A continental organization consisting of 55 African countries.
The African Union is a continental organization made up of 55 African presidents and heads of state. It has a population of approximately 1.4 billion people living on 29 million square kilometers of land.
Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Kiswahili are the official languages. The African Union has bodies such as the Pan-African Parliament and the Peace and Security Council. The AU was founded with the primary purpose of achieving greater unity, cohesion, and solidarity among African countries and nations. To protect its member states’ sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. To promote the continent’s political and socioeconomic union. The idea for the union was introduced on September 9th, 1999, and it was officially established in Durban, South Africa, on July 9th, 2002.
The leaders and presidents of state of the 55 countries that make up the Organization of African Unity convened on September 9, 1999, and issued a declaration establishing the African Union. In Durban, South Africa, on the 9th of July, 2002, The African Union (AU) was formally established.
As a result, they dissolved the Organization of African Unity with the official assent of 32 signatory countries, clearing the way for the formation of the African Union.
Over the years, the Union has made significant progress in maintaining peace on the African continent, strengthening the African economy, and increasing women’s participation in financial matters.
Objectives of the AU
- To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa;
- To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States;
- To speed up the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
- To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;
- To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent;
- To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;
- To promote and protect human and peoples’ rights under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments;
- To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations;
- To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels and integrating African economies;
- To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples;
- To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;
- To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology; and
- To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.
Organs of the AU
Composed of Heads of State and Government or their duly accredited representatives. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government is the supreme organ of the Union.
The Executive Council
Composed of Ministers or Authorities designated by the Governments of Members States. The Executive Council is responsible to the Assembly.
Composed of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, eight Commissioners and Staff members; Each Commissioner shall be responsible for a portfolio.
The Permanent Representatives’ Committee
Composed of Permanent Representatives of Member States accredited to the Union. The Permanent Representatives Committee is charged with the responsibility of preparing the work of the Executive Council.
Peace and Security Council (PSC)
By decision AHG/Dec 160 (xxxvii) of the Summit of Lusaka, July 2001, a decision was made for the creation within the African Union of the Peace and Security Council. The Protocol establishing the PSC is in the process of ratification.
A Pan-African Parliament, and organ to ensure the full participation of African peoples in governance, development and economic integration of the Continent. The protocol relating to the composition, powers, functions and organization of the Pan-African Parliament has been signed by Member States and is in the process of ratification.
The Economic, Social and Cultural Council, an advisory organ composed of different social and professional groups of the Member States of the Union. The statutes determining the functions, powers, composition and organization of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council have been prepared and will be submitted to Maputo Summit.
The Court of Justice
A Court of Justice of the Union shall be established. The statutes defining the composition and functions of the Court of Justice have been prepared and will be submitted to the Assembly in Maputo.
The Specialized Technical Committees
The following Specialized Technical Committees are meant to address sectoral issues and are at Ministerial Level:
- The Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural Matters;
- The Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs;
- The Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters;
- The Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment;
- The Committee on Transport, Communications and Tourism;
- The Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs; and
- The Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources. The Financial Institutions The African Central bank The African Monetary Fund The African Investment Bank