Wednesday, 23 February 2011

CASE 224 - The African Union - AU

The African union consists of 53 African states, 4 Suspended states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Fully stablished on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to 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 advent of the African Union (AU) can be described as an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent, but it could also wipe out individual countries and turn Africa into a Western style business world, it became the 2nd of 5 intercontinental states. On 9.9.1999, the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) calling for the establishment of an African Union, with a view, inter alia, to accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems compounded as they are by certain negative aspects of globalization.

The main objectives of the OAU were, inter alia, 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. Indeed, as a continental organization the OAU provided an effective forum that enabled 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 worked and spoke as one with undivided determination in forging an international consensus in support of the liberation struggle and the fight against apartheid.

The map of the African union with the 5 suspended states and Morocco, not part of the Union

The 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 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.

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