Topic 4: Africa In International Affairs - History Form 4

Topic 4: Africa In International Affairs – History Form 4

History Notes Form Four (4) - All Topics, Topic 4: Africa In International Affairs - History Form 4, Topic 3: Changes In Political, Social And Economic Policies In Africa After Independence - History Form 4, Topic 2: Nationalism And Decolonization Process In Africa - History Form 4, Topic 1: Crises In The Capitalist System - History Form 4

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African countries worked together to solve political, social and economic problems which faced the continent after independence.

Origins of continental cooperation the origin of continental cooperation in Africa could be traced back to the pan- African movement, which refer to the unity of all people of African origin or descent. The word “pan” means ‘together’ or ‘all’ Africans refers to people, implying the unity of all people of black color


Some of the objectives of establishing continental cooperation in Africa include

  • To preserve political independence and freedom
  • To fight against economic exploitation such as land alienations, poor wages and force labor.
  • To unite all people of African origin in the struggle against polities oppression
  • To challenge the ideology of European supremacy which undermines African political independence, economic stability and cultural civilization
  • To protect African dignity
  • To preserve African culture from destruction
    African co-operation existed through the formation of various organization as shown below;


The organization of African unity was founded on 25’ May 1963 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia by thirty- two heads of state of the independent African states the first chairman was Emperor Haile Sellasie of Ethiopia. This was inspired by pan- Africanist sentiment of bringing all people of African origin in both the Diaspora and Africa under a single organization, to fight and protect their rights.

Nkrumah one of the pioneers of African union and the founding father of Ghana was greatly influenced by his education in USA. he believed that the only way to achieve complete economic as well as political freedom from European domination was to create a powerful new ‘United states of Africa’ then through continental wide cooperation, Africa would really take place on the world economic and political stage on terms o equality. In unity, Nkrumah saw strength, but in practical terms, his dream proved illusory.


  • The primary aim of OAU was to promote African unity and solidarity as the only way forward to achieve complete economic as well as political freedom from other countries of the world, because unity and solidarity would make Africa a superpower among other countries.
  • To co-ordinate and intensify the cooperation and the efforts of African states to achieve a better living of people of Africa and to help the speeding up of the decolonization in the rest of Africa.
  • To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of African states, one of the OAU principle states the acceptance of the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of member state.
  • To eradicate all forms of colonialism in Africa and acts of slavery in the entire continent of Africa by promoting freedom and human rights to be given first priority.
  • To promote international cooperation in accordance of the United Nations Organization and the universal declaration of human rights.


These were the guidelines, which had to be followed by the member states in order to achieve their goals and objectives;

  1. Non-interference in these domestic matters of this member states.
  2. The use of peaceful ways in finding out the solutions to conflicts and disputes between member states.
  3. To accept the movement of Non- Alignment of Afro Asian states.
  4. Respect the rights of status to exist as independent countries.
  5. Sovereign equality of all member states had to be respected by all members’ countries.
  6. Condemn all political assassination and encouragement of people to oppose domestic dictatorship government


  1. It achieved to unite the diverse countries of Africa; this has been attained despite discrepancies in political ideology, levels of economic development, language colonial experience and vast geographical differences. There was of course disagreement between states and groups of states but its main aim was unity and OAU survived its first three decades with no permanent sprit.
  2. It has achieved in providing a forum for discussing common problems of African states and offering solution like discrimination or apartheid, diseases and civil wars among others. Which to a big extent have been dealt with.
  3. The regular meetings of ministers and heads of state have helped to generate greater awareness of other countries problem
  4. OAU has also achieved in Liberation’ of Africa from colonialism e.g. Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia, through the provision of moral and material support to .the nationalistic movements in various nations.
  5. The African development bank, which grew out of the OAU in 1967, became an invaluable tool for mobilizing world finance for Africa development projects. The idea of coordinating and mobilizing international capital for the benefit of Africa was of particular value during the 1 970s and early 1 980s.
  6. O.A.U has provided many African refugees with jobs and education, who came as a result of internal conflicts in various African nations
  7. The organization has taken measures to improve agriculture, industry, transport and communication trade and education cooperation in various countries.
  8. The meeting of heads of states each year to discuss the problems and achievement of the continent is one of the achievements.
  9. Many conflicts have been solved by the organization in the continent e.g. the war between Tanzania and Uganda 1978, Mali and Burkina Faso 1985, Kenya and Somalia 1970 etc.
  10. OAU has encouraged Regional integration among is member states, such as ECOWAS 1975, SADC 1980, COMESA 1993, has its roots from O.AU.
  11. OAU has achieved in acting as chief mediator between various African states to avoid the occurrence of bloodshed e.g. between Ethiopia and Eritrea.


  1. A member state decides individually and voluntarily to be the member of the organization and it could withdraw its membership at any time that it fills to do so, this weakens the strength of the organization e.g. Morocco is not a member.
  2. Another big problem that faced OAU was that it had no legal sanction to enforce its resolutions. Member state could decide to refuse or ignore to implement the organizations decisions, that is why it has always been blamed for being little more than ‘a talking-shop’ with no serious implementation of her resolutions.
  3. Lack of adequate funds it largely based on the annual contributions of member states Most of the member states delayed to pay or defaulted to pay their contributions, this made the organization to fail to run its activities.
  4. Unequal development of the members of the organization caused by poverty, illiteracy, and unequal distribution o resources.
  5. There are many refugees in Africa, which is the result of civil wars in many areas of the continent such as Burundi, D.RC, Sudan, Somalia, etc.
  6. The continent is still poor depending on debts and loans from World Bank and I.M.F, with difficult conditionality to fulfill.
  7. Differences in languages and religion, some societies are proud of their mother tongue; other countries are using English, others Arabic, French etc every state/tribe wants to use the language of her interest. There is tension between fundamentalist Muslims who want to apply Sharia law while Christians wants western system of democracy.
  8. African countries are affected by natural disasters such as drought, floods, earthquake, A.I.D.S, etc these affects the welfare of the people.
  9. Difference in ideology of the member states, head of states are unable to come together to discuss their problems.
  10. Lack of a single currency to be used by all member states since it is not decided on to be used; this hinders trade activities in the continent.
  11. Weak economic base of many of the member states most of the member state just had their independence from European imperialist nations; all are based on production of primary goods of agriculture products and minerals that fetched little prices.
  12. Civil wars in the member states such as Sudan, Somalia and Sierra Leone killed many people in the member countries in 1990’s.
  13. Assassination of head of states in many countries for example Melchior Ndadaye of Burundi in 1993.

