COOPERATION IN AFRICA - History Form 4 Notes

Share via Whatsapp

Cooperation in Africa refers to the way African countries relate to each other. It is stimulated by the economic exploitation and political domination by Western Eu rope.

The cooperation has been in form of;

  1. Pan-African Movement
  2. Organization of African Unity (African Union)
  3. The East African Community
  4. Economic Community of Western African States.
  5. Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa.


Meaning of Pan-Africanism

“Pan” means “all” and “Africa” refers to the continent. “Africanism” refers to those of African Origin.Pan-Africanism is a belief in the uniqueness and spiritual Unity of Black people acknowledging their right to self determination.It is a movement aimed at unifying all the people of African descent in the world. It stands for economic, political and social advancement for all peoples of African descent throughout the world.

Origin and Development of Pan-Africanism

The movement has roots in the trans-Atlantic slave trade that took place between 15th and 19th c. the trade was responsible for the dispersal of black people all over the world.

The suffering the slaves underwent made them become conscious of their colour and origin. The Africans viewed themselves as having a common destiny. Even those who remained in Africa were later subjected to the colonial experience including forced labour, land alienation, taxation, poor wages, discrimination corporal punishment rape and murder.

The movement first started as the Pan Black Movement for the American and Caribbean black only. Several African Americans wanted to uplift the lives of fellow Africans in USA and in Africa. They included Martin Delaney, Alexander Cromwell, Bishop James Johnson, Wilmot Blyden and Bishop Turner. The leading pan -Africanists in America were Booker T Washington, Marcus Moziah Garvey, Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois and George Padmore.

The pioneer African pan-Africanists included Kwegyir Aggrey from Gold Coast, Wilmot Blyden from Liberia, Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana and Leopold Sedar Senghor. The Pan Black Movements enlisted all blacks worldwide. It sometimes was called Pan Negro Movement and was pitted against the evils of racism. Pan Black Movement gave birth to Pan-African Movement, which had its first meeting in London in 1900 attended by 32 delegates, drawn from USA, Africa, Canada, West Indies and Britain.

Sylvester Williams, a lawyer from Trinidad, coined the term Pan-Africanism. By 1920, an all-African idea had been developed. The first pan-African congress for Africans was held in Manchester –England in 1945, also attended by Jomo Kenyatta.

Causes of Pan-Africanism

  1. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade. It took place between 15th and 18th centuries. Africans who were forced into slavery in America during this period suffered a lot under the white people. The Africans in Diaspora, through humiliation and sadness realized they had a common destiny.
  2. Colonization of Africa. The division of Africa into 50 colonies separated some communities. It also put together various people of different history and culture. The divide and rule tactics of colonialists brought deep divisions among same communities. The Africans realized later on that there was need to find a common ground to bring about change.
  3. The need to correct the negative ideas about Africa and Africans held by Europeans. The whites held a popular belief that Africans belonged to an inferior race without ability to run their own affairs.
  4. Pan-Africanism was a fight against Racism-Africans were despised and ridiculed on the ground of colour and hair texture.
  5. The evolution of leadership cadre of educated class of Africans- leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Sedar Senghor, Jomo Kenyatta and Blyden wanted to prove that Africans were a civilized people with a rich history and culture.
  6. European missionaries had discriminated against the Africans /Africans formed independent churches contributing to the rise of Pan -Africanism.

Objectives of the Pan-African Movement

  1. To unite all the peoples of African origin in the struggle for emancipation from social discrimination and colonial rule.
  2. To challenge the ideology of white supremacy on which European colonization was based.
  3. To improve the African living conditions in the Diaspora and in the African continent.
  4. To secure democratic rights for all African peoples e.g. right to vote. Form political associations etc.
  5. To restore the dignity of the black people and liberate them from the bondage of slavery.
  6. To create a forum through which protests against European colonization and racial discrimination could be channeled.
  7. To find better ways of establishing better relations between the Europeans and Africans on the one hand and among Africans on the other hand.
  8. To appeal to missions and humanitarians to protect Africans against colonial aggression and exploitation as well as land alienation.
  9. To fight neo-colonialism

Leading Pan-Africanists

Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)

He was born on 17th August 1887 in the West Indies island of Jamaica to a family offreed slaves. The fact that Marcus was very dark is what shaped his philosophy of Pan Africanism. While a young man, he witnessed great European and Mullato discrimination on account of his complexion.

He arrived in USA in 1916 after widely travelling in south and Central America and Britain. While in England, he was greatly encouraged by Mohammed Duse to lead the peoples of African descent all over the world in the struggle for liberation. He developed the Pan-African philosophy in USA through which he sought to make Africans take pride in their blackness and cultural heritage. He founded the Negro Empire in New York in 1920. He organized a black convention in 1924 in New York during which he launched the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) whose HQs were to be at Harlem, New York.

UNIA had the following objectives;

  • To create universal fraternity among the Black Race.
  • To assist uplift the civilization of African communities.
  • To establish a central nation for the black race.
  • To establish academies for African children.
  • To promote African cultures.

Garvey founded a Journal “The Negro World” and the African Orthodox Church under a black Patriarch or chief Bishop and a Black Madonna as the symbol of his church.

He advocated for the return to Africa by the Africans. To Garvey, freedom was to be gained through economic empowerment of Africans. To this end, he mobilized African Americans to contribute funds to establish black businesses like the Black Starline Shopping Company. The project however collapsed due to mismanagement. He was arrested, tried and convicted of fraud (collecting funds unlawfully) and imprisoned for five years. He was deported to his home country Jamaica after two years in Jail where he died in 1940. He is credited for succeeding in mobilizing Africans to take pride in their cultures and complexion.

Booker T. Washington.(1856-1915)

He was born in 1856 in USA to a poor slave family. He acquired a university degree in Agriculture at Hampton Institute.He is credited for promoting African Education.

