The AU’s “Commission for the Transformation and Betterment of Africa”

The AU’s “Commission for the Transformation and Betterment of Africa”

Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa, as she faces the same issues facing African governments today. (Photo: Peter Zumdahl, CC BY-SA 3.0, by P. Zumdahl)

African governments face a unique challenge. Not only can they be expected to respond to the challenges of “modernization” and to accommodate new trends and ideas by making “tinkering” with the way an economy and society work, they also have to deal with the legacy of a global perspective.

The most recent example is the decision by the African Union (AU) to use the African Union Summit (AUS) in 2015 to announce what will likely be the beginning of an AU Commission-like entity – namely, the African Union Commission (AUC). This new institution will likely be tasked with solving the political and economic challenges that currently face African governments and the continent as a whole. It could include new responsibilities for the AU in the peace and security area, and would represent the largest institutionalization of the African Union (AU) in a country outside of the United States.

A lack of interest from AU member states might be the first indication that the commission is an overblown and unnecessary attempt to unify the continent. The AU has been talking about a commission or more formally, a “commission for the transformation and betterment of Africa for over two decades.” (1) But it appears that the idea of a commission has become a political rather than a strategic matter, which is not surprising in view of the fact that the African Union itself has come under scrutiny for its failure to address important issues pertaining to Africa’s future. At the 2014 AU Summit, the Commission for the People, by then known as the Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (CHPR), was established to deal with issues of “people’s inclusion” in the AU, while the Commission for Social, Political and Economic Transformation of Africa (SPECTRA) was established to deal with issues of “transformatory change” in Africa. The commission established in 2016 was supposed to work on issues of “emancipation,” but this commission has been criticized for its lack of relevance and urgency.

However, not all AU member states are in agreement with the current role that the AU is taking on. Even African

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