The African Union
In 2002, the African Union (AU) was officially launched as the successor to the
Organisation of African Unity (OAU,1963–1999).
The decision to relaunch Africa’s pan-African organisation was the outcome of a consensus by African leaders that in order to realise Africa’s potential, there was a need to refocus attention from the fight for decolonisation and ridding the continent of apartheid, which had been the focus of the OAU, towards increased cooperation and integration of African states to drive Africa’s growth and economic development.
The AU’s aims are to: 1. Achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa. 2. Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States. 3. Accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent. 4. Promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples. 5. Encourage international cooperation. 6. Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent. 7. Promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance. 8. 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. Establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations. 10. Promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies.
11. Promote cooperation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples. 12. Coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union. 13. Advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology. 14. Work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.
To ensure the realisation of its objectives and the attainment of the pan-African vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, Agenda 2063 was developed as a strategic framework for Africa’s long-term socio-economic and integrative transformation. Agenda 2063 calls for greater collaboration and support for African-led initiatives to ensure the achievement of the aspirations of African people.
AU-led efforts towards the integration of Africa’s peoples and economies include the drive to create a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which aims at creating a single market for goods and services, establishing an African Passport to allow Africans to travel across the continent visa free, and setting up a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
The AU has led efforts towards addressing Africa’s health priorities. By ensuring greater cohesion of member states, the AU was instrumental in electing the first African to head the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom, who is
African Union Headquarters P.O. Box 3243, Roosvelt Street W21K19, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Tel: +251 (0) 11 551 77 00 Fax: +251 (0) 11 551 78 44
expected to bring Africa’s health issues to the global arena. The establishment of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) to safeguard Africa’s health is an indication of Africa’s determination to take charge of health-related matters on the continent by building the capacity and capability of member states to manage health crises.
Establishing peace on the continent remains a key goal for the AU, as with peace comes stability, which is key for further integration and the opportunity for economic growth and development. Member states of the AU have remained steadfast in supporting the work of bringing peace to all African citizens by contributing troops to protect citizens and maintain peace in hot spot regions with the ultimate goal of ensuring future stability.
Africa’s great potential can only be attained through inclusion. The AU works with member states to champion the role of women and youth and their inclusion in driving the developmental agenda. The AU theme of 2017 of “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend” through investments in youth was a call to action to stakeholders, especially policymakers, to pay more attention to the great potential of women and youth to contribute to Africa’s development agenda.
Find out more about the AU Institutional Reforms, by visiting www.au.int