He started a model institute for training blacks in agricultural and industrial skills (the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama).Unfortunately, Washington adopted a policy of cooperation with the government as a means of winning acceptance by the European community. To him, Africans ought to gain wealth in order to attain equal status with Europeans and end racial discrimination.He began the National Negro Business League with the help of a European Andrew Carnegie.He died in 1915.

Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois.

He was born in great Barrington, Massachusetts, USA on 23rd February 1868. He was the first black to receive a PHD Degree and become a professor of History, Economics and Sociology. He was also a renowned journalist.

He greatly disagreed with Booker T. Washington’s policy of accommodation and cooperation. In 1905, he established the Niagara Movement to protest against racial discrimination. In 1900, he was one of the founder members of the National Association for the advancement of Coloured Peoples (NAACP) an association that championed for the struggle for Negroes’ civil rights in America.He prepared the pan-African conferences that were held between 1900 and 1945 to fight against slavery, colonial exploitation and repression of Af rican peoples. He was the chairman of the Manchester Conference of 1945.

In 1961, he relocated to Ghana where he became a citizen, on invitation of Nkrumah. He died in 1963 in Ghana.

The Pan-African Congress (1900-1945)

The 1st pan-African conference, London, 1900

It was held at the Westminster Townhall from 23rd to 25th July with 32 participants from Africa, USA, Canada and West Indies. The conference was sponsored by a Trinidad lawyer Henry Sylvester Williams who coined the term Pan-Africanism. The conference marked the entry of Du Bois into Pan Africanism where he made his famous statement “The problem of the 20th c is the problem of colourline”.

Objectives of the conference
  • To unite people of African origin in all parts of the world.
  • To appeal for the end of European colonization and exploitation of Africa.
  • To look for ways of establishing better relations between the Caucasian and African races.
  • To initiate a movement for securing the full rights for all Africans in and outside Africa and promote the economic rights.
  • To appeal to missionaries and philanthropists in Britain to protect Africans against aggression by colonizers.
Conference Agenda
  • Human Rights Violation against blacks in South Africa.
  • Living conditions of blacks in different parts of the world.
  • Racial discrimination against Africans all over the world.

The conference sent a Memorandum to the Queen of England demanding respect for the rights of Black People especially in the British Empire.

The 2nd Pan-African Conference, Paris, 1919

The conference coincided with the Paris Peace conference. The conference was convened by William Du bois who had been sent to Paris by NAACP to investigate the allegations that African American troops stationed in France during world war I experienced racial discrimination and to represent the interest of the black peoples at the Paris peace conference.

The conference made the following recommendations;

  • The need for international laws to protect Black people.
  • African land to be held in trust for Africans.
  • The prevention of exploitation of African nations by foreign companies.
  • The rights of Africans to be educated.
  • That slavery and capital punishment were to be abolished.
  • The right of Africans to participate in their government as fast as their development permitted.

The 3rd Pan-African Conference 1921

The conference was held in three sessions in London, Brussels and Paris. The London session was attended by 41 Africans, 35American coloureds, 7 West Indies and 24 Africans living in Europe at that time. It was patronaged by Du Bois. The conference demanded for the establishment of political organizations among the suppressed blacks. It emphasized international and interracial harmony and democracy.

The 4th Pan-African congress (London and Lisbon 1923.)

it reiterated earlier resolutions and also demanded that black people be treated like human beings.

The 5th Pan-African Conference, New York 1927

It was mainly attended by African Americans and was partly sponsored by European Philanthropists. It discussed the attitude of the communists towards pan-Africanism.

The 6th Pan African conference, Manchester 1945

it coincided with the end of the World War II. It was convened by the Pan African Federation which had been formed in 1944 by 13 organizations representing students’ welfare and political groupings.

Leaders of the federation were George Padmore, Ras Makonnen (Ethiopia). C.L.R Wallace Johnson and Jomo Kenyatta. The conference was greatly inspired by the liberation of Ethiopia in 1941 and Clause three of the Atlantic Charter (1941) (that USA and British governments would respect the right of all people to choose the form of government under which to live) which Winston Churchill claimed was not applicable to the Africans.

The conference was convened on 15th oct. 1945 and was attended by 90 delegates who included Du Bois(West Indies), Nkrumah(Ghana), Kenyatta(kenya), Padmore(Trinidad), peter Abrahams(south Africa), Ras Makonnen(Ethiopia) , Magnus Williams representing Azikiwa Nnamdi (Nigeria), Obafemi Owolowo(Nigeria) and Kamuzu Banda (Malawi) and 11 observer nations Du bois chaired the conference while Nkrumah and Padmore were joint secretaries.

Uniqueness of the conference
  1. The conference was mainly organized by Africans from the continent unlike earlier ones which were organized by the Africans in Diaspora. The only exceptions were W.E.B Du Bois and Padmore.
  2. Representatives of white philanthropists were absent. Neither did they finance the conference.
  3. Many African trade unions were represented. These included the trade Unions from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia. Most of West Indies was also represented.
Key Resolution of the Manchester Conference
  1. Africans should concentrate on winning political power through non-violent means e.g strikes and boycotts.
  2. African intellectuals should play an important role in mobilizing the masses to fight for political liberation. Pursuant to the conference resolutions, Kwame Nkrumah established the West African National Secretariat (WANS) on 15th December 1945 in England to act as a regional body for Pan African Federation, promote unity in West Africa. WANS published a newsletter, The New African, whose main aim was to inspire the youth in Africa to resist imperialism.
Why the 1945 Manchester (Pan-African) Congress was a landmark in the history of Africa
  1. For the first time leading African representatives in the continent attended e.g. Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, Kamuzu Banda, Haile Sellasie etc. on coming back , they all adopted radical nationalistic demands for independen ce of their states.
  2. It was the first congress that strongly condemned European colonization of Africa and demanded the autonomy and liberty of African states.
  3. The congress was instrumental in granting of independence to Ghana in 1957 and to Egypt soon after.
  4. It set the pace for organization of similar conferences in the African continent like; the 1958 All African Congress and the 1960 Tunis-Pan African People’s Conference.
  5. During the conference, the solidarity and unity among Africans began to develop and paved way to the formation of Organization of African Unity.
  6. It marked the establishment of the movement’s activities in Africa. Why pan-African movement was not active in Africa before 1945
  7. There was lack of adequate African representation in the movement before 1945. Africans in the movement were few and were staying outside Africa as political exiles or students.
  8. Colonial authorities could not allow Africans to organize a movement that was against their policies. Such movements were outlawed.
  9. The ‘divide and rule’ policy used by the Europeans made it impossible for Africans to communicate and cooperate.
  10. Africans in each colony were mainly concerned with issues that affected them directly e.g. Land alienation, forced labour and taxation.
  11. The only Countries that were independent (Liberia and Ethiopia) could not champion pan-Africanism since they had their own internal problems and paid little attention to international matters e.g. Ethiopia and Liberia.
  12. Lack of venue to hold meetings on the African soil since the colonial government would not have allowed such meetings.
  13. Poor state of transport and communication at the time did not permit fast spread of Pan-Africanism.
  14. Few people were educated and only a minority in Africa had higher education hence there was widespread illiteracy and ignorance.
  15. Africans were too poor to contribute to pan-African efforts.

The Role of Kwame Nkrumah in Pan-Africanism

  1. He participated in the 1945 Manchester Conference as the secretary during which he proposed that delegates go back to their countries and spearhead the nationaliststruggle for political independence.
  2. He established the West African National Secretariat (WANS) in England to coordinated pan African federation activities in West Africa and promote pan Africanism.
  3. He founded the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in 1949which led Ghana to Independence in 1957.
  4. As president of Ghana, Nkrumah inspired many African countries to struggle forpolitical independence, and the black civil rights movement in the USA to fight for their rights.
  5. In 1958, he hosted the first pan-African conference of independent states in Accra which pledged to assist fellow Africans to fight for political independence.
  6. He funded nationalists in other countries e.g. Ghana and Algeria.
  7. He supported other African leaders who faced political threats from their former colonial masters. For example he assisted the Guinean leader, Sekou Toure , with Loans following the withdrawal of French support to the country after independence
  8. He championed trade unionism in Africa as a means of promoting pan-Africanism. During the Manchester conference as a joint secretary with George Padmore, he allowed participation of trade Unions from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia.
  9. He participated in convening various pan-African conferences that led to the formation of O.A.U, an association of independent African states.

NB- it is most probably because of his fight against western domination that Nkrumah was eventually overthrown in 1966 in a military coup that forced him into exile. He died on 27th April 1972 in Bucharest, Romania, where he had gone to seek treatment for cancer.

Reasons why the Pan-African Movement became Active in Africa after 1945.

  1. World War II strengthened nationalism in the continent. The Africans’ quest for political independence received a boost with support from UNO, USA and USSR.
  2. The 1945 Pan-African Conference in Manchester, brought many African elites together. They later inspired their colleagues back home to join the movement.
  3. The attainment of political independence in India in 1947 and Burma (now Myanmar) in 1948 encouraged many nationalists in Africa.
  4. The slowing down of the pan-africanism activities in America during the cold war period activated the same in Africa. USA tried to control activities of people like Padmore who had links with USSR.
  5. The attainment of independence by Ghana in 1957 inspired other African nations to focus on the liberation of their respective countries rather than fight for the betterment of fellow Africans outside the continent.

Performance of the Pan-African Movement

Achievements of Pan-Africanism

  1. The movement created political awareness among people of African origin and a sense of deep concern for suffering of blacks all over the world.
  2. It put in place Steps towards the restoration of status and dignity to the African people, which had been eroded by slave trade, colonialism and racism.
  3. The movement provided an important forum where the people of African origin could discuss their problems. It promoted brotherhood among Africans.
  4. The movement led to the Development of the spirit of solidarity among the African people when dealing with issues that concern the continent.
  5. It laid the basis for the Formation of OAU, which later became the African Union (AU).
  6. The movement enabled African leaders to be more committed to African issues. For example the black caucus in the USA played an important role in pressurizing the US congress to take drastic measures against the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
  7. The movement laid the foundation for the interest in research on African culture, history, literature, music, religion, medicine, art, etc. this empowered Africans by enabling them to understand the status quo.
  8. The movement played an important role in the advancement of African nationalism by encouraging peoples of African origin to take pride in their ancestry and demand their rights.
  9. The movement condemned Mussolini’s attempt to colonize Ethiopia in 1935 by organizing protests in major towns like New York, London, Brussels and Paris.

Challenges Encountered by the Pan African Movement.

  1. Many European groups fought the activities of the pan Africanists. The fact that Marcus Garvey was arrested, tried and convicted of fraud (collecting funds unlawfully) and imprisoned for five years is a clear manifestation of this.
  2. It was difficult for the Africans to participate in African affairs since majority of Africans were still under colonialism.
  3. Due to lack of economic empowerment and lack of education, many of the pan African projects did not succeed. The Marcus Garvey project for instance collapsed due to mismanagement.
  4. Illiteracy and ignorance amongst some people of African origin hindered them from offering constructive support.
  5. The movement was restricted to the African continent after independence in 1960s. The absence of African-Americans in the continents affairs dealt a big to its progress.
  6. Division among Africans after independence e.g. Radical and the conservative leaders and between the francophone and the Anglophone countries.
  7. The European powers domination of the international media was used to water down the importance of pan-Africans by spreading negative propaganda.
  8. Some of the pan-African leaders could not agree on the best strategy of uplifting the welfare of the African origin peoples.
  9. The deep economic connection between colonies and the mother countries hindered any meaningful cooperation.
  10. Lack of venues to hold conferences in Africa especially before 1957 meant that the movement could not take root in Africa quickly. The far-away venues were inconveniencing.

