The need for cooperation in Africa stems from the desire of the peoples of Africa to liberate themselves of exploitation and domination of Africa by foreigners, particularly from Western Europe, which dates back to the 15th century when scientific innovation in Europe inspired exploration voyages.


                    PAN AFRICANISM

Define Pan Africanism. (What is Pan Africanism?)

Pan Africanism is a movement that aims at uniting all peoples of African descent. It stands for the unity and advancement of all Africans and is a manifestation of African protest against universal discrimination of black people by acknowledging their right to self determination and calling for the treatment of Africans with dignity as equals in all parts of the world.

Trace the origin of Pan Africanism.

  • Pan Africanism started in the Americas in the 19th century as a result of the dispersal of black peoples over much of the Americas and the Caribbean through Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
  • Africans were despised and ridiculed based on their skin colour as well as their hard and kinky hair and were convinced that they could find true friendship, understanding, brotherhood and a home over in Africa.
  • Since Africa too had been colonized and humiliated by European powers at the beginning of the 20th century, black peoples in the Americas and West Indies joined those of Africa in the Pan African movement.
  • Even after independence, many Africans saw the need to remain united amidst neocolonialism.

Identify the factors that led to Pan Africanism. (Explain the factors that gave rise to Pan Africanism.) The following factors gave rise to Pan Africanism:

  • Many Africans were brought together by their shared suffering in slavery.
  • In the Americas, Africans shared similar experiences of racial discrimination.
  • During the colonial period, Africans were subjected to many ills.
  • Economic exploitation since the raw materials and other resources got from Africa only benefited the colonialists as indigenous Africans remained with nothing.

Explain the suffering shared by Africans during slavery. (What suffering did Africans experience/undergo during slavery? Or:

Explain the shared suffering by which Africans were brought together during slavery.)

  • They suddenly found their status changed from that of freedom to slavery.
  • They were forcibly removed from the comfort of their homes and families and transported to strange lands. The violence involved in the capture caused serious injuries, destruction of property and loss of life. Many times, even siblings were separated as they were shared among different slave traders.
  • The long march from the interior to the coast of West Africa, where they were loaded into waiting ships, was traumatizing. At the coast, the weary slaves were paraded, named and branded like animals after being sold to the highest bidder, who then transported them across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas in terrible conditions.
  • The ships were overcrowded as the merchants packed in as many slaves as possible. Many slaves died on route to the Americas. To prevent slave riots in the ships, metal chains were used to tie up the slaves. Water and sanitary facilities were scarce during most of the voyages. This made many slaves to jump into the Atlantic Ocean and face the sharks rather than proceed with the journey.
  • On arrival in the Americas, slaves were stripped naked and paraded in the market-place like commodities for prospective buyers. The experience was most humiliating as the prospective buyers sorted out the strong ones who fetched a better price for the sellers. Those purchased were taken to the cotton, Sugarcane and tobacco plantations, homes, mines and sites for public works (to construct roads, railways and factories).

Explain the ills that Africans were subjected to during colonial rule. (In what ways were Africans mistreated during colonial rule? Or:

Explain the ills/mistreatment that characterized colonial rule in Africa. Or:

In what ways did Africans suffer during colonial rule? Or:

Explain the suffering experienced by Africans during colonial rule.)

  • They lost land to colonial powers. They were removed from their ancestral land. The most arable land was grabbed by the few European settlers while the Africans were settled in harsh arid and semi-arid areas.
  • They were subjected to forced labour. For instance, in Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), the colonialists chopped off the limbs of Africans who refused to collect the wild rubber.
  • Imposition of many heavy taxes on Africans, E.G Poll tax, Hut tax and Breast tax.
  • Poor (low) wages and poor working conditions.
  • Discrimination, particularly through racial segregation.
  • Corporal punishment.
  • Rape and murder.
  • Restrictions on movement and assembly.

Explain the aims/purpose of the Pan African movement. (Explain the objectives of the Pan African movement.)

  • To unite all peoples of African origin in the struggle for emancipation from social discrimination and colonial rule.
  • To challenge the ideology of White Race Supremacy, on which European colonization was based. Ø To improve the conditions of Africans in the Diaspora and in the African continent.
  • To restore the dignity of black peoples.
  • To create a forum through which protests against European colonization and racial discrimination would be channeled.
  • To fight Neocolonialism in Africa.

Analyse/explain development of Pan Africanism.

  • United in humiliation and grief, the Africans in the Diaspora came to view themselves more and more as having a common history. Africa assumed a new significance to them. It was their only source of hope as it gave them identity and pride.
  • In the 19th century, there were economic developments that led to the introduction of machines, which replaced human (slave) labour, causing slaves to be freed by their masters.
  • The British began antis Slave-trade and antislavery campaigns in 1807 and 1833. This was closely followed by the American civil war over whether or not to continue slavery.
  • A new spirit grew among black men such as Martin Delaney, Alexander Crummell, Bishop James Johnson, Wilmot blyden, Bishop Turner, Henry Sylvester Williams, Dr W E B Du Bois, Marcus Moziah Garvey, George Padmore, Booker T. Washington, Dr Kwame Nkruma and Leopold Sedar Senghor.  These Pan Africanists began to travel widely, visiting Africa and writing on African issues, with which African newspapers were started to deal best.
  • Congresses were organized to deal with the problems of black peoples I.E to know or identify the problems and their possible solution.

Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)

Assess the life of Marcus Garvey as a Pan Africanist.

  • Marcus Moziah Garvey was born in the West Indian island of Jamaica in 1887 to a family of freed slaves. As a young boy, he suffered a lot on account of his deeply dark complexion, a reality that shaped his philosophy of Pan Africanism.
  • In his childhood, Europeans and children of mixed parentage declined to associate with him, just because he was very black. Children of mixed parentage in Jamaica constituted themselves into a class quite distinct from the darker African peoples while the people of the darker colour formed Despised Masses of Domestic servants and Plantation labourers.

By the time Garvey arrived in the USA in 1916, he had traveled widely in Britain and in south and central Africa. He was deeply upset by the poor working conditions among the people of African descent in all the areas he visited.

In England, Garvey met Dues Muhamed Ali, who encouraged him to lead black peoples all over the world in the struggle for liberation. Ali was editor of the African Times and the Orient magazine. Garvey visited the British museum, where he read extensively, particularly from the Bible and William Shakespeare.

  • Garvey developed his Pan Africanism philosophy in the USA, seeking to make Africans to take pride in their blackness and cultural heritage. He founded the Negroe Empire in New York in 1920.
  • He organized a black convention in New York in 1924, which would enable black peoples to enjoy economic and political progress. Black peoples from different parts of the world attended the convention. Garvey then launched the Universal Negroe Improvement Association (U N I A), based at Harlem in New York.
  • Garvey also communicated with his supporters through the Negroe Will: a journal he founded, published in English Spanish and French in order to reach a wider audience. He also founded an African Orthodox Church under Chief Bishop. Chief Bishop was a black patriarch. The African Orthodox Church was aimed at encouraging black peoples to practice one faith as they have one goal, one aim and one destiny. He adopted a Black Christ and a black Madonna as symbols of his African Orthodox church and asked his followers to forget white gods.
  • Garvey teamed up with the advocates of the Return to Africa Crusade, declaring that since the Europeans had the European continent, the colonial governments should leave Africa to the Africans. He even sent two missionaries to Liberia in 1920 and 1924.
  • Believing in African economic empowerment, Garvey mobilized African Americans to contribute funds for the establishment of black businesses, one of which was the Black Starline shipping company, in which black people invested millions of dollars. Three ships were purchased in order to free African Americans from dependence on European-owned ships for marine transport. However, the project declined and collapsed due to Garvey’s lack of managerial and financial skills to run it.
  • Garvey was witch-hunted, arrested, tried and convicted for fraud due to his critical attitude against the Europeans in the USA and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for allegedly collecting funds unlawfully. However, he was pardoned and repatriated to Jamaica, where he died in 1940.
  • Garvey’s most important contribution was that, more than anyone else in history, he mobilized black peoples to take pride in their cultures and complexion. Slogans such as “Black is beautiful” were inherited from him.

What were the aims of the Universal Negroe Improvement Association (U N I A)?

  • Establishment of a central nation for the black race.
  • Promotion of African cultures.
  • Creating universal fraternity among the Black race.
  • Establishment of academies for African children.
  • To uplift the civilization of African communities.

Explain the contributions of Marcus Garvey to Pan Africanism.

  • He developed his Pan Africanism philosophy in the USA, seeking to make Africans to take pride in their blackness and cultural heritage.
  • He founded the Negroe Empire in New York in 1920.
  • He organized a black convention in New York in 1924, which would enable black peoples to enjoy economic and political progress. Black peoples from different parts of the world attended the convention.
  • He launched the Universal Negroe Improvement Association (UNIA), based at Harlem in New York.
  • He founded The Negroe Will, a journal published in English, Spanish and French in order to reach a wider audience.
  • He founded an African Orthodox Church under Chief Bishop: a black patriarch, aimed at encouraging black peoples to practice one faith as they have one goal, one aim and one destiny. He adopted a Black Christ and a black Madonna as symbols of his African Orthodox church and asked his followers to forget white gods.
  • He teamed up with the advocates of the Return to Africa Crusade, declaring that since the Europeans had the European continent, the colonial governments should leave Africa to the Africans. He even sent two missionaries to Liberia in 1920 and 1924.
  • He mobilized African Americans to contribute funds for the establishment of black businesses, one of which was the Black Starline shipping company, in which black people invested millions of dollars in order to free African Americans from dependence on European-owned ships for marine transport.
  • He mobilized black peoples to take pride in their cultures and complexion. Slogans such as “Black is beautiful” were inherited from him.

Assess/discuss the life of any one of the following as a Pan Africanist:

  • Booker T. Washington.
  • W E B Du Bois.


