The African Union (AU) is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state that is not a member is Morocco. The AU was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). 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, Ethiopia.
The objectives of the African Union
- To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and Africans.
- To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
- To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.
- 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.
The main administrative capital of the African Union is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the African Union Commission is headquartered. A new headquarters complex, the AU Conference Center and Office Complex (AUCC), was inaugurated on 28 January 2012, during the 18th AU summit.
South Africa joined on 6 June 1994 after the end of the apartheid and the April 1994 general election.
South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan on 9 July 2011, joined the AU on 27 July 2011. Following the announcement of the results of the South Sudanese independence referendum, an official AU statement noted “the AU will be keen, at the end of the interim period, on 9 July 2011, to welcome into its ranks the 54th member state of the Union”
The vision of the African Union is that of:
“An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.”
The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was established on May 25, 1963. It was disbanded on July 9, 2002 by its last chairperson, South African President Thabo Mbeki and replaced by the African Union.
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 Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania. The AU also has a representative body, the Pan African Parliament, which consists of 265 members elected by the national parliaments of the AU member states. Its president is Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi.