African Union [AU]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 31, 2022, 13:36

The African Union (AU) is a continental union with 55 member nations spread throughout Africa.

On 9th September 1999, in Sirte, Libya, the African Union was declared in the Sirte Declaration, which called for the formation of the African Union Commission. The bloc was created in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 26th May 2001 and launched in Durban, South Africa, on 9th July 2002.

African Union Commission - Overview

The AU was created to supersede the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was founded on 25th May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory nations and disbanded on 9th July 2002. The African Union's most important decisions are taken by the African Union Assembly, a semi-annual gathering of the continent's heads of government.

The African Union Commission, the AU's secretariat, is situated in Addis Ababa. Lagos, Nigeria, is the largest city in the AU, whereas Cairo, Egypt, is the largest urban agglomeration.

Over 1.3 billion individuals live in the African Union, which encircles around 29 million km and contains well-known international monuments like the Sahara and also the Nile.

French, Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Kiswahili are the main working languages.

Official bodies within the African Union include the Peace and Security Council as well as the Pan-African Parliament. Its responsibilities include representing the African Union and protecting its interests, as directed and authorized by the Assembly and the Executive Council.

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Objectives of the African Union

The objectives of the African Union are:

  1. To develop greater African unity, cohesion, and solidarity among African counties and nations.
  2. To protect its member states' sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.
  3. To hasten the continent's political and socioeconomic union.
  4. To encourage and defend African solidarity on problems that concern the country and its people.
  5. Encourage international cooperation while keeping the United Nations Charter as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in mind.
  6. To create peace, security, and stability.
  7. To promote democratic values and institutions, as well as public involvement and good governance.
  8. In line with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights as well as other applicable human rights instruments, to promote and safeguard human and peoples' rights.
  9. To provide the conditions that would allow Africa to take its proper place in the global market and in international talks.

  10. To encourage economic, social, and cultural sustainability and the unification of African economies.

African Union Assembly

The African Union Assembly, which is made up of all the heads of state and government from member states, is the highest decision-making body.

Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, chairs the Assembly. The Pan-African Parliament, which is made up of 265 members elected by the national legislatures of AU member states, is another representative body of the organization. Roger Nkodo Dang is the organization's president.

The African Union's other political institutions include:

  1. The Executive Council, which is made up of foreign ministers and prepares decisions for the Assembly;
  2. The Permanent Representatives Committee, which is made up of AU member states' ambassadors to Addis Ababa; and
  3. The Economic Council

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa chairs the African Union Commission, which serves as a secretariat to the political bodies. Dlamini-Zuma became the first female head of the African Union Commission on 15th July 2012, after defeating Jean Ping of Gabon in a closely contested vote.

The African Union Commission serves as the AU's an executive/administrative department or secretariat. It is comprised of a number of Commissioners who are responsible for several policy areas.

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FAQs on African Union

Q.1. Who is the present chairperson of the African Union Commission?

Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat is the present chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Q.2. How many nations are members of the African Union?

The African Union is composed of 55 member states that represent all of Africa's countries. It is organized into five geographical zones.

Q.3. Who was the founder of the African Union Commission?

Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi was the founder of the African Union Commission.

Q.4. Why is the African Union Commission's headquarters in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is a strong state in an unstable portion of Africa, and it has a key position as the home of the African Union Commission. Ethiopia is also seen as a key ally by the European Union in its efforts to prevent African migrants from migrating to Europe.