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African Union (AU): Geo-political entity of the African continent

08-APR-2016 18:01

    The geo-political entity of the African Union covered almost the African continent, with Morocco being the exceptional. The advent of the African Union (AU) can be described as an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent.

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    Organisation of African Unity issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) on 9th September, 1999 when the Heads of State and Government of 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.

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    Objectives of the African Union (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.

    Organs of the African Union (AU)

    The Assembly: It is composed of Heads of State and Government or their duly accredited representatives. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government is the supreme organ of the Union.

    The Executive Council: It is composed of Ministers or Authorities designated by the Governments of Members States. It is responsible to the Assembly. 

    The Commission: It is composed of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, eight Commissioners and Staff members; Each Commissioner shall be responsible for a portfolio.

    The Permanent Representatives' Committee: It is composed of Permanent Representatives of Member States accredited to the Union. The Permanent Representatives Committee is charged with the responsibility of preparing the work of the Executive Council.

    Peace and Security Council (PSC): By decision AHG/Dec 160 (xxxvii) of the Summit of Lusaka, July 2001, a decision was made for the creation within the African Union of the Peace and Security Council. The Protocol establishing the PSC is in the process of ratification.

    Pan-African Parliament: A Pan-African Parliament, and organ to ensure the full participation of African peoples in governance, development and economic integration of the Continent.  The protocol relating to the composition, powers, functions and organization of the Pan-African Parliament has been signed by Member States and is in the process of ratification.
      
    ECOSOCC: The Economic, Social and Cultural Council, an advisory organ composed of different social and professional groups of the Member States of the Union. The statutes determining the functions, powers, composition and organization of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council have been prepared and will be submitted to Maputo Summit.

    The Court of Justice: A Court of Justice of the Union shall be established. The statutes defining the composition and functions of the Court of Justice have been prepared and will be submitted to the Assembly in Maputo.

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