African Union

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Flag Emblem
Motto: 
"A United and Strong Africa"
Anthem: 
Let Us All Unite and Celebrate Together [1]
An orthographic projection of the world, highlighting the African Union and its member states (green).
Dark green: member states
Light green: suspended members
Political centres
Largest city Nigeria Lagos
Working languages
Demonym African
Type Continental union
Membership 54 member states
Leaders
 -  Assembly Chair Mauritania M. Abdel Aziz
 -  Commission Chair South Africa N. Dlamini-Zuma
 -  Parliamentary President Nigeria B. N. Amadi
Legislature Pan-African Parliament
Establishment
 -  OAU Charter 25 May 1963; 51 years ago (1963-05-25) 
 -  Abuja Treaty 3 June 1991 
 -  Sirte Declaration 9 September 1999 
 -  African Union Founded 9 July 2002 
Area
 -  Total 29,865,860 km2
11,531,273 sq mi
Population
 -  2013 estimate 1,053,136,000
 -  Density 33.9/km2
87.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
 -  Total US$$3,757 trillion[2][3]
 -  Per capita $3,568
GDP (nominal) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $2,390 trillion[4][5]
 -  Per capita $2,173
Currency 42 currencies
Time zone (UTC-1 to +4)
Calling code 57 codes
Internet TLD .africa c
Website
au.int

The African Union (AU) is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only 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[6] 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.

Overview[edit]

The objectives of the AU are:

  1. To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and Africans.
  2. To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
  3. To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.
  4. To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples.
  5. To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  6. To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent.
  7. To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance.
  8. 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.
  9. To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations.
  10. To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies.
  11. To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples.
  12. To coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union.
  13. To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology.
  14. To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.

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.

Other political institutions of the AU include

The AU Commission, the secretariat to the political structures, is chaired by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa. On 15 July 2012, Ms. Dlamini-Zuma won a tightly contested vote to become the first female head of the African Union Commission, replacing Jean Ping of Gabon.

The African Union's new headquarters complex in Addis Ababa.

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.[7] The complex was built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation as a gift from the Chinese government, and accommodates, amongst other facilities, a 2,500-seat plenary hall and a 20-story office tower. The tower is 99.9 meters high to signify the date 9 September 1999, when the Organization of African Unity voted to become the African Union.[8]

Other AU structures are hosted by different member states:

The AU covers the entire continent except for Morocco and several territories held by Spain, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom[which?]. Morocco is not a member because its government opposes the membership of Western Sahara as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. However, Morocco has a special status within the AU and benefits from the services available to all AU states from the institutions of the AU, such as the African Development Bank. Moroccan delegates also participate at important AU functions, and negotiations continue to try to resolve the conflict with the Polisario Front in Tindouf, Algeria and the parts of Western Sahara.

The AU's first military intervention in a member state was the May 2003 deployment of a peacekeeping force of soldiers from South Africa, Ethiopia, and Mozambique to Burundi to oversee the implementation of the various agreements. AU troops were also deployed in Sudan for peacekeeping in the Darfur conflict, before the mission was handed over to the United Nations on 1 January 2008 UNAMID. The AU has also sent a peacekeeping mission to Somalia, of which the peacekeeping troops are from Uganda and Burundi.

The AU has adopted a number of important new documents establishing norms at continental level, to supplement those already in force when it was created. These include the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (2003), the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and its associated Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.[9]

Treaties[edit]

Signed
In force
Document
1961
1962
1963
1965
OAU Charter
1991
N/A
Abuja Treaty
1999
2002
Sirte Declaration
Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif Pix.gif
         
  Organisation of African Unity (OAU) African Economic Community:
  Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD)
  Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
  East African Community (EAC)
  Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
  Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
  Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  Arab Maghreb Union (AMU)
Casablanca Group African Union (AU)
Monrovia Group
     

Membership[edit]

All independent countries in Africa and African waters, as well as Western Sahara, are, or have been, members of the AU or OAU. Morocco left unilaterally; one country is currently suspended. The following countries are members of the African Union:[10]

Suspended member[edit]

Regions of the African Union
  North    Southern    East    West    Central 

Member Observer[edit]

Former members[edit]

Organisations[edit]

