About The African Union

The launch of the African Union (AU) is a major event in the contemporary history of the continent. In July 1999, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) decided to accelerate the process of economic and political integration of the continent.

The OAU had been created in 1963 to eliminate the last vestiges of colonialism and apartheid, strengthen unity and solidarity of African states, coordinate and intensify cooperation for development, defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and promote international cooperation in the framework of the United Nations must give the torch to the AU.

In their quest for unity, economic and social development, the African countries have taken various initiatives and made substantial progress in many areas which paved the way for the establishment of the AU.
On September 9, 1999, the Heads of State and Government adopted the Sirte Declaration calling for the establishment of an African Union, with a view, inter alia, to accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems.

In 2002, the Durban Summit officially launched the African Union, whose headquarters is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Fifty-three (53) African countries are members of the organization. Its main goal is to strive for the promotion of accelerated socio-economic integration of the continent in order to promote development and strengthen unity and solidarity between African countries and peoples.

The AU is based on the common vision of a united and strong Africa and on the need to build a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular women, youth and the private sector, in order to strengthen solidarity and cohesion amongst the peoples of Africa.
Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
As a continental organization it focuses on the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent as a prerequisite for the implementation of the development and integration agenda of the Union. The African Union supports among others, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States. It wants to encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United but also works with relevant international partners in the eradication of diseases and promoting health on the continent.

The Organs of the AU are:

-The Assembly composed of Heads of State and Government or their duly accredited representatives ;
-The Executive Council composed of Ministers or Authorities designated by the Governments of Member States ;
-The Commission ; -Peace and Security Council (PSC) ;
-Pan-African Parliament composed of five (5) representatives from each Member State having ratified the Constitution ; -The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), an advisory organ composed of different social and professional groups of the Member States of the Union ;
-The Court of Justice ;
-The Financial Institutions (The African Central bank, The African Monetary Fund, The African Investment Bank) ;
-The Specialized Technical Committees, as The Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural Matters ;
-The Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs ; The Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources, among others.

The Commission is the key organ playing a central role in the day-to-day management of the African Union. The Commission represents the Union and defends its interests; elaborates draft common positions of the Union; and prepares strategic plans and studies for the consideration of the Executive Council. It also ensures the development, the promotion, the coordination and the harmonization of programs and policies of the Union with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and ensures gender mainstreaming in all programs and activities of the Union.

Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union

Composed of a President, a Vice-President, eight (8) Commissioners and staff, the African Union Commission is one of the most important organs of the Union. It is responsible for the management of eight departments:

Peace and Security (Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, and Combating Terrorism...), Political Affairs (Human Rights, Democracy, Good Governance, Electoral Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons), Infrastructure and Energy (Energy, Transport, Communications, Infrastructure and Tourism.), Social Affairs (Health, Children, Drug Control, Population, Migration, Labour and Employment, Sports and Culture.), Human Resources, Sciences and Technology (Education, Information and Communication Technology, Youth, Human Resources, Science and Technology.), Trade and Industry (Trade, Industry, Customs and Immigration Matters.), Rural Economy and Agriculture (Rural Economy, Agriculture and Food Security, Livestock, Environment, Water, Natural Resources and Desertification.), Economic Affairs (Economic Integration, Monetary Affairs, Private Sector Development, Investment and Resource Mobilization.).
The headquarters of the AU which houses the Commission is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
For more information, please visit the website of the AU: www.africa-union.org

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