20 Years of the AU: Propelling Vision Towards Action
The African Leadership Academy Model African Union (ALAMAU) celebrates the significant role that the African Union (AU) has played in the pursuit of peace and prosperity on our continent in the past twenty years. Our conference theme seeks to reaffirm our commitment to the existing Agenda 2063 vision, whilst emphasizing the importance of its execution. We recognise the challenges that the continent faces, particularly that of Covid-19, which has brought new as well as exacerbated existing challenges. As we move towards recovery, we seek to take decisive action towards the tangible realisation of our vision.
Since the pandemic started, the AU has achieved milestones worth celebrating. These range from the one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines secured to the launching of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Through various forms of debt relief, our economies are also on the pathway towards recovery, and we are seeing greater economic inclusion for women, as “African leaders commit to taking action for gender inclusion towards sustainable development at national, regional, and continental levels” (Mlaba). There has also been “significant progress in establishing National Peace Councils and increasing access to electricity and internet” (African Union).
Deputy Chairperson: Okuhle Qasana
Despite our achievements, it is important that we reflect on what still needs to be done. Even though great efforts are being made to “promote peace, security, and stability on the continent,” violence continues to be perpetuated in times of elections (African Union). For example, the 2021 elections that sparked conflict in Uganda saw much aggression among citizens and authorities. As such, how can we move towards a safer and more practical democracy for Africa that respects and enshrines human rights? And how can we use space exploration to our advantage for conflict mapping? In the same spirit, we must take a firm stand against child labour to protect the rights of our children. Moreover, children should be in school, as quality education is a human right and the key to sustainable development. We also look forward to finding ways to advance science on the continent through encouraging young talent from within.
Essential to achieving our aims is a vibrant and growing economy: one that also works towards securing a prosperous future for our farmers, as they are the guardians of food security in Africa. On this note, we need to take a firmer stance against the instigators of climate change and engage critically with the water crisis at hand. Lastly, in these trying times and as mental health deteriorates, how do we begin to prioritise treatment for it and end the stigma? In recognising the importance of unity, we must also consider the important role that the media can play in strengthening trans-continental communication that will make pan-African unity a reality.
When we pursue economic, social, and political integration, we will ultimately overcome these challenges. ALAMAU 2022 is excited to celebrate what we have achieved so far as a continent. We seek to further the mandate of an integrated, peaceful, and prosperous Africa. Our desire for ALAMAU is to achieve the Agenda 2063 goals that we have set for ourselves as Africans. We are determined to enter unchartered territory and ensure that we do, in fact, propel vision towards action.