Booker t. Washington

  • Booker T. Washington was born in a poor family of slaves in southern USA in 1856. In spite of his harsh background, Booker managed to raise his school fees and proceeded to Hampton institute, where he acquired a university Degree in Agriculture.
  • Booker started the Tuskegee institute in Alabama, which trained black peoples in agricultural and industrial skills. He was principal of the institute.
  • He encouraged new African Americans to work hard to achieve progress by cooperating with the government and cultivating the skills and habits that could earn them white support. This policy was criticized by other African Americans, particularly W E B Du Bois, who believed that African Americans must fight for their   civil rights rather than try to win acceptance by the European Community. However, Washington believed that if African Americans could work hard and accumulate wealth, they  could easily attain equal status with the European community and thereby end racial discrimination.
  • His ideas were supported, particularly by successful Europeans such as Andrews Carnegie, who helped him found the National Negroe Business league, aimed at teaching virtues of business development to black communities in the USA. African schools in the USA embarked on technical education and agricultural skills.
  • By the time of Booker’s death in 1915, the Tuskegee institute had become a model school for African Americans. To date, no other Pan Africanist promoted African education the way Booker did.


  W E B Du Bois (1868-1963)

  • William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an excellent scholar in his own right as Professor of History, economics and sociology as well as a renowned journalist.
  • W E B Du Bois was born in Great Barrington: a small town in Massachusetts: USA in 1868.
  • He completed both Elementary and Secondary education through scholarships and secured a place at Fisk University before proceeding to Harvard University, where he became the first Black to receive PHD.
  • In 1900, Du Bois was among the founder-members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples (N A A C P).
  • In 1905, he established the Niagara Movement to protest against racial discrimination against black peoples in the USA. HE DISAGREED WITH Booker T. Washington on the best strategy black peoples should use to win respect from Europeans. He used his Journalism skill to fight racial injustice and maintained that capable Africans be allowed to pursue higher education like the Europeans without discrimination. He referred to such talented Africans as The Talented Tenth.
  • Just like Marcus Garvey, Du bois glorified African history and cultures and believed that if Africans were to be a factor in world history, they had to form a Pan-Negroe movement. His greatest contribution to the African race was in the preparation of the 1900-1945 Pan African conferences, in which he strongly argued against slavery, colonial exploitation and repression of the African peoples.

He chaired the 1945 Pan African Congress at Manchester in England, where  George Padmore and Kwame  Nkruma served as joint secretaries and in which African leaders demanded political independence for African countries.

Du Bois relocated to Ghana at the invitation of Kwame Nkruma in 1961. In Ghana, he embarked on the  compilation of the Encyclopedia Africana: an ambitious project to write a  comprehensive encyclopedia on Black Peoples.

  • By the time of his death in 1963, Du Bois had acquired Ghanaian citizenship and was one of the most respected Pan Africanists.


In 1897, Black  leaders in London formed the African Association, restricted to African and African Membership, mainly to unite Blacks and to promote their welfare amidst rising European hostility. The association organized the Pan African Conference of 1900.

Analyse the background of the first Pan African conference (1900).

  • It was held at Westminster town hall in London.
  • It was sponsored by Henry Sylvester Williams: a Trinidadian barrister (Lawyer), who coined the term Pan Africanism.
  • It attracted 32 participants from Africa, the USA, Canada, the West Indies and Britain.
  • It was at this conference that Du Bois was first introduced to Pan Africanism. Du Bois stated clearly that the problem of the 20th century was the Colour Line. He strongly condemned racial discrimination based on the skin colour.
  • A Pan African Association and Journal were started.
  • The conference sent a memorandum to the Queen of England demanding respect for the rights of Black people, especially in the British Empire.

What were the objectives of the first Pan African conference (1900)? (State/explain the aims/purpose of the first Pan African conference (1900).)

  • An end to European colonization in Africa.
  • To unite Black peoples all over the world.
  • Initiation of a movement for securing the full rights of Africans.
  • Establishment of more friendly relations between African and European races. Ø Promotion of African economic interests.

Describe the issues discussed during the First Pan African conference (1900).

  • Living conditions of Blacks in different parts of the world.
  • Human rights violations against Blacks in South Africa and Rhodesia.
  • Racial discrimination against Africans all over the world.

Describe two main tasks that the National Association for the Advancement  of Coloured Peoples (N A A C P) sent W E B Du Bois to fulfill in 1918.

In December 1918, Du Bois had been sent by the National Association for the Advancement  of Coloured Peoples (N A A C P) to fulfill two specific tasks, namely:

  • To investigate allegations of racial discrimination against African American troops stationed in France during the First World War.
  • To represent black peoples at the impending peace conference after the First World War.

Analyse/discuss the background to the Second Pan African conference (1919).

  • It was held under W E B Du Bois in Paris: France alongside the Paris Peace Conference following the First World War.
  • Du Bois was assisted by Blaise Diagne, a much respected African Assimile from Senegal.
  • The conference attracted fifty participants, of which twelve came from Africa.

State/identify the recommendations that were made at the Second Pan African conference (1919).

  • International laws to protect persons of African descent.
  • Holding of land in the African continent in trust for Africans.
  • An end to exploitation of African nations by foreign companies.
  • African enjoyment of the right to education.
  • Abolition of slavery and capital punishment.
  • That Africans enjoy the right to participate in their government as far as their development allows.

Describe the smaller conferences that were held after the Second Pan African conference.

After the Second Pan African Conference, other smaller conferences were held such as:

  • The one jointly hosted by London, Brussels and Paris in 1921 as a follow-up of the second conference. It comprised 100 attendants, all of African descent, 35 of who came from the USA, 41 from the African continent and 24 were living in Europe. This conference was considered part of the second Pan African
  • The third Pan African conference (1923), which was jointly hosted by London and Lisbon. It was attended mainly by Africans in the Diaspora (those living in Europe and the USA). It reiterated earlier resolutions and demanded that Black people be treated as human beings.
  • The fourth Pan African conference (1927), which was unique as it was convened in New York: USA and was attended mainly by African Americans, sponsored by, among others, European philanthropists who were supporting the African Americans in their efforts to uplift their living standards.
  • That which was regarded as part of the Fourth Pan African conference and was held in 1927 in London, in which the attitude of communists towards Pan Africanism was discussed. In it, Communists failed to control and therefore tried to discredit W E B Du Bois and Marcus Garvey. After it ended, Pan African conferences ceased for the next eighteen years, after which George Padmore came to the scene.

What were the demands of the 1921 Pan African conference? (State the demands of the conference that was jointly hosted by London, Brussels and Paris in 1921.)

  • Establishment of political organizations among suppressed black peoples.
  • International and interracial harmony and democracy.

 Describe the Fifth Pan African conference (1945).

  • It was held in Manchester: Britain.
  • It was convened by George Padmore, CLR Wallace Johnson and Jomo Kenyatta.
  • It was chaired by W E B Du Bois.
  • It was altogether attended by ninety delegates and eleven observers.
  • It coincided with (came at the same time as) the end of the Second World War.

Apart from Jomo Kenyatta from Kenya, identify other prominent delegates at the fifth Pan African conference who came from Africa.

  • Obafemi Awolowo from Nigeria,
  • Kwame Nkruma from Ghana,
  • Hastings Kamuzu Banda from Malawi.
  • Peter Abrahams from South Africa.

Explain the factors that inspired the fifth Pan African conference (1945). (By what factors was the fifth Pan African conference (1945) inspired?)

  • It was convened at a time when African and Asian exe war veterans had become more nationalistic due to their Second World War experiences.
  • Clause 3 of the 1941 Atlantic Charter, which stated that British and US governments would respect the right of all people to choose the form of government under which to This inspired many people in Africa to demand political independence.
  • The sentiments of British Prime Minister: sir Winston Churchill that the principles of Clause 3 of the 1941 Atlantic Charter were not applicable to Africa’ns.
  • The liberation of Ethiopia by a British-led but largely African force in 1941.

In what ways was the fifth Pan African conference (1945) unique from earlier ones? (Explain the factors that made the fifth Pan African conference (1945) unique from those that came before it.)

The fifth Pan African conference was unique from earlier ones in the following ways:

Earlier conferences were dominated by Africans in the Diaspora, particularly from Europe and the USA, but the 1945 conference was mainly organized by Africans from Africa, except W E B Du Bois and George Padmore.

Representatives of white philanthropists were neither present, nor did they finance the conference.

  • Many African trade unions such as those from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia, together with most of the West Indies were represented

Explain the resolutions that were made at the fifth Pan African conference (1945). (Identify the resolutions that the fifth Pan African conference (1945) came up with).

  • Africans embark on winning political power through nonviolent methods E.g. strikes and boycotts.
  • African intellectuals play an important role in mobilizing the masses to fight for political liberation. Ø Demand for inclusion of Africans as beneficiaries and part of universal suffrage.
  • Condemnation of European capitalism.
  • Demand for autonomy for black people.
  • Unity of colonial and subject peoples of the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, hoping that before long, such peoples would be independent and would, as free nations, unite to consolidate and safeguard their liberty.
  • Condemnation of the artificial boundaries imposed by colonial governments in Africa, for such boundaries divided the African people.

In what ways were Africans from the African continent involved in the leadership of Pan Africanism after

1945? (Explain the involvement of Africans from the African continent in the Pan African movement’s leadership after the fifth Pan African conference. Or:

In what ways did the fifth Pan African conference mark the involvement of Africans from the African continent in the movement’s leadership>?)

The fifth Pan African conference was a turning point in the growth of Pan Africanism as it marked the involvement of Africans from the African continent in the movement’s leadership as follows:

  • Kwame Nkruma established the West African National Secretariat (W A N S) in 1945 in England to serve as a regional body for the Pan African Federation, for the promotion of unity in west Africa among the British, French and Portuguese colonies in west Africa.
  • The West African National Secretariat worked closely with the Pan African Federation, founded by Ras Makonnen of Ethiopia and George Padmore of Trinidad in promoting Pan Africanism. It even published a newspaper: The New Africans to inspire the youth in Africa to resist imperialism.
  • After the conference, some participants like Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkruma and Kamuzu Banda went back to their respective countries to lead the nationalist agitation.

Why was Pan Africanism centred in Africa after 1945?

After 1945, Pan Africanism was reactivated and was centered in Africa because:

  • The second world War strengthened nationalism in Africa. Supported by the U N O, the USA and the USSR, Africans in the continent started to demand political independence.
  • The 1945 Pan African conference was attended by, among others, African elite such as Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkruma, Kamuzu Banda and Leopold Senghor, who inspired their colleagues to join the movement.
  • The attainment of political independence in India in 1947 and Burma in 1948 encouraged many nationalists in Africa.
  • Due to the Cold war, The USA restricted the activities of black Americans who had links with the USSR such as George Padmore, which slowed down the activities of Black Americans in Pan Africanism.
  • Ghana’s independence in 1957 inspired other African countries to focus on the liberation of their respective countries rather than fight for the betterment of fellow Africans outside the continent.

