Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was the 2009 Chairperson of the African Union (AU), has advanced the idea of a United States of Africa at two regional African summits: in June 2007 in Conakry, Guinea, and again in February 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Gaddafi had previously pushed for the creation of the African Union at a summit in Lomé, Togo, in 2000. Having since described the AU as a failure, Gaddafi has asserted that only a true pan-African state can provide stability and wealth to Africa.
A number of senior AU members also support the proposed federation, believing that it could bring peace to a 'new' Africa. Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali and former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, spoke in favour of the concept at the commemoration of Africa Day, on May 25, 2006.
The "United States of Africa" was mentioned first by Marcus Garvey in his poem 'Hail, United States of Africa' in 1924. Garvey's ideas deeply influenced the birth of the Pan-Africanist movement which culminated in 1945 with the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester, United Kingdom, attended by W. E. B. Du Bois, Patrice Lumumba, George Padmore, Jomo Kenyatta, and Kwame Nkrumah. Later, Nkrumah and Haile Selassie (among many others) took the idea forward to form the 37 nation Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner of today's African Union.
The idea of a multinational unifying African state is seen by the French publication Le Monde diplomatique as a successor to the medieval African empires: the Ethiopian Empire, the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Benin Empire, the Kanem Empire, and other historic nation states.