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AU summit on integration ends with Accra Declaration
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16:04, July 04, 2007

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The ninth African Union (AU) Summit ended on Tuesday night after three days of debating by African heads of state and government on the continent's great blueprint of building a federal continental government.

The summit published the Accra Declaration, paying tribute to Ghana's founding president Kwame Nkrumah who is a renowned pan- Africanist in favor of establishing the United States of Africa.

The declaration took into account different schools of thought on African integration.

"There is need to accelerate the economic and political integration of the African continent, including the formation of a Union Government for Africa," said the declaration.

Meanwhile, "We reiterate our earlier decision on the rationalization and strengthening of the Regional Economic Communities and the harmonization of their activities so as to lead to the creation of an African Common Market," it added.

There has been consensus among African countries that realizing the continent's political and economic integration by establishing an African Union government and ultimately the United States of Africa will enhance Africa's bargaining power in the world forums.

However, differences exist over the modalities and timeframe for achieving this goal and the appropriate pace of integration.

Some think that the union should build and strengthen current AU structures, harmonize and rationalize regional economic communities before taking a bold leap to the United States of Africa.

The other think that the union should accelerate the pace of integration because as long as the continent remains a motley gathering of fragmented states, the ideal conditions for full integration will never be attained.

A report named the "Study on an African Union Government towards the United States of Africa," submitted by a committee of seven African heads of state led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo in July 2006 to the seventh AU summit in Banjul, Gambia, has proposed a roadmap of forming the United States of Africa by 2015 in three phases.

However, Ghanaian President John Kufuor denied there is any specific time for setting up the Union Government.

Detailed studies will be conducted on the identification of the contents of the Union Government concept and its relations with national governments, according to the declaration.

The studies will also involve the identification of the Union Government's domains of competence and the impact of its establishment on the sovereignty of member states, as well as the elaboration of a roadmap and a timeframe for establishing the Union Government

The outcome of the studies will be submitted to a Committee of Heads of State and Government which will make appropriate recommendations to the next AU summit.

Kufuor also denied that Africa's Union Government will be like anything else.

"We are not going to copy anything you may know of, be like the United States of America or the European Union. It will be something to suit the unique attribute of our continent," said Kufuor, who was elected rotating chairman of the 53-member AU in January.

Source: Xinhua

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