The launching of the African Union on 9 July 2002 marked the turning of a new page in Africa's modern history. This is especially significant in the context of efforts by African nations to achieve deeper political unity and economic integration. The Constitutive Act of the African Union was adopted barely nine months after the adoption of the Sirte Declaration on 9 September 1999, by which African leaders decided to reorient the objectives of the Organization of African Unity to accelerate African integration as a pillar of the continent's collective response to the challenge of globalization. This article argues that while the speedy elaboration, adoption and ratification of the Act demonstrated the collective desire of African countries to accelerate the process of integration, this rush inadvertently precluded a serious debate on the nature and scope of integration entailed in the project of the African Union. The result was the adoption of a document regarded by some of its own signatories, for varied reasons, as an instrument lacking in substance and limited in its scope. These perceived inadequacies have necessitated the early amendment of the Act. However, it is argued here that these amendments will do nothing to hasten the pace of African political unity or economic integration, as they are largely symbolic. They do not deal with the substantive lacunae identified in the Act.
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