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Backgrounder: Key dates in Africa's pursuit for unification
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10:58, July 01, 2007

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The 9th summit of the African Union (AU) is going to open on Sunday here under the theme "The Grand Debate on the Union Government." This will be the first time that African heads of state collectively focus their attention to this subject.

Establishing a unified Africa to give African peoples stronger bargaining power at international forums has been a dream of several generations of pan-Africanists since the notion was pioneered by African liberation leaders, represented by the Republic of Ghana's founding president Kwame Nkrumah, in the 1950s.

Following are some of the key dates in recent years in the process of Africa's efforts to achieve integration:

January, 2005: The 4th AU summit in Abuja, Nigeria, after reviewing the proposal of creating certain ministerial portfolios for the union, decided to set up a Committee of seven Heads of State under President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda to examine the proposal in all its ramifications.

July 2005: The 5th AU summit held in Sirte, Libya affirmed thatthe ultimate goal of the union is full political and economic integration leading to the United States of Africa after reviewingthe report submitted by the committee, in which it recommended that there was need to work towards the formation of a Union government for the continent.

July 2006: A committee of seven African heads of state submitted a report to the AU summit. The report, named the "Study on an African Union Government towards the United States of Africa," outlines a roadmap of forming the United States of Africa by 2015 in three phases.

November 2006: the AU Executive Council concluded that "All member states accept the United States of Africa as a common and desirable goal, but differences exist over the modalities and timeframe for achieving this goal and the appropriate pace of integration."

January 2007: The 8th AU summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia reiterated that the union's ultimate objective is the political and economic integration of the continent leading to the creation of the United States of Africa. It also decided to devote the 9th AU summit to be held in Accra to the theme "Grand Debate on the Union Government."

Source: Xinhua

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