Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The African continent celebrates yet another Africa Day today, May 25, 2009, commemorating the 46th year of efforts by African Heads of States and Governments to foster continental politicaland economic integration, formerly through the Organization of African Unity (OAU)and now the AfricanUnion(AU).The politicalintegration process has since then been intensified.The AfricanUnion,acting through the Assembly of the Heads of States and Government and the African Union'Commission, has outlined a roadmap for the establishment of a United States of Africaby 2015, while rollingout a continentalwide economic and social development programme. Allthese major developments are expected to give rise to a people's union and society anchored on the core values and norms of democratic governance, human rights, gender parity, and peace and security. Since the historicdebate on the establishment of the United States of Africatook place in Accra in July 2007, the AfricanUnionCommission(AUC)has been assessed and the strengthening of its political,technical and operational capacities advocated. In response, the African Union Commission will be transformed into an AfricanUnionAuthorityand launched as such at the July 2009 Summit of the African Union. In April2009, the ExecutiveCouncilof the African Unionat its 1th ExtraordinarySession in Sirte, Libya, adopted a report on the creation of the African UnionAuthority, agreeing on its structures and action plan. The new African Union Authority is expected to serve as a more effective tool for accelerating political and economic integration and willhave the power to coordinate policiesahd programme implementation on behalf of the 53 Africanmember states. As the continent celebrates the 46thanniversary of organized collectiveaction in support of the economic and political integration of the states, nations and peoples of Africa, the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG),Accraand the Ghana CivilSociety Coalitionon the AfricanUnion, wish to call on the Government of Ghana to adopt measures and mechanisms that would close the existing gaps between AUSummit decisions and their implementation at the national and regional levels. People's participation in these formal processes is still very weak. Through effective public t;ducation, media-facilitated information dissemination, and improved opportunities for dialogue, public awareness Willbe raised and collaboration between state and non-state actors enhanced. Further, the Government of Ghana should support national civil society organizations to champion the effective operation of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECCOSOC),which is the organ that the AfricanUnion has created for civilsociety actors to participate effectively in continental policyformulationand implementation processes.
On May 29, 2009, IDEG and the civil society coalition on the African Union will initiate a civic process for strengthening people's participation in the continental political and economic integration processes with aroundtableon the topic: "From the AU Commission to the AU Authority: Are we moving closer to the United States of Africa?" IDEGwishes all Ghanaians a reflectiveAfricaDay.

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