Image via WikipediaThe African Union (AU), based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was formerly known as the Organization of African Unity (OAU). It changed name in 2002 to become the African Union. The AU represents the political, social, economic, and cultural issues affecting the African continent. It was formerly established to fight colonialism and apartheid. Despite being formed to usher the continent into a new environment of peace and prosperity and foster solidarity with newly independent states and preserve the idea of sovereignty, the continent got immersed in explosive debts and bureaucracy, genocide, conflicts, and dictatorships in later years (Carbone, 2002). Modeled from the European Union style of governance, the AU is composed of an Assembly, a Commission, a Central bank, a Court of Justice, a Parliament and eventually a common currency. The Assembly, the supreme organ of the Union, is populated by all heads of states drawn from fifty-four member states. The Kingdom of Morocco is the only state that is not a member of the Union. Morocco left the Union in 1982 after the OAU recognized the Sahrawi Democratic Republic as a sovereign nation.
The AU has various strategic issues that need addressing; however, the two most burning issues are commitment to democracy and failure to intervene in the affairs of member states. Since the AU is managed by a difficult bureaucracy, it is hard to convince other heads of states to come to agreement as to how the issues can be curtailed. To get out of this stagnation and usher in tranquility and prosperity, member nations will need to speak with one voice and ensure every agenda is fulfilled. Imposing mentality is still ingrained in the minds of many African leaders who are themselves vestiges of colonialism.
The two approaches to strategy development that would best serve to bring about progress in the way the AU is organized would be implementation of the five-part process and the oval mapping approach. Since the AU is unable to come to grips with daily natural and manmade occurrences, it would be prudent for decision-makers to imagine grand alternatives by formulating proposals that will help them prosper in their endeavors. In the case of commitment to democracy, member states will need to pledge to transform their governing styles within a certain period of time. Nations found contravening democratic norms will have to be censored and denied further funding. By working with foreign financiers, the AU can monitor the democratic processes in the said states.
Failure to interfere in the internal affairs of other member states is caused by skepticisms and paralysis caused by competing interests of member states who at times side with one party against the other (Carbone, 2002).
According to Alemayehu and Kebret (2007), an organization like the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has been struggling with several issues that include lack of political commitment, overlapping memberships, and poor private sector participation. By applying the five-part process to the problems encountered by the AU, strategic policy implementations can be achieved. African leaders will have to undertake conventional strategies by posing questions then imagining when dealing with specific issues noted above. These questions will give the leaders ideas as to the exact causes of evasions in the implementations of desired practical alternatives, dreams, and visions. Another point worth deciphering will be uncovering the causes of barriers to the realization of major alternatives, dreams, and situations. This should be done by taking actions that are conducive to the environment. Union leaders will have to follow the laid down proposals. To overcome the bureaucracy that has been impeding the smooth operations of the Union, member states will need to charter a new course that ensures those endowed with authority work meritoriously and bring in recognition to the affected department under review. A commission could be used to make follow ups and prepare final recommendations so that differentiations can be made between the unproductive and efficient leaders.
The five-part process, according to Bryson (2004), can be an effective tool in dissuading misconceptions and conflicts in the workplace environment.
In its final analysis, the commission will be tasked with taking specific actions to rectify the volatile situations. AU’s strategic planners, who are part of the proposed commission, will have to come up with a final solution and make recommendations to member states and donor nations so that travel restrictions, economic sanctions, and other measures can be imposed on nations found to be contravening the set up norms. On the other hand, commission members will need to use the oval mapping process to activate mandates, mission, and stakeholder analyses. Graphs will be required to chart progress and failures. Thus, the oval mapping strategy and five-part process will serve as the most helpful strategies in the formulation of an effective work ethic in the AU’s official structural foundations.
Alemayehu, G. and Kebret, H. (2007). Regional Economic Integration in Africa: A Review of Problems and Prospects with a Case Study of COMESA. Journal of African Economies, 17 (3): 357-394.
Bryson, J.M. (2004). Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations, 3rd Ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Carbone, M. (2002). From OAU to AU: Turning a page in the history of Africa. The Courier ACP-EU. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/development/body/publications/courier/courier194/en/en_030.pdf