The Pan-African Movement Activities after 1950

Despite the challenges mentioned, the movement was still active in Africa after 1950 as manifested in the political developments that took place in the 1950s and 1960s.

The following conferences were convened during that period.

  1. The 1st Conference of Independent African States, Accra, Ghana April 1958. In attendance were the eight independent African states of Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Liberia, Tunisia Sudan and Libya. the delegates pledged to assist fellow African countries who were fighting for political independence..
  2. The All-African Peoples conference, (Accra De. 1958) the conference was attended by freedom fighters and trade unionists from all over Africa. It was chaired by Tom Mboya of Kenya The conference’s main resolution was to use all means to acquire political independence and to encourage unity between the African leaders.
  3. The All-African Peoples Conference, Tunis, January 1960. It strengthened the desire for unity among African states.
  4. The 2nd Conference of Independent African States, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June The conference was the forerunner to the formation of a continental Body, OAU. The conference exposed sharp division among African states over the situation in Congo, where Patrice Lumumba was facing problems with his former colonial masters.
  5. The Brazzaville Conference December 1960 Attended exclusively by the 12 francophone conservative African states, the conference emphasized the need to respect international Frontiers and noninterference in the internal affairs of any African state. They promised political support for Mauritania in her boundary disputes with morocco.
  6. The Casablanca conference, January 1961. It was a reaction to the resolutions of the Brazzaville conference by the radicals who supported Morocco in her dispute with Mauritania. They advocated for the removal of foreign troops in Congo.
  7. The Monrovia conference, May 1961. It attracted both moderates and conservatives and aimed at uniting the antagonistic groups. The conference emphasized the absolute equality of all states. The conference succeeded in uniting the hostile groups through the undertaking of two crucial events;
    • The Algerian Referendum of 1961, which passed that the Algerians wanted political independence from France.
    • The situation in Congo stabilized after 1961.

Organization of African Unity(OAU)

What was the OAU?

It was an association of independent African states that existed between 1963 and 2002, when it was renamed the African Union (AU)

Origin and Development of OAU

It was formed as a climax of a series of pan- Africanism congresses up to 1963.

In January 1961, several African independent states, i.e. Egypt, Ghana, morocco, Libya and Algeria, met in Casablanca and pledged to help Patrice Lumumba of Congo against the secessionist Tsombe. In May 1961, another group of African states, i.e. Liberia, Tunisia and Togo met in Monrovia and agreed to work in unity to solve the Congo crisis.

In august 1961, a bigger group made up of former French colonies met in Brazzaville to find a solution to the Congo crisis.

In 1963, the regional groupings compromised and joined with others to form one organization. In May 1963, foreign ministers of 32 independent African states met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to prepare the agenda for the heads of state meeting.The heads of states met under chair of Emperor Haile Selassie and gave birth to OAU, with Selassie as its first chairperson. Its membership grew from 32 at the time of its inception to 54

NB; when the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic was admitted to the OAU in 1984, Morocco withdrew since she claimed that SADR was part of her territory.

The Charter of OAU

Objectives of the OAU

  1. To provide African countries it a permanent organization through which they could discuss issues affecting them and lay strategies for solving them.
  2. To provide identity for the newly independent countries of Africa in a world dominated and controlled by the white race.
  3. To co-ordinate and assist in the speedy decolonization of the rest of Africa.
  4. To improve the living standards and conditions of African people as a group and as individual states.
  5. To help in the Defence of the independence of African states and maintenance of the sovereignty of these countries.
  6. To promote cooperation among the African states in economic, social and political fields so as to improve living standards.
  7. To promote and enhance African solidarity and unity.
  8. To support world, peace organizations like the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement.
  9. To promote peaceful settlement of disputes.
  10. To promote non-interference in the internal matters of member states.

The Fundamental Principles of OAU as Outlined in the Charter

  1. Recognition of the sovereign equality of member states.
  2. Non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries.
  3. Respect for the sovereign and territorial integrity of each country and its inalienable right to independent existence.
  4. Peaceful settlement of disputes.
  5. Condemnation of political assassination or any form of subversion by one country in another member country.
  6. Dedication to the emancipation of territories under colonial rule.
  7. Adherence to the principle of non-alignment.

The Structure of the Former OAU

The OAU charter borrowed heavily from that of the United Nations Organization. The only difference is that no member of OAU enjoys veto powers. All members have equal privileges and vote.

The charter outlined the structure of OAU as follows;

  • The Assembly of Heads of State and Government. This was the supreme organ of OAU meeting once a year to discuss specific urgent matters and electing a chairperson every year. A two-third majority vote was used to decide critical issues.
  • The Council of Ministers. It was made up of all foreign ministers of OAU member states and met twice a year to prepare agenda for the meeting of heads of state and government. It implemented decisions passed by heads and prepared the OAU budget.
  • The General Secretariat. Headed by the secretary general elected by the Assembly of Heads of state, it offered the administrative services to the organization on daily basis. The past secretaries were Kifle Wodajo of Ethiopia (1963-1964), Diallo Telli Boubaker of Guinea (1964-1972), Nzo Ekangaki of Cameroon (1972-1974), Eteki Mboumoua of Cameroon (1974-1978), Edem Kodjo of Togo (1978-1983), Peter Onu of Nigeria (1983-1985), Ide Oumarou of Niger(1985-1989). The last was Salim Ahmed Salim from Tanzania.
  • The Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration. It was charged with the task of settling disputes involving members. It had membership of 21 states and served for a term of five years.
  • Specialized Agencies. The OAU also comprised specialized agencies and committees that handled the technical business of the organization. E.g. the OAU Liberation Committee-to co-ordinate activities of liberation movements. The Economic and Social Commission, the Commission on Education, Science and Culture, the Defence Commission, the Supreme Council of Sports Etc.