Through O.A.U succeeded, it had also failures, which include

  1. O.A.U failed to bring better and good standard of living among the Africans
  2. It failed to eradicate neo-colonial exploitation, which was practiced by the countries in Western European countries. After its formation Africa export to European markets continued to suffer from lower prices determined by big powers.
  3. It failed to solve political conflicts which normally led to this rise of civil war and overthrow the elected government for example Ghana when Dr. Kwame. Nkrumah in 1966.
  4. It failed prevent inter-state conflicts. There were conflicts over boundaries and eventually there were wars for example Tanzania and Uganda in 1978 and Kenya and Somalia in190’s

Generally, despite its failures O.A.U existed for almost thirty-seven years. In the late 1990’s Mr. Mwammar Ghadafi, Libyan head of state proposed to other member head of states to create a new organization, which could take necessary steps to eliminate problems, which were not solved by O.A.U. His proposal was taken positively and the members accepted to form A.U (African Union)


AU is the organization of African countries which originally started by the declaration to the heads of states and Government of the O.A.U. to establish African Union on 9/9/1999. The Constitutive Act of the African Union was adopted and entered into force in 2000 at the Lome summit in Togo.

In 2001 the African countries putdown the plan for the implementation of the Union in Lusaka while in 2002 they held the first Assembly of the Heads of states of AU in Durban where Thabo Mbeki of South Africa became the 1st chairman. Its headquarters are in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia


The fulfillment of the basic O.A.U objectives led to the formation of AU. Formerly O.A.U. had succeeded to achieve such objectives like eradication of colonialism in Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, and destruction of apartheid in South Africa. Then, the leaders realized that there was a need to create a new organization, which dealt with the social, economic and political problems in the rapid changing world in 1990’s. During this time, Africa faced economic decline, unfavorable economic relationship with the developed nation and the rise of new political systems.

There was a need to make an organization to unite Africans against the problems from the situation, which prevailed at the moment.

Objectives /Goals of AU

African Union has so many objectives:

  • To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the people themselves.
  • To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of members.
  • To accelerate or increase the political and socio-economic integration (unity) of the continent.
  • To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its people.
  • To encourage international co-operation in line with the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • To promote peace, security and stability in Africa.
  • To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and goods governance.
  • To promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in line with the African charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.
  • To establish the necessary conditions which enable Africa to play its rightful role in the global or world economy through international negotiations.
  • To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of economies.
  • To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standard of African peoples.
  • To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic communities and the gradual achievement o the objectives of AU.
  • To enhance the development of the continent promoting research in all the fields especially Science and technology.
  • To work with relevant international partners in the elimination of preventable disease and the promotion of health on the continent.

The Organs of the African Union

A.U has about 10 organs, which included:

1. The Assembly

It is a supreme organ of the Union. It is composed of heads of states and Government. It has to meet at least once a year in ordinary session, at the request of any member state and on approval by a two-thirds majority of member states. It is headed by a chairman for a period of one year.

Its functions are:-
  • Determine the common policies of the Union.
  • Receive, consider and take decision on reports and recommendations from the other organs of the Union.
  • Consider requests for membership of the Union.
  • Establish any organ of the Union.
  • Monitor the implementation of policies and decisions of the Union as well as ensure compliance by all members.
  • Adopt the budget of the Union.
  • Give directives to the Executive council on the management of conflict war and restoration of peace.
  • Appoint and terminate appointments of judges of the court of justice
  • Appoint the Chairman of the commission and his or her deputy and the commissioners as well as determining their functions and terms of office.

2. The Executive Council

It is composed by the ministers of Foreign Affairs or such other

Ministers as decided by Member states. The Executive Council meets twice a year in ordinary session. It also has to meet in extra ordinary session at the request of any member states and upon approval of 2/3 of all members.

3) The Pan – African Parliament

It is established in order to provide a chance for full participation of African people in the development and economic integration of the continent. The first speaker has been Gertrude Mongella from Tanzania since 2004. Many officials will succeed the post from the members in future.

(4) The African court of Justice

When it is fully established the union will give its functions and -composition.

(5) The commission

It is the secretariat of the union. It is composed of the chairman, his deputies and the commissioners together with other staff. The Assembly is responsible to provide the functions and regulations of the commission. The current chairman of the commission is H.E. Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali.

(6) The Permanent Representative Committee

It is charged with the responsibility of preparing the work of Executive council. Facts also on the instructions of Executive council. It may set up sub-committee or groups as it sees necessary

(7) The Specialized Technical Committees – it includes:

  • The committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural matters.
  • The committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs.
  • The committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters.
  • The committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Energy Natural Resources and
  • Environment.
  • The committee on Transport, Communications and Tourism.
  • The committee on Labor, Health and Social Affairs.
  • The committee on Education, Culture and Human resources. –

The Assembly has to restructure the existing committees and establish others. Ministers compose the body with competence of respective areas.

