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ADDIS ABABA 25-27 May 2013 African Union leaders meet for celebration, then 21st Ordinary Summit
African Union (AU) leaders will meet on May 25 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the defunct Organiz

May 25, 2012 - NULL

ADDIS ABABA 25-27 May 2013 African Union leaders meet for celebration, then 21st Ordinary Summit
African Union (AU) leaders will meet on May 25 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the defunct Organization of African Unity (OAU). The 21st AU Ordinary Summit follows. The celebratory gathering is likely to focus more on OAU achievements than on the limitations that led to the founding of its replacement, the African Union, in 2002.
The OAU was established on 25 May 1963 in an era of militancy as African countries sought to shake off the vestiges of colonialism and capitalize on newfound sovereignty

ADDIS ABABA 25-27 May 2013 African Union leaders meet for celebration, then 21st Ordinary Summit
African Union (AU) leaders will meet on May 25 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the defunct Organization of African Unity (OAU). The 21st AU Ordinary Summit follows. The celebratory gathering is likely to focus more on OAU achievements than on the limitations that led to the founding of its replacement, the African Union, in 2002.
The OAU was established on 25 May 1963 in an era of militancy as African countries sought to shake off the vestiges of colonialism and capitalize on newfound sovereignty. The OAU was criticized for failing to advance the cause of peace on the continent, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s when it was awash in wars and civil wars. At the same time, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, it is credited with successful mediations in several border disputes, including Algeria-Morocco (1963-64) and Kenya and Somalia (1965-67). It is also credited with initiatives that helped to bring apartheid in South Africa to an end, with creating a mechanism in 1993 for peacemaking and peacekeeping on the continent, and with sponsoring an international panel in 1998 to investigate the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994.

The OAU maintained the "Africa group" at the United Nations through which many of its efforts at international coordination were channeled.

Samuel G. Amoo, a research fellow at George Mason University wrote in 1992: "Many explanations of the OAU's incapacity have been advanced, ranging from simple lack of resources to the argument - true of other regional organizations - that it merely represents and reflects the vitiating political divisions among its members."

The late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafy proposed in 2002 that the OAU be replaced by a new body, the African Union, modeled on the European Union. He envisioned economic union as well as political union. A Constitutive Act, which provided for the establishment of the African Union, came into force on 26 May 2001, and the AU replaced the OAU in Jul 2002.

Much of Gaddafy's vision has come to pass, but criticism leveled at the OAU is also sticking to the AU. According to Britain's Guardian newspaper in Jul 2012, AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faces the challenge of revitalizing a body often criticized for its slow and ineffective response to crises such as the Libyan and Ivory Coast crises in 2011.

The agenda for the 21st Ordinary Summit is likely to reflect both older and newer handicaps. The AU theme for 2013, "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance," reflects the bloc's continuing quest for a more powerful and united voice. (WRITTEN SEP 2012)

RELATED READING:

The OAU and African Conflicts:

Past Successes, Present Paralysis and Future Perspectives (George Mason University1992)
http://scar.gmu.edu/wp_5_amoo.pdf

African Union
http://www.au.int/

AU declaration from 19th AU Summit Jul 2012
http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Assembly%20AU%20Dec%20416-449%20(XIX)%20_E_Final.pdf

Date written/update: 2012-05-25