Achievements of OAU

  1. It offered solution to border disputes between member states like Kenya vs. Somalia, Ethiopia vs. Somalia, Libya vs. Chad, morocco vs. Algeria, Chad vs. Nigeria and the Rwanda –Burundi conflict.
  2. The OAU achieved total liberation of African countries, with South Africa being the last one. It offered military support to the nationalistic struggles in Mozambique, Angola, Rhodesia, Namibia and South Africa.
  3. It condemned human rights violation in countries like Namibia and South Africa. It encouraged economic sanctions against the apartheid regime of South Africa.
  4. Through the OAU, African governments were able to speak with one voice on matters affecting Africa and they even attempted to formulate a common foreign policy.
  5. It provided a forum for discussing Africa’s common problems like desertific ation, foreign interference, and dependency and at the same time sought for solutions to the problems.
  6. The organization embarked on common economic ventures for Africa. For example creation of the African Development Bank (ADB) which represented the collective contribution by all Africans towards emancipation of Africans from economic backwardness.
  7. It encouraged construction of roads and railways to link different regions. E.g. Tanzam, the Great North Road and the Trans-African Highway. This improved economic co-operation between member states.
  8. It created a cultural identity for African countries sports and the All -African Games, which provided Africans with the opportunity to meet and socialize.
  9. Through its refugee agency, it addressed itself to the refugee problem in the continent. E.g. refugees from countries like Rwanda, Burundi, Chad, Gambia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia have been assisted.
  10. It was instrumental in the formation of regional organizations like ECOWAS, SADDC and COMESA.

Problems that Faced OAU during its Operation

  1. Differences in economic development levels and in history of member states militated against co-operation.
  2. Ideological differences among member states, especially during the Cold war period, hampered the operations of the OAU.
  3. It lacked sufficient funds to carry out its work efficiently. The members were poor given that all of them were third world countries.
  4. The problem of sovereignty. Many countries disregarded the OAU resolutions in favour of their sovereignty and national interests.
  5. It lacked an effective machinery to effect its decisions. It also lacked a standing army to implement and effect its resolutions hence the term ‘Toothless Bulldog’ coined by Gadaffi to refer to it.
  6. Loyalty to other organizations. OAU members also belonged to other organizations like ECOWAS, COMESA, The Arab League etc; the interests of these organizations were not always in accord with those of the OAU.
  7. The colonial legacy. Many problems arising from past colonial policies have rocked the organization. E.g. The land issue in Zimbabwe. There is also the problem of NeoColonialism in trade.
  8. Interference by the big powers. This has caused dismay to the organization.
  9. Emergence of dictators like Amin Dada of Uganda, Bakassa Jean Bedel of Central African Republic, And Mobutu of Congo.
  10. Civil strife in various countries remained unresolved for a long time. E.g in Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Nigeria. This made cooperation difficult.

The African Union

Origin of the African Union

On 9th September 1999, the Heads of State and Government met in Libya and made the Sirte Declaration calling for the establishment of an African Union and a pan-African parliament.On 29th may 2000, the document for the formation of African Union and Pan-African Parliament was adopted by the joint sitting of legal experts and parliamentarians.

On 2nd June 2000, heads of state and government meeting in Lome, Togo adopted the Constitutive Act of the African Union drafted by the council of ministers. The AU was born in 2002, at a Summit held in Durban, South Africa, where the first Assembly of Heads of State of African Union was convened.

Differences between the former Organization of African Unity and the present African Union.

  1. Unlike the O.A.U, the A.U challenges the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states. It allows for intervention whenever a member state experiences conflict or widespread human rights violation.
  2. O.A.U was like an Association of African Heads of State, but A.U is like a Union of African Peoples. Increased participation of all African people is manifested in the proposed Pan-African Parliament and an economic, social and cultural council.
  3. Unlike the O.A.U the African Union has an accountability mechanism. An African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has been developed as a means through which countries can be held accountable on matters of security, development, stability and cooperation.
  4. Unlike the O.A.U, the A.U has a broader development plan for Africa e.g. through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development-NEPAD whose main objectives include to promote accelerated growth and sustainable development, to eradicate the widespread poverty in the continent and to halt the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process.
  5. Unlike OAU, AU presupposes the establishment of a security council and the African Court of Justice with law enforcement powers(A standing military)

The AU Charter

Objectives of AU

  1. To accelerate the political, social and economic integration of the continent.
  2. To promote and defend the African common positions on issues of interest.
  3. To defend the independence and territorial integrity of African states and maintain the sovereignty of these countries.
  4. To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance.
  5. To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations.
  6. To promote cooperation among the African states in economic, social and political fields so as to improve living standards.
  7. To achieve and enhance greater African solidarity and unity.
  8. To promote peace, security and stability in the continent through peaceful settlement of disputes.
  9. To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, particularly in science and technology.
  10. To encourage international cooperation, taking into account the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  11. To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and promotion o good health on the continent.

The structure of African Union

The AU charter outlined the structure of AU as follows;

  1. The Assembly. This is the supreme organ of AU meeting once a year to elect a chairperson and determine the common policies of the union, consider requests for admission, monitor implementation of policies and decisions, appoint and terminate the judges of the court of Justice among other functions.(students to make additions) Decisions are either by consensus or by two-thirds majority vote.
  2. The Executive Council. It is made up of Foreign Ministers or the authorities designated by the member states. Its core function is to co-ordinate union policies in areas of common interest like foreign trade, energy, industry, water resources and environmental protection. Such functions can be delegated to specialized technical committees.
  3. The Commission/Secretariat. Comprises a chairperson, deputy chairperson and eight commissioners and staff members. It deals with the administrative issues and implements decisions of the Union
  4. The Permanent Representatives Committee. It comprises the Ambassadors to the AU. Its main responsibility to prepare for the executive council and run the association daily. It seats permanently in Addis Ababa.
  5. Specialized committees and Agencies. The AU also comprised specialized agencies and committees that handled the technical business of the organization. E.g the Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural Matters, the Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs, the Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigrations Matters, the Committee on Transport and Communication, the Committee on Education, Human Resource and Culture, the Committee on Health, Labour, and Social Affairs.
  6. The economic and social council. It performs advisory functions
  7. Specialized technical committees. E.g the Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural matters, the Committee on Trade , Customs and Immigration Matters, The Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, the Committee on Transport, Communication and Tourism, the Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs, the Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources.

