African Leaders urged to address growing instability across the continent


Ms. Liesl Louw-Vaudran, the Senior Advisor of the African Union at the International Crisis Group, has called on the continent's leadership to address the instability plaguing various regions.

Speaking to Pan-African Parliament legislators and civil society delegates during the second Pan-African Parliament dialogue with civil society, she emphasised the need for strategic interventions to restore stability and foster integration across Africa.

Following the first coup d'état in Egypt in 1952, the continent has experienced numerous coups. Louw-Vaudran called for decisive leadership to address these disruptions to democratic principles. She stated that the Pan-African Parliament is the appropriate platform to champion the ratification of treaties in national parliaments.

She highlighted the continent's challenges, including conflicts and integration issues. "Six countries have been suspended from the African Union, and three have stated they will leave the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), threatening the integration agenda," she remarked.

Louw-Vaudran warned that the impact is "very, very dire" because, historically, countries sanctioned by the African Union due to coups agreed on election timelines and returned to the AU. However, current changes in the Sahel region "ignore" commitments to the African Union, prolonging instability.

"For peace, security, democracy, and even integration, members are being sanctioned. We have six members who are not present here because they are sanctioned. This shows the dire impact on us as a continent. We need those countries; we need the 55 member states to work together," she urged.

She stressed that the African Union must show leadership and take initiative, especially regarding conflicts influenced by external actors and geopolitical rivalries.

Referring to the ongoing crisis in Sudan, which has lasted for over a year, she noted the AU and regional economic communities (RECs) have been "divided." She expressed hope for progress despite the difficulty of achieving unity among member states from different regions. "We are in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the way SADC operates is different from what happens in West Africa," she added.

Louw-Vaudran urged Pan-African parliamentarians to promote African integration in their respective countries. "This is a good forum; it includes representatives who also represent the people. For example, the protocol on the free movement of people would be very valuable for ordinary Africans if we can travel without visas within the continent," she said.

Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo, the Pan-African Parliament Clerk, emphasized that an integrated, prosperous Africa at peace with itself cannot achieve this without its people. She explained that the Parliament was established to ensure the full participation of Africa's people in the continent's economic development and integration.

"The essential part of the integration agenda of the African Union is to ensure coherence through shared values, harmonized instruments, and common institutions. Since its inception, the Pan-African Parliament has forged relationships with various African civil society and grassroots organizations, as well as other African Union organs with complementary mandates," she said.