African Union should adopt strict membership criteria – Nana Akufo-Addo

Nana Akufo-Addo

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, flag-bearer for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the December 2012 general election  has tasked the African Union (AU) to adopt strict membership criteria based on fundamental democratic principles.

“The AU must move away from granting automatic membership to African countries solely based on geographical location but based on a commitment to strengthen and protect the institutions and culture of democratic governance,” said the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in the erswhile Kufuor Administration.

Other criteria suggested by Nana Akufo-Addo included respect for human rights, religious freedom, and the rights of individuals and minorities.

The rest are building functioning market economies and facilitating the free movement of people, knowledge, goods and services across Member States.

Nana Akufo-Addo made the suggestion at the 2012 Oppenheimer Lecture on the theme “The Future of Democracy in Africa and the Arab Spring”, according to  a statement issued by Mr Curtis Perry K. Okudzeto, Deputy Director at the NPP Communications Directorate, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday.

He said the European Union (EU) where countries must satisfy certain economic and political conditions, often referred to as the ‘Copenhagen criteria’, before membership into the Union was granted, must be a guiding principle for the AU.

“The EU’s strict rules for membership helped pull Eastern European nations through their post-Soviet transitions, and this should serve as an example to us,” Nana Akufo-Addo added.

He pointed out that it was imperative, for the AU to reform and revamp itself in order to rise to the challenge of social and economic transformation of the African continent, as well as making itself relevant in the quest to “build a new Africa that is neither pawn nor victim.”

Nana Akufo-Addo said Africa’s small countries would continue to struggle alone, but the accelerated economic integration of committed nations could serve as the model for others, breathe new life into the AU, and deliver the benefits of African integration to the doorsteps of African peoples.

He maintained that majority of Africans were in favour of democratic rule and had, in high numbers rejected one-party rule, military rule and strongman rule.

Nana Akufo-Addo noted that recent efforts to undermine the democratic process in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal were indeed troubling, and urged African leaders and institutions to strongly speak against “Such retrogressive developments”.

Source: GNA

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