    They perform the following roles;
    1. Prepare projects and programmes of the Union and submit them to the executive council.
    2. Ensure supervision, follow-up and evaluation of the implementation of decisions taken by the organs of the Union.
    3. Ensure co-ordination and harmonization of projects and programmes of the Union.
    4. Submit to the Executive council, their reports and recommendations on implementation of the African Union’s Act.
  8. Other proposed structures though not yet in place are;
    • The peace and Security Council to comprise 15 members to monitor and intervene in conflicts.
    • The Pan-African Parliament responsible for ensuring civil society participation in AU matters.
    • The Court of Justice to deal with human rights abuses in Africa.
    • Financial Institutions like The African Central Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Investment Bank.

The East African Community

Founded on 6th June 1967, it comprises Kenya Uganda and Tanzania.

Origin of the East African Community

Its origin can be traced back to 1902- the efforts of the British and German colonial governments’ to establish a unified administration over the East African territories.

For example, the East African Court of Appeal was established in 1902, The East African Postal Union in 1911, East African Customs Union in 1917, East African Currency Board in 1920 And East African High Commission in 1948.On 9th December 1961, the East African High Commission was replaced with the East African Common Services Organization with the headquarters in Nairobi.

The treaty to establish the East African Community was signed on 6th June 1967. The organization came into force on 1st December 1967.

Objectives of the East African Community

  1. To maintain a common markets for the member states and promote balanced economic cooperation.
  2. To provide common services to the three member states especially in the areas of transport and communication.
  3. To promote political co-operation between the three countries and hence peace and security.
  4. To facilitate the movement of the people within the region to foster greater cooperation and understanding among them.
  5. To expand the market in a region where population and incomes are low.

Challenges that Faced the East African Community up to 1977

  1. Suspicion over perceived dominance among members. Tanzania and Uganda accused Kenya of acquiring the lion’s share of benefits from the community. Kenyan industries for example were protected more by the common external tariffs.
  2. Personality differences. This was between individual leaders of the three countries, making it more difficult for them to hold meetings.
  3. Ideological differences. Each of the three countries pursued different economies. Kenya followed capitalism and Tanzania socialism. Uganda had a mixed economy.
  4. Political instability in Uganda. The coup d’état, which overthrew Milton Obote, undermined the unity that was desired for the organization. Nyerere for example refused to recognize Amin as the president of Uganda.
  5. National pride and interests. National interests were given more priority than the regional interests were. E.g Tanzania favoured railway transport while Kenya favoured road transport.
  6. Boundary closures .Tanzania closed its common border with Kenya in 1977, thereby halting the community activities. There was also boundary closure between Tanzania and Uganda during the war between the two in 1978.
  7. Financial constraints resulting from failure by member states to remit funds to meet the organization’s needs.
  8. The use of different currencies by the three nations made transaction difficult.

The Rebirth of the East African Community-2001

Reasons that led to the rebirth of the East African Community in 1996.

  1. There was need to maintain a common market for the member states in order to promote balanced economic cooperation.
  2. There was increasing need to provide common services to the three Member states especially in the areas of transport and communication as well as research.
  3. There was a strong desire to promote political cooperation between the three countries in a world that was becoming a global village.
  4. There was need to facilitate free movement of people in the region.
  5. A greater lesson had been learnt following the great losses and costs incurred by the East African countries following the collapse of the Community in 1977.

Milestones in the Formation of the East African Community-2001

  1. The full East African cooperation was started on March 14, 1996, when the Secretariat of the Permanent Tripartite Commission was launched at the headquarters of EAC in Arusha, Tanzania. Ambassador Francis Muthaura was appointed the first secretary general.
  2. On 19th November 1996, the agreement for the establishment of the East African Business Council was signed in Nairobi.
  3. On 29th April 1997, the second summit of heads of state was held in Arusha. It launched the first East African Cooperation development strategy (1997 -2000).
  4. On 30th April 1998, the ninth meeting of the Permanent Tripartite Commission in Arusha launched the treaty for the establishment of the East African Community.
  5. On 24th November 1998, the first East African Ministerial meeting on the Lake Victoria hyacinth was held in Arusha. A regional strategy was developed for control of the lake hyacinth.
  6. On 22nd January 1999, the third summit met in Arusha and directed the Permanent Tripartite Commission to complete the treaty –making process by 30th July 1999.
  7. The treaty establishing the East African Community-2001 was signed on 30th November 1999 in Arusha by the three heads of state.

The structure of the New East African Community

In the november 30, 1999 treaty, the following organs were established to coordinate the activities and the direction of the community.

  1. The Summit of Heads of State. It had the responsibility of giving direction towards realization of the goals and objectives of the community. It was the community’s supreme organ, consisting of the three heads of state with the chair being rotational.
  2. The Council of Ministers. The main decision –making organ of the heads of governments of the member states. It comprised the designated ministers from member states
  3. The Coordinating Committee. Made up of permanent secretaries. It reports to the council of ministers. It coordinates the activities of the sectoral committees
  4. The Sectoral Committees. These are committees created by the council on recommendation of the respective coordinating committee.
  5. The East African Legislative Assembly. It provides a democratic forum for debate. It is also a watchdog of the activities of the community. It is a 30  -member assembly whose members are drawn from the member state.
  6. The Secretariat. Based in Arusha, it carried out the day-to-day administrative duties of the community.
  7. The Court of justice of East Africa. This was the highest appellate court in the region.

