The African Union is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa.
First set up in 1999 in Libya, the African Union’s headquarters are located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The African Union’s Assembly meets twice per year and is in charge of decision-making.
The African Union’s functions are to:
- Promote partnership-building, unity, and solidarity amongst African Union countries;
- Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States and accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the African continent;
- Promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;
- Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent as well as international cooperation;
- Promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;
- Promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments;
- Establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations;
- Promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies;
- Coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;
- Advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology;
- Work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent;
- Ensure the effective participation of women in decision-making, particularly in the political, economic and socio-cultural areas;
- Develop and promote common policies on trade, defence and foreign relations to ensure the defence of the Continent and the strengthening of its negotiating positions.