Analyse/assess the life of Kwame Nkruma as a Pan Africanist. (Explain the role/contribution of Kwame Nkruma in Pan Africanism.)

As one of the Pan Africanists from Africa, Kwame Nkruma (1909-1972) contributed greatly to the growth of Pan Africanism in  the following ways:

At Lincoln University in Pennsylvania: USA, Nkruma was one of the leaders  of the African Students association. He became a strong advocate of socialism, having read the philosophy of Hegel, Cant, Descartes and Marx.

  • Nkruma participated as Secretary in the 1945 Fifth Pan African Conference, after which he proposed that delegates go back to their countries and spearhead the nationalist struggle.
  • Soon after the 1945 Pan African Conference, Nkruma launched the W A N S to coordinate plans for independence in British, Portuguese and French territories in west Africa.
  • In 1946, Nkruma was invited back to Ghana to lead the United Gold coast Convention (UGCC), of which he became secretary, but with which he fell out in 1949 because of his ideas, although the association accomplished a lot under his leadership. That same year, Nkruma founded the Convention people’s Party (CPP), which led Ghana to independence in 1957.
  • On becoming Ghana’s President in 1957, Nkrumah declared that Ghana’s independence would be meaningless unless the rest of Africa was liberated. He inspired many African countries to struggle for political independence and the Black Civil Rights movement in the USA to fight for their rights. He fulfilled his promise of promoting Pan Africanism even after Ghana’s independence.
  • In 1958, he hosted a conference for all independent countries in Africa, which was attended by all independent African countries I.E Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Liberia, Tunisia, Sudan and Libya. Later that same year, Nkruma hosted the All Africa People’s Conference in Accra: Ghana.
  • He helped the Guinean leader: Sekou Toure with loans following the withdrawal of French support to Guinea after independence. He also helped Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Belgium and other Western countries (including the USA) were encouraging some rebellious leaders to secede.

It was most probably because of his fight against Western domination that Nkruma was eventually deposed in 1966 in a military coup that forced him into exile. He died in 1972 in Bucharest: Romania, where he had gone to seek  treatment for Cancer.

Discuss/analyse the performance of the Pan African movement in the 1950s and 1960s. (Explain/assess the performance/progress of the Pan African movement in postcolonial Africa.)

Pan Africanism was evident in the political developments in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s, illustrated in the convening of conferences and in providing support for African nationalists seeking liberation as follows:

  • In the first conference of independent African states, hosted by Nkruma in Accra: Ghana in 1958, the delegates pledged to assist fellow African countries who were fighting for political independence. It was attended by the then independent African countries.
  • In the All African People’s conference which was hosted by Nkruma in Accra: Ghana but was chaired by Tom Mboya from Kenya in 1958, one of the resolutions passed was that African nationalists would use all means necessary to acquire political independence. It was attended by Freedom fighters and Trade unionists from all over Africa.
  • The All African People’s conference of 1960 in Tunis: Tunisia strengthened the desire for unity among African states.
  • The Second conference of Independent African states, which was held in Addis Ababa: Ethiopia in 1960 inspired future meetings that would culminate in the formation of a continental body. At that time, some divisions began to emerge among the African states over the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Patrice Lumumba was having problems with the former colonial masters: the Belgians. Ø The 1960 Brazzaville conference was attended exclusively by the twelve Francophone conservative African states.
  • The 1961 Casa Blanca conference comprised radical states, which did not agree with the Brazzaville resolutions. Most moderates declined their invitation.
  • the 1961 Monrovia conference, which was held in Monrovia: Liberia, attracted both moderate and conservative groups of African states. It sought to unite the antagonistic groups, particularly the radical and Conservative. It emphasized absolute equality of all states, regardless of size, population or wealth.

At an African States meeting in Cairo: Egypt in 1962, Guinea was encouraged by radical states to work for reconciliation with the Moderate and conservative groups. It was out of this reconciliation effort that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was formed.

Explain the divisions that emerged among African states over the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960.

By 1960, some divisions began to emerge among the African states over the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Patrice Lumumba was having problems with the former colonial masters:  the Belgians. These were:

  • African states that supported Lumumba such as Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Morocco, which were regarded as radical.
  • French colonies, which did not support Lumumba such as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad,

Congo-Brazzaville,  Benin, Gabon, Cote D’ivoir, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Burkina Faso, which were regarded as the Conservative group.

  • The third group, which comprised states like Ethiopia, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Togo, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia, which were considered moderates.

Identify the resolutions of the 1960 Brazzaville conference of independent African states.

In the resolutions of the 1960 Brazzaville conference, the states:

  • Emphasized the need to respect international frontiers.
  • Advocated noninterference in the internal affairs of any African state.
  • Stressed the countries’ friendship with France.
  • Promised political support for Mauritania in her Boundary dispute with Morocco.
  • Advocated Algeria’s self determination, but condemned violence in the struggle for political independence.

State the decisions/resolutions that were made at the 1961 Casa Blanca Conference of independent African states.

At the 1961 Casa Blanca conference of independent African states, the members:

  • Supported Morocco in her Boundary dispute with Mauritania.
  • Supported Abdel Nasser of Egypt in the Arab quarrels with Israel.
  • Condemned the use of African troops in the Francophone countries in fighting the Algerian nationalists. Ø Advocated removal of foreign troops from Congo.

Gamal Abdel Nasser: the Egyptian leader, was an ardent supporter of Pan Africanism. He gave weapons, military training, shelter and financial assistance to African nationalists. For instance, the Maumau guerrillas in Kenya broadcast their grievances through radio Cairo.

Describe two important events that took place in Africa soon after the 1961 Monrovia Conference.

Soon after the Monrovia Conference, two important events took place which enhanced the unity of African states and reconciled the hostile groups. These were:

  • The 1961 Algerian referendum, which favoured Algeria’s political independence from France. Ø The situation in Congo stabilized after 1961.

Explain/describe the achievements/successes of the Pan African movement.

  • A sense of unity among Black peoples, enabling Africans in the Diaspora and those from the African continent to realize that they shared a common origin and experienced similar prejudices from the European race.
  • It laid basis for interest in research on African cultures, history, literature, music, religion, medicine and art among other fields, which enabled them to understand the status quo.
  • Advancement of African nationalism by encouraging African peoples to take pride in their ancestry and demand their rights.
  • Cultivation and restoration of the dignity of the Africans in themselves by pointing out that being black or African is good.
  • Provision of a forum where Africans could discuss their problems.
  • Formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) (now the African Union) as a result of its meetings and conferences.
  • Condemnation of Italy’s invasion and attempt to colonize Ethiopia in 1935, which caused Italy to back down on her move.
  • Commitment of African leaders to African issues E.g. pressure by the American Black Caucus on the US Congress to take drastic measures against the Apartheid regime of South Africa in the 1980s.

State the challenges encountered by the Pan African movement. (Identify the setbacks to the Pan African movement. Or: Explain the factors that undermine the Pan African movement.)

  • Disagreement among its leaders such as W E B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington on the best strategy of uplifting the welfare of the peoples of African descent.
  • Hostility to the movement by European groups and powers, who dominated the international media and watered down the importance of Pan Africanism by spreading negative propaganda against the movement.
  • The fact that colonial powers prevented Africans on the continent from participating in the movement.
  • Illiteracy, ignorance and lack of experience, which hindered some people of African descent from offering constructive support to the pan African leaders, which led to the collapse of many pan Africanist ventures.
  • Restriction of the movement to the African continent, particularly after 1945, which tended to exclude or isolate Africans in the Diaspora.
  • Absence of black Americans in Africa’s affairs, which dealt a big blow to Africa’s progress.
  • Postcolonial divisions in Africa E.G between Conservative and Radical African leaders and between Francophone and English-speaking African countries, which further weakened the spirit of Pan Africanism.
  • The fact that most African countries were still under colonialism at the time of its formation and activities, which made it difficult for them to participate in Pan African affairs.



What was the Organization of African Unity?

The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was an association of independent African states. It existed from 1963-2002 when it was renamed the African Union (A U). It was instrumental in ending colonial and White minority rule throughout Africa.

Explain the origin of the Organization of African Unity.

The idea of an organization of African unity stems from continental meetings in the spirit of Pan Africanism. In one such meeting in Addis Ababa: Ethiopia in 1963,, leaders of thirty out of the thirty-two independent African countries converged (met) under the leadership of emperor Haille Selassie i)  of Ethiopia and agreed to form a continental organization. Ghana and Uganda fully supported a Union government of Africa while the rest accepted a looser association of states.

The OAU charter was drawn and signed in 1973. states that had not yet gained independence sent observers. With the formation of the OAU, all African groupings such as the Brazzaville and the Casa Blanca groups were dissolved.

The headquarters of the OAU was established in Addis Ababa: Ethiopia.

By 2002 when the OAU was renamed the African Union, its membership had grown from the initial 32 to over 54 member-countries.

Describe the OAU charter. (What was the importance of the OAU charter?)

The OAU charter borrowed heavily from that of the U N O except for the permanent members of the UN security Council, who have Veto powers, which the OAU did not have since OAU members had equal privileges: each with an equal vote.

According to the charter, OAU chairmanship was rotational to allow each member state an opportunity to hold the organization’s top seat.

  • The Charter outlined the organization’s objectives.
  • the Charter outlined the fundamental principles of the organization.
  • The Charter established four main bodies or organs through which the OAU functioned.
  • The Charter outlined the structure of the OAU and stated that any independent African state qualified to become a member of the organization.

Explain the objectives of the OAU as outlined in the OAU charter.

  • Promotion of continental unity.
  • Defense of African sovereignty.
  • Coordination and intensification of members’ efforts to achieve a better life for Africans.
  • Promotion of international cooperation with regard to the charter of the U N O and the universal declaration of human rights.
  • Eradication of colonialism.

State seven fundamental principles of the OAU as stipulated in the OAU charter.

  • Recognition of the sovereignty and equality of member states.
  • Noninterference in the internal affairs of member countries.
  • Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country and its inalienable right to independent existence.
  • Peaceful settlement of disputes.
  • Adherence to the principals of nonalignment.
  • Condemnation of political assassinations or any form of subversion by one country in another member country.
  • Dedication to the emancipation of territories under colonial rule.

Identify/describe four main bodies or organs through which the OAU functioned. (Analyse the structure of the OAU.)

  • The Assembly of heads of state and government.
  • The council of ministers. This comprised all foreign ministers of member states.
  • The Secretariat. This mainly provided necessary administrative services to the organization. It was based in Addis Ababa: Ethiopia and was headed by a secretary General, who was elected by the assembly of Heads of State and Government to serve a four-year term, with a provision for re-election.
  • The Commission for Mediation, conciliation and Arbitration. This dealt with the core functions of the OAU, particularly peaceful settlement of disputes between member states, especially Boundary and Refugee-related ones. It had a total membership of 21 states.

Explain the functions of the following bodies of the OAU:

The assembly of heads of state and government,

The council of Ministers.


  • Was the OAU’s most supreme policy-making body. v Met once every year except for emergency sessions.
  • Mainly coordinated policies and reviewed the OAU structure.
  • Passed its resolutions by a Two-thirds majority vote.
  • Comprised members with equal voting rights, whose chairman was elected annually from among the heads of state and government.
  • Held conferences in member states on rotational basis. The head of the hosting state automatically became chairman of the OAU. However, from 1983, all OAU summit meetings were held in Addis Ababa: Ethiopia.


  • Prepared agenda for the assembly of heads of state and Government.
  • Prepared the OAU budget for approval by heads of state and government.
  • Implemented the decisions of the Assembly.
  • Met twice a year, except for emergency sessions. Its meetings preceded those of the heads of State and Government, to who it was responsible.
  • Passed its decisions by a Two-thirds majority vote. Each country had only one vote.

Identify the departments that made up the OAU Secretariat.

  • Political affairs,
  • finance,
  • Education,
  • science,
  • Culture and social affairs,
  • economic development And Cooperation, v Administration and Conference.

Name-identify the specialized agencies and committees that handled the OAU’s technical business.

(Describe the specialized agencies and committees that handled the OAU’s technical business.)

  • The Liberation Committee, which coordinated the activities of the continent’s liberation movements to ensure decolonization. It was based in Dar es Salaam: Tanzania.
  • The economic and social Commission, which dealt with economic development in the continent. The African Development Bank (ADB) based in Abidjan: Cote D’ivoir, has operated through this commission.
  • The commission On Education, science And Culture.
  • The Defense commission.
  • The Conference of African Trade ministers.
  • The African Civil aviation commission (A F C A C) v The Pan Africanist Agency (PANA).
  • The Pan African Postal and Telecommunication Union (PATU).
  • The supreme Council of sports in Africa.
  • Union of African Railways.
  • Organization of African Trade Unions Unity (O A T U U).
  • Union of National Television and radio Organizations (URTNA).
  • The Association of African Universities (AAU).
  • Union of African Journalists (U A J).

Explain the achievements of the OAU.

It gave Africa one voice in international forums, such as the U N O.

Liberation of several African countries from oppression, E.G Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape-Verde, Namibia and south Africa.

Provision of a forum where leaders could deliberate on African problems among other issues.

Advancement of Pan African interests by promoting the dignity of black peoples all over the world against racism, genocide and colonial exploitation.

Settlement of Boundary and other disputes among member states, E.G between Kenya and Somalia, Ethiopia and Somalia,, Rwanda and Burundi, Morocco and Algeria as well as Morocco and Saharawi Arab Republic. Promotion of economic and technical cooperation in Africa through the  African development Bank and provision of projects like electrification, road construction and provision of water.

Promotion of postal and telecommunication services as well as radio and television programs through URTNA.

Promotion of social and cultural heritage in Africa through All Africa games and intermilitary sports.

What challenges/problems did the OAU encounter? (Explain the factors that undermined the operation of the OAU.)

  • Political instability i.e. civil wars and military coups, which hampered the continuity of the organization’s programs.
  • Boundary disputes, which caused bitter quarrels and undermined unity among member states.
  • Personality differences between various African leaders, which have hindered solution to problems affecting their people as some could not sit in the same room or at the same table.
  • Interference by major powers such as the USA, Britain, France and the USSR, who continued to meddle in African affairs at the expense of African unity, particularly during the Cold War.
  • Neocolonialism as many African nations still had and continue to have strong attachment to their former colonial masters, on who they depend for financial aid, military assistance, education and technology. Such states invite their former colonial masters whenever they encounter difficulties instead of solving such problems through the OAU.
  • Inadequate financial support from member states due to delayed or lack of remittance of their contributions, which hindered fulfillment of its obligations.
  • Lack of a mechanism or sufficient machinery E.G a military force, causing the organization to rely on the good will of member states to implement or enforce its decisions.
  • The all Africa scope and nature of OAU, which often conflicted with regional opinions and interests. For instance, some Arab League members like Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia were often torn between following their regional interests and pursuing those of the OAU.
  • Ideological differences between member states, particularly in the Cold war era, when some member countries maintained strong links with and even adopted policies of either communist countries of eastern Europe or the capitalist powers of western Europe and the USA, which hampered progress in the OAU. For instance, while Kenya was closely linked with the capitalist west, Mozambique had close ties with the socialist powers.
  • Most member states gave priority to their national rather than continental interests. For instance, Mauritius and the Seychelles collaborated with Apartheid south Africa, with which other African states were not comfortable.
  • Failure of the organization to face errant leaders like Idi Amin of Uganda, Jean Bokassa of the Central African Republic and Mobutu Sese Seko of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, who violated their own citizens’ rights but continued to attend OAU summits without being reprimanded by fellow leaders.
  • Lack of continuity due to constant change in leadership, characterized by the one-year term given to the chairmanship.

Identify examples of Boundary disputes that caused bitter quarrels and undermined unity among OAU member states.

  • Ghana and Togo,
  • Algeria and Morocco,
  • Morocco and Mauritania,
  • Kenya and Somalia,
  • Ethiopia and Eritrea,
  • Nigeria and Cameroon.

Identify examples of personality differences between African leaders, by which the operation of the OAU was undermined.

Uganda’s Idi Amin and Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere,

Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and Ghana’s Kwame Nkruma,  Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Sudan’s Omar El Bashir,

Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Joseph Kabila of  the Democratic Republic of Congo.



Trace/explain the origin of the African Union. (Analyse the background of the African Union.)

At the OAU Heads of state and government meeting in Sirte: Libya in September 1999, what became known as the Sirte Declaration was made, calling for the establishment of an African union, to accelerate the process of integration in Africa to enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy while fully addressing its problems.

At the Heads of State and Government meeting in Lome: Togo in 2000, the constitutive act of the African Union was adopted. However, it was the 2001 Lusaka summit that paved the way for the formation  of the African Union.

At a summit in Durban: South Africa in July 2002, the AU was launched and its first Heads of State summit convened, with Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki: the President of the republic of South Africa as its first president.

Explain the differences between the African Union and the OAU. (What factors make the African Union different from the OAU? Or:

In what ways is the African Union different from the OAU?)

It challenges the principle of noninterference in member countries, which was emphasized by the OAU. It is envisaged as a union of African people, unlike the OAU which was seen as an organization of African executives.

It has an ambitious agenda of accelerating growth and eradicating poverty.

It has an accountability mechanism, which involves peer review among member states.It proposes to establish a Peace And Security Council, with a standing African army.It has an anthem.

It established a Pan African parliament and an Economic, social and cultural council.

It has an ambitious African development agenda through the New partnership for Africa’s development (NEPAD).

What are the goals of the New partnership for Africa’s development (NEPAD)?

To promote accelerated growth and sustainable development.

To eradicate widespread poverty in Africa.

To end the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process.


                The Charter of the African Union

The AU charter is very important, for it outlines the objectives and the structure of the African Union.

What are the objectives of the African Union? (Explain the aims of the African Union.) Achievement of greater unity and solidarity among African people and countries.

  • To defend the sovereignty, integrity and independence of African states,.
  • To accelerate political, social and economic
  • To promote African common positions on issues of interest.
  • To encourage international cooperation.
  • To promote peace, security and stability on the continent.
  • To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance.
  • To promote and protect human and people’s rights.
  • To establish necessary conditions for the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international
  • To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future regional economic communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the union.
  • To advance the development of the African continent by promoting research in science and technology.
  • To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.

Outline the structure of the African Union. (Identify the organs that make up the African Union)

  • The Assembly.
  • The Executive Council.
  • The commission.
  • The Permanent Representatives committee.
  • The Peace and security council.
  • The Pan African parliament.
  • Economic, Social and cultural Council.
  • the Court of Justice.
  • financial institutions.
  • Specialized committees.

Describe the AU Assembly.

  • It comprises heads of state and government.
  • It is the supreme and most important decision-making body of the union.
  • Its members meet annually to elect the AU chairperson.
  • Its decisions are by either consensus or a two-thirds majority vote.

Explain the functions of the AU Assembly. (Discuss the functions of the Assembly as an organ of the African


It monitors the implementation of policies and decisions of the union and ensures compliance by all member states.

It appoints the chairman of the commission and deputy commissioners and determines their functions and terms of office.

It determines the common policies of the union.

It is in charge of appointment and termination of the judges of the Court of Justice.

It establishes new organs of the union.

It gives direction to the Executive Council on the management of conflicts, war and other Emergency situations as well as restoration of peace.

It considers requests for admission of new members.

The Assembly may delegate some of its powers and functions to any organ of the union if the situation demands, which further underscores its supremacy in the union.

Describe the AU Executive Council.

  • It is made up of Foreign Affairs Ministers or the authorities designated by the governments of member states.
  • It is answerable to the Assembly.
  • Its functions involve coordination of policies in areas of common interest to member states.
  • It can delegate its powers and functions to specialized technical committees.

Explain the functions of the Executive Council as an organ of the African Union.

  • It prepares material for the Assembly to discuss and approve.
  • It coordinates policies in areas of common interest to member states.

Identify the areas of common interest to AU member states.