Other autonomous institutions established by the Council include;

  • The East African Development Bank (EADB).
  • Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO)
  • Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA)

Challenges that have faced the EAC-2001

  1. Suspicion still exists over perceived dominance of Kenya in the community affairs.
  2. Despite signing the treaty in 1999, Tanzania customs are still taxing Kenyan products.
  3. Increased cross-border smuggling. The freedom of movement within the region sometimes results in smuggling of illegal arms and spread of crime and insecurity. E.g. the smuggling of a vehicle belonging to Kenya’s Chief of Staff, General Joseph Kibwana to Tanzania in 2004.
  4. Cattle rustling across the borders. This is common on the Kenya Uganda border with the Pokot and Karamojong attacking each other
  5. Arrest of Kenyan fishermen on Lake Victoria by either Tanzania or Ugandan policemen/navy accusing them of fishing in their waters.
  6. Membership to other regional bodies e.g. COMESA, SADDC. This complicates the work of the EAC.
  7. The recent wrangles between Kenya and Uganda over ownership of Migingo Island. Although this problem was resolved by Uganda conceding Kenya’s ownership of the Island, it raised tension between the two countries.
  8. The use of different currencies by the three nations has made transaction difficult.
  9. Political squabbles in the individual countries slow down the progress of the community
  10. Individual national interests have slowed down the implementation of the activities of the community the deep-seated differences between the member states over the proposed taxes on imports from countries outside the region.


Achievements of the East African Community-2001

  1. It has boosted movement of citizens within the three member states of East Africa. An East African passport has been introduced.
  2. It has provided a forum for the East African Leaders to discuss issues harmoniously.
  3. It has facilitated the improvement and expansion of transport and communication networks between the three East African countries.
  4. Tariffs for industrial goods produced in East Africa have been reduced.
  5. Investment procedures have been eased to enable all citizens to invest  more easily within the community.
  6. It has enhanced cooperation of the civil society leading to formation of the Law Society of East Africa and the Business Council of East Africa.
  7. The community has promoted trade among member states by encouraging citizensto conduct trade in all the countries.

The Economic Community of West African States

Formation of ECOWAS

This is a regional group comprising of 15 West African countries.The treaty establishing ECOWAS was signed in Lagos, Nigeria on 28thmay 1975 by Gambia, Mali, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Senegal, Guinea–Bissau, Nigeria and Guinea.

Objectives of ECOWAS

  1. To provide economic co-operation among West African states in specialized fields such as transport, communication, agriculture, trade industry etc.
  2. To liberalize trade between member states.
  3. To improve relations between the member states.
  4. To improve living standards of people in the member states.
  5. To create a customs union in the region.
  6. To promote industrial development among member states.
  7. To promote cultural interaction among the member states.

Organization of ECOWAS

The following are organs that were established to coordinate the activities and the direction of ECOWAS.

  1. The Authority of Heads of State and government. The authority meets once a year, with the chair being rotational.
  2. The Council of Ministers. It comprises the designated ministers from member states. It meets twice a year. It manages the affairs of the community.
  3. The Tribunal. Acting as the industrial court, it was established for settling disputes arising from the community.
  4. The Executive Secretariat. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, it carries out the day-to-day administrative duties of the community.
  5. Specialized commissions and Agencies. E.g the Committee on industry, natural resources and Agricultural Matters, the Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigrations Matters, the Committee on Transport and Communication, the Committee on Culture and Social Affairs.

Achievements of ECOWAS

  1. The defence Act adopted by ECOWAS in 1981 provided military support to any Member state attacked by outsiders. Their defence force known as ECOMOG was instrumental in quelling civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  2. Economically, Member states benefit from ECOWAS. For example, Nigeria provides her oil to member states at a reduced price.
  3. The community has enabled regular meeting of the Heads of State to tackle problems facing the region.
  4. Socio-cultural exchanges within the West African region have promoted good relations among the people.
  5. Improvement has been realized in transport, trade, agriculture and communication.
  6. The organization has resolved political problems facing member states.
  7. ECOWAS has enabled citizens of member states to move freely from one country to another through waiver of visa requirements.
  8. There has been progress in education through the establishment of a Joint examination Syllabus for West African States.

Challenges that ECOWAS has faced in its Operation.

  1. Political instability in member states. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana have witnessed Military coups. Civil wars have been fought in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast. These have been a hindrance to cooperation.
  2. Nationalistic issues. Most member states give priority to their own domestic issues at the expense of the organization.
  3. Language barrier.  Countries in West Africa inherited the languages of their former colonial masters. The problem in communication has hindered the efficient operation of the organization.
  4. Infrastructural problems.  The state of roads, railway and communication linkages are poor. This has hampered economic progress of member states.
  5. Ideological differences.  The leaders of the member states view each other with suspicion and mistrust due to differences in ideologies.
  6. Lack of uniform currency.  Each country has its own currency. This creates a problem of rates of exchange thus hindering trade.
  7. Foreign interference. The presence of Israeli and French soldiers in Cote D’Ivoire was viewed suspiciously by guinea.
  8. Border closures. For example between Ghana and Togo and between Burkina Faso and Mali.

The Common Markets For Eastern and Southern Africa

It is an economic organization comprising 19 states and which was established on 8th December 1994 to replace the Preferential Trade Area.

Aims and objectives of COMESA

  1. To attain sustainable growth and development of the member states by promoting a more balanced and harmonious development of its production and marketing.
  2. To promote cooperation in all fields of economic activity and joint adoption of macro-economic policies and programmes.
  3. To cooperate in the promotion of peace, security and stability among member states in order to enhance economic development in the region.
  4. To cooperate in the creation of an enabling environment for foreign, cross-border and domestic investment.
  5. To cooperate in strengthening the relations between the common market and the rest of the world.
  6. To contribute towards the establishment, progress and realization of the objectives of the African Economic Community.