The functions of the committees are:

  1. To prepare projects and programmes of the Union and submit it to the Executive council.
  2. Ensure the supervision, follow-up and the evaluation of the implementation of decisions taken by organization of the union.
  3. Coordinate the projects and programmes of the Union.
  4. Submit reports and recommendations on the implementations of the Act of the Union to the Executive council.
  5. Carry out other functions as assigned to any of the committees.

(8) The Economic Social and Cultural Council

This is an advisory organ which is made of professional groups of the member states. All its functions have to be given out by the Assembly.

(9) The Peace and Security Council

It is a body, which will deal with peacekeeping and conflicts settlements in the member states.

(10) The Financial Institutions

The Union intends to have the African central Bank, the Africa monetary fund and the African Investment Bank to provide financial help to its members.


  1. Lack of fund —most of its member are poor nations. It does not get enough money to run its activities.
  2. Civil war in countries such as Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Sudan, and Northern Uganda seem to keep these countries far from the goals of AU.
  3. Corruption such as mismanagement of public money by the leader like former president of Zambia, Mr. Chiluba discourages good governance, which is one of the interests of AU.
  4. Poor infrastructure such as roads, railways and waterways continued to weaken smooth transport of raw materials from productive areas to industries as well as transport of products from towns to the rural areas.
  5. Epidemics such as HIV/AIDs kill skilled labor, which would have been used by AU to develop many sectors like agriculture, industries, fishing and tourism.
  6. Unfavorable economic relationship between African countries and developed nations still makes African countries fall behind than what is required in economic and social development. They export products to world market and sell them at lower price, which in turn could not develop the AU members. All these problems threaten future success of AU.


There are so many benefits, which will be acquired by Tanzania from being a member of AU. The benefits include:

  1. Tanzania would get an opportunity to unite with other African countries to solve political conflicts peacefully in several African states and the country will use AU to discuss for the presence of good relationship between Africa, Europe and U.S.A.
  2. Tanzania will make friendship with other African countries through the joint activities and programmes in social and economic sectors. This condition would reduce the number of countries, which might have intended to act as enemies of Tanzania on the continent.
  3. Tanzania will get new ideas and information that will be used to solve many problems, which exist in agriculture, industry and the 1ea4Th sectors. They will be obtained from various meetings and workshops attended by the leaders of the government.
  4. The financial institutions such as the African central bank and the African investment bank obviously would provide money as loans and grants to Tanzania. The money would be used by the country to develop agricultural production, science and technology, transport and education.
  5. Tanzania gains territorial dignity through participation in the military operations


The need for regional cooperation in Africa, like elsewhere in the world arose from the need to tackle political, social and economic needs of the people.

This regional approach was found more beneficial given that this people in one region are likely to work more closely together due to geographical, historical and cultural advantages. Among the regional grouping existing in Africa, include the east African community (EAC) COMESA, ECOWAS and SADC.


It was founded on 6th June 1967; the government of Tanganyika, Kenya and, Uganda signed a treaty in Kampala Uganda. Its history goes back to 1923 when the governor of Tanganyika, Kenya, and Uganda formed the East African Governors Conference to facilitate the cooperation. In 1948 it changed to East Africa high Commission, in 1961 the East Africa common services organization was established. Arusha became the head quarters in the community in Tanzania.


  • To promote free trade in goods and services produced among the members.
  • To provide common services such as railways, harbors, posts and telecommunication.
  • To provide wider and more secure market for industrial and agricultural goods
  • To allow free movement of people in the region for trade recreation and other social activities.
  • To achieve technological innovation and advancement.
  • To conduct research activities in agriculture, population, medicine and mining for its development.
  • It aims at solving region problems jointly by the heads of the member states


The problem of the distribution of different services, the distribution was more beneficial to Kenya than Uganda and Tanzania.

  1. Border conflicts e.g. between Tanzania and Uganda during ldd Amin.
  2. The ideological disparity between the three countries, Tanzania self-reliance and socialism, Kenya capitalist ideology, Uganda during Idd Amin fascism.
  3. Uneven distribution of the community cake, Kenya took a lion share at the expense of Uganda and Tanzania.
  4. The organization had its roots from colonial period nothing changed fundamentally that Britain went on benefiting through Kenya.
  5. The East African Bank failed a balance development of industries in the three countries Kenya benefited more than Tanzania and Uganda in income tax and custom duties.
  6. Currency differences the governments’ restricted free transfer and exchange of currency. This discourages interstate transactions in goods.
  7. The community experienced great losses and debts.
  8. The failure of the member country to contribute the agreed annual fees

Achievements of EAC The first East African Community had the following achievement: 

  1. It put the East African countries on a course of cooperation when these countries worked together on areas like post, telecommunication and railways.
  2. It provided a chance for political leaders to discuss economic and political issues of their region.
  3. Free movement of people, for example Kenyans and Ugandans could move easily to Tanzania.
  4. Provision of funds to the members of state. This was possible through the East African Bank, which was made by the EAC. For example, Tanzania managed to produce aluminium sheet, assemble radio and make motor vehicles tyres and tubes. – Uganda managed to manufacture bicycles and nitrogenous fertilizers. – Kenya made electric bulbs from the capital given by the bank

The collapse of EAC

  1. The East African Community existed for a period of ten years. It collapsed in 1977 and revived in 2000 there were several reasons to its collapse, they includes.
  2. Difference in ideologies. Tanzania used socialism and self-reliance in which the government controlled all means of production in the national economy while Kenya and Uganda were mainly based on capitalism, which allowed the existence of private owned economy, hence they could not work together.
  3. Higher growth of Kenyan economy over Tanzania and Uganda, Kenya had many industries and business companies, either member felt they could be exploited.
  4. Absence of common currency. It made it difficultly for people to fully not buy good and serves in Uganda and Kenya because their currency was not accepted.
  5. Misunderstanding between the late presidents for example Julius K. Nyerere and Idd Amin of Uganda. Nyerere did not like to work with Amin after overthrowing Milton Obote in 1971.
  6. Shortage of fund among the East African government. The member states were less development National which could not have financial requirements for community programmes.
  7. All these reasons contributed to the collapse of the first EAC in 1977. Today the new EAC might not grow stronger because of similar ideological practices among the countries. It is implemented on 7th, July 2000.


The principles of the New EAC are guidelines, which must be followed by the community members in realizing their goals or objectives. They include-

  1. Mutual trust between the people of EAC states
  2. Peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness
  3. Peaceful settlement of disputes
  4. Good governance, acceptance of principles of democracy, rule of law and respect for social justice
  5. Co- operation for equal mutual benefit among the member states.

The goals/objective of the new EAC

The objective refers to the desire ends, which will be achieved by the members. The objectives includes;

  1. Establishment of a monetary union
  2. Establishment of a common market in which there services and information technology
  3. Formation of the East African Federation
  4. To promote peace, Security and stability within the region and good neighborliness
  5. To develop policies and programmes aimed at wide ring co-operation in polities, economic social defense and judicial matter for the benefit of the postures state
  6. To promote sustainable and balanced growth and development among the members
  7. To promote the role of women in socio-economic development
  8. Achieve equitable economic development and higher standard of living for the people of Africa.


It was formed as the replacement of Southern African Development coordination Conference-SADCC formed in April I980. It was in 1993 when it was changed to SADC, with headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana. Currently SADC has a total of 15 members. The member states include Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mozambique and Tanzania. Other members are Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Mauritius, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


  1. To harness resources in the region for the benefit of all member states
  2. To promote economic growth and standards of living of the member states
  3. To promote environmental protection and utilization of resources
  4. To promote peace and security among member states
  5. To promote sustainable development through cooperation among the member states
  6. To consolidate the age-old social, cultural and historical sites existing among the region
  7. To enhance economic development by promoting transport and communications in the region.


  1. Weak financial base, members rely on foreign aid and loan.
  2. Members produce similar agricultural goods such as coffee, sisal, tobacco which compete for market.
  3. All members depend on agriculture rather than industries, when the price of agricultural commodities fluctuates which leads to low earnings.
  4. Lack of qualified and skilled labor to run the organization, they depend on foreign experts.
  5. Unequal distribution of the benefits of the association discourages other states.
  6. Every member tries to cater her national interest first rather than those of SADC
  7. South Africa is seen as domineering over other member states due to her strong economy this causes a lot of anxiety to some countries.
  8. Political instability some of the member states experienced political instability, which has interfered with the organization operations e.g. Democratic Republic Congo.
  9. Differences in political ideology- e.g. Tanzania and Angola capitalism, others capitalism

Achievements of the SADC

The achievements of the SADC are:-

  1. Enhancement of security in the region. For example establishment of Ecomog in the Western part of Africa.
  2. Promotion of democracy and rule of law among the member states
  3. SADC has facilitated the development of infrastructure among the members states, for example roads, harbor, railways etc
  4. Promotion of agriculture among the member states agreed in a treaty signed in 1995
  5. Member state were able to consult on matters that affect the region using SADC as the main forum
  6. Sharing of water resources in the region. This was agreed in a treaty signed in 1995.


Before 1993 COMESA was known as the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa- P.T.A. The heads of member states met in Kampala Uganda on 61h November 1993 and signed a treaty, which created COMESA. A member of COMESA includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho Botswana, Swaziland, Mauritius, Comoro, Djibouti, Ethiopia Somalia and South Africa.


  1. Promoting and facilitating cooperation among member countries in trade, trade, transport and communication.
  2. Harmonizing and coordinating development strategies, policies and plans within the region,
    it encourages cooperation in monetary and financial affairs in order to facilitate sub regional integration.
  3. It aims at establishing joint industrial and agricultural institution to raise the production capacity.
  4. It aims at reducing and eventually eliminating tariffs among members in order to facilitate trade
  5. It encourages economic independence of the region by establishing strong economic base


Member states have become more cooperative in the field of trade of trade, industry and agriculture.
The organization has also established a bank known as the trade and development bank situated in Bujumbura Burundi, which finances trade and development projects.


  1. Different levels of development of member states
  2. Poor transport shipping facilities and communication links
  3. Existence of too many currencies in the region
  4. Weak economic base of member states i.e. dependency economies
  5. Civil wars, natural calamities and neo colonialism

The Reasons, Which Made Tanzania, Withdraw From COMESA:

  1. As shown earlier Tanzania withdrew from COMESA in 2002. There are various reasons, which made this country move out of the organization.
  2. Firstly, Tanzania was discouraged by political conflicts in Zimbabwe and Civil war in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. She realized there could not be effective economic co-operation with the members, which had these problems now.
  3. Secondly, the country wanted to maximize her efforts in some organizations like East African Community, which was formed in early 2000s’. The government could not be able to unite fully with other EAC if she was still a member in many other organizations.
  4. Thirdly, Tanzania withdrew from COMESA because she was avoiding duplication of regional co-operation. The country learnt that there were no new benefits the people could get from COMESA. Most of the benefits were similar with those, which were gained, from SADC and EAC.
  5. Fourthly, financial contributions to various economic organizations became a burden on the government expenditure. The country could not be able to collect and spend money in many organizations like SADC, EAC, AU and COMESA. Withdrawal from COMESA was a way to reduce financial cost on regional co-operation
  6. Fifthly, Tanzania moved out of COMESA as a way to protect its industrial development from other COMESA members such as Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This country still lagged behind in industries. She feared that those countries could use many opportunities in regional co-operation to export manufactured goods, which could compete against the products from Tanzania industries. Thus, she withdrew to protect domestic industries and their markets.

All the points given above could explain the possible reasons, which made Tanzania, move out of COMESA in 2002


ECOWAS is an organization, which was formed by English, French and Portuguese speaking countries West Africa under the Treaty of Lome on 28th May 1975 to bring unity for economic development in fields such as industries, transport, telecommunication, energy, agriculture monetary and commerce

Its members.

It has about 16 members such as Burkinafaso, Benin, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cape Verde, Nigeria, and Guinea cannonry, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon


  1. ECOWAS aimed at removing barriers and allowing free movement of people services and capital for the development of the member states.
  2. It aims at developing industries, agriculture and mining by using good and applicable policies.
  3. To remove custom duties between the members states to as to make West Africa a free trade area


  1. It brought unity among West African states by printing conditions in which two different countries could carry out joint projects such as food and transport cooperation between Nigeria and Niger after 1975.
  2. ECOWAS formed a military force known as ECOMO the force helped to defeat a military regime which over the forced helped to defeat a military regime which over the force helped to defeat a military regime which over the force helped to defeat a military regime which over thrown civilian government in Sierra Leone in 1990’s
  3. It set up a fund in 1986 by getting loan from financial institutions in Western Europe and America. The fund improved agriculture, industries, transport and telecommunication in 1929.
  4. It made the movement of people between the member states easier since 1979. The member states agreed to eliminate obstacles, which prevented people from moving for various activities in the summit held in dalcar, Senegal.
  5. It provided a winder market for the member states commodities.
  6. The organization has managed to set energy resource development fund for oil mining industry in the region.
  7. There have been agriculture and communication development of the whole part of the region this has been through special fund to develop the projects and through joint ventures between members.


  1. Each member wants to benefit more than the other members of the community according to their interests do.
  2. Political instability affects member states, there have been civil wars and coup d’état in ‘the region e.g. Nigeria, Sierra Leon, Liberia, Ivory Coast etc.
  3. Poor communication network system in many parts of the region hinders organization activities to all places
  4. Language differences, other members are using English others French, this causes communication barrier between members.
  5. Lack of a single currency creates the problem of the rate of exchange between the member states.
  6. The problem of members to have a membership in more than one organization, all the organization have demands in terms of contributions i.e. it is difficult to contribute membership to all the organizations due to poverty.
  7. Poor infrastructure such as roads still exists in many West African States. This situation hinders easy movement of goods, services and labor.
  8. . Bilateral and triple cooperation, which began before the formulation of ECOWAS, appear as obstacle to the realization of its objectives. For example Liberia and Sierra Leone had mano River project in 1973 to work in joint economic development, Senegal, Mali and Mauritania started the organization for the Development of the Senegal river to construct dams since 1973
  9. Some of the member states failed to remit contributions to the organization as required, and this make the running of the organization very difficult
  10. Some of the smaller economics among the member states find the immerse military and economic power of major economies such as Nigeria overwhelming.
  11. Ideological differences especially between the capitalist countries and socialist countries. For example cote d’ivore under Felix Houphout –Boigny-capitalist and Burkinafaso under under Thomas Sankara- socialist
  12. Border quarrels for example Nigeria and Cameroon had to go to international court in the Hague for arbitration over the ownership of the Bakazi Region.
  13. x. Foreign interference in the affairs of the member state. For instance, the stationing of French troops in Cote d’ivoire since the 1960’s which made the neighboring states including Guinea very uncompromising.
  14. xi. The vast geographic region makes it difficult for affairs of the organization to be coordinated well.


The world international organizations are referred as co-operation between the countries, which exist in the world between various continents. This sub-topic intends to examine the origin objectives and the way African countries have joined and benefited from the world international organizations popularly mentioned as the United Nations, Common wealth of Nations, the French Community and Non —Aligned Movement (NAM).

Most of African states gained political independence in the 1960’s long after, most of the global organizations like United Nations had been established, thus nevertheless played an important role in Global affairs.


The following are some of the objectives of Africa participating in international affairs

  1. To show solidarity with other states of the world especially during emergencies
  2. To give the continent a forum through which thus could discuss the continental affairs
  3. Increased participation in the United Nations General Assembly meant that Africans would henceforth receive more international attention than was the case before.
  4. To demonstrate their sovereignty through participation in global affairs
  5. To enhance Africa’s development for example the participation in the common wealth of Nations intended to develop Africa though English – speaking states that are more developed.
  6. African participation in Non-Aligned Movement was to put the continent in a strategic situation in the struggle for between the Eastern and the Western block during the cold War.

Similarly, the French community was meant to coordinate cooperation of the francophone and their former colonial masters

Topic 4: Africa In International Affairs – History Form 4


United Nation (UN) is an organization of the world independent countries, which was formed to promote and maintain international peace and security after the failure of the League of Nations in the prevention of the rise of the Second World War of 1939-1945.

The representatives of 50 countries in San Francisco USA on 26th June – 1945, originally drew the charter of the formation of UN. However, the representatives made the charter based on the ideas and proposal given out by the delegates from China, USSR, UK and U.S.A in 1944. After its formation, Poland immediately signed the charter and became one of the original 51 member states of the UN.

The UN officially came into existence on 24th October —1945 when the charter was formally approved by China, France, the Soviet Union (USSR) UK (Britain) and USA and by a majority of other countries. Its headquarters today are in New York USA and the United Nations day is always celebrated on 24thOctober each year.