African Union
Map of the African Union with Suspended States.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the African Union
Institutions
Casablanca Group
Union of African States
Organisation of African Unity
African Economic Community
African Unification Front
Executive
Assembly
Chairperson
Commission
Chairperson
Conference and Events
Peace & Sec.
Pol. Affairs
Infra. & Energy
Soc. Affairs
HR, Sci., & Tech.
Trade and Industry
Rural Econ. & Agri.
Economic
Legal Counsel
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Rep. Committee
Legislature
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Bureau
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List of members
Permanent Committees
Rural Econ., Agri., Resources, Eviron.
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Cooperation, IR, & Conflict
Transport, Industry, Communications,
  Energy, Science, & Tech.
Health, Labour, & Social
Educ., Culture, Tourism, & HR
Gender, Family, Youth, Disabilities
Justice & Rights
Rules, Privileges, & Discipline
Judiciary
Sirte Declaration
Constitutive Act of the AU
Law
Charter on Rights
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
Court of Justice
Court on Human and Peoples' Rights
List of judges
Advisory bodies
Peace and Security Council
Economic, Social and Cultural Council
Specialised Technical Committees
Rural Econ., Agri.
Monetary & Financial
Trade, Customs, and Immigration
Industry, Sci. & Tech., Energy...
Transport, Comm., Tourism
Health, Labor, Social
Edu., Culture, & Human Resources
Financial bodies
AEC Pillars (Abuja Treaty)
CEN-SAD
COMESA
EAC
ECCAS/CEEAC
CEMAC
ECOWAS
UEMOA
WAMZ
IGAD
SADC
SACU
AMU/UMA
African Central Bank
African Monetary Fund
African Investment Bank
New Partnership for Africa's Development
African Peer Review Mechanism
Decentralised bodies
Agencies of the AU
Related topics
Elections
Enlargement
Foreign relations

The African Union has a number of official bodies:

Pan-African Parliament (PAP)
To become the highest legislative body of the African Union. The seat of the PAP is at Midrand, South Africa. The Parliament is composed of 265 elected representatives from all 54 AU states, and intended to provide popular and civil-society participation in the processes of democratic governance. Its president is the Hon. Prince Bethel Nnaemeka Amadi, Esq. of Nigeria.
Assembly of the African Union
Composed of heads of state and heads of government of AU states, the Assembly is currently the supreme governing body of the African Union. It is gradually devolving some of its decision-making powers to the Pan African Parliament. It meets once a year and makes its decisions by consensus or by a two-thirds majority. The current chair of the AU is Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
African Union Authority 
The secretariat of the African Union, composed of ten commissioners and supporting staff and headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In a similar fashion to its European counterpart, the European Commission, it is responsible for the administration and co-ordination of the AU's activities and meetings.
African Court of Justice
The Constitutive Act provides for a Court of Justice to rule on disputes over interpretation of AU treaties. A protocol to set up the Court of Justice was adopted in 2003 and entered into force in 2009. It is likely to be superseded by a protocol creating a Court of Justice and Human Rights, which will incorporate the already established African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples' Rights (see below) and have two chambers—one for general legal matters and one for rulings on the human rights treaties.
Executive Council
Composed of ministers designated by the governments of member states. It decides on matters such as foreign trade, social security, food, agriculture and communications, is accountable to the Assembly, and prepares material for the Assembly to discuss and approve.
Permanent Representatives' Committee
Consisting of nominated permanent representatives of member states, the Committee prepares the work for the Executive Council, similar the role of the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union.
Peace and Security Council (PSC)
Proposed at the Lusaka Summit in 2001 and established in 2004 under a protocol to the Constitutive Act adopted by the AU Assembly in July 2002. The protocol defines the PSC as a collective security and early warning arrangement to facilitate timely and effective response to conflict and crisis situations in Africa. Other responsibilities conferred to the PSC by the protocol include prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, post-conflict peace building and developing common defence policies. The PSC has fifteen members elected on a regional basis by the Assembly. Similar in intent and operation to the United Nations Security Council.
Economic, Social and Cultural Council
An advisory organ composed of professional and civic representatives, similar to the European Economic and Social Committee. The chair of ECOSOCC, elected in 2008, is Cameroonian lawyer Akere Muna of the Pan-African Lawyers Union (PALU).
Specialised Technical Committees
Both the Abuja Treaty and the Constitutive Act provide for Specialised Technical Committees to be established made up of African ministers to advise the Assembly. In practice, they have never been set up. The ten proposed themes are: Rural Economy and Agricultural Matters; Monetary and Financial Affairs; Trade, Customs, and Immigration; Industry, Science and Technology; Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment; Transport, Communications, and Tourism; Health; Labour, and Social Affairs; Education, Culture, and Human Resources.
Financial institutions

These institutions have not yet been established, however, the Steering Committees working on their founding have been constituted. Eventually, the AU aims to have a single currency (the Afro).