Principles that Govern the Operation of COMESA

  1. Equality and interdependence of member states.
  2. Solidarity and collective self-reliance among member states.
  3. Inter-state cooperation, harmonization of policies and integration of programmes.
  4. Non-aggression.
  5. Recognition , promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on human and peoples’ rights.
  6. Accountability, economic justice and popular participation in development.
  7. The recognition and observance of the rule of law.
  8. The promotion and sustenance of a democratic system of governance in each member state.
  9. The maintenance of regional peace and stability through the promotion and strengthening of good neighbourliness.
  10. The peaceful settlement of disputes among member states and active cooperation between neighbouring countries

Organization of COMESA

COMESA is made up of the following organs;

  1. The Authority of Heads of State and government. It is the supreme-policy making organ of COMESA. The authority meets once a year, but may hold an extra-ordinary meeting on request of any member of the authority.
  2. The Council of Ministers. It comprises the designated ministers from member states. It meets once a year. It manages the affairs of the community. It monitors and ensures the proper functioning and development of COMESA.
  3. The Court of Justice.  It ensures proper interpretation and application of the provisions of the treaty. it was established for settling disputes arising from the community. E.g between Kenya and Egypt over export of cement in 2004
  4. The committee of Governors of Central Banks. Governors of banks of member states form a committee to manage COMESA clearing house and ensure implementation of the monetary and financial co -operation programmes.
  5. The Inter-Governmental Committee. A committee of permanent secretaries from member states which develops and manages programmes and action plans in all areas of cooperation except in the financial sector.
  6. The Secretariat. Based in Lusaka, Zambia, it provides technical support and advisory services to the member states and coordinates the activities of COMESA. The current secretary general is Erastus Mwencha since 1997
  7. The Technical Committees. E.g the Committee on natural resources and Environment, the Committee on Agricultural Matters, the Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigrations Matters, the Committee on Transport and Communication, the Committee on Labour, Culture and Social Affairs.
  8. The consultative committee. This comprises the business community and other stakeholders. It provides a link between the business community and other COMESA stakeholders, monitors implementation of the necessary provisions of the treaty, consults and receives reports from other interested groups and  Participates in the technical committees and makes recommendation.
  9. Specialized independent institutions. The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) based in Nairobi, Kenya, the PTA reinsurance company, Nairobi, Kenya, The COMESA clearing house, Harare, Zimbabwe, COMESA association of Commercial Banks, Harare, Zimbabwe, COMESA leather institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Achievements of COMESA

  1. It provides its members a wide, harmonized and more competitive market for internal and external trading.
  2. It provides member states with a rational way of exploiting natural resources for their welfare.
  3. COMESA has established harmonized monetary, banking and financial policies in the region.
  4. It has improved the administration of transport and communicat ion to ease movement of goods, services and people.
  5. It has ensured cooperation in the promotion of peace, security and stability among member states in order to enhance economic development in the region.
  6. COMESA has strengthened relations between the Common Market and the rest of the world while ensuring that the members adopt a common position in international fora.
  7. Through the Authority of Heads of State and Government, COMESA directs and controls the affairs of the common market.
  8. Customs cooperation has been achieved through a unified computerized customs network that operates across the region. The harmonization of macro-economic and monetary policies throughout the region has been achieved.
  9. It has provided room for greater industrial productivity and competitiveness due to its large market.
  10. It has encouraged member states to practice good governance, accountability and respect for human rights. Burundi and Rwanda were subjected to these demands before they were admitted to COMESA.
  11. It has contributed to employment of many people in the region.
  12. lCOMESA has promoted increased agricultural production and exploitation of natural resources.
  13. The organization has ensured a more efficient and reliable transport and communication infrastructure.

Challenges that face COMESA in its Operations

  1. Membership to other bodies. Members of COMESA are also members of EAC and SADC. This leads to divided loyalty.
  2. Personality differences. For example, presidents Museveni of Uganda and El Bashir of Sudan were involved in disagreements in 2004 over rebel activities.
  3. Boundary conflicts. This has been witnessed between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  4. Civil wars. Wars have been witnessed in DRC, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. Such inevitable wars undermine the operations of the common markets.
  5. Constant quarrels among member states over trading rights. For example Kenya and Egypt quarreled over duty-free cement dumped in Kenya by Egypt, on which Kenya wanted to charge duty.
  6. Poor transport between member states. This hampers movement of goods in the region.
  7. Pulling out of Tanzania and Namibia. The two founder members have opted for the South African Development Cooperation (SADC). This has undermined COMESA.
  8. Some members undermine their neighbours. For example Uganda and Rwanda have been accused of participating in the civil wars in the DRC.

Reasons why Africa has been unable to Achieve full Economic Integration

  1. The problem of poor transport and communication has impeded flow of trade. This has affected all previous and existing economic groupings.
  2. There is uneven distribution of resources in Africa. Some countries are endowed with strategic natural resources like oil and fertile soils while others are impoverished with no resources. This hinders integration.
  3. All member states of economic co-operations suffer from budgetary deficit and balance of payment problems. They therefore lack adequate foreign exchange required for international trade.
  4. There is constant political interference by unenlightened leaders
  5. There has been rivalry among member states of trading co-operations.
  6. Africa has had a poor share from world trade as prices on world market are dictated by industrialized countries.
  7. The advent of multi-partism after the end of the cold war and the subsequent introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes has crippled the performance of economic integration in Africa.
  8. Inability of member states to interfere in the internal affairs of other states even where there is need.
  9. Failure by member states to contribute fully to the organizations.
  10. The colonial legacy. Many member states still depend heavily on the West for manufactured goods, machinery, technology, donations and ideas. 
Join our whatsapp group for latest updates

Download COOPERATION IN AFRICA - History Form 4 Notes.

Tap Here to Download for 50/-

Why download?

  • ✔ To read offline at any time.
  • ✔ To Print at your convenience
  • ✔ Share Easily with Friends / Students

Get on WhatsApp Download as PDF
Subscribe now

access all the content at an affordable rate
Buy any individual paper or notes as a pdf via MPESA
and get it sent to you via WhatsApp


What does our community say about us?

Join our community on:

  • easyelimu app
  • Telegram
  • facebook page
  • twitter page
  • Pinterest