  • foreign trade.
  • Energy, industry and mineral resources.
  • Transport and communication.
  • Science and technology.
  • Water and resources and irrigation.
  • Food, agriculture and animal resources, livestock, production and forestry.
  • Environmental protection, humanitarian action and disaster response, and relief.
  • Education, culture, health and human resources development.
  • Nationality, residence and emigration matters.
  • Social security, including formulation of  mother and child care policies as well as policies  related to persons with disabilities.
  • Establishment of a system of African awards, medals and prizes.

Describe the following AU organs:

  • The Commission.
  • The Permanent Representatives committee.
  • The Peace and Security Council.
  • The Pan African Parliament.
  • The Economic, social and cultural council.
  • The court of justice.
  • Financial institutions.



It is the Secretariat of the African Union.

It comprises a chairperson, a deputy chairperson, eight commissioners and staff members.

It deals with administrative issues and implements the decisions of the union.

It coordinates AU activities and meetings.

Applications for AU membership are made through it.


  • It comprises ambassadors to the African Union.
  • Its main responsibility is to prepare for the executive council as it has more time to deal with AU functions.
  • Its members are permanently stationed at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia.


  • The proposed Peace & Security Council is to comprise fifteen members, responsible for monitoring and intervening in conflicts.
  • It is to be alerted by an early warning system on the threats to security in the continent.
  • A peace fund is to be created to enhance its work.
  • A council of elders is to be identified to advise it.
  • An African force is to be put at its disposal.


It is made up of elected representatives nominated from the five regions of Africa.

It is entrusted with ensuring participation of the civil society in AU processes.


  • It is mainly advisory.
  • It comprises professional and civic representatives of AU member states.


It is to rule on human rights abuses in Africa in terms of a legal statute or framework.


Three financial institutions are to be set up to fund AU projects. These are:

  • The African central Bank.
  • The African monitory fund.
  • The African investment bank.

Identify/describe the specialized committees of the African Union.

Apart from its main organs, the AU has specialized technical committees that are responsible for sectoral issues at the ministerial level. These include:

  • The committee on rural economy and agricultural matters.
  • The committee on monitory and financial affairs.
  • The committee on trade, customs and emigration matters.
  • The committee on industry, science and technology, energy, natural resources and environment.
  • The committee on transport, communication and tourism.
  • The committee on health, labour and social affairs.
  • The committee on education, culture and human resources.

Explain the functions/importance of specialized technical committees of the African Union.

  • They prepare AU projects and programs, which they submit to the Executive council.
  • They ensure supervision, follow-up and evaluation of decisions taken by AU organs.
  • They ensure the coordination and harmonization of projects.
  • They submit to the executive council reports and recommendations on the implementation of the AU act.

Describe AU membership. (Explain the provisions of the AU charter on AU membership.) All African states are eligible to join the African Union.

For a country’s membership to be approved, the country must notify the chairperson of the commission about the country’s intension. The chairperson then informs all the member states, who vote individually on the matter. Admission is based on a simple Majority Vote.

Governments that come to power through unconstitutional means are prohibited from participating in AU activities.

Any state that desires to renounce its  membership is free to do so by informing the Commission’s chairperson, who relays the information to other member states.

A member state wishing to withdraw from the African Union must comply with the provision of the AU act up to the date of withdrawal.



Define the East African Community.

The East African Community is a regional organization that consists of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. It was founded in 1967 as a forum of economic cooperation, greatly influenced by the OAU, which advocated regional economic integration.

Explain/trace the origin of the East African Community.

  • The east African Community began with establishment of the East African economic and political union in the 1920s when, under British rule, companies and business enterprises were based in Kenya, with their branches in Uganda and Tanzania. The British and German colonial governments wanted to establish a unified administration over the east African territories.
  • The first major step towards economic cooperation in east Africa was the establishment of the East African High Commission (EAHC) by the British government in 1948.
  • Under the East Africa high Commission, various common services were run jointly in east Africa.
  • A high commission made up of the three territorial governments was created and a secretariat established to coordinate common services. A central legislature was also created, although its work was limited by lack of legislative competence over a significant field of regional activities, E.G regional planning and fixing of tariffs.
  • In 1961, the east African high commission was replaced by the east African Common Services organization (E A C S O), which also had regional offices in Kampala and Dar Es Salaam, with Nairobi as its headquarters.
  • Acquisition of independence by east African countries (1961-1963) brought new challenges to the E A C S O, characterized by suspicion and mistrust among the three east African nations.
  • Meetings were held, E.G in the Ugandan towns of Mbale and Kampala to settle the dispute, after which two proposals were made, namely:
  • That certain industries such as Tyre, Bicycle parts and Fertilizer manufacture be exclusively located in Uganda and Tanzania.
  • That Kenyan products such as Beer and Galvanized iron be subjected to a quota system to control their competition with Tanzanian and Ugandan products.
  • A lot of tension was generated since no state complied with the proposals. To resolve the crisis, a commission made up of three ministers from each state was formed in 1965,, led by Kjeld Philip: a U.N expert. The Philip Commission as it was later known, came up with the idea of signing the treaty for east African cooperation, which was seen as a permanent solution to the trade dispute.
  • Following the recommendation of the Philip Commission, the East African community was formed after its endorsement by presidents Kenyatta of Kenya, Obote of Uganda and  Nyerere of Tanzania in 1967. The E A C S O was disbanded.
  • To strengthen the common market between the three states, it was decided that the Community takes over the control of some services and research activities, which would help ensure balanced economic growth. Basically, the treaty of the East African community as endorsed by the presidents of the three east African states gave the East African Community a strong legal base and, at the same time, placed common Market services within one framework.
  • With the common market, the three east African states had the same customs tariff agreement with countries that were not members of the Community. Tax concessions for industry were the same throughout the community. The currency of each state was valid throughout the east African community at face value.

Explain why the British and German colonial governments wanted to establish a unified administration over the east African territories.

  • To safeguard settler interests.
  • To dominate the Africans.
  • To minimize administration costs.
  • To enhance efficiency.
  • To establish a common market for the east African countries.

Identify the Institutions that were initially brought under joint British and German colonial administration in east Africa.

  • The east Africa court of appeal (1902).
  • The East African postal union (1911).
  • The East Africa customs union (1917)
  • The East Africa currency board (1920).

State two main objectives of the East Africa High commission.

  • To run essential services within east Africa economically. Such services included air and  railway transport, postal services, Etc.
  • To establish a common market for the east African countries.

Identify the common services that were run jointly in east Africa under the East Africa High Commission.

  • East African railways and harbours administration.
  • East African posts and telecommunications administration.
  • Agricultural research services. v Medical research services.

Identify the services provided by the east African Common Services organization (EACSO).

  • Posts and telecommunication services, which involved handling telephone services, telegraphs, letters, parcels and money-orders among others in the East African region.
  • Research services, which covered fields like fisheries, veterinary, agriculture, forestry as well as Desert and Locust control.
  • Railways and harbours.
  • Meteorological services.
  • Income tax assessment and collection.
  • Publishing services through the east African Literature Bureau (E A L B).

Explain the new challenges that were encountered by EACSO after acquisition of independence by east African countries (1961-1963).

  • Tanzania and Uganda felt that Kenya was enjoying the Lion’s Share of the economic benefits accruing from the organization, mainly because Kenya enjoyed interterritorial trade surpluses owing to her better industrial base unlike her neighbours.
  • The organization’s headquarters were in Nairobi.
  • Kenya had a more sophisticated infrastructure, which gave her an added advantage over Uganda and Tanzania.

State the objectives of the East African Community.

  • To promote trade among the east African countries.
  • To provide common services in east Africa.
  • To facilitate free movement of people in the region.
  • To provide a forum for discussion of various issues affecting the region.


               Organization of the east African community

Analyse the organization of the East African community. (Describe the main institutions/organs of the East African Community.)

To coordinate the various activities of the east African Community, the treaty that created the Community established the following institutions as its main organs:

  • The East African authority: the community’s supreme organ. It comprised the three heads of state, with rotational chairmanship.
  • The East African Legislative Assembly. This comprised 27 members (nine from each member state), three east African Ministers, three deputy east African Ministers, the chairman of the Assembly, the secretarygeneral and the council to the Community. It had thirty-six members altogether and could  make and enact laws to govern the common services offered by the Community. Each member state appointed a Community minister to promote the Community’s interests and projects in their respective governments’ cabinet.
  • The Secretariat. This was based in Arusha: Tanzania. It could coordinate the work of the Councils and oversee the Common Market council succession.
  • The Common Market tribunal, which was   established to settle disputes between the partner states.
  • The East Africa court of appeal, which was meant to hear appeals from the courts in the three member states. The East Africa Industrial Court was a Staff Tribunal.
  • Five special councils established to deal with special areas.
  • The East African Development Bank. This was meant to promote balanced industrial development. It was based in Kampala: Uganda.

Describe five special councils of the east African community which were established to deal with special areas.

  • The common Market council, which ensured the functioning and development of the common market in accordance with the east African community treaty. It kept its operations under review.
  • The communications council, which provided a forum for consultations under review.
  • The financial Council, which consulted on the major financial affairs of the community. It considered and approved major financial decisions relating to services administered by the Community. It included estimates of expenditure, loans and investment programs.
  • The economic consultative and planning council, which assisted in the national planning of the partners by consultative means and advised the Authority on the long-term planning of the common services.
  • Research and social Service Council, which assisted through consulting in the coordination of the policies of each of the partner states on research and social matters. The work of this council was also coordinated at the Secretariat in Arusha.

 What were the objectives of the East African Development Bank? (Explain the aims/purpose of the East African Development Bank.)

  • Provision of financial and technical assistance to member states.
  • Giving priority to industrial development in less industrialized partner states.
  • Financing the projects designed to make the economies of the partner states complimentary in the industrial field.
  • To supplement the activities of national development by joint financing through agencies for financing specific projects.
  • Cooperation with the other national and international organs, be they public or private.
  • To undertake other activities and provide other services as may advance the objectives of the bank.

Describe the cooperations that the East African Community treaty set up in addition to the major institutions.

