A "culture of conservatism" : How and why African Union member states obstruct the deepening of integration (21 pages)
ence. Hence it comes as no surprise that most of them are adamant
that the African Capacity for Immediate Response will become a
temporary substitute at best, but not a permanent institution.
This overview has shown the limited interest of African states and their
leaders to alter the status quo with regard to the continental political
integration project and that a 'culture of conservatism' prevails. It has
also highlighted a gap between the AU and its member states and that
vision outpaces reality. Only if the AU and its member states are able
to close the gap among them by managing to transform the AU into an
actor that reflects, articulates, and implements collective decisions of
the member states, does the AU have a chance to succeed. So far
earnestness and coherence is often missing. The gap between the
member states and the AU often results in inconsistent policies that
derogate the achievements that have been made.
The AU must make an attractive offer to its member states to
ultimately achieve peace, security and stability on the continent as a
basis on which political and economic development can take place. At
the same time, the AU must support an African-grown democratisation
process. Progress in the peace and security realm and in its demo-
cratisation efforts would make the AU attractive both on the continent
and beyond as a partner of other global players, and hence might
close the rift between the AU and its member states, as well as over-
come the 'culture of conservatism'.
The establishment of the stand-by brigades is behind schedule. Recent
plans focus on the establishment of an African Capacity for Immediate
Response to Crises, a rapid reaction force of voluntary participating states,
either as temporary or permanent alternative to the stand-by brigades.
Interview with a senior AU official, Addis Ababa, March 2010.
AU officials in Addis Ababa, 2010 and 2014 and with
decision makers in various African countries 2009-2013.
Interview with a western diplomat in southern Africa 2009.
and other officials, Addis Ababa, February 2014.
Interviews with members of the Pan-African Parliament in Mauritius,
Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 1 Martin Welz