The purpose of this study is to ascertain what role multilateral diplomacy has played in building and operationalising the AU, and whether it is likely to continue to consolidate the Union and, as a corollary, Africa’s socio-economic and political renewal. In this way the dissertation analyses both the role of multilateral diplomacy already utilised and the future prospects for diplomacy to entrench the Union’s organs and programmes. As most of the primary organs of the AU were established during the period 2000-2004, the diplomatic substance and process, which was predominantly multilateral in form during that period, is examined. The study attempts to provide explanations and offer recommendations for diplomatic behaviour by African states within the continental organisation, and the AU within the international context. Rationalist as well as constructivist international relations theory is used as a conceptual framework in order to examine diplomatic relations aimed at promoting issues of security, power and survival of the state, as well as ideas related to political economy, international cooperation and the environment, and international institution building. The diplomacy already utilised in the creation of the AU’s primary organs was predominantly focused on procedural issues, conducted by means of African multilateralism such as regional bloc diplomacy and personal diplomacy by African Heads of State and Government. The necessity to include other, non-state actors in the AU consolidation process is also evident. Prioritising the Union’s policy objectives under economic development and integration; continental good governance; and the popularisation of the AU, the study postulates that future African diplomacy will probably continue to be regionally driven, economic and public in nature and focused on making tangible progress. With the institutional infrastructure in place, the need for multilateral diplomacy to be geared towards implementation of AU commitments is emphasised. Multilateral diplomacy is likely to prevail in AU diplomatic practice both in terms of substance and procedure and will need to focus on addressing the enormous challenges faced by the continent including eradicating poverty and underdevelopment, ensuring peace, security and stability and combating HIV and AIDS, amongst others. The AU needs to use multilateral diplomacy, not exclusively but in conjunction with other forms of diplomacy, to effectively and efficiently implement its commitments and programmes for the tangible benefit of the ordinary African citizen. Only then will the AU be deemed credible in the eyes of its people and the rest of the world. Copyright
Dissertation (MDIPS)--University of Pretoria, 2010.