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 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 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.
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: