After winning election as the new chairman of the African Union at its latest summit in Addis Ababa, Libyan leader Muammer el-Qaddafi immediately began campaigning for his longtime pet project: an African federal government, or a “United States of Africa.” This system, he said, would allow for a single African military force, currency and passport. The eccentric and mercurial Libyan leader argued that such a government fit better with traditional African power structures than the multiparty democracy model, which, he said, had been imposed on Africa by the West. However, a number of other African nations—including continental powerhouse South Africa—disagreed.

Is Qaddafi’s project realistic? Or did it merely serve to distract leaders at the AU summit from addressing Africa’s numerous pressing problems?

Written by Jennifer Dunham