Human rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, in existence since 1986, is established under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter) rather than the Constitutive Act of the African Union. It is the premier African human rights body, with responsibility for monitoring and promoting compliance with the African Charter. The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights was established in 2006 to supplement the work of the Commission, following the entry into force of a protocol to the African Charter providing for its creation. It is planned that the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights will be merged with the African Court of Justice (see above).
African Energy Commission

Summits[edit]

The 2013 Special African Union summit was called in regards to: “Africa’s relationship with the ICC.” This was in regards to the ICC's non-adherence to AU calls to drop certain chargers against sitting leaders and that it was disproportionally targeting Africans.[23]

Role of the diaspora[edit]

The Constitutive Act of the AU declares that it shall "invite and encourage the full participation of the African diaspora as an important part of our Continent, in the building of the African Union". The African Union Government has defined the African diaspora as "consisting of people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union".[24]

Current issues[edit]

The AU faces many challenges, including health issues such as combating malaria and the AIDS/HIV epidemic; political issues such as confronting undemocratic regimes and mediating in the many civil wars; economic issues such as improving the standard of living of millions of impoverished, uneducated Africans; ecological issues such as dealing with recurring famines, desertification, and lack of ecological sustainability; as well as the legal issues regarding Western Sahara.

Union Government[edit]

The principal topic for debate at the July 2007 AU summit held in Accra, Ghana, was the creation of a Union Government,[25] with the aim of moving towards a United States of Africa. A study on the Union Government was adopted in late 2006,[26] and proposes various options for "completing" the African Union project. There are divisions among African states on the proposals, with some (notably Libya) following a maximalist view leading to a common government with an AU army; and others (especially the southern African states) supporting rather a strengthening of the existing structures, with some reforms to deal with administrative and political challenges in making the AU Commission and other bodies truly effective.[27]

Following a heated debate in Accra, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government agreed in the form of a declaration to review the state of affairs of the AU with a view to determining its readiness towards a Union Government.[28] In particular, the Assembly agreed to:

  • Accelerate the economic and political integration of the African continent, including the formation of a Union Government of Africa;
  • Conduct an audit of the institutions and organs of the AU; review the relationship between the AU and the RECs; find ways to strengthen the AU and elaborate a timeframe to establish a Union Government of Africa.

The declaration lastly noted the "importance of involving the African peoples, including Africans in the Diaspora, in the processes leading to the formation of the Union Government."

Following this decision, a panel of eminent persons was set up to conduct the "audit review". The review team began its work on 1 September 2007. The review was presented to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government at the January 2008 summit in Addis Ababa. No final decision was taken on the recommendations, however, and a committee of ten heads of state was appointed to consider the review and report back to the July 2008 summit to be held in Egypt.[29] At the July 2008 summit, a decision was once again deferred, for a "final" debate at the January 2009 summit to be held in Addis Ababa.

Role of Regional Economic Communities[edit]

Somaliland Cape Verde Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic South Sudan Liberia Guinea Sierra Leone Ghana Nigeria Gambia Ivory Coast Benin Guinea-Bissau Senegal Togo Burkina Faso Niger Morocco Tunisia Libya Mauritania Algeria Egypt Somalia Comoros Eritrea Sudan Djibouti Ethiopia Uganda Rwanda Burundi Democratic Republic of the Congo Kenya São Tomé and Príncipe Chad Cameroon Central African Republic Republic of the Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Angola Mozambique Namibia South Africa Botswana Swaziland Zimbabwe Mauritius Zambia Malawi Seychelles Madagascar Tanzania Lesotho Community of Sahel-Saharan States Arab Maghreb Union Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa East African Community Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries Southern African Development Community Southern African Customs Union Economic Community of Central African States Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa West African Economic and Monetary Union Liptako–Gourma Authority Mali Economic Community of West African States Intergovernmental Authority on Development African Union Mano River Union West African Monetary Zone
Euler diagram showing the relationships between various multinational African organisations.vde

One of the key debates in relation to the achievement of greater continental integration is the relative priority that should be given to integration of the continent as a unit in itself or to integration of the sub-regions. The 1980 Lagos Plan of Action for the Development of Africa and the 1991 treaty to establish the African Economic Community (also referred to as the Abuja Treaty), proposed the creation of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the basis for African integration, with a timetable for regional and then continental integration to follow.[30]

Currently, there are eight RECs recognised by the AU, each established under a separate regional treaty. They are:

The membership of many of the communities overlaps, and their rationalisation has been under discussion for several years – and formed the theme of the 2006 Banjul summit. At the July 2007 Accra summit the Assembly finally decided to adopt a Protocol on Relations between the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities.[31] This protocol is intended to facilitate the harmonisation of policies and ensure compliance with the Abuja Treaty and Lagos Plan of Action time frames.

Selection of chair[edit]

In 2006, the AU decided to create a Committee "to consider the implementation of a rotation system between the regions" in relation to the presidency. Controversy arose at the 2006 summit when Sudan announced its candidacy for the AU's chairmanship, as a representative of the East African region. Several member states refused to support Sudan because of tensions over Darfur (see also below). Sudan ultimately withdrew its candidacy and President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo was elected to a one-year term. At the January 2007 summit, Sassou-Nguesso was replaced by President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana, despite another attempt by Sudan to gain the chair. 2007 was the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence, a symbolic moment for the country to hold the chair of the AU—and to host the mid-year summit at which the proposed Union Government was also discussed. In January 2008, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania took over as chair, representing the East African region and thus apparently ending Sudan's attempt to become chair—at least till the rotation returns to East Africa.[32] The current chair is Benin.

