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What Is: The African Union

Photo Credit: African Union Ministerial Conference in January 2018 by GovernmentZA on Flickr under licence: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) 

The African Union (AU) is a continental union and regional bloc consisting of 55 countries on the continent of Africa. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Ethiopia and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa. The vision of the African Union is that of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.”

Why Was The African Union Founded?

The African Union was founded as African countries looked for unity and also economic and social development throughout the continent.

Some objectives of the African Union include;

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 peace, security, and stability on the continent 

(African Union - 

Makeup of The African Union

The African Union has various organs that govern its activities. These include the Assembly, the Executive Council, the Permanent Representatives' Committee, the Peace and Security Council, the Court of Justice and the Commision. 

The African Union also hosts a Pan-African Parliament - this parliament has the purpose of 'ensuring the full participation of African peoples' in the development of the continent of Africa.

Additionally, the African Union has created the African Central Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Investment Bank in order to attempt to promote economic integration on the continent.


What Does The African Union Do and What Has It Done?

The African Union aims to carry out its objectives, as described above. The African Union is a relatively new regional bloc, but so far it has provided funding to 47 Sub-Saharan African countries for development, it has promoted the setting up of democracies and it has dealt with conflicts in countries including Sudan. 

In particular, the African Union has worked on controlling diseases, including the Ebola outbreak. Additionally, the Union has put emphasis on working on issues regarding animals and wildlife.

The African Union is still growing and developing, having only been launched 16 years ago. Financial problems have regularly hit the union, with it struggling to fulfil its plan to self-finance. The union's leadership has also faced criticism in recent years with it being called 'an exclusive club for brutish despots'.


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