Objectives of United Nations

Objectives of UN are all the desired ends, which UN intends to achieve as the members work together as world independent states. Objectives are:

  • Maintain peace and security internationally.
  • Develop friendly relations among nations.
  • Encourage international co-operation in solving economic, social, political and humanitarian problems.
  • Promote international respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • UN becomes a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in attainment the objectives

The Principles of UN

The principles are guidelines of UN as it works to achieve its goals. The principles are:

  • All its member states are sovereign and equal.
  • All its members have to fulfill in good faith the charter obligations
  • All its member countries have to solve international conflicts peacefully without jeopardizing peace, security and justice.
  • Members must avoid the threat or use of force against other states.
  • Members should provide any help in the action it takes.
  • Members should not give help to any nation being under punitive measures.
  • Non-members have to act according to these principles in order to maintain world peace and security.
  • UN should not interfere in internal matters of any nation:

The Organs of UN

There are important organs through which UN performs its duties such organs include.

1. The UN General Assembly: – This is an organ made by all member states. All member states always have one vote regardless of size and powers. Decisions on issues require two thirds of members’ votes. It functions are: Recommends on the world peace, security, disarmament and regulation of armament discuss any matter, which endangers peace and security. Elects non-Permanent members of Security Council and Judge of International court of justice jointly with the Security Council. The latest UN General Assembly took place in September, 2004, in New York, U.S.A

2. Secretariat — it is an organ, which is headquartered in New York, USA. It contains international civil servants under the leadership of the General Secretary who is appointed by the General Assembly based on recommendations by the Security Council.

There have been several General Secretaries since the creation of this organ. These officials by their names included:

  1. Trygve Lief of Norway from 1946-1952.
  2. Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden from 1953-1 961.
  3. UThantMyanmar (Burma) 1961-1971.
  4. Kurt Waldheim of Austria from 1972-1981.
  5. Javier de Perez de Cuellar of Peru from 1982-1991.
  6. Boutros Boutros -Ghali of Egypt from 1992-1996.
  7. Kofi Anan of Ghana from 1997-2006
  8. Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea from 2007 to the present until the appointment of new secretary.
The Secretariat carries out important functions such as:
  1. It administers peacekeeping operations in many countries, which have wars and conflicts.
  2. It implements the decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council.
  3. Informs the world’s communications media about the work of United Nations.
  4.    It mediates international disputes.
  5. Interprets speeches and translate documents into the UN’s official languages.
  6.   It draws annual budget of the UN

3. The Security – It an organ, which makes decisions that, bind all other UN members. Before 1963 the council had only eleven members of which 6 members were elected by the General Assembly for two years terms and there are also five permanent members.

After 1963 the number of members increased to fifteen including the permanent members such as Britain, USA, France, USSR and China and Ten Non-Permanent members continued to be elected for two years terms.

The UN Secretary Council has a veto vote in which all the decisions cannot be passed unless all five permanent members approve the decisions. When any permanent member casts a “No” vote the decision automatically, get blocked. This situation creates dissatisfaction among other members; today they demand more enlargement of the permanent membership seat so as to include many countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America in deciding matters of the UN. They also recommend the elimination of veto, which is used to defend the interests of few people.

The functions of UN Security Council are:

  1. Maintain international peace and security in line with the principles and purposes of the United Nations.
  2. To investigate any conflict or situation which can lead to international war
  3. To formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armament.
  4. To persuade members of UN to fix sanctions on the aggressive states.
  5. Takes military actions against the aggressors.
  6. Recommends the admission of new members.
  7. Recommends the appointment of the secretary – General to the UN General Assembly.
  8. Works with the General Assembly to elect the judges of International court of Justice.

4. International court of Justice– This is a court of 15 judges who are elected by the General Assembly and Security Council. It has headquarters at Hague, Netherlands. Its judges are elected for 9 years. The court normally deals with all matters of the UN charter. However, the decisions only advise the General Assembly and the Security Council.

5. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – It is an organ which works through UN specialized agencies and other autonomous bodies in the UN system. It promotes high standard of living, economic and social development as well as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

There are several UN specialized agencies under ECOSOC. Some of those institutions include:

  1. FAQ – (Food and Agriculture organization) was founded in Quebec, Canada on 16th October, 1945
  2. ILO- (International Labor organization) – It was firstly formed under the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. It allied with UN as specialized agency to rise up the living standard of the workers.
  3. UNESCO – (The UN International Children and Education Fund). It was founded in December1946 to provide care for children.
  4. WHO – (The World Health organization). It was founded on seventh –April-1947 as autonomous organization to improve health for all people in the world. Its head office is in Paris, France. It has worked under ECOSOC to eliminate health problems in the world.
  5. UNHCR – (The UN High Commission for Refugees). It started in 1951 to help people who are forcefully shifting their nations as refugees.
  6. UNCTAD – (The Conference on Trade and Development). It began on 20th December, 1994 to promote international trade
  7. UNDP – (The UN Development Programme it was formed in 1965
  8. UNIDO – (The UN Industrial Development Organization) it was made in 1967 to promote industries.
  9. GATT – (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) it was made in order to make the developed world fix lower tariffs and fair prices of products from developing countries.
  10. Trusteeship Council -It was an organ, which was formed in 1945 to supervise the administration of the Trust territories .taken from the Mandate status of the League of Nations .The aim of the trusteeship council, was to prepare the trust territories such as Tanganyika, Rwanda Burundi and Namibia for their self- government and independence. The council was allowed to examine and discuss the reports from the administering authority on the political, social and economic progress of people in the territories. The members of the council were, all. Five permanent members of the Security Council such as China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and U.S.A. The council suspended its duties on 1st, November 1994 when Palau, the last remaining trust territory achieved independence on 1St November-1994.

