The African Union (AU) is a union consisting of 54 African States. Established in 2001 in Addis Ababa, the main objectives of the AU were:
To rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonization and apartheid; to promote unity and solidarity among African States
To coordinate and intensify cooperation for development
To safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and to promote international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations.
The Organization African Unity (OAU) is a continental organization providing an effective forum that enables all member states to adopt coordinated positions on matters of common concern to the continent in international fora and defend the interests of Africa effectively. Through the OAU Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa, the continent works and speaks as one undivided determination in forging an international consensus in support of the liberation struggle and the fight against apartheid.
Mandate of the African Union:
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 accelerate 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 in accordance with 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 as well as the integration of 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;
To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.
The Organs of the African Union
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.
The Pan-African Parliament is an 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 (ECOSOCC)
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 sectorial 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
Where is African Union