Ghana summit debates United States of Africa

Accra/Nairobi (dpa) – Leaders from around Africa met in the Ghanaian capital Accra Sunday as part of a three-day summit to discuss a United States of Africa, which would see a shared foreign and defence policy across the continent.

Libyan President Moamer Gaddafi has spearheaded the push for a greater federation amongst the 53 nations of the African Union (AU), holding its ninth summit since its creation five years ago, in order to exercise greater clout in the global arena.

“For Africa, the matter is to be or not to be,” Gaddafi told students at the University of Ghana on the eve of the summit. “My vision is to wake up the African leaders to unify our continent,” he said.

AU summits have ordinarily tackled individual state’s armed conflicts but the body was set to devote most of the Accra meeting to the idea of a united Africa.

African leaders seem divided on the issue, especially in wealthier states like South Africa and Nigeria, which often foot the bill and deploy the most soldiers for peacekeeping missions around the continent.

Others believe focusing on the pan-African government may push conflicts in Zimbabwe, Sudan and Somalia off the agenda.

At its last summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in January, AU leaders failed to make any breakthrough on the ongoing crises in Sudan’s Darfur region and the simmering insurgency in Somalia, which is a daily threat to the interim government.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the AU was briefed on a report that showed only seven of 53 member states had paid their dues on time.