The Achievements of UN

Since the creation of UN there have been several achievement reached by this organization. They included:

  1. UN has assisted many countries in the struggle for independence. Many countries, which are members of UN, were helped by the organization in the elimination of colonialism. UN worked tirelessly in ending apartheid in South Africa. It put economic sanctions, arms embargo to the white regime. The United Nations General Assembly even called apartheid a crime against humanity. All these efforts led to the elections in April 1994 in which African people got a chance to participate on equal terms with the whites and followed by the formation of a majority government.
  2. Though UN has proved failure in maintaining peace in many parts of the world, it has attempted to make peace by negotiating many peaceful settlements, which ended regional disputes. For example, the UN succeeded to end Iran – Iraq war, the withdrawal of soviet from Afghanistan and an end of civil war in El Salvador.
  3. UN has tried to promote development of people in the member states. For instance, the United Nations Development programmes (UNDP) and other agencies of UN carries out projects for agriculture, industry, education and environment. It is said that UNDP supports more than 5000 projects with a budget of $ 1.3 billion. UNICEF spends more than $.800 million a year on immunization, health care, nutrition and basic education in 138 countries. In areas where these projects exist, they lower poverty levels.
  4. The United Nations has been able to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of conflict in Sudan, Somalia and other states. There so many refugees who receive aid from the UN High commissioner for Refugees since 1951. It eliminates scourges of war or conflicts from the Africans.


United Nations faces many problems in its daily activities. The most significant problems include:

  1. Non-compliance of UN decisions is a problem. Some members especially developed countries like USA and Britain sometimes do not comply with the decisions, which prevent these countries from taking action against the other states. For instance, UN disapproved US invasion of Iraq but the USA and Britain could not respect the decisions. They invaded Iraq in 2003.
  2. UN’s veto among the five permanent members of the Security Council hinders just decisions and course of action. When one of its members cast a veto vote, all the decisions get blocked. This has been used by the big powers to serve their own interests as opposed to the general interests of the members.
  3. There have been inter-states and civil wars among the members. For example, the war between Tanzania and Uganda in 1979 destroyed many properties. Civil wars have occurred in Rwanda in 1994, Liberia in 1997 and Southern Sudan for a long period. Many people have lost their life.
  4. Though the UN give humanitarian aid to improve the living standards of people, the organization still has mainly third world countries, which suffer from poverty, which endangers peace and security in the world.


  1. African states benefit from being members of the United Nations. The benefits, which can be, shown below are:
  2. Many African states, which do not have enough food for their people in some parts of their countries, receive food aid from the World Food Programme (WFP) of the UN. This assistance has been given to the people in Somalia and Sudan.
  3. African states normally attempt to improve health standards of their people through vaccination services, which are conducted by the World Health Organization under the United Nations. In the present UNAIDS gives fund to fight against HIV/AIDS in African states.
  4. African states receive financial help from UNDP to invest in sectors of education and water services.
  5. The UN Security Council always sends forces to keep peace, order and end violence in areas, which have civil wars. For example, UN peacekeeping forces have been sent to Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo to keep peace in these countries between 1995 and 2005.
  6. UNO provides a platform to African states to air out their grievances against the mistreatments, which are done over the people by the developed world. It can be used to influence policies of big powers to Africa.

Conclusion: The United Nations is very important organization for the countries in the world. However, it provides aid to African states and other countries outside Africa many member states complain against the UN. They see it as an organization, which mainly works in favor of USA and European countries. UN has been found to take very slow action to solve problems in Africa. It neglected the civil war in Rwanda where about 800 000 people were killed by the rebels in 1994. Even the General Secretary, Kofi Anan admitted that UN had no active measures to end civil war in Rwanda.

It normally carries out quick actions to end the crises in European countries. It cannot be effective organization unless the UN treats all its members equally and conducts its functions fairly in all its organs.


Common Wealth of Nations is a voluntary association of independent sovereign states mostly formed by the UK (Britain) and its former colonies. The members of common wealth recognize Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the common wealth.

It’s Origin. The Common wealth originated from the Imperial Conference of the late 1920’s which recognized the colonies, which had self-government within the British Empire. Such colonies were Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They were considered as equal in status with Britain. In 1931, Britain made a statute of West Minster to establish Common wealth as an association of free and equal states and membership based on common allegiance to the British Crown. Many countries joined after Independence though many think it is after British imperialism.

Its Principles

  • The principles were given out by the Declaration of Commonwealth in the summit held in Singapore in 1972.The principles are:
  • They believe and accept that peace and order are essential to the security and success of humankind.
  • They put beliefs in liberty of individuals and equal rights for all people.
  • Recognize discrimination as an evil in the member countries.
  • Oppose all forms of colonial exploitation and discrimination in the members.
  • They believe absence of equality in wealth create social tensions. Therefore, they are committed to development and improve the living standard.
  • Attain free flow of international trade for all countries.
  • Promote international co-operation and tolerance.
  • Maintain the security of each member from foreign aggression.
  • Promote the exchange of knowledge, ideas on education, culture, economic and legal matters.

It’s Organs. Common Wealth has 4 organs including:

1. The Secretariat- It was made in 1965. It has been based in London. Secretary General elected by heads of the government heads it. Since it started, secretaries such as have headed it: Arnold Smith, Shadrack Raphael, Emeka Anyaouku from Nigeria and Don Mackinnon, from New Zealand in 2004.

The secretariat is the main body far the exchange of information among the members and solving various problems. It functions through several branches such as:

  1. International Affairs —, which deals with matters like democratic practices in many countries.
  2. Economic Affairs Division – which is concerned with trade, finance, and industrializing the members.
  3. Science and technology -It tries to promote rural technology and energy.
  4. Food production and rural development.
  5. Export market Development — helps less developed nations to secure markets and improve their goods.
  6. Arts and sports—deals with regular performance of the dancers from all members of Common Wealth in London. It also organizes all Common wealth Games.
  7. Education – members co-operate in areas like teacher training and book production.
  8. The common Wealth fund for technical co-operation provides fund to train personnel in sectors like agriculture and transport.
  9. Others are Youth, Health, Law and Information.

