealistic transformational theorists.

  4. Yeah, those subsidizations and investments help but also usually raise corruption in the particular African country. It’s already proven.

  5. Nigel

    Africa is super-fragmented and African countries have a hard time keeping themselves together as they are now – as a matter of fact, there are far more tribes, each with their own political, economic and judicial system, then there are countries on the continent. I really don’t see how United African States can be created, let alone maintained. Unless Mugabe becomes the Supreme Leader, of course (a lame and insensitive attempt for a joke, lol).

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