Image via WikipediaFormerly known as the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the African Union (AU), the subject of my final paper, was founded in 963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It changed name in 2002 to its current name. It was founded on the basis of spearheading pan-Africanism though lately it has transformed itself into a behemoth organization that stands for continental unity, sustainable development, and economic equilibrium in an expansive sphere of the globe beset by a cornucopia of human and natural disasters (Adogamhe, 2008,). The African Union is representative of people of various nationalities and diverse cultures that include black tribal communities, a minority White race, and a sizable number of societies belonging to the Arab race. It represents various social groups speaking hundreds of vernaculars and colonial languages that include Portuguese, English, Spanish, English, and French respectively.
To date, there are eighteen strategic objectives that drive the Union’s pursuit of its desired goals. In its executive summary, the Union’s comprehensive strategic objectives include programs that highlight the importance of peace and security, development, integration, cooperation, shared values, and program for institutional and capacity building (Ping, 2009). A breakdown of the Union’s SWOT analysis specifies many negative and positive aspects. Some of its strengths include the integration of the fifty-three union members, having the mandate to make arrangements for existing institutions, having distinguished recognition in the international community of nations, a leadership that strives to implement changes, shared values that rest on the philosophy of pan-Africanism, and the capacity to call all members to a projected venue whenever required. The weaknesses that plagues the Union include challenges in administration and management, lack of funds and resources, missing rigid infrastructure, shortage of professionals, lack of commitment, missing teamwork, uncertified or weak information technology resulting from weak processes. Some opportunities that are of advantage to the Union's smooth running and operation include empowering women, gesture of goodwill and benevolence by mindful partners, expectations in the restructuring of its financial structure, and the need to speak in one voice. Threats include uncontrollable pandemics, limited resources, marginalization and gender inequality, sporadic outbreak of conflicts and unpredictable internecine warfare, stagnated economy, and scarcity or lack of commodities.
Directing an organization to the right course without having a systematic management plan can be a daunting task. According to Sherman (2007), the use of strategic management in organizations has been in place for over a century. In modern times, the proliferation of literature exclusive to strategic management and planning coupled with the presence of educational institutions of higher learning have set the stage for drastic revolutionary changes in a world brimming with technological advancement and knowledge. Besides spearheading strategic management, organizations need to endorse strategic management by highlighting the importance of strategic planning, performance measurement, integrated business planning, management reporting, and organizational culture reward systems (Aguilar, 2003).
The Union's internal organizational environment is populated by member states having differing leadership styles and poor governing approaches that is the cause of the appalling human development statistics. Undemocratic governing practices, abuse of office and widespread corruption, absence of accountability, state repression, appalling human rights records, financial instability, and missing regulatory frameworks remain an impediment in many African governments. Each and every African state has a representation at the Union headquarters in Addis Ababa and at the pan-African legislative assembly in Midrand, South Africa. A rotating chairmanship allows every African head of state to hold the helm at the approach of term. Within the Union there are those leaders that harbor suspicion and betrayal by not conforming to the Union’s code of ethics. Despite a handful of states espousing democracy as the preferred system of governance, on the other hand, there are those whose governing ideals rest on the advancement of feudalism, theocracy, and dictatorship which is cause for the derailment of many contentious issues.
Most African states evolved from the ashes of Anglo-Franco colonialism that dissipated when many African leaders who pioneered their nations’ right to self-determination stepped into the shoes of their former colonial masters. The newly emerged African leaders that took over the helm did little to transform the political, social, and economic sectors that required resuscitation. Instead, they embarked on the suppression of civil society leaving destruction in their wake. The divisions left behind by the colonial masters created a new social order deficient of political, social, and economic willpower. Thus, the vestiges of colonialism left a lot to be desired. Even to this day, African heads of states remain inclined to their former colonial powers militarily and economically. The schisms that exist within the AU’s inner circles deserve rectification before any leap forward can be attempted.
Adogamhe, P.G. (2008). Pan-Africanism revisited: Vision and Reality of African unity and development. African Review of Integration, Vol. 2 No. 2, July 2008.
Aguilar, O. (2003). How strategic performance is helping companies create business value. Strategic Finance, 84(7), 44-49.
Ping, J. (2009). African Union Commission: Strategic plan 2009-202. Retrieved from http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/Strategic_Plan2009-2012.pdf
Sherman, H., Rowley, D.J., & Armandi, B.R. (2007). Developing a strategic profile: The pre-planning of strategic management. Business Strategy Series, 8(3), 162-171.