Will the African Union discuss the third term issue?

by Trust Matsilele 0

The African Union Heads of State and Government are meeting this weekend in South Africa under the theme of women empowerment.

Political analyst, Keith Gottschalk from the University of the Western Cape is expecting the summit to discuss the issue of Presidents who extend their terms in office, a problem that has sparked unrest in Burundi.

“[I expect] the African Union during this summit to discuss the third termism problem of African Presidents who wants to be Presidents for life,” Gottschalk told CNBC Africa.

“This will require tough talking face to face by President Zuma and others to put some countervailing pressure on them.”

Gottschalk added that, another objective of the summit will be projecting Africa as some unifying bargaining stance on global politics and global governance.

“The drive towards tri-partite Free Trade Area will be another point of interest that is likely to be discussed at the African Union summit.”

Gottschalk said the issue of Free Trade Area needed to also take centre stage factoring the positive impact this would have on continental GDP and employment.

“It’s now 52 years since Kwame Nkrumah pleaded for a continental common market and first stepping stone towards a common market is a free trade area from Cape to Cairo,” said Gottschalk.

“Realistically after all treaties have been signed it will take about a decade before we get 26 states between Cape and Cairo to have lifted tariffs on 80 per cent of their goods.”

Gottschalk said, when Africa advances to a continental Free Trade Area, it will boost trade between African countries by one third which is spectacular for the Gross Domestic Product and for creating jobs.

He also called for more action especially on countries defaulting on their membership fees.

“At the moment South Africa is the biggest contributor of capital and development in the other African countries. African Presidents need to put their money where their mouth is and to pay up their annual membership,” he said.

Gottschalk said the African Union had achieved vastly more than its contemporaries such as the Arab League and the Organisation of American States.

“The AU has about 75 thousand soldiers and police promoting peace from Somalia to Mali. Only the European Union is ahead of the African Union and of course because it has a budget 500 times bigger than the AU.”