African Union needs to closely cooperate with the Non – Aligned Movement

The NAM is a movement of 115 members representing the interests and priorities of developing countries from Africa and Asia. Since its inception the NAM has attempted to create an independent path in world politics that would not result in Member States becoming pawns in the struggles between the major powers. The 17th Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement was held in May 2014 in Algiers, under the theme “Enhanced Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity”. One significant feature of the 17th Ministerial Conference was the presence of African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Dlamini Zuma.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma, in her remarks to the Conference noted that though Africans were the invisible people of world, Africa more recently had become the growth pole of the world. It had been transformed from being a hopeless continent and was now moving in the right direction.
It is desirable for the development of the welfare of the people of Africa that the Non Aligned Movement works closely with the African Union. The objectives of the NAM and AU have much in common. The African Union (AU), formed in 2002 from the vestiges of the Organization for African Unity (OAU) seeks to increase development, combat poverty and corruption, and end Africa’s many conflicts. The AU is planned to be a forum for the promotion of regional integration and African unity through socio-economic integration, continental research on all fields including science and technology and the development of common positions on issues of common interest. The AU member States recognize that ‘the scourge of conflicts in Africa constitutes a major impediment to the socio-economic development of the continent. Thus, one important objective area of the AU is the establishment of collective security system in a bid to promote peace and security as a prerequisite for development on the continent. AU member States have acknowledged the relation between democracy, rule of law and economic development. The principles of respect for democracy, rule of law, and good governance are adopted as precondition for social justice that ensures economic development in member States of the AU.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is one framework launched by African States that links the respect for civil and political rights with the right to development in member States of the AU .NEPAD was developed by the five initial states of the OAU (Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa) and formally adopted in July 2001. NEPAD’s primary objectives are poverty eradication, sustainable development, and integrating Africa into the global economy.
The AU has made substantial progress in the period of less than 10 years since its inception. However, much still needs to be done if a strong AU is to be built that is capable of giving fresh impetus to African integration, so that the continent can gain the maximum benefits from an increasingly globalised world. If there is one organization whose principles are in close proximity with the aforementioned objectives, it is the Non Aligned Movement. So far the African Union’s relation with NAM only extends to attending the summits and the Ministerial meetings. There are some areas in which the NAM leadership can offer unabated support to the African Union. For example, the AU is not doing enough to prevent and condemn military coups, or governments refusing to leave power after losing elections. Moreover, AU can expect a par treatment with NAM in international community as it is evident that unlike the major powers like USA and China, NAM countries will not be jostling for their country’s strategic gains. As such, AU relations with NAM entail more of constructive and normative dimensions rather than realpolitik. Like the AU, NAM leaders also condemn any attempts of interference in the states’ internal affairs and reiterate that only the full respect for the constitutional order, lawful State and democratically established authorities, can ensure peace, economic and social development of any people.
NAM leadership has also given primacy to the ongoing political and economic issues of the African continent. The security situation in ongoing conflict in Western Sahara was also prominently discussed and NAM leaders urged to cooperate to improve the impact of the peacekeeping missions.
In view of the above both the NAM and the AU have interests in fostering a privileged partnership.  A stronger cooperation between the two institutions has the potential for improving security architecture and democracy promotion in the continent as well as the prospects of raising the profile of both the institutions in international order.

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