AIDS in Africa[edit]

One of the most serious issues to face Africa is not a dispute between nations, but rather the rapid spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa, especially southern Africa, is by far the most affected area in the world, and the infection is now starting to claim lives by the millions. While the measurement of HIV prevalence rates has proved methodologically challenging, more than 20% of the sexually active population of many countries of southern Africa may be infected, with South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, and Zimbabwe all expected to have a decrease in life expectancy by an average of 6.5 years. The effects on South Africa, which constitutes 30% of the AU's economy,[citation needed] threatens to significantly stunt GDP growth, and thus internal and external trade for the continent.

Libya[edit]

The AU attempted to mediate in the early stages of the 2011 Libyan civil war, forming an ad hoc committee of five presidents (Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Malian President Amadou Toumani Touré, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni) to broker a truce.[33] However, the beginning of the NATO-led military intervention in March 2011 prevented the committee from traveling to Libya to meet with Libyan leader and former head of the AU until 2010 Muammar Gaddafi.[34] As a body, the AU sharply dissented from the United Nations Security Council's decision to create a no-fly zone over Libya,[35] though a few member states, such as Botswana,[36] Gabon,[37] Zambia,[38] and others expressed support for the resolution.

As a result of Gaddafi's defeat at the Battle of Tripoli, the decisive battle of the war, in August 2011, the Arab League voted to recognise the anti-Gaddafi National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of the country pending elections,[39] yet although the council has been recognised by several AU member states, including two countries that are also members of the Arab League,[40][41] the AU Peace and Security Council voted on 26 August 2011 not to recognise it, insisting that a ceasefire be agreed to and a national unity government be formed by both sides in the civil war.[42] A number of AU member states led by Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Rwanda requested that the AU recognise the NTC as Libya's interim governing authority,[43][44] and several other AU member states have recognised the NTC regardless of the Peace and Security Council's decision.[45][46] However, AU member states Algeria[47] and Zimbabwe[48] have indicated they will not recognise the NTC, and South Africa has expressed reservations as well.[49]

On 20 September, the African Union officially recognised the National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of Libya.[50]

Interventions in support of constitutionality[edit]

Mali[edit]

In March 2012, a military coup was staged in Mali, when an alliance of Touareg and Islamist forces conquered the north, resulting in a coming to power of the Islamists. After a military intervention with help from French troops, the region was in control of the Malian army. To reinstall local authorities, the AU helped to form a caretaker government, supporting it and holding presidential elections in Mali in July 2013.[51]

Mauritania[edit]

On 3 August 2005, a coup in Mauritania led the African Union to suspend the country from all organisational activities. The Military Council that took control of Mauritania promised to hold elections within two years.[citation needed] These were held in early 2007, the first time that the country had held elections that were generally agreed to be of an acceptable standard. Following the elections, Mauritania's membership of the AU was restored. However, on 6 August 2008, a fresh coup overthrew the government elected in 2007. The AU once again suspended Mauritania from the continental body.[52]

Togo[edit]

In response to the death of Gnassingbé Eyadéma, President of Togo, on 5 February 2005, AU leaders described the naming of his son Faure Gnassingbé the successor as a military coup.[53] Togo's constitution calls for the speaker of parliament to succeed the president in the event of his death. By law, the parliament speaker must call national elections to choose a new president within sixty days. The AU's protest forced Gnassingbé to hold elections. Under heavy allegations of election fraud, he was officially elected President on 4 May 2005.

Regional conflicts and military interventions[edit]

One of the objectives of the AU is to "promote peace, security, and stability on the continent".[54] Among its principles is 'Peaceful resolution of conflicts among Member States of the Union through such appropriate means as may be decided upon by the Assembly'.[55] The primary body charged with implementing these objectives and principles is the Peace and Security Council. The PSC has the power, among other things, to authorise peace support missions, to impose sanctions in case of unconstitutional change of government, and to "take initiatives and action it deems appropriate" in response to potential or actual conflicts. The PSC is a decision-making body in its own right, and its decisions are binding on member states.

Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act, repeated in article 4 of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act on the PSC, also recognises the right of the Union to intervene in member state in circumstances of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Any decision to intervene in a member state under article 4 of the Constitutive Act will be made by the Assembly on the recommendation of the PSC.

Since it first met in 2004, the PSC has been active in relation to the crises in Darfur, Comoros, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire and other countries. It has adopted resolutions creating the AU peacekeeping operations in Somalia and Darfur, and imposing sanctions against persons undermining peace and security (such as travel bans and asset freezes against the leaders of the rebellion in Comoros). The Council is in the process of overseeing the establishment of a "standby force" to serve as a permanent African peacekeeping force.,[citation needed] Institute for Security Studies, South Africa, March 2008.

