High-level Pan-African Dialogue on Global Governance



2024 marks 61 years since the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), 25 years since a decision was taken by the OAU to transform into the African Union (AU) and 30 years since the last country on the African continent under colonialism, South Africa, attained freedom and independence. The OAU was established following the winds of changes in the world that necessitated the decolonization process. The OAU was also transformed into the AU to strengthen the organization and make it more effective so as to keep pace with the political, economic and social developments taking place within and outside our continent.

Currently there are fundamental changes taking place in the world with implications for the continent. A new world order is unfolding before our eyes. It has been characterised as a multipolar world. Notwithstanding the debate about its character, the fundamental issue is the central role of the Global South in shaping this new world order. Such systemic changes in the global order are not new, nor will the current one be the last in history. The last time such a similar transformation occurred was at the end of the Cold War in the 1990.

In July 1990, the OAU and its then Secretary General, Salim Ahmed Salim, convened a Summit which adopted the historic “Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization Of African Unity on the Political and Socio-Economic Situation in Africa and the Fundamental Changes Taking Place in the World.” The deliberations at this Summit were informed by a report prepared by Salim Ahmed Salim entitled “Fundamental Changes taking place in the World and their Implications for Africa: Proposals for an African Response.”

In this Declaration, the OAU described the emerging world order in the following terms: “In particular, we have noted the changing East-West relations from confrontation to cooperation, the socio-economic and political changes in Eastern Europe, the steady move towards the political and monetary union of Western Europe, the increasing global tendency towards regional integration and the establishment of trading and economic blocks, as well as the advances in science and technology.”

Furthermore, the Summit “noted with satisfaction the achievements of Africa, in the struggle for the decolonization of the continent and, in the fight against racism and apartheid; as well as the positive role played by the OAU in this respect. The independence of Namibia has pushed further Africa’s frontiers of freedom. We took note of the measures taken by Mr De Klerk” to usher in changes in South African that would
result in the release of political prisoners and the unbanning of the ANC and other

Following from this analysis, the Summit concluded: “These, we found, constitute major factors which should guide Africa’s collective thinking about the challenges and options before her in the 1990s and beyond in view of the real threat of marginalisation of our continent.”

This Declaration then went on to outline the tasks that the OAU should undertake given this new context, including:

“At this crucial juncture when our continent is emerging with difficulty, from a phase in its history that focused mainly on political liberation and nation building and is about to embark on a new era laying greater emphasis on economic development, we need to strengthen the Organization of African Unity so that it may also become a viable instrument in the service of Africa’s economic development and integration. Consistent with this goal, we rededicate ourselves to the principles and objectives enshrined in its Charter to our faith in ourselves and to our continent, with greater determination to be masters of our destiny. In this spirit, we reaffirm our commitment to revive the ideals of Pan-Africanism and commit ourselves, individually and collectively, on behalf of our governments and people to maintain and strengthen our unity and solidarity and to pool our resources and wisdom in order to face the challenges of the decades of the 1990’s and beyond, change the bleak socio-economic prospects of our continent and guarantee a better life for all our peoples and future generations yet unborn. These objectives are well within our capabilities, We therefore, pledge to apply ourselves fully to the achievement of these objectives.”

The Summit also realized “at the same time that the possibilities of achieving the objectives we have set will be constrained as long as an atmosphere of lasting peace and stability does not prevail in Africa. We therefore renew our determination to work together towards the peaceful and speedy resolution of all the conflicts on our continent.”

In summary, in its response to fundamental changes that were unfolding in the world at the beginning of the 1990s, the OAU formulated a coherent response grounded in Pan-Africanism. This was informed by a strategy that aimed at accelerating regional integration in Africa and achieving the economic transformation of our continent. It was at the same July 1990 Summit where a “Resolution on the Establishment of the African Economic Community” was adopted, which led to the enforcement of the Abuja Treaty in 1992. Since then, Africa has registered significant strides, some of which can be traced back to this July 1990 Summit.

It is against this background, that learning from history and experience of the OAU in formulating its own response to the emerging global order, and in preparation for the UN Summit of the Future scheduled to take place in September 2024, it is proposed by APRM and African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) convenes a High-Level Conference on the fundamental changes taking place in the world and implications for Africa.

The purpose of the High-level Conference is to critically review the political, social and economic situation of our continent, in the light of the rapid changes taking place in the world and their implications for Africa and submit proposals for consideration by the AU Policy Organs. The Conference will also be a platform to engage relevant institutions and actors in a discussion that aims at contributing to the formulation of the African position in the Summit of the Future. Furthermore, the meeting will focus on the contribution of Africa in global governance.


  • The key issues to be addressed by the High-level Conference are:
  • Pan Africanism as Africa’s ideological foundation and its relevance for the 21st century;
  • Strengthening the AU;
  • Strategic steps required for the regeneration of Africa including the implementation of Agenda 2063;
  • A discussion on how the AU can act as a Union of the People;
  • Africa in the world:
  • Contribution of Africa to international decision-making processes
  • Reform of global institutions and governance in multilateral institutions
  • Observance of African common positions on contemporary global issues.

The session will be held as a closed meeting between representatives of Member States, relevant AU Institutions, academia, think tanks, AU Partners, Strategic Institutions, and Eminent Experts.

The outcomes of the High-level Pan-African Dialogue on Global Governance will be a declaration that reflects the outcomes of the deliberations of the meeting.

It is proposed that the High-level Pan-African Dialogue on Global Governance take place in May 2024, in Sandton, Johannesburg in the Republic of South Africa during Africa Month.

The Dialogue is geared towards creating a space for interaction and exchange of ideas, views and concrete reflections highlighting achievements, challenges and lessons learnt in promoting governance over the last 50 years of Independence and the end of a bipolar period. It will also chart a way forward towards creating an environment where Africa equips herself to actively determine her own narrative while taking requisite steps to prevent the further marginalization of the Global South in the global agenda. For this to happen, it is crucial that time and space is deliberately created for a festival of ideas to manifest and be channeled from various quarters of society and in diverse levers of power and influence. It is in cognizance of such reality that the High Level Dialogue is in two phases as below:-

  1. An Experts Meeting in Durban, South Africa, in March 2024 to prepare for the High-level Pan-African Dialogue on Global Governance with around twenty (20) participants. This meeting will deliberate on the Concept Note, Programme, Draft Outcome Document, and List of Participants.
  2. High-level Pan-African Dialogue on Global Governance in Sandton, South Africa in May 2024. The Dialogue will be conducted in a physical/hybrid format over the duration of three (03) days. Participants will include AU Member States, strategic partners, Women and Youth groups, Civil Society Representatives, Academia, Think-tanks, and the media. We are planning for around 150 core participants.

The organization will be done by the APRM Continental Secretariat APRM and ACCORD.
A task-force will be established to ensure adequate preparations for this important Dialogue. The Government of the Republic of South Africa will form part of the organizing team.