African Union Summit ends in Accra

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007 The 9th summit of the Assembly of the African Union ended in Accra, Ghana just before midnight yesterday. The three day summit, which was scheduled to last until the afternoon of July 3 overran, ending just before midnight.

The main issue discussed was the call for the setting up of a Pan-African government. The Libyan leader, Muamar al-Gaddafi, and the Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, were advocates for its establishment as soon as possible. Gaddafi was in favor of a single African army, foreign policy and government. Others such as Robert Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki were more inclined to a more gradual process of integration. Yoweri Museveni, of Uganda, preferred more economic integration to political union, as he felt Africa was too diverse to be under one government.

The African leaders put out a unanimous declaration agreeing to set up a Ministerial Committee to examine the relationship between an African Union government and the various national governments. The committee would also be expected to look at the impact on the sovereignty of member states and to provide a time frame and road map for the process.

The idea of a continental government was first advocated by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana in the mid fifties and sixties when he was the Ghanaian president. It however received very little support at the time.

The host of the summit, John Kufuor of Ghana, Chairman of the Union, said there had been no winners or losers and that the debate had been characterised by tolerance and mutual respect. He said Africa's union was not being modelled on that of the USA nor the European Union but rather on model that would be unique to the continent. He was also keen on the rationalization of the various Regional Economic Commissions towards the realization of an African Economic Commission.

The next summit is scheduled for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2008.