Towards a People-Driven African Union: Current Obstacles & New Opportunities presents research on the preparations for and conduct of African Union summits, from some of the civil society organizations currently working with the African Union to realize its own vision. It concludes that, although significant space has been opened up for greater and more sustained participation by a diversity of interested groups, the promise of a people-driven African Union (AU) remains largely unfulfilled. Inadequate institutional capacity and inappropriate policies and procedures have hindered the realization of the vision that the AU should build "a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society... to strengthen solidarity and cohesion among our peoples."
Many institutional obstacles still block the realization of the African Union’s original vision. There is a growing perception among civil society organizations that the initial AU enthusiasm for non-state participation in its policy development processes has given way to a more closed stance. Despite the reorganization of the former OAU secretariat into the AU Commission, many staff seemed to retain their old habits and attitudes. There are still considerable difficulties in obtaining access to information about policies and documents under discussion by AU organs, preventing effective participation by Africa's citizens in continental decision-making processes.
Moreover, the sheer proliferation of AU ministerial meetings and ordinary/extraordinary summits is taking a heavy toll on both the AU Commission and governments, according to this report. Unless Commission budget shortfalls and capacity constraints in member states are remedied, the African Union will not be able to deliver on the promise of its decisions, resolutions, and treaties. The report calls on the African Union Commission and member states to take urgent action to simplify and improve the multiplicity of legal frameworks, incoherent institutional arrangements and unclear policies and procedures, and to provide more consistent and timely access to documentation in all its processes.
Towards a People-Driven African Union was jointly commissioned and coordinated by Oxfam GB, the African Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), and OSI's Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP).