Pan-Africanism in the 21st century: African union and the challenges of cooperation and integration in Africa


  • Sharkdam Wapmuk Nigerian Defence Academy



Pan-Africanism, Integration, AfCFTA, Agenda 2063, OAU/AU


The paper examines the extent to which Pan-Africanism and Pan-African vision of promoting African unity, cooperation and integration has been achieved under the African Union (AU) in the 21st century. It also assesses the challenges of cooperation and integration under the AU. The paper adopted a qualitative approach, while data was gathered from secondary sources and analysed thematically. It notes that the quest for African cooperation and integration is not new, but dates back to philosophy and vision of Pan-Africanism and Pan-African movement from the 1950s and 1960s. This movement later took roots in the continent and championed the struggle of Africans and peoples of African descent for emancipation and the restoration of their dignity, against slavery, colonialism and all forms of racism and racial exploitation, and to overcome developmental challenges. After independence, the Pan-African movement found concrete expression in the establishment of the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) in 1963, and later transformed to the African Union (AU) in 2002. These continental organisations have served at platforms for the pursuit of Africa cooperation and integration and addressing post-independence challenges with varying successes. The paper revealed that AU’s Pan-African agenda in the 21st century including the African Economic Community (AEC), AU Agenda 2063, and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), are not without challenges. Addressing these challenges holds the key to achieving the continental goal of unity and achieving the vision and goals pan-Africanism in the 21st century in Africa.


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Biografia do Autor

Sharkdam Wapmuk, Nigerian Defence Academy

Has a doctorate degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies. He is an Associate Professor, at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Nigeria. Email:


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Como Citar

WAPMUK, S. Pan-Africanism in the 21st century: African union and the challenges of cooperation and integration in Africa. Brazilian Journal of International Relations, Marília, SP, v. 10, n. 2, p. 283–311, 2021. DOI: 10.36311/2237-7743.2021.v10n2.p283-311. Disponível em: Acesso em: 26 maio. 2024.