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Are Africa's regional bodies useless?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 17:27 UK time, Monday, 7 March 2011

The African Union with the United Nations are sending missions to Libya to assess the situation there, as more violence is reported across the north African country.

ivory coast violence
The current political crises in North Africa as well as the return to violence in Ivory Coast has put a spotlight on the role played by continental bodies such as the AU.

The AU in particular has come under heavy critcism for perceived inaction over the Libyan crisis in particular as well as its less than robust stance on the deteriorating security situation in Ivory Coast. 

How should the AU and other regional bodies handle the current crises in the continent? Should decisions about peace and security be made by regional bodies and not the AU? Do you trust the AU? Do you think it is fit for purpose?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Tuesday 8 March at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    African regional bodies such as ECOWAS have been rendered useless by their own behaviours. The French/English divide has not helped matters. French speaking countries in West Africa are more inclined towards themselves and therefore does not take issues ECOWAS serious. This does not make ECOWAS an effective body.
    African Union should in unity pool resources together to confront the issue squarely through diplomacy and the use of force when necassary.

  • Comment number 2.

    Personally, AU and other regional bodies can equally handle the current crises both in Ivory Coast and Libya.I view these from the leadership point of view unlike what happened in Egypt and Tunisia.If these bodies can really sit them down and communicate effectively by appealing to their conscience,then I think calm needs to be prevailed across Africa.It is the leadership that needs to be addressed and proper concerns raised in order to put an end to what we are experiencing from these countries.

  • Comment number 3.

    African regional bodies like ECOWAS,AU and SADEC have engaged in self-destructive measures just to keep a fellow President or Heads of state in power. For instance, when Umar El-Bashir was declared wanted by International Criminal Court ICC the same AU members rallied around him and denounced ICC declaration. So, as far as I am concerned the regional bodies are just a conglomerate of some presidents and Heads of government who want to remain in power as long as they wish. They are no longer useful to the citizenry whom they claim to represent. Nsukka, Enugu state, Nigeria

  • Comment number 4.

    African bodies are not useless but dormant in that they lack the muscle to raise their voices. Look at AU a body believed to have been bankrolled by Libya, do you expect the same to bite the very figure that used to feed her.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wish to take this opportunity to thank the people of Tunisia and Egyptians for their Political Maturity in ousting their Presidents respectively. However I am sick with the Libyan situation, Please Kings of Kings Muammur Gaddafi listen to the demand of your people because its only you who has the answer to this problem that has resulted into death, starvation, and general suffering of children, women and men in your country.
    I hope you will listen to my plea colonel. Moses Akabwai-Kampala,Uganda.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am really sorry to see that regonal body like AU is silent about criss in north African countries.From my point of view, they formed this body just to create jobs, not handling problems.AU failed to stop genucid in Darfur,Somalia and D.R.c.They are even encouraging wanted leaders likes of Omar Bashir,LRA leader Joseph kony and many others.To continue killing people.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    What i so far learnt from the regional body in Africa.They claimed to have been rersolving crises in Africa.Moreover, creating problems.Please security council,European Union,USA and many other international bodies.Come and stop humilition in Africa.

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes. Extremely useless indeed

  • Comment number 10.

    We have put money value on life,It's a dangerous culture.

    Since cocoa is not as vital as oil,less is the concern of the international body (not only AU & ECOWAS) on issues without great economic value to the world.

    It is the same thing on Earthquake on Pacific region,We only heard about Japan,US territories,China,New Zealand und Australia on BBC.

    What of all small Island like Tonga & co are there no Human being in these Islands?

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes they are completely useless. Spineless. How many missions have visited Ivory Coast? With no success. How have any of these regional bodies acted on Libya. None. And when say for instance the SADC meet, why don't they condemn Mr Mugabe for his atrocious actions. These regional bodies are unfortunately only the acronyms that they are. They afraid to point fingers at fellow leaders for fear of losing respect amongst others. They should all be disolved as they're a waste of time and money achieving nothing.

  • Comment number 12.

    YES, The Bodies Are Useless. This Morning, The U S Government Asserts That A Wider Plan Will Be Carried Out On Libya Forcing That Greedy Dictator To Go. More Than 89% Of The World Accepts This Assertion And Look At AU Asking That No Foreign Body Should Come In. I Can Only See The Same Blind Leaders In The AU! Maybe, There Is Need To Restructure The AU!


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