The founding treaty of the AU also called for the establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), including the African Standby Force (ASF), which is to be deployed in emergencies. That means, in cases of genocide or other serious human-rights violations, an ASF mission can be launched even against the wishes of the government of the country concerned, as long as it is approved by the AU General Assembly. In the past AU peacekeeping missions, the concept was not yet applied, forces had to be mobilised from member states. The AU is planning on putting the concept into practise by 2015 the earliest.[51]

Darfur, Sudan[edit]

In response to the ongoing Darfur conflict in Sudan, the AU has deployed 7,000 peacekeepers, many from Rwanda and Nigeria, to Darfur. While a donor's conference in Addis Ababa in 2005 helped raise funds to sustain the peacekeepers through that year and into 2006, in July 2006 the AU said it would pull out at the end of September when its mandate expires.[56] Critics of the AU peacekeepers, including Dr. Eric Reeves, have said these forces are largely ineffective due to lack of funds, personnel, and expertise. Monitoring an area roughly the size of France has made it even more difficult to sustain an effective mission. In June 2006, the United States Congress appropriated US$173 million for the AU force. Some, such as the Genocide Intervention Network, have called for United Nations (UN) or NATO intervention to augment and/or replace the AU peacekeepers. The UN has considered deploying a force, though it would not likely enter the country until at least October 2007.[57] The under-funded and badly equipped AU mission was set to expire on 31 December 2006 but was extended to 30 June 2007 and merged with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur in October 2007. In July 2009 the African Union ceased cooperation with the International Criminal Court, refusing to recognise the international arrest warrant it had issued against Sudan's leader, Omar al-Bashir, who was indicted in 2008 for War crimes.[58]

The AU struggled to have a strategic role in the independence talks and the reconciliation process of South Sudan, anyway due to overwhelming interests of African and non-African powers, its influence is still limited and not consistent.[59]

Somalia[edit]

From the early 1990s up until 2012, Somalia was without a functioning central government. A peace agreement aimed at ending the civil war that broke out following the collapse of the Siad Barre regime was signed in 2006 after many years of peace talks. However, the new government was almost immediately threatened by further violence. To temporarily shore up the government's military base, starting in March 2007, AU soldiers began arriving in Mogadishu as part of a peacekeeping force that was intended by the AU to eventually be 8,000 strong.[60] Eritrea recalled its ambassadors to the African Union on 20 November 2009[61] after the African Union called on the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on them due to their alleged support of Somali Islamists attempting to topple the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, the internationally recognised government of Somalia which holds Somalia's seat on the African Union.[62] On 22 December 2009, the Security Council passed UNSCR 1907, which imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea, travel bans on Eritrean leaders, and asset freezes on Eritrean officials. Eritrea strongly criticised the resolution. In January 2011, Eritrea reestablished their mission to the AU in Addis Ababa.[63]

Anjouan, Comoros[edit]

Economy[edit]

The AU's future goals include the creation of a free trade area, a customs union, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency (see African Monetary Union), thereby establishing economic and monetary union. The current plan is to establish an African Economic Community with a single currency by 2023.[64]

Languages[edit]

According to the Constitutive Act of the African Union, its working languages are Arabic, English, French and Portuguese, and African languages "if possible".[65] A protocol amending the Constitutive Act, adopted in 2003 but as of 2014 not in force, would add Spanish, Swahili and "any other African language" and term all six "official" (rather than "working") languages of the African Union.[66] The Executive Council shall determine the process and practical modalities for the use of official languages as working languages.

Founded in 2001 under the auspices of the AU, the African Academy of Languages promotes the usage and perpetuation of African languages among African people. The AU declared 2006 the Year of African Languages.[67][68]

Geography[edit]

Member states of the African Union cover almost the entirety of continental Africa and several off-shore islands. Consequently, the geography of the African Union is wildly diverse, including the world's largest hot desert (the Sahara), huge jungles and savannas, and the world's longest river (the Nile).

The AU presently has an area of 29,922,059 km² (18,592,705 mi²), with 24,165 km (15,015 mi) of coastline. The vast majority of this area is on continental Africa, while the only significant territory off the mainland is the island of Madagascar (the world's fourth largest), accounting for slightly less than 2% of the total.

Foreign relations[edit]

The individual member states of the African Union coordinate foreign policy through this agency, in addition to conducting their own international relations on a state-by-state basis. The AU represents the interests of African peoples at large in intergovernmental organisations (IGOs); for instance, it is a permanent observer at the United Nations General Assembly. Both the African Union and the United Nations work in tandem to address issues of common concerns in various areas. The African Union Mission in United Nations aspires to serve as a bridge between the two Organisations.

