African Union

African Union

Motto: 
"A United and Strong Africa"
An orthographic projection of the world, highlighting the African Union and its member states (green).
Dark green: member states
Political centres
Largest cityLagos
Official languages
Demonym(s)African
TypeContinental union
Membership55 member states
Leaders
• Chair
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Moussa Faki[3]
Roger Nkodo Dang
LegislaturePan-African Parliament
Establishment
25 May 1963; 56 years ago (1963-05-25)
3 June 1991
9 September 1999
• African Union founded
9 July 2002
Area
• Total
29,922,059[4] km2 (11,552,972 sq mi)
Population
• 2016 estimate
1,225,080,510[5]
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
$2.33 trillion[6]
• Per capita
$1,890
HDI (2014)0.524
low
Internet TLDau.int

The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa, with exception of various territories of European possessions located in 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 South Africa.[7] The intention of the AU is to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments. 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 African Union has just over 1 billion people and an area of around 29 million km2 (11 million sq mi) and includes popular world landmarks, including the Sahara and the Nile.[8] The primary languages spoken include English, French, Arabic, Swahili, Portuguese, Spanish and the languages of Africa. Within the African Union, there are official bodies such as the Peace and Security Council and the Pan-African Parliament.

Overview

The objectives of the AU are the following:

  1. To achieve greater unity, cohesion and solidarity between the African countries and African nations.
  2. To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
  3. To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.
  4. To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples.
  5. To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  6. To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent.
  7. To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance.
  8. To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.
  9. To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations.
  10. To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies.
  11. To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples.
  12. To coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union.
  13. To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology.
  14. To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.

The African Union is made up of both political and administrative bodies. The highest decision-making organ is the Assembly of the African Union, made up of all the heads of state or government of member states of the AU. The Assembly is chaired by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt. The AU also has a representative body, the Pan African Parliament, which consists of 265 members elected by the national legislatures of the AU member states. Its president is Roger Nkodo Dang.

Other political institutions of the AU include:

The AU Commission, the secretariat to the political structures, is chaired by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa. On 15 July 2012, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma won a tightly contested vote to become the first female head of the African Union Commission, replacing Jean Ping of Gabon.

Other AU structures are hosted by different member states:

The AU's first military intervention in a member state was the May 2003 deployment of a peacekeeping force of soldiers from South Africa, Ethiopia, and Mozambique to Burundi to oversee the implementation of the various agreements. AU troops were also deployed in Sudan for peacekeeping during Darfur conflict, before the mission was handed over to the United Nations on 1 January 2008 UNAMID. The AU has also sent a peacekeeping mission to Somalia, of which the peacekeeping troops are from Uganda and Burundi.

The AU has adopted a number of important new documents establishing norms at continental level, to supplement those already in force when it was created. These include the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (2003), the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and its associated Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.[9]