After sixty years in existence, the African Union (AU) has very little to boast about.
Africa’s economic suffering is plain for all the world to see.
It would be justified to assert that the continent has spectacularly failed to reach its great economic potential.
Without economic progress, emancipation is out of the question.
People who do not have food or any economic prospects have not been emancipated.
In fact, with China’s eyes greedily fixed on the continent while it keeps expanding its interests here, quite the opposite is busy happening. Instead of striving for emancipation, the continent is increasingly willing to tolerate the Chinese influence in exchange for short-term perks.
The question that is central to this debate is what the AU has done over the last sixty years to emancipate Africa and promote economic integration of the continent.
The answer is very little. Thus far, the AU has failed to achieve its objective.
Since gaining their independence, most African countries experienced a coup. And since 1960, Africa has seen more than 200 militant operations with varying degrees of success.
In addition, Africa finds itself very close to the bottom when it comes to competing in the world economy, as it is held back by fragmented markets inhibiting efficiency and economic growth.
The African Continental Free Trade Area is a renewed attempt to defragment Africa, and to boost the productivity of its economies. Hopefully, it bears some fruit.
A number of African states, like the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Rwanda, did show strong growth on the economic front over the last few years through improving competition in a macro-economic environment.
Despite these good examples of how to grow economically, South Africa is clinging to a trade policy which is ideologically driven, and the country is going downhill.
Leading economies are moving away from a rigid rules-based system, which has controlled global trade relations for decades, to a system that measures a country’s economic performance against its trade surplus.
Africa is facing an infinite number of obstacles when it comes to competitiveness and trade.
Progress is stifled by political instability, corruption and institutional resistance.
South Africa is also doing very little to help the AU achieve its ideal of economic emancipation.
This can change if the ANC is replaced by a responsible government next year at the polls.
Read the original article in Afrikaans by Jaco Mulder on FF Plus