Membership of the AU overlaps with other IGOs and occasionally these third-party organisations and the AU will coordinate matters of public policy. The African Union maintains special diplomatic representation with the United States and the European Union.

History[edit]

The historical foundations of the African Union originated in the Union of African States, an early confederation that was established by Kwame Nkrumah in the 1960s, as well as subsequent attempts to unite Africa, including the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was established on 25 May 1963, and the African Economic Community in 1981. Critics argued that the OAU in particular did little to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens from their own political leaders, often dubbing it the "Dictators' Club".[69]

The idea of creating the AU was revived in the mid-1990s under the leadership of Libyan head of state Muammar al-Gaddafi: the heads of state and government of the OAU issued the Sirte Declaration (named after Sirte, in Libya) on 9 September 1999, calling for the establishment of an African Union. The Declaration was followed by summits at Lomé in 2000, when the Constitutive Act of the African Union was adopted, and at Lusaka in 2001, when the plan for the implementation of the African Union was adopted. During the same period, the initiative for the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), was also established.

The African Union was launched in Durban on 9 July 2002, by its first chairperson, South African Thabo Mbeki, at the first session of the Assembly of the African Union. The second session of the Assembly was in Maputo in 2003, and the third session in Addis Ababa on 6 July 2004.

Symbols[edit]

The emblem of the African Union consists of a gold ribbon bearing small interlocking red rings, from which palm leaves shoot up around an outer gold circle and an inner green circle, within which is a gold representation of Africa. The red interlinked rings stand for African solidarity and the blood shed for the liberation of Africa; the palm leaves for peace; the gold, for Africa's wealth and bright future; the green, for African hopes and aspirations. To symbolise African unity, the silhouette of Africa is drawn without internal borders.

The African Union adopted its new flag at its 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government taking place in Addis Ababa 2010. During the 8th African Union Summit which took place in Addis Ababa on 29 and 30 January 2007, the Heads of State and Government decided to launch a competition for the selection of a new flag for the Union. They prescribed a green background for the flag symbolising hope of Africa and stars to represent Member States.

Pursuant to this decision, the African Union Commission (AUC) organised a competition for the selection of a new flag for the African Union. The AUC received a total of 106 entries proposed by citizens of 19 African countries and 2 from the Diaspora. The proposals were then examined by a panel of experts put in place by the African Union Commission and selected from the five African regions for short listing according to the main directions given by the Heads of State and Government.

At the 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly, the Heads of State and Government examined the report of the Panel and selected one among all the proposals. The flag is now part of the paraphernalia of the African Union and replaces the old one.

The old flag of the African Union bears a broad green horizontal stripe, a narrow band of gold, the emblem of the African Union at the centre of a broad white stripe, another narrow gold band and a final broad green stripe. Again, the green and gold symbolise Africa's hopes and aspirations as well as its wealth and bright future, and the white represents the purity of Africa's desire for friends throughout the world. The flag has led to the creation of the "national colours" of Africa of gold and green (sometimes together with white). These colours are visible in one way or another in the flags of many African nations. Together the colours green, gold, and red constitute the Pan-African colours.

The African Union has adopted a new anthem, Let Us All Unite and Celebrate Together, and has the chorus O sons and daughters of Africa, flesh of the sun and flesh of the sky, Let us make Africa the tree of life.

List of Chairpersons[edit]

Chairpersons of the African Union
Name Beginning of term End of term Country
Thabo Mbeki 9 July 2002 10 July 2003  South Africa
Joaquim Chissano 10 July 2003 6 July 2004  Mozambique
Olusegun Obasanjo 6 July 2004 24 January 2006  Nigeria
Denis Sassou-Nguesso 24 January 2006 24 January 2007  Congo
John Kufuor 30 January 2007 31 January 2008  Ghana
Jakaya Kikwete 31 January 2008 2 February 2009  Tanzania
Muammar al-Gaddafi 2 February 2009 31 January 2010  Libya
Bingu wa Mutharika[70][71] 31 January 2010 31 January 2011  Malawi
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo[72] 31 January 2011 29 January 2012  Equatorial Guinea
Yayi Boni 29 January 2012 27 January 2013  Benin
Hailemariam Desalegn 27 January 2013 30 January 2014  Ethiopia
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz 30 January 2014 Incumbent  Mauritania

Indicators[edit]

The following table shows various data for AU member states, including area, population, economic output and income inequality, as well as various indices, including human development, viability of the state, perception of corruption, economic freedom, state of peace, freedom of the press and democratic level.

