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Weekly Africa Update #1

 Weekly Africa Update

No.1-Week of 16-20 February 2009

African Union—Almost a fortnight after the Ordinary Session of the Africa Union Assembly of the Heads of State and Government ended, many column inches continue to be written about the feasibility of a United States of Africa (USAf). The debate has now moved on one gear, with less of a focus on Qaddafi and more on what would comprise the AU government. The gradualists (Nigeria; South Africa; Uganda among them) talk about integrating Africa incrementally, and through the regional economic communities first, whereas the instantists (including Sudan) believe whatever shape Africa is in now, it’s now or never.

ECOWAS--A call has been made by a Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), Mrs. Dupe Atoki, to ECOWAS member states to commit to human rights by establishing infrastructure, including relevant institutions, which can promote and protect human rights in the region.

CEMAC—Cameroonian-born Dr.Chris Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa & Regional Director of NDI, a Washington-based non-profit organization, has, in an interview, castigated Cameroon for adopting what he considers a “lack of leadership in the sub-region”, and cites it as being responsible for the poor economic and political transformation in the sub-region. He believes that unlike Nigeria/South Africa/Kenya for ECOWAS/SADC/EAC respectively, Cameroon has failed to step up to the plate over CEMAC. In this regard, Cameroon’s failure to compete as a sub-regional leader explains why the region “is unable to experience the kind of economic and political transformation other parts of the continent have enjoyed.”

IGAD—Kenya has been urged—under the leadership of IGAD—to take the lead in facilitating peace in Sudan. Two important developments in that country—its general election in July, and referendum on whether the country should remain a singular state—inform the need for all members of the six-member IGAD to assist the country find its feet.

EAC—Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has called on Ugandans to promote patriotism and love for an East African Federation. Explaining that the country has a population of only 30 million people, he said that by 2013, four other members—Kenya; Tanzania; Rwanda and Burundi—will form a single state. The IMF says this would create a population of around 127 million, making it the second-most populous nation in Africa, after Nigeria.

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