AU Summit faces skepticism amidst unresolved continental challenges

AU Summit faces skepticism amidst unresolved continental challenges
Thousands of Congolese people flee the village of Sake towards Goma as intense fighting takes place between the Congolese Army, the FDRC, and soldiers loyal to the rebel Tutsi leader, Nkunda, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, December 11, 2007. In the last few weeks, the FRDC has been making a large-scale military push to take back villages they lost to Nkunda late last year, and the civilian population has been caught in the middle. Thousands of civilians have been displaced from their homes across the region of North Kivu, and are suffering grave health and malnutrition crisis. In the last 12 months, about 410,000 Congolese civilians have been displaced by new fighting, and coupled with the previous 400,000 from past years, there are now about 800,000 internally displaced people in the DRC. (Credit: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times)

Citing the lack of adherence to democratic principles among member states' leaders, analysts argue that collective efforts may not yield substantial results if individual governance shortcomings persist.

KAMPALA | As leaders convened for the 37th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, political analysts cast doubt on the potential for meaningful change in addressing the continent's pressing security, economic, and political issues.

Citing the lack of adherence to democratic principles among member states' leaders, analysts argue that collective efforts may not yield substantial results if individual governance shortcomings persist.

"While smiles and photo opportunities abound at the summit, critical continental challenges remain unaddressed," said Dr Gerald Kalyeija, a political lecturer.

The Sahel region's alarming coup attempts, with a staggering 50% success rate, underscore the volatile nature of governance in Africa.

Additionally, recent tensions, such as Ethiopia's dispute over recognising Somaliland's independence, further exacerbate regional instability.

Dr Kalyeija's assessment was echoed by Mukasa Mbidde, president-general of the Democratic Party, who highlighted the lack of solutions from regional bodies for conflicts plaguing DR Congo and other regions.

Despite the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement in 2017, continental trade remains stagnant at a mere 18%.

Regional blocs, including the East African Community, Southern African Development Community, and Economic Community of West African States, continue to grapple with trade wars, impeding progress towards economic integration.

"There is still hope, but regional blocs must address trade disputes and foster collaboration to unlock the full potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area," emphasized Dr. Daniel Ruhweza, a law professor at Makerere University.

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