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Inside Story – Is the African Union still relevant?

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The creation of the African Union began with a wave of optimism about Africa’s future.

In 1963 a group of independent African nations created the Organisation of African Unity – which later became the African Union.

Its promise was to bring Africans together and propel the continent towards peaceful coexistence and growth.

The orgnaisation now says peace and security have become more worrying than ever.

And it’s working to address the issue. But the focus of this year’s meeting are Africa’s young people and their future.

But conflicts in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic are dominating the agenda.

Millions continue to flee from violence and natural disasters across the continent.

Poverty, the outbreak of disease and food shortages are all big issues. So, will the African Union be able to address these issues?

Africa

Mo Ibrahim: What makes a good African leader? – The Stream

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Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-born British billionaire philanthropist made his fame and fortune by bringing mobile phone service to tens of millions of Africans across the continent. Now, he is known for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and its prize, considered the world’s largest, for good governance and leadership, awarded to departing African leaders that fit criteria established by the foundation.

Celtel International was founded in 1998 and went on to be a trailblazer in establishing communications on the African continent. The company is famous for never having paid a bribe, a story Ibrahim is fond of telling. Since he sold Celtel in 2005 for 3.4 billion, he has been focused on his foundation’s work and the annual index of African governance; an index with that measures political, social, and economic factors in all 54 countries. It is an ambitious tool, meant to increase accountability and provide Africans with information to ask questions of their leaders and governments.

The foundation’s prize was created as an incentive for African leaders to shun corruption, step down at the mandated time, and to provide departing African leaders with a livelihood after leading. The prize is not without some controversy, as some critics have said it’s akin to bribing a leader simply to do the right thing, or rewarding them just for doing their job. It awards $5 million USD over 10 years when the selected leader steps down, and $200,000 USD thereafter for life. But every year has not seen a laureate awarded. Since it began in 2006, only five individuals have been given the prize, and the prize has not been awarded for the last three years, highlighting the political challenges faced by some African countries.

The Stream meets with Ibrahim to discuss African governance, his foundation’s work, and the driving forces in Africa right now.

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Africa

Zambia sends former leader Kaunda to talk to Mugabe

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Zambian President Edgar Lungu has gone one step further. He’s sent the country’s former leader — Kenneth Kaunda — to Zimbabwe to try to convince Mugabe to make a dignified exit. Kaunda has used the country’s presidential jet, and has been holding talks with Mugabe. Kaunde is one of the most respected former leaders on the continent. He played a supportive role in Zimbabwe’s struggle for liberation against white minority rule, so it’s believed he has some sway with President Mugabe.

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Robert Mugabe, in Speech to Zimbabwe, Refuses to Say if He Will Resign (VIDEO)

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HARARE, Zimbabwe — It was the resignation speech that did not happen.

Robert Mugabe, 93, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron grip until the military took over and placed him under house arrest, stunned the nation on Sunday night with a nearly 20-minute address in which he refused to say whether he would resign.

Many political observers and fellow Zimbabweans had been waiting for Mr. Mugabe to step down as president after nearly 40 years in power. But sitting at a table while flanked by members of the military and other officials, the embattled president said he would preside over the party congress, scheduled to take place in a few weeks.

Mr. Mugabe made the non-announcement in a televised address to the southern African nation about 9 p.m. local time after intense negotiations at the State House with the country’s Army generals about the conditions of his what was expected to be his departure.

His speech came hours after he was expelled as leader of his own governing party, ZANU-PF, which gave him until noon Monday to resign or face impeachment by Parliament.

Officials earlier barred his wife, Grace Mugabe, widely viewed as his likely successor, from the party for life.

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