2. Common wealth heads of Government Meeting — it contains presidents or prime ministers. They meet for a week after every two years to discuss political problems and economic affairs. Then establish consensus on various matters.

3. Ministerial Meeting– It is composed of ministers of member states. They meet to consult on issues. The foreign ministers meet before heads of state. Ministers of Finance meet annually. Ministers of Education Health and law also meet to discuss matters of co-operation.

4. High Commissioners-they work as ambassadors to countries they are posted.

Members of common wealth

Many ex-British colonies are members with exception of Mozambique which was ruled by the Portuguese but joined Common wealth in 1995. Zimbabwe was firstly suspended in 2002 over concerns with unfair elections and land reform policies of Robert Mugabe’s ZANU — PF. The Government of Zimbabwe left completely in 2003 after Britain Australia and other members condemned its policies. United States,

Egypt and Israel do not show interest in joining the common wealth in spite of being ex-British colonies.

Most of the members share similar culture such as the use of English language, the common law system and wigged judges in courts. British system of administration and driving on the left side of the roads. Currently there are 59 members in the world.

The Benefits of Common Wealth to Tanzania

  1. Tanzania expands markets and sources of foreign currency because normally members charge low tariff on the export from common wealth.
  2. It provides a chance to Tanzania to join international forums for discussion of social, economic and political problems.
  3. Tanzania gets aid and services of the division of the secretariat of Common wealth. For example economic affairs division deals with industrial problems in Tanzania while common wealth Youth programmes help to train some youth leaders and officials in Community development.
  4. Tanzania sportsmen, women, and those who participate in different games get a chance to promote their talents by participating in common wealth games. They can also get some money for their own life.

Problems in the Common Wealth

  • Some problems are facing common wealth countries. These problems include:
  • Civil war in Sierra Leone in 2000 led to the loss of lives. The war still made it impossible for Sierra Leone to unite with others against political, social and economic problems.
  • Poverty especially in African and Asian states create situations in which majority the people cannot get adequate income education, water and health services.
  • Britain’s domination over other members has prevailed since the creation of Common Wealth. Britain has had much power in making decision and determining major actions by the members. All the members conduct their ways of life according to the British culture; former colonial master.
  • Poor leadership has existed in many member countries. Many leaders especially in Africa tend to mismanage the economy of their nations by using the national income for their private personal gains. An example of such leaders is Mr. Chiluba the ex-president of Zambia was accused of the misuse of money during his rule.
  • Multiple memberships among the member states such as Tanzania have membership in SADC, EAC and AU. Members like Tanzania can stressfully participate in this organization.


It was a movement, which was mainly formed by Afro-Asian states and Yugoslavia in order to protect themselves against any exploitation, oppression and pressure from either the capitalist camp led by USA or socialist camp led by USSR during the cold war and any other imperialist nations after 1945. NAM officially started under Tito to as the chairperson in 1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia after efforts, which had been made in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955 expressing the need for unity between Afro -Asian states.

Its Objectives or Goals

  • Promote economic balance between developed and developing nations.
  • Oppose any policy, which violates human rights and self-awareness of all over the world.
  • Oppose segregation or discrimination based on race.
  • Solve conflicts peacefully between nations.
  • Oppose military alliances and pacts such as NATO and Warsaw Pact led by U.S.S.R
  • Oppose establishments of foreign military base in the third world countries.

In September 1998, NAM members had XII summit in Durban, South Africa. In this summit, they seem to have added new objectives to the original objectives. They introduced those objectives because they experienced new problems such as terrorism, famine, AIDS, poverty, environmental destruction, changing world from two to single super power and globalization in which the rich countries require the weak nations to open boundaries for foreign investments.

The new objectives included:

  • Emancipation of women and respect for the rights of people such as children, Elders and disable persons.
  • Creation of jobs and increase of education, health and water for the people.
  • Eliminate corruption, and promote good governance in member countries.
  • Co-operate in order to remove the burden of debts on developing countries.
  • Maintain peace in the members and oppose terrorism in the world.

The Principles of NAM

  • Attain solidarity and oppose all actions, which endanger independence.
  • All members have the right to participate in international relations on equal basis.
  • Members have to give support to the efforts of disarmament.
  • Work together with regional organizations such as SADC, COMESA, and ECOWAS.

Problems of NAM

  • It had members, which still abused human rights for example in Uganda under ldd Amin in 1970’s many people was killed.
  • Poor economy among the members still exists to the present.
  • Civil war in many countries such as Pakistan and Indian weakened unity between the members.
  • Un-equal terms of trade between the members and the developed nations in the world market. Developing nations normally sell their products at low prices.

Benefits of NAM to the Members

  • They secure larger markets for products from agriculture and industries.
  • They were able to make neutral decisions, which were not imposed by U.S.A. or USSR.
  • It helped the members to reduce dependence on western capitalist nations.
  • It united the developing nations in the struggle against any mistreatment from powerful nations during the period of world war.
  • It helped some nations such as Namibia to get her independence from the Boers.

Conclusion: Though NAM was formed by the states to protect themselves against the super powers and other imperialist nations, the movement is still needed at this moment where the U.S.A acts as a super power of the world. The states face many problems such as unequal terms of trade with big countries, poverty, low level of technology and production in agriculture. They have to unite ad press for equal terms of trade and assist each other in technology, industries and bring social services to the people in their countries. Changes which can be made in the organization is the name ‘Non-Aligned Movement because in the matter of fact its members today are aligned with the policies of U.S.A. and western European countries.

Even the period before the late 1980’s many of the NAM members were allied to the socialist camp at the same time tried to practice non-alliance. However, the situation today is worse because all members are openly linked with USA-policies. They do not have to call themselves Non-Aligned countries.