Friday, January 13, 2012

The African Union Stakeholder Analysis

Formerly the Organization of African Union (OAU) and founded in 1963 under the auspices of the former emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie, OAU changed named in 2002 to become the African Union (AU). With headquarters in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, AU constitutes over fifty states excluding the Maghreb kingdom of Morocco. Stakeholder analysis can be used as a tool to determine the purpose and information to be used and help focus on more or various dimensions that will help set the stage for analyzing past, present, near or distant events (Brugha and Varvasovszky, 2000). Since the AU is an amalgamation of third world nations and that it cannot sustain its commitments to the continent by itself, there are economically powerful nations such as those in the western hemisphere that make it operational by providing the necessary financial resources and military gear.

Making stakeholders out of advocates requires a structured approach, mapping out advocacy, and finally closing the gap (Dewhurst and Fitzpatrick, 2005). Of the various organs of the AU, the most important stakeholders that make the organization effective include the Assembly, the Executive Council, and the Pan-African Parliament. However, it is the Assembly that holds the banner for the AU as it is thus far the most important stakeholder in policy implementations. The Assembly is the gathering of Heads of States who converge at a certain venue once every year to deliberate on the issues affecting the continent. The Assembly has the power to expel any rebel state from the Union for a certain period of time. The Executive Council gets directives from the Assembly on matters pertaining to war and restoration of peace by supplying peacekeeping troops where applicable especially in conflict-prone areas. Also, it is the prerogative of the Assembly to appoint the African Court of Justice Members and the Chairman of the Commission. As for the Executive Council, ministers are drawn from member states and they deliberate on certain areas that include foreign trade, social security implementations, agriculture and food subsidies and communication.

The three stakeholders described above work in concert to create a common ground for spearheading the interests of member states. They generally constitute an assemblage with common interests that include a governing body, a union, and interest groups. They are bound by a charter which is inviolable and commensurate with union legislation. However, some countries may have leverage over others for providing the financial means necessary for driving the activities. An example of a country that enjoyed greater influence in the Union was the North African state of Libya whose previous leader, Muammar Gaddafi, shone above every other leader because he spent a lot of money either for a just cause or through using manipulative means to drive a particular agenda to his advantage. Muammar Gaddafi’s economic clout enabled the Union to have a sponsor to give it legitimacy.

By striving and working collectively the AU has developed an initial agreement which is to advance the political, economic, and cultural values of the nations that constitute the broader union. This system has materialized since the founding of the Union in 1963. Finding the right people has been made possible by the various branch members that come together at certain times of the year to choose the right people for the right functions. So far, the Union has had tangible process-oriented outcomes in its determination to succeed. The Union has a process guideline which is separation of powers as in a democratic institution where every level of government strives to reach required expectations while keeping in touch now and then to sort out differences. The level of support given by the sponsor and the joint workings of the three branches is what is giving the Union legitimacy while at the same time driving it to the right course. The participation of stakeholders in the Union increases the chances of buy-in and commitment. Co-optation is another aspect that makes the Union to succeed in its endeavours.

References

Brugha, R & Varvasovszky, Z. (2000). Stakeholder analysis: A review. Health policy and planning, 15(3): 239-246.

Dewhurst, S. & Fitzpatrick, L. (2005). Turning stakeholders into advocates. Strategic communication management, 9(6), 6-7.
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