  • The East African Railways Cooperation, based in Dar Es Salaam.
  • The East Africa harbours cooperation, based in Dar Es Salaam.
  • The east Africa Posts and Telecommunication cooperation, based in Kampala. ü The East Africa airways based in Nairobi.

Describe the facilities that were directly controlled by the East African Community’s Service Commission. ü The east African natural resources council, which supervised research work for centers such as the Fresh Water fisheries, marine fisheries, agriculture and forestry research, etc.

  • The East Africa Tax board, which, in collaboration with the East African customs and Excise Department, ensured that the tax systems in the three countries worked together.
  • The East Africa Research Council, which coordinated work on a variety of medical problems such as Leprosy, sleeping Sickness, Tuberculosis and viral diseases.
  • The East Africa Literature Bureau, which promoted production and sale of books and encouraged more Africans to write books.

Identify the services that were controlled by the East African Community.

  • The East Africa Railways.

The East Africa Harbours Cooperation. ü The East Africa posts and telecommunication.

  • The East Africa Customs and Excise.
  • The East African Development Bank.
  • East Africa Income Tax.
  • East Africa medical research centre.
  • East Africa agricultural, veterinary and forest research.
  • East Africa scientific research institute.
  • East Africa Fisheries Research.
  • East Africa Literature Bureau.
  • East Africa Meteorological Department.
  • East Africa Civil Aviations Directorate.
  • East Africa Marine Fisheries.
  • The East Africa Court of Appeal.
  • The east African Industrial Research.
  • The East Africa Tropical Research Centre.
  • The East Africa Airways.

Explain the benefits provided by the East African Community to member states up to 1977. (Explain the successes/achievements of the East African Community up to 1977.)

  • Establishment of common services to promote justice, regulate industrial relations, standardize examinations and boost transport and banking services, E.g. the East Africa Court of Appeal, the east Africa Industrial court, the East Africa Examinations council, the East Africa Railways Cooperation, and the East African development Bank.
  • a wider market.
  • A forum for discussing various issues affecting the East African region.
  • It facilitated movement of the people in the region.
  • Promotion of socio-cultural networks.

 Explain the challenges/problems encountered by the East African Community up to 1977. (Explain the setbacks to the east African Community up to 1977. Or:

Explain the factors that undermined the East African Community up to 1977.)

  • Perception by Uganda and Tanzania that Kenya was getting the Lion’s Share of the east African Community because Kenya was more industrialized.
  • Personality differences, particularly between presidents Idi Amin of Uganda and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, meaning that the three leaders of east Africa could not meet to deliberate on east African Community matters.
  • Ideological differences, which caused tension, particularly between Kenya and Tanzania, for Kenya pursued Capitalism while Tanzania adopted Socialism.
  • Political instability in Uganda, particularly after Idi Amin had taken over, leadership, which disrupted Uganda’s economy and hampered Uganda from honouring her financial obligations to the East African Community.
  • Different economic development priorities among the three countries, with Tanzania favouring railway transport while Kenya preferred road transport.
  • Failure of the East African Development Bank due to lack of funds. The bank was meant to ensure balanced economic development.
  • Defeat of the principle of free movement of people and goods due to the Transfer tax imposed on Kenyan goods.
  • Border closures as tension mounted between the three states.



The east African community was formally relaunched in 2001 following the signing and enforcement of the treaty that established the east African community in Arusha by presidents Yoweri  Museveni, of Uganda, Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya and Benjamin Mukapa of Tanzania in 1999 and  2000 respectively.

Formation of the E A C 2001

Explain the milestones in the process of the establishment of the East African Community. (Analyse the diplomatic work/process that went on before the treaty that reestablished the East African Community was signed and enforced. Or:

Explain the process of rebirth of the East African Community. Or:

Explain the factors that led to rebirth of the East African Community.)

  • On 30th November 1993, the first summit of east African heads of state signed the agreement establishing the permanent tripartite commission for east African cooperation in Kampala: Uganda.
  • On 14th March 1996, the secretariat of the commission for east African cooperation was launched in Arusha: Tanzania. Ambassador Francis Muthaura from Kenya became its first Secretary General.
  • On 19th November 1996, the agreement for the establishment of the east African Business council was signed in Nairobi: Kenya.
  • On 28th April 1997, east African Community member states signed a tripartite agreement on avoidance of double taxation.
  • On 29th April 1997, the second summit of East African heads of state was held in Arusha: Tanzania. At the summit, the 1997-2000 first East African cooperation development strategy, the east African flag and the East African passport were launched. The permanent tripartite commission was mandated (given authority) to embark on the process of upgrading the East African Community agreement into a treaty.
  • On 20th November 1997, the chiefs of defense of east African community member states met in Arusha and agreed on a draft memorandum of understanding for cooperation in defense matters.
  • On 30th April 1998, the ninth meeting of the permanent tripartite commission in Arusha launched a draft treaty for establishment of the East African Community. This draft was given a lot of publicity, mainly aimed at giving the east African public an opportunity to express their views on the draft. In addition, the East African Community memorandum of understanding on co- operation in defense, the tripartite agreement on road transport and the inland waterway transport agreement were signed at that meeting.
  • On 26th May 1998, donors pledged a billion US dollars for the first phase of the improvement of the east African road network at the end of a two-day conference in Arusha.
  • On 30th august 1998, the permanent tripartite commission held its tenth meeting in Arusha. The commission extended the period of publicity and public debate of the draft treaty for the East African Community from 20th August 1998 to 30th April 1999.
  • On 18th November 1998, the East African Community defense liaison unit was established at the east African Secretariat.
  • On 24th November 1998, the first east African ministerial meeting on the Lake Victoria Hyacinth was held in Arusha. The delegates agreed unanimously to develop a regional strategy for control of the lake hyacinth.
  • On 22nd January 1999, the third summit met in Arusha and directed the permanent tripartite commission to complete the treaty making process by 30th July 1999. During the summit, member state ministers for foreign affairs also signed the east African Community memorandum of understanding on foreign policy coordination.
  • On 27th January 1999, the east African Community’s ministerial delegation in London took part in the second London financial Rights Seminar on East African cooperation.
  • On 25th to 26th March 1999, the First Ministerial Seminar on east African Cooperation was held in Arusha, embarking on issues of the Draft east African Community treaty.
  • On 30th November 1999 at the fourth summit in Arusha, the treaty of the establishment of the East African Community was signed.

Describe the main organs of the East African community as outlined in the treaty that established it in 1999. (Analyse the organization of the East African community 2001.)

The summit of heads of state. This comprises heads of state of member countries. It gives direction towards the realization of the goals  and objectives of the Community.

  • The Council of ministers. This is the main decision-making organ of the heads of government of member states. It gives direction towards the realization of the goals of the East African Community.
  • The Coordinating Committee. This comprises permanent Secretaries and is answerable to the Council of Ministers. It oversees general cooperation and coordinates the activities of sectorial committees.
  • Sectorial Committees. These inceptualize and monitor implementation of East African Community programs. They are created by the council on the recommendation of the respective coordinating committee.
  • The East Africa court of Justice. This interprets and ensures implementation of Community law in line with the treaty.
  • The east African Legislative Assembly. This provides a democratic forum for debate and has a Watchdog function as part of its role in the legislative process. It comprises about thirty members representing the three member states.
  • The Secretariat. This is the Community’s executive organ. It ensures proper implementation of regulations and directives adopted.

Describe the autonomous institutions of the East African Community 2001.

Apart from its main organs, the East African Community has various autonomous institutions established by the Council. These are:

  • The east African Development Bank (E A D B).
  • Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO)
  • Interuniversity Council for East Africa (I U C E A), which is based in Kampala: Uganda and coordinates research and higher education in east Africa.

Identify the fields/areas in which the treaty that established the East African community sought to strengthen Member state cooperation for mutual benefit and for fast, balanced and sustainable development.

  • The economic field.
  • The sociocultural field.
  • The field of research and technology.
  • ü Security.
  • Legal and judicial affairs.

Consequently, member states have undertaken to establish a customs union, a monitory union and a political federation.

On what areas does cooperation of the East African Community’s member countries focus in order to achieve the Community’s stated objectives?

  • Development and liberalization of trade.
  • Investment and industrial development.
  • Monitory affairs.
  • Development of regional infrastructure and services.
  • Development of human resources, science and technology.
  • Facilitation of free movement of persons, labour, services, rights of establishment and residence.
  • Development of agriculture and ensuring food security.
  • Environment and Natural Resource management.
  • Development of tourism and wildlife management.
  • Development of health, social services and cultural activities.
  • Enhancing the role of women in socioeconomic development.
  • Political, legal and judicial affairs.
  • Development of the private sector and promotion of the civil society.

The East African Community treaty provides for a progressive development process towards the conclusion, within four years after its coming into force, of a protocol establishing a customs union. This took place in January 2005 when all the member states signed the protocol.

Identify the issues addressed by the 2001 East African Community treaty.

  • Application of the principle of Asymmetry.
  • Elimination of internal tariffs and other charges of equivalent effect.
  • Elimination of no tariff barriers.
  • Establishment of a common external tariff.
  • Rules of origin.
  • Subsidies and counter-availing duties.
  • Security and other restrictions to trade competition.
  • Duty drawback, refund and remission of duties and taxes.
  • Customs cooperation.
  • Re-exportation of goods.
  • Simplification and harmonization of trade, documents and procedures.

Explain the challenges encountered by the East African Community since 2001.

  • Suspicion that Kenya is still the dominant power.
  • complaints by Kenyan business people over lack of harmonization of tariffs on all commodities.
  • Trans-border smuggling of vehicles and other goods: a problem that has accompanied the opening of the region.
  • harassment of Kenyan fishermen by Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities, especially in lake Victoria. v Cross-border cattle raids in some parts, E.G West Pokot in Kenya and Karamoja in Uganda.
  • Member states’ membership to other regional economic organizations, which further complicates the Community’s work. For example, Tanzania is a member of the Southern Africa development Cooperation (SADEC) while Kenya and Uganda belong to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Explain the achievements/successes of the East African Community from the year 2001.

  • Movement of citizens within the member states has been boosted.
  • Provision of a forum for the leaders to harmoniously discuss issues affecting the east African region.
  • Improvement of transport between member states.
  • Reduction of tariffs for industrial goods produced in east Africa to facilitate easier trade.
  • Closer interaction of professionals and the civil society in the three countries through their
  • Cooperation of the Community’s civil society with a view to enhance its role in various fields. For instance, the Law societies in east Africa merged to form the Law Society of East Africa. The chambers of commerce and industry have now formed the business council of east Africa.



Define the Economic Community of West African States.

The economic Community of west African states (ECOWAS) is a regional group that brings together all West African states except Chad and Cameroon.

 Name the countries that make up the Economic Community of West African States.

  • Liberia,
  • Gambia,
  • Mali,
  • Cape Verde,
  • Burkina Faso,
  • Niger,
  • Benin,
  • Togo,
  • Ghana,
  • Cote D’ivoir,
  • Sierra Leone,
  • Senegal,
  • Guinea-Bissau,
  • Nigeria,
  • Guinea

Trace/Explain the origin of the Economic Community of West African States.

  • The economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was formed in 1975 after the treaty establishing it was signed in Lagos: Nigeria, bringing together all West African states except Chad and Cameroon.
  • Before 1975, various West African states formed loosely bound cooperations.
  • ECOWAS was conceived as a means to economic integration and development, intended to lead to the eventual establishment of an economic community in West Africa. Members of ECOWAS cooperate in many areas of economic Endeavour.

Name the cooperations that were formed by West African states before 1975.

  • The 1958 Ghana-Guinea union.
  • The 1963 Senegal-Gambia (Senegambia) agreement, which dealt with currency, air services and trade.
  • The Niger River Commission, which comprised Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Niger, which dealt with how best to use the waters of the Niger River.
  • The Lake Chad Basin commission between Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
  • The Senegal Basin commission between Senegal, guinea, Mali and Mauritania. v The Togo-Nigeria agreement of 1947.

Describe the areas of economic endeavour in which Members of ECOWAS cooperate.

  • Abolition of visas and other restrictions or obstacles to free movement between member-states. v Setting up technical and specialization commissions of mutual interest. v Joint industrial development.
  • Contribution to the Community’s budget.
  • Cooperation in agriculture, communication and cultural matters.
  • Intercommunity re-exportation of Third world country imports.
  • Revenue cooperation.
  • Compensation & Development fund.

What are the objectives of the Economic Community of West African States?

  • To improve the living standards of people in the member-states.
  • To promote cultural interaction among member-states.
  • To improve relations between member-states.
  • To promote industrial development among member-states.
  • To liberalize trade between member-states.
  • To create a customs union in the region.
  • To foster cooperation in specialized fields such as Transport, Communication, Agriculture, Trade, Industry, social and Cultural Affairs, etc.

Analyse the organization of ECOWAS. (Describe the main institutions/organs of ECOWAS.)

The treaty establishing ECOWAS in 1975 outlined the main institutions (organs) of ECOWAS as follows:

  • Authority of heads of state and government. This is the highest organ in Ecowas. It meets once every year and is made up of the heads of member-states, with a rotational chairmanship to ensure that all memberstates have an opportunity to occupy the Chair. A new chairman is appointed annually.
  • The Council of Ministers. This comprises two representatives from each member-state. It mainly deals with general management of ECOWAS and serves as an advisor to the authority in addition to giving directions to the subordinate organs of the community.

The executive secretariat. This is charged with the day to day administration of the Community. It is based in Lagos: Nigeria.

  • The Tribunal. This interprets the treaty that established the community and settles disputes between member-states.
  • Specialized Commissions.

Management of ECOWAS institutions is so balanced that there is no domination of or by a member-state. E.g. while the ECOWAS secretariat is based in Lagos: Nigeria, the fund is based in Lome: Togo. Cote D’ivoir provides the Executive secretary and Liberia provides the fund’s director-general.

Identify four specialized commissions of ECOWAS.

  • The Trade, customs, emigration, monitory and payment Commission.
  • The Industry, Agriculture and natural resources commission.
  • The Social and Cultural Affairs commission.
  • The defense Council/commission.


Explain the challenges/problems facing ECOWAS. (Explain the difficulties/setbacks experienced by ECOWAS. Or:

Explain the factors that undermine ECOWAS. Or:

What factors hinder the progress/success of ECOWAS?)

Like other regional organizations in Africa, ECOWAS has experienced many setbacks since its inception, which include the following:

Influx of workers from less-developed states within the organization.

Border conflicts among member-countries e.g. between Nigeria and Cameroon over the Bakasi region and those between Ghana and Togo or Burkina Faso and Mali respectively, which complicated the operation of the organization.

Foreign interference, especially through the presence of Israeli and French soldiers in Cote D’ivoir, which aroused anxiety among some member-states.  For instance, Guinea believed that Israeli and French soldiers in cote D’ivoir were training Guinean exiles to overthrow the government in Conakry.

  • Ideological differences among member-states, which created a lot of tension and hampered the work of the Community, especially during the Cold war. For instance, there was tension on this line between the presidents of Burkina Faso and Cote D’ivoir.
  • Divided loyalty and commitment owing to member states’ belonging to other organizations such as the Cape-Verde & guinea-Bissau Free Trade Area, the commonwealth, the annual Franco-African conference and the French community, which places heavy demand on ECOWAS member-states.
  • The fact that member-states make their annual payments in local rather than foreign currency, which might cause ECOWAS to cut its budget and reduce services to member-states.
  • The fact that ECOWAS member-states cover a large geographical region in West Africa, which makes coordination of the activities of the entire fifteen member-states difficult and ineffective.
  • Poor infrastructure I.E poor transport and communication due to the colonial heritage, which excluded road and rail-links particularly between English-speaking and francophone states, which makes the Community’s transaction of business inefficient or difficult.
  • The sharp division between the francophone, Lusophone and English-speaking states both in terms of language and administrative approach, which slows down activities and interaction among member-states.
  • The externally oriented direction of trade of most member-states due to colonial commercial transaction patterns inherited at the time of independence, which pegged the states to their former colonial masters.
  • Political instability in the region E.g. fighting in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D’ivoir, Burkina Faso and Senegal, which made economic and other forms of cooperation difficult.
  • Violation of ECOWAS regulations by member-states with impunity. For instance, Ghana closed her border with Togo while Nigeria extradited Ghanaian nationals who had flocked into Nigeria to benefit from Nigerian oil due to economic hardships in Ghana from 1983-1985.

Suspicion and mistrust among member-states. For instance, because of her immense wealth, population and military might, Nigeria is regarded as a potential threat to other member-states.

Explain the achievements/successes of ECOWAS. (Explain why ECOWAS is rated among the most successful cases of regional integration in Africa. Or:

Why is ECOWAS rated among the most successful cases of regional integration in Africa? Or:

Give reasons why ECOWAS is rated among the most successful cases of regional integration in Africa.)

In spite of its many difficulties, ECOWAS is one of the most successful cases of regional integration in Africa


  • Member-states adopted the 1978 protocol and the 1981 defense act, enabling it to establish a multinational peacekeeping/peace-enforcement military group (ECOMOG), requiring member-countries to join hands to support or protect any one of them who became a victim of external aggression while placing equal emphasis on threats from within member-states.
  • Peace was restored in Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and several other member-states.
  • The heads of member-states meet regularly to tackle the problems facing the region.
  • A mechanism for conflict-management, resolution and prevention as well as security and peace-keeping was established.
  • Goods from member-states have a wider market.
  • Member-states benefit from Tariff/barrier removal.
  • Nigeria has for several years provided member-states with subsidized oil.
  • Economic growth and development of infrastructure have been stepped up by linking up roads, railways and telephone connections, leading to great improvement in transport and communication within the region.
  • There is a lot of sociocultural exchange, which promotes good relations among member-states.
  • Visa requirements have been waived, enabling free movement within the ECOWAS region.
  • There is a joint examination syllabus for West African states to ensure standardization of the education systems, which has brought a lot of progress in the field of education in the region.



Trace the origin of Preferential Trade Area (PTA).

  • Establishment of Preferential Trade Area (PTA) was based on its treaty, which was signed in Lusaka: Zambia in 1981 and the multinational programming and operational centre (MULPOC) conference of the council of ministers, which was held in Lusaka: Zambia in 1977.
  • MULPOC recommended that governments of eastern and southern African states establish a preferential trade area towards closer cooperation and a common market.
  • At the 1977 MULPOC conference, nine of the fifteen member-states (Kenya included) signed the PTA agreement.
  • PTA membership increased to fifteen later at a conference in Harare: Zimbabwe.

Explain two major aims of PTA. (Explain two main objectives of PTA. Or:

Explain two main reasons for establishment of PTA. Or: Explain two main purposes of PTA.)

  • Mutual economic cooperation on preferential terms to save the use of foreign currency for items that could be exchanged among member-states.
  • Elimination of tariffs and no tariff barriers in trade among member-states while retaining those barriers with the rest of the world.

State the requirements of PTA’s Rule of Origin

Among the rules governing participation of traders in the PTA, the Rule of Origin was most important. Its requirements were as follows:

  • Goods had to be produced in a member-country for them to be free from tariff and no tariff barriers.

Nationals of a member-state had to own at least 51% shares of the company that produced the goods, including equity holding by government institutions, agencies, enterprises or cooperation of such governments.

  • The cost of insurance and freight (CIF), value of the material imported from outside PTA or of undetermined origin should not exceed 60% of the total cost of materials used in the production of the goods.
  • If the goods were produced in member-states, the value added due to the cost of production would account for at least 45% its original cost in its factory of

Explain the problems/difficulties encountered by PTA. (What challenges did PTA face?) v Ideological differences.

  • Different levels of development among member-states I.e. economic nationalism.
  • Poor transport and communication links.
  • Exchange rates.
  • Multiplicity of currencies with different strengths compared to major international ones.
  • Foreign interference.
  • Membership to other regional groupings and international organizations E.g. the southern African Development coordination Conference (SADECC).

In 1994, the Preferential Trade Area was replaced by the common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).



 Describe The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). 

  • It is an economic organization of sovereign states that have agreed to cooperate in developing their natural and education resources for the good of all their peoples.
  • It covers eastern and southern Africa. v It consists of 19 member-states.

