The advent of the African Union (AU) can be described as an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent. 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 globalisation. African Union Headquarters is at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Vision of the AU
The AU is Africa’s premier institution and principal organization for the promotion of accelerated socio-economic integration of the continent, which will lead to greater unity and solidarity between African countries and peoples.
The AU is based on the common vision of a united and strong Africa and on the need to build a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular women, youth and the private sector, in order to strengthen solidarity and cohesion amongst the peoples of Africa.
As a continental organization it focuses on the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent as a prerequisite for the implementation of the development and integration agenda of the Union.
The AU Commission
The Commission is the key organ playing a central role in the day-to-day management of the African Union. Among others, it represents the Union and defends its interests; elaborates draft common positions of the Union; prepares strategic plans and studies for the consideration of the Executive Council; elaborates, promotes, coordinates and harmonizes the programmes and policies of the Union with those of the RECs; ensures the mainstreaming of gender in all programmes and activities 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.