As the African Union (AU) Commission marked the Africa Day to relish its legacies toward the betterment and unity of Africa over the past 56 years, an African expert urged the pan-African bloc to work towards building good-governance across its 55 member countries.
Amid the Africa Day celebrations, the 55-member continental bloc has been urged to further strive towards strengthening African countries’ leadership and promote good-governance so as to curtail maladministration and corruption from the continent.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told Xinhua recently that “for many post-independence African leaders, development was a major preoccupation and they espoused various slogans.”
“What is different today is the slogans have become collective, under the resplendent auspices and premises of the African unity,” he added.
“The AU Commission, as a central organ of the Union, is yet to vigorously focus on the primary and strategic interests of Africa because of its core mission incoherence, corporate incapacity,” Costantinos stressed, as he commended the AU’s efforts in advancing its institutional reform as “critical and timely.”
According to the expert, the AU in general and its annual leaders’ summit in particular “must note the aura surrounding the criminal negligence of the mal-governance and the corruption pandemic in Africa is unforgivable.”
“The monumental challenges in front of Africa are identifying ways and means of helping to foster institutions and reorienting institutions, which have been diverted to non-democratic ends,” Costantinos argued.
Costantinos also stressed “building in-country capacity for democratic governance on the basis of our (Africans) demand” also necessitates AU’s major engagement in its endeavor towards transforming the continent.
“Despite the efforts of African governments, the force proximate to the felonious abandon of corruption issues in Africa has left the majority of Africans to face one of the most profound trials to sustainable human development on the continent,” he added.
Costantinos, also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, lauded the AU’s efforts over the years in promoting good-governance and to stem corruption.
He noted that the adoption of AU’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption back in July 2003, which entered into force in August 2006, could be seen as one notable achievement in the fight against corruption and maladministration.
Costantinos also commended the AU’s efforts, mainly over the past decade, in advancing the institutional reform of the Commission and its structural platform in line with Africa’s quest towards financial autonomy from its donors and development partners.
“The prospects, nature and outcomes of democratization depend on the configuration of political institutions in state and civil society,” Costantinos said, adding “The key question is therefore whether the endowment of political institutions is conducive to democratization.”
The expert’s call was also shared by Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in his message to Africans on the occasion of the Africa Day on Saturday.
Faki, who noted that this year’s edition of the Africa Day is marked to celebrate some landmark achievements of the Union on various issues – including peace and security, continental integration, women and youth empowerment, eradication of diseases among others – also stressed the AU’s limitations in realizing its aspirations.
“There are still many hurdles to overcome before Africa’s independence and unity fully blossom,” the AU chairperson said.
“This would only come about when every African lives in peace, has free access to quality universal education, to full physical and mental health, to decent and remunerative job, to social and cultural development, to good democratic governance in the strict respect of his fundamental rights.”
Africa Day, which is annually commemorated on May 25 to mark the foundation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of African Union (AU), was celebrated on Saturday under the theme “Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.” Enditem