Name the states/countries that make up COMESA. (Outline/list the member-states of COMESA.) v Angola,

  • Comoros,
  • Ethiopia,
  • Burundi,
  • Eritrea,
  • Kenya,
  • Egypt,
  • Seychelles,
  • Madagascar,
  • Malawi,
  • Mauritius,
  • Mozambique,
  • Rwanda,
  • Sudan,
  • Swaziland,
  • Uganda,
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo, v Zambia,

Trace/explain the origin of COMESA.

  • COMESA was established on 8th of June 1994 to replace the Preferential Trade Area for eastern and southern African states.

The establishment of COMESA stems from the recognition that since independence, efforts by individual countries to attain economic growth in eastern and southern Africa failed.

  • COMESA was designed to facilitate sustainable growth and development, based on joint exploitation of resources, aimed at forming a large economic and trading unit capable of overcoming some of the barriers faced by individual states.

Explain the objectives/aims of COMESA. (Explain the purpose/reasons for establishment of COMESA.)

  • To attain sustainable growth and development of member-states by producing a more balanced and harmonious development in production and marketing.
  • To promote joint development in all fields of economic activities and adoption of macro-economic policies and programs to raise the standards of living.
  • To cooperate in creating an enabling environment for domestic investment.
  • To cooperate in promoting peace, security and stability among member-states to enhance economic development in the COMESA region.
  • To cooperate in strengthening the relations between COMESA and the rest of the world.
  • To contribute towards the establishment, progress and realization of the objectives of the African economic community.
  • Joint research and adoption of science and technology for development.
  • Adoption of common positions in international forums.
  • To foster closer relations among member-states.

Describe/explain the principles of COMESA. (What are the principles of COMESA?) Ø Equality and interdependence of member-states.

  • Solidarity and collective self-reliance among member-states.
  • Interstate cooperation, harmonization of policies and integration of programs.
  • Recognition, promotion and protection of human rights in accordance with the provisions of the African charter on human rights.
  • Accountability, economic justice and popular participation in development.
  • The recognition and observance of the rule of law.
  • Promotion and sustenance of a democratic system of governance in each member-state.
  • Maintenance of regional peace and stability through the promotion and strengthening of good neighbourliness.
  • Peaceful settlement of disputes, active cooperation between neighbouring countries and the promotion of a peaceful environment as a prerequisite to economic development.

All countries in eastern and southern Africa qualify to join COMESA as long as they meet the requirements of the 1991 COMESA treaty. It is that treaty that outlines the above-mentioned principles of


Outline the structure of COMESA. (Name the organs that make up COMESA. Or:

What organs constitute COMESA?)

COMESA is made up of eight main organs. These are:

  • The Authority,
  • The Council of Ministers,
  • The Court of justice,
  • The committee of Governors of Central Banks,
  • The Intergovernmental committee,
  • The Technical Committee,
  • The Secretariat,
  • The consultative Committee.

 Analyse the structure/organization of COMESA. (Describe the organs that constitute COMESA. Or: Explain the functions of each of the main organs of COMESA.)


  • It is COMESA’s supreme policy-making organ.
  • It comprises the heads of state and government of the member-states.
  • It is in charge of general policy direction and control of the common market.
  • It meets once every year but may hold extra-ordinary meetings at the request of any of its members as long as the request has a two thirds majority support among the members.
  • All decisions of the Authority are made or taken by consensus.


This is designated by each member-state. Its responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring and ensuring proper functioning and development of the common market in line with the COMESA treaty.
  • Making recommendations to the Authority on matters of policy, aimed at efficient and harmonious functioning and development of the Common Market.
  • Giving direction to other subordinate organs of the Common market, except the Court.
  • Making regulations, issuing directives, taking decisions, making recommendations and giving opinion in line with the COMESA treaty.
  • Requesting advisory Court opinions.
  • Consideration and approval of the budget of the Secretariat and the Court.
  • Consideration of measures to be taken by member-states to attain the aims of the Common Market.
  • Making staff-rules, regulations and financial regulations for the Secretariat.
  • Designation of economically depressed areas of the common market.

The Council meets once every year, just before the meeting of the authority, but can also hold extraordinary meetings at the request of a member-state as long as the request is supported by a third or more of the member-states.

The decisions of the council are reached by consensus or, if this fails, a two-thirds majority vote.


This ensures proper interpretation and application of the COMESA treaty and adjudicates any dispute among member-states. For example, in 2004, Egypt exported cement to Kenya without paying duty. This dispute was successfully arbitrated by the Court.


This consists of the governors of the monitory authorities designated by member-states. It:

  • Develops programs and plans of action on the field of finance and monitory cooperation.
  • Monitors, reviews and ensures proper implementation of programs and plans with regard to monitory and financial cooperation.
  • Requests the intervention of the Secretary-General with regard to monitory and financial affairs of the common market.
  • Considers reports and commendations from the technical committee on finance and monitory affairs. Ø Submits reports and commendations to the council.

Normally, the committee meets once a year and determines its own rules of procedure.


This comprises permanent secretaries from member-states. It is responsible for the development and management of programs and action plans in all areas of cooperation except the finance sector. It meets annually.


  • Oversees the implementation of the COMESA treaty and may request investigation of any particular matter by a technical committee.
  • Submits its recommendations to the Council.
  • Develops programs and Action plans in all sectors of cooperation except finance and monitory affairs.
  • May request specific investigations by the secretary-General.
  • Monitors, reviews and ensures proper functioning and development of the common Market.


These include:

  • The Committee on Agriculture.
  • The committee on comprehensive information systems.
  • The committee on energy.
  • The committee on finance and monitory affairs.
  • The committee on natural resources and environment.
  • The committee on industry.
  • The Committee on labour and human resources.
  • The committee on social and cultural affairs.
  • The Committee on tourism and wildlife.
  • The committee on Trade and customs.
  • The committee on Transport and communication.

Each technical committee comprises representatives of member-states. Committee meetings are based on the amount of work pending. The committees determine their own rules of procedure.

          Functions of these technical committees include: 

  • Preparation of a comprehensive implementation of programs and prioritizing the programs with respect to their sectors.
  • Constant monitoring and review of the implementation of cooperation programs.
  • Submission of reports and recommendations to the Intergovernmental committee. However, the committee on finance and monitory affairs is exempted for it reports to the committee of governors of central Banks.


  • The secretariat is headed by the secretary-general, who is appointed by the Authority to serve for a fiveyear term and is eligible for re-appointment.
  • The secretary-general is the chief executive of the common Market and is assisted by two Assistant Secretary-generals and other staff of the council.
  • Each assistant secretary-general is appointed by the Authority, which also determines his or her terms and conditions of service.
  • The Secretariat is based in Lusaka: Zambia.


  • Acting as secretary to the authority and the Council.
  • Servicing and assisting the organs of the common Market in the performance of their functions.
  • Ensuring that the common Market continues to operate.
  • Submitting reports in consultation with the intergovernmental committee on activities of the Common Market to the Council and the Authority.
  • Submission of references to the Court concerning any breach of the treaty in relation to the Common Market.
  • Administration and financing of the Common Market.
  • Promoting the adoption of joint positions by member-states in multilateral negotiations with other countries.
  • Submission of the budget of the Common Market to the Intergovernmental Committee.


This comprises the Business Community and other stake-holders. It:

  • Participates in the Technical committee.
  • Provides a link and facilitates dialogue between the Business community and other COMESA stakeholders.
  • Consults and receives reports from other interest groups.
  • Makes recommendations.
  • Monitors the implementation of the COMESA treaty with regard to the Business Community and other interest groups.

Identify independent institutions established by COMESA.

Apart from its organs, COMESA has established some independent institutions to improve its efficiency in the region it covers. Such independent institutions are:

  • The eastern and southern African Trade and development Bank (PTA bank: Nairobi: Kenya).
  • The PTA Reinsurance company: Nairobi.
  • COMESA Association of commercial Banks; Harare: Zimbabwe.
  • COMESA clearing Houses: Harare: Zimbabwe.
  • COMESA Leather Institute: Addis Ababa: Ethiopia.

Explain the achievements/successes of COMESA.

  • Easier and liberalized trade in the common Market.
  • A lot of cooperation with regard to customs, with a unified computerized customs network across the region.
  • Movement of goods, services and people, which is easier due to improvement in transport and communication since main highways and railways linking up member-states are given priority.
  • A lot more work and effort to create an enabling environment for investment, with a legal framework to encourage Private Sector investment in place.
  • The harmonization of micro-economic and monitory policy throughout the region.
  • Establishment of harmonized monitory, banking and financial policies in the region.
  • A wider, harmonized and more competitive market and many other benefits, forming a major market for internal and external trade.
  • Greater industrial productivity and competitiveness because of the large common market.
  • Increased agricultural production and food security due to the large market and varied regional potential. E.G Egypt benefits from east African tea and coffee as eastern Africa purchases cement from Egypt.
  • Rational exploitation of member-states’ resources for their welfare as each produces the product for which it is best suited, leaving other products to other member-states.
  • Encouragement of good governance, accountability and respect for human rights among member-states. For instance, Burundi and Rwanda had to meet this requirement before their admission to the Common Market.
  • Generation of employment for many people.

Explain the challenges/problems facing COMESA. (Describe the difficulties/setbacks experienced by COMESA. Or:

Explain the factors that undermine the performance of COMESA.)

In spite of its numerous achievements, COMESA has many difficulties such as:

  • Membership to other regional organizations such as the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community, which makes it difficult for some members to duly attend to COMESA.
  • Personality differences between leaders E.G Uganda’s President Museveni and Sudan’s President El Bashir.
  • Interstate disputes. For instance, Rwanda and Uganda were accused of participating in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2001-2003.
  • Boundary conflicts between some members, E.g. Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • Civil wars, E.G in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi, which undermine the operations of the Common market.
  • Quarrels between member-states over trading rights under COMESA, e.g. the Egypt & Kenya dispute over the Duty-free cement dumped in Kenya by Egypt in 2003.
  • Competition from external players. For instance, some western countries heavily subsidize their farmers, whose agricultural products are cheaper than those from the COMESA region, whose products face stiff competition.
  • Poor transport between member-states in spite of improvement in the road and railway networks.
  • Withdrawal by Tanzania and Zambia: founder-members of COMESA, who joined SADEC.
  • South Africa’s advanced industrial sector, which outcompetes the rest in the COMESA region.
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