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Regional Integration in Africa: Is the African Union facing legitimacy problems?
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The African Union (AU) is the continent-wide project for economic and political integration in Africa. It takes inspiration from the European Union (EU), where two major problems could be discerned. Firstly, the European and the African context differ from each other, economically,socially and politically. Secondly, the EU itself has been criticized for legitimacy problems,including ineffective decision-making processes, not satisfying tasks for the European Parliament (EP), and low voter turnout in the elections to the EP. Thus, it is interesting to ask whether it ispossible to create a legitimate African Union with the objectives to unite and strengthen the African continent through political and economic actions, when it takes inspiration from a quasisupranational organization which operates in a different political setting, and whose legitimacy hasbeen highly questioned.

The purpose of this paper was to examine and discuss whether the AU faces legitimacy problems,and if it does, what kind of legitimacy-problems? To specify the purpose, three questions were posed:

What is the status of the process of making the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) a legislativeand popularly authorized organ?

What are the AU's ambitions and means for building a common African identity?

How is the AU financed, and what can be said about the economy's effect on the AU'scapacity to perform effectively?

The conclusions show that the AU seems to be facing legitimacy problems. Firstly, a legislative organ is important in this kind of organization, and in order to be a legitimate legislative organ it is important to have the representatives elected by the people. The project of transforming the PAPinto a legislative organ has started, but to let the people elect their representatives to the PAP has notyet been provided for. Secondly, it seems like the AU have problems concerning funding. The basic means for funding the AU is through member-state contributions, and the AU suffers from outstanding payments, delayed payments, and some also argues that the member-state contributions are too small. This is a major obstacle for the union's development, since a weak economy willhinder the AU institutions' performance. The AU also stands before a huge task of creating a sharedAfrican identity – that is, creating the African demos. The ambitions for carrying out this project are expressed in different AU-documents, and the PAP have a great role in this project. Although, tostudy how this project is going was not a part of this paper's purpose and is left for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 49 p.
Keyword [en]
Regional Integration, Africa, African Union, Legitimacy
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53894ISRN: LIU-IEI-FIL-A--09/00621--SEOAI: diva2:292769
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2010-03-31 Created: 2010-02-09 Last updated: 2010-03-31Bibliographically approved

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Björsne, Lisa
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