The Troubled Socialising Agent: Democratic Governance and the African Union’s Quest to Become an Independent Foreign Policy Actor
Since its establishment in 2002, the African Union (AU) has struggled to become an independent foreign policy actor in its own right. This chapter argues that despite the fact that member states have theoretically given the AU the right to act as an autonomous foreign policy architect to support democratisation efforts—especially as a foreign policy “socializing agent”—they have consistently ignored its demands. The central theme of this chapter then is that the AU is seeking to assert its authority as an independent socialising actor capable of superseding African states’ individual actions, but has struggled to achieve tangible outcomes in this regard due to an “implementation gap.” At the heart of this “implementation gap” is the tendency for members of the AU to undermine the authority of the AU and its organs to pursue selfinterested foreign policies, which has resulted in the AU’s generally unsuccessful attempts to fight for relevance and authority.
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