19 November, 2007

African Union fact sheet

(This is, on the whole, a edited version of the old wikipedia page)


What is it?

The African Union (AU) is an organisation consisting of fifty-three African states. Established in 2001, the AU was formed as a successor to the amalgamated African Economic Community (AEC) and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Eventually, the AU aims to have a single currency and a single integrated defence force, as well as other institutions of state, including a cabinet for the AU Head of State. The purpose of the union is to help secure Africa's democracy, human rights, and a sustainable economy, especially by bringing an end to intra-African conflict and creating an effective common market.

Who’s in it?

All African nations except Morocco (who withdrew itself) and Mauritius (after a coup d’etat)

How does it work and what does it do?


The AU is governed by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and the Pan-African Parliament, which are both assisted by the AU Commission which constitutes one of the secretariats of the Pan African Parliament.

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 are also deployed in Sudan for peacekeeping in the Darfur conflict. In 1994 the OAU wasn't aware of the situation of the country and only provided some humanitarian help to the conflict.

History of the African Union

The historical foundations of the African Union originated in the Union of African States. 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".

The idea of creating the AU was revived in the mid-1990s as a result of the efforts of the African Unification Front. At Lomé in 2000, the Constitutive Act of the African Union was adopted, and at Lusaka in 2001, the plan for the implementation of the African Union was adopted.

The African Union was launched in Durban on July 9, 2002.

Its Constitutive Act 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".

Current issues

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 issue of the still-unfinished decolonization of Western Sahara.


See: here


The HIV/AIDS epidemic has affected over 25% of the population of southern Africa, 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 composes 30% of the AU's economy, threatens to significantly stunt GDP growth, and thus internal and external trade for the continent.


The political crisis in Zimbabwe has been debated both by the African Union and in particular by the Southern African Development Community. At African Union level, the situation in Zimbabwe has been a controversial focus of discussions in the Executive Council of the activity reports of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in which human rights abuses in Zimbabwe have been a leading subject since the early 2000s.


Anonymous said...


Miss Middle of Manchester said...

I'm always torn between whether the best use of money would be roads or education.

I've read the statistics on the value that educating women in Africa has, but the CJ Clegg argument on roads is still very tempting!

On a side note, could I please, politely, ask you not to SHOUT when posting?

I do hope you enjoy the blog :)