A "culture of conservatism" : How and why African Union member states obstruct the deepening of integration (21 pages)

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in continental affairs (Gottschalk and Schmidt 2004: 138-158). Three
examples highlight the problem: First, many states struggle to afford
tickets for their PAP members to fly to the plenary sessions. Even the
authorities of Mauritius, one of the richest AU members, claim that
they face severe financial restraints and cannot send their PAP
members to the entire session.


Secondly, some member states have

no right to vote in the AU as they have not paid their fees. Liberia's
President Johnson-Sirleaf, for example, was denied the opportunity to
speak at the AU summit in Banjul in 2006 due to this (Loetzner 2007:
227). Lastly, the need to 're-hat' AU missions to be superseded by UN
missions is to a large extent due to a lack of AU funding. The bulk of
funding for AU missions does not come from the AU members or the
AU itself — its peacekeeping fund reportedly amounts to a mere US$2


— but mainly from Western donors. During the Mali crisis the

presidents of Guinea, Niger and Senegal pressured France to act be-
cause outside assistance and resources were needed. The AU remains
dependent on key African states, as Ethiopia's involvement in the Somali
crisis and South Africa's engagement in Burundi suggest. It is thus all
the more surprising that AU member states could not agree on a finan-
cing mechanism proposing to raise a small fee on flight tickets within the
continent and a marginally greater one on intercontinental flights into

Secondly, perhaps even the biggest stumbling block for deeper

integration is the lack of willingness of African states to cede sover-
eignty vis-à-vis the AU (Schmidt 2005; Sturman 2007; Makinda and
Okumu 2008). Clapham noted more than a decade ago that, "post-
colonial states have, since their independence in the decades following
the Second World War, emerged as the most strident defenders of
Westphalian sovereignty in the international order" (Clapham 1999:
100). It is true that sovereignty played a prominent role during the
founding period of the OAU when African leaders opted to guard their
recently won sovereignty after decades of foreign rule (van Walraven
2010: 31-56). Instead of building the United States of Africa as pro-
moted by Nkrumah (1963), Africa's leadership decided to establish a
loose alliance of African states when they founded the OAU with respect
of sovereignty as one of the organisation's main principles. During its
existence, the OAU did not seriously and sustainably challenge this
principle and also adhered to a doctrine of non-interference (Welz 2013).

Sovereignty continues to play a determining role in the current

Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 1 Martin Welz

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