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Accepted Paper:

The International Actorness of the African Union  
Georg Lammich (University Duisburg-Essen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the international actorness of the African Union (AU), its capacity to perform as a single entity in the international system, its ability to represent and implement a distinct foreign policy, and its capability to cooperate with external actors.

Paper long abstract:

Many studies of regional actorness have attempted to compare the structures of regional actors with those of other state or non-state actors, international regimes, or international organizations. Equating the different institutional contexts of states and regional organizations (ROs) or adopting an implicit or explicit orientation towards the ideal of the nation-state cannot, however, capture the complex structure and contextual challenges of ROs in the Global South. To analyze regional actorness and its functional range, this study applies an analytical framework that combines multidimensional factors into a systematic conceptualization and not only includes proof of the AU’s capacity to act autonomously on the global stage but also assesses the intensity of such interactions. International recognition, coherence, authority, and autonomy are the main criteria that define the potential and performance of the AU as a legitimate institutional body in extra-regional dialogues. These dimensions of regional actorness are related; autonomy is not a sufficient criterion for international actorness if there is no international recognition; and, in the same way, a legal framework for the implementation of certain regional positions needs some internal coherence to agree with these common positions. For a holistic understanding of the AU’s actorness, legal structures that grant operational space for the representation of member states, the distinctive and institutional independent character of the organization’s foreign policy, the congruence between objectives and output coherence, and the international integration of the AU are being analyzed.

Panel Poli16
African regional organizations and their politics under the global condition
  Session 2 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -