Economics » International Economic Organisations » Roles and Relevance of International Organisations

African Union (AU)

The African Union is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa. The AU was announced in the Sirte Declaration in Sirte, Libya on 9 September 1999, calling for the establishment of the African Union. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and launched on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa.

The intention of the AU was to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 193 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments; the OAU was disbanded on 9 July 2002. 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.

The objectives of the AU are the following:

  1. To achieve greater unity, cohesion, and solidarity between the African countries and African nations.
  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 people.
  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 people’s 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 cooperation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African people.
  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 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, thereby establishing economic and monetary union. The current plan is to establish an African Economic Community with a single currency b 2023.

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.


Continue With the Mobile App | Available on Google Play

[Attributions and Licenses]


This is a lesson from the tutorial, International Economic Organisations and you are encouraged to log in or register, so that you can track your progress.

Log In

Share Thoughts