Country Area[73]
(km²)
2010
Population[73]
2011
GDP (PPP)[73]
(Intl. $)
2011
GDP (PPP)
per capita
[73]
(Intl. $)
2011
Income
inequality
[73]
1994–2011
(latest available)
HDI[74]
2011
FSI[75]
2012
CPI[76]
2011
IEF[77]
2011
GPI[78]
2012
WPFI[79]
2011/2012
DI[80]
2011
 Algeria 2,381,740 35,980,193 263,552,001,454 8,715 35.3 0.698 78.1 2.9 52.4 2.255 56.00 3.44
 Angola 1,246,700 19,618,432 116,345,451,961 5,930 58.6 0.486 85.1 2.0 46.2 2.105 58.43 3.32
 Benin 112,620 9,099,922 14,813,078,086 1,628 38.6 0.427 78.6 3.0 56.0 2.231 31.00 6.06
 Botswana 581,730 2,030,738 29,958,865,343 14,753 61.0 0.633 66.5 6.1 68.8 1.621 12.00 7.63
 Burkina Faso 274,220 16,967,845 22,219,630,703 1,310 39.8 0.331 87.4 3.0 60.6 1.881 23.33 3.59
 Burundi 27,830 8,575,172 5,214,123,472 608 33.3 0.316 97.5 1.9 49.6 2.524 57.75 4.01
 Cameroon 475,440 20,030,362 47,738,231,020 2,383 38.9 0.482 93.1 2.5 51.8 2.113 35.00 3.41
 Cape Verde 4,030 500,585 2,063,740,972 4,123 50.5 0.568 74.7 5.5 64.6 N/A -6.00 7.92
 Central African Republic 622,980 4,486,837 3,660,980,390 816 56.3 0.343 103.8 2.2 49.3 2.872 20.00 1.82
 Chad 1,284,000 11,525,496 17,645,370,046 1,531 39.8 0.328 107.6 2.0 45.3 2.671 37.67 1.62
 Comoros 1,860 753,943 842,530,721 1,117 64.3 0.433 83.0 2.4 43.8 N/A 13.00 3.52
 Côte d'Ivoire 322,460 20,152,894 36,338,307,504 1,803 41.5 0.400 103.6 2.2 55.4 2.419 83.50 3.08
 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 2,344,860 67,757,577 25,440,229,129 375 44.4 0.286 111.2 2.0 40.7 3.073 67.67 2.15
 Djibouti 23,200 905,564 1,997,160,467a 2,290a 40.0 0.430 83.8 3.0 54.5 1.881 83.50 2.68
 Egypt 1,001,450 82,536,770 521,964,470,584 6,324 30.8 0.644 90.4 2.9 59.1 2.220 97.50 3.95
 Equatorial Guinea 28,050 720,213 26,298,591,108 36,515 N/A 0.537 86.3 1.9 47.5 2.039 86.00 1.77
 Eritrea 117,600 5,415,280 3,189,065,543 589 N/A 0.349 94.5 2.5 36.7 2.264 142.00 2.34
 Ethiopia 1,104,300 84,734,262 94,603,635,847 1,116 29.8 0.363 97.9 2.7 50.5 2.504 56.60 3.79
 Gabon 267,670 1,534,262 24,487,009,222 15,960 41.5 0.674 74.6 3.0 56.7 1.972 36.50 3.48
 Gambia, The 11,300 1,776,103 3,792,511,029 2,135 47.3 0.420 80.6 3.5 57.4 1.961 65.50 3.38
 Ghana 238,540 24,965,816 75,660,464,231 3,100 42.8 0.541 67.5 3.9 59.4 1.807 11.00 6.02
 Guinea 245,860 10,221,808 11,534,395,660 1,128 39.4 0.344 101.9 2.1 51.7 2.073 30.00 2.79
 Guinea-Bissau 36,130 1,547,061 1,935,816,767 1,251 35.5 0.353 99.2 2.2 46.5 2.105 26.00 1.99
 Kenya 580,370 41,609,728 71,497,717,724 1,718 47.7 0.509 98.4 2.2 57.4 2.252 29.50 4.57
 Lesotho 30,360 2,193,843 3,761,750,856 1,715 52.5 0.450 79.0 3.5 47.5 1.864 21.00 6.33
 Liberia 111,370 4,128,572 2,382,497,925 577 38.2 0.329 93.3 3.2 46.5 2.131 40.50 4.97
 Libya 1,759,540 6,422,772 105,554,599,321a 16,855a N/A 0.760 84.9 2.0 38.6 2.830 77.50 3.55
 Madagascar 587,040 21,315,135 20,724,804,452 972 44.1 0.480 82.5 3.0 61.2 2.124 29.50 3.93
 Malawi 118,480 15,380,888 14,124,318,474 918 39.0 0.400 88.8 3.0 55.8 1.894 68.00 5.81
 Mali 1,240,190 15,839,538 17,401,077,762 1,099 33.0 0.359 77.9 2.8 56.3 2.132 0.00 6.36
 Mauritania 1,030,700 3,541,540 9,105,623,199 2,571 40.5 0.453 87.6 2.4 52.1 2.301 22.20 4.16
 Mauritius[81] 2,040 1,286,051 18,676,949,333 14,523 39b 0.728 44.7 5.1 76.2 1.487 17.00 8.04
 Mozambique 799,380 23,929,708 23,499,133,235 982 45.7 0.322 82.4 2.7 56.8 1.796 21.50 4.87
 Namibia 824,290 2,324,004 15,862,655,382 6,826 63.9 0.625 71.0 4.4 62.7 1.804 -2.00 6.24
 Niger 1,267,000 16,068,994 11,763,433,268 732 34.6 0.295 96.9 2.5 54.3 2.241 2.50 5.94
 Nigeria 923,770 162,470,737 411,371,765,042 2,532 48.8 0.459 101.1 2.4 56.7 2.801 56.40 3.83
 Congo, Republic of the 342,000 4,139,748 18,336,706,982 4,429 47.3 0.533 90.1 2.2 43.6 2.148 30.38 2.89
 Rwanda 26,340 10,942,950 13,690,574,770 1,251 50.8 0.429 89.3 5.0 62.7 2.250 81.00 3.25
 São Tomé and Príncipe 960 168,526 346,851,135 2,058 50.8 0.509 73.9 3.0 49.5 N/A N/A N/A
 Senegal 196,720 12,767,556 25,287,537,120 1,981 39.2 0.459 79.3 2.9 55.7 1.994 26.00 5.32
 Seychelles 460 86,000 2,272,152,389 26,420 65.8 0.773 65.1 4.8 51.2 N/A 25.00 N/A
 Sierra Leone 71,740 5,997,486 5,259,635,009 877 42.5 0.336 90.4 2.5 49.6 1.855 21.00 4.34
 Somalia[82] 637,660 9,556,873 5,896,000,000c 600c N/A N/A 114.9 1.0 N/A 3.392 88.33 N/A
 South Africa 1,219,090 50,586,757 558,215,907,199 11,035 63.1 0.619 66.8 4.1 62.7 2.321 12.00 7.79
 South Sudan[83][84] 644,331 10,314,021 21,123,000,000 2,134 45.5 N/A 108.4 N/A N/A N/A 41.25 N/A
 Sudan 2,505,810d 34,318,385 95,554,956,806d 2,141d 35.3d 0.408d 109.4 1.6d N/A 3.193d 100.75 2.38d
 Swaziland 17,360 1,067,773 6,511,874,679 6,099 51.5 0.522 83.5 3.1 59.1 2.028 67.00 3.26
 Tanzania 947,300 46,218,486 68,217,893,777 1,521 37.6 0.466 80.4 3.0 57.0 1.873 6.00 5.56
 Togo 56,790 6,154,813 6,414,397,867 1,042 34.4 0.435 87.5 2.4 49.1 N/A 28.50 3.45
 Tunisia 163,610 10,673,800 100,496,433,356 9,415 41.4 0.698 74.2 3.8 58.5 1.955 60.25 5.51
 Uganda 241,550 34,509,205 46,730,051,194 1,354 44.3 0.446 96.5 2.4 61.7 2.121 64.00 5.08
 Western Sahara[85][86] 266,000 491,519 906,500,000e 2,500e N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
 Zambia 752,610 13,474,959 21,869,657,293 1,623 54.6 0.430 85.9 3.2 59.7 1.830 30.00 6.19
 Zimbabwe[87] 390,760 12,754,378 6,474,000,000 515 50.1 0.376 106.3 2.2 22.1 2.538 55.00 2.68
zzzAUf 29,865,860 1,012,571,880 3,080,877,237,840 2,981g 44.7h 0.470 87.5 2.9 53.4 2.207 43.15 4.29
Country Area
(km²)
2010
Population
2011
GDP (PPP)
(Intl. $)
2011
GDP (PPP)
per capita

(Intl. $)
2011
Income
inequality

1993–2009
(latest available)
HDI
2011
FSI
2012
CPI
2011
IEF
2011
GPI
2012
WPFI
2011/2012
DI
2011

a Data refer to 2009.
b Data refer to 2006.
c Data refer to 2010.
d Includes South Sudan.
e Data refer to 2007.
f AU total used for indicators 1 through 3; AU weighted average used for indicator 4; AU unweighted average used for indicators 5 through 12.
g Excludes Djibouti, Libya, Somalia and Western Sahara.
h Excludes South Sudan.
Note: The colors indicate the country's global position in the respective indicator. For example, a green cell indicates that the country is ranked in the upper 25% of the list (including all countries with available data).

Highest fourth
Upper-mid (2nd to 3rd quartile)
Lower-mid (1st to 2nd quartile)
Lowest fourth

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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