The 1994 Abuja Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) commits African states to eventual Pan African political and economic union – a United States of Africa (USAf). Pan-Africanism’s ultimate goal is twofold: an African federal system with a central authority possessing supranational powers and a unitary community resulting from the merger of sovereign African states. But the Abuja Treaty’s ideals remain a distant goal. For now, Africa has entered an important stage en route to that ideal – a ‘new’ wave of Pan-Africanism: progressive ‘continentalism’. The continent’s state actors and key institutions promote a new progressivism, which champions development, peace and security, democratic governance and accelerated economic growth. Whereas the OAU defended non-interference in the domestic affairs of African states and unity and solidarity at all costs and was preoccupied with the liberation struggle and efforts to rid the continent of colonial rule and white minority oppression, the African Union promotes a ‘new’ wave of inter-African union based on the doctrine of nonindifference, by which African states are encouraged to become more democratic and ‘good’ governance is promoted. However, although the new progressive continentalism promotes Afro-governance it is fraught with major challenges because of adherence by the vast majority of African states to narrow notions of ‘sovereignty’. The challenges notwithstanding, while Pan-Africanism remains a distant aspiration, it would be prudent to focus on the consolidation of a progressive continentalism.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections