The African Union (AU,) founded in 2002, is the stalwart successor of the Organization for African Unity. Its vision is “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.” In its many missions, the Union stresses cooperation. It is a tool through which independent, African nations can maintain and develop peace and stability, and stand in solidarity within the greater, international community.
It is generally agreed that Africa is home to 55 countries; 54 of which are members of the union. Morocco is excluded of its own accord. The AU has 13 main “organs,” each with varying tasks and varying degrees of power.
The Assembly, perhaps the most powerful, is the decision-making body. It determines policies and priorities, and has the right to advise other organs during emergencies and times of conflict. It is able to support or take action against Member States. All Member States are represented in the assembly by Heads of State and Government. Currently leading is Assembly Chairperson Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania.
The Executive Council, like the Assembly, meets at least twice a year. Members of the Executive Council are all government officials appointed by their respective nations. Council members decide on areas of common interest between Member States and create an agenda to present before the Assembly.
The African Union Commission is the AU’s operational management. It represents the Union in non-AU forums, manages the AU’s budget, helps Member States implement AU policies and helps the AU determine the positions and concerns of Member States.
All AU organs are notable, but it would be remiss not to mention the Financial Institutions, of which there are three. The African Central Bank works toward a single African currency and the standardization of monetary policy across Africa. The African Investment bank works to “foster economic growth and accelerate economic integration.” This is done in part by using resources and technical support to aid both Member States and local development projects. But most of the investing, especially on macro-economic scales, is left to the African Monetary Fund.
These are just four organs amongst a host of others; such as the Pan-African Parliament, The Peace and Security Council and The African Court on Human and People’s Rights, for example. With such a strong system and such strong ideals working for its betterment, the future of Africa is looking bright.
— Olivia Kostreva
Sources: ISS Africa, African Union (AU) The Assembly, AU Executive Council, AU Pan-African Parliament, AU The Financial Institutions, AU The Commission
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