• The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa.
  • The AU was announced in the Sirte Declaration in Sirte, Libya, on 9 September 1999, calling for the establishment of the African Union.
  • The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and launched on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa.
  • The intention of the AU was to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments;
  • The OAU was disbanded on 9 July 2002. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states.
  • The AU’s secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa.
  • The largest city in the AU is Lagos, Nigeria, while the largest urban agglomeration is Cairo, Egypt.
  • The African Union has over 1.3 billion people and an area of around 29 million km2 (11 million sq mi) and includes popular world landmarks, such as the Sahara and the Nile.
  • The primary working languages are Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Kiswahili. 
  • Within the African Union, there are official bodies, such as the Peace and Security Council and the Pan-African Parliament.
Four summits that led to the formation African Union were:
  • The Sirte Extraordinary Session (1999) decided to establish an African Union
  • The Lome Summit (2000) adopted the Constitutive Act of the Union.
  • The Lusaka Summit (2001) drew the road map for the implementation of the AU
  • The Durban Summit (2002) launched the AU and convened the 1st Assembly of the Heads of States of the African Union.
African Union
Visions of African Union (AU)
  • Re-launching of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) as the African Union was done to realise the potential of Africa to fight against colonisation with a major focus towards increased cooperation and integration of African states for economic development.
  • AU is guided by its vision of a peaceful, prosperous and an integrated Africa representing a dynamic force in the global economy and is driven by its own citizens.

Objectives of African Union (AU)

The objectives of AU were laid by the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the Protocol on Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

  1. Achieving greater unity and solidarity among the African countries and the people.
  2. Defending the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the 55 Member States.
  3. Accelerating the political as well as the socio-economic integrity of the African continent.
  4. Promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples
  5. Encouraging international cooperation and promoting peace, security, and stability of the continent
  6. Promoting the popular participation and governance of the continent including democratic principles and institutions
  7. Development and promotion of common policies related to trade, defence and foreign relations strengthening its negotiating positions.
  8. Invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our Continent, in the building of the African Union.
  9. Protect human rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
  10. To provide sustainable development of the continent at the social, economic and cultural levels.
  11. Development of the continent through the advancement in the field of science and technology

Structure of African Union

  • The work of the AU is implemented through several principal decision-making organs:-
    • The Assembly of Heads of State and Government
    • The Executive Council,
    • The Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC)
    • Specialized Technical Committees (STCs)
    • The Peace and Security Council and the African Union Commission.
    • The AU structure promotes participation of African citizens and civil society through the Pan-African Parliament and the Economic, Social & Cultural Council (ECOSOCC).
  • Organs that handle judicial and legal matters, as well as human rights issues, include:-
    • African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
    • African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR)
    • AU Commission on International Law (AUCIL)
    • AU Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) and
    • The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
  • The AU is also working towards the establishment of continental financial institutions (The African Central Bank, The African Investment Bank and the African Monetary Fund)
  • The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the African Peer Review Mechanism are also key bodies that constitute the structure of the African Union.

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