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.
- "Ambitious plan for a new Africa: Welcome to the U.S.A (that's the United States of Africa)". The Independent. 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- African Union website - list of AU member states
- Thabo Mbeki (July 9, 2002). "Launch of the African Union, 9 July 2002: Address by the chairperson of the AU, President Thabo Mbeki" (HTML). ABSA Stadium, Durban, South Africa: africa-union.org. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Gaddafi Calls for a "U.S." of Africa, from Mafé Tiga blog, July 1 2007
- AU summit extended amid divisions, from BBC News, 4 February 2009
- "United States of Africa?", from BBC News, 11 July 2000
- Gaddafi urges pan-African state, from BBC News, 26 June 2007
- Statement of the UA Commission Chairperson
- The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. (2007). "Organization of African Unity" (HTML). N/A: HighBeam Research. Retrieved 2009-04-27.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Would a United States of Africa work?, from Le Monde diplomatique (English edition), September 2000