Organization: The African Union Countries

Event: Yale-MUN 2004, Alternative Assignment

Student: Ahmad Al-Shammari


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An appropriate song

The African Union


I. Structure and Organization


On 9.9.1999, the AU was formed from the old organization called the OAU. The OAU was established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, on signature of the OAU charter by representatives of 32 governments. A further 21 states have joined slowly over the years, with South Africa becoming the 53rd member in 1994. The charter later had to be changed to meet up with the challenges of a constantly changing world and a growing realization that the need for greater efficiency and effectively of the Organization required urgent action.

Therefore, the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) calling for the establishment of an African Union. They had a dream to accelerate the process of integration in the continent to enable to 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. In other words, to accelerate and get better results then the old organization.

This summit took place in Sirte, Algiers in 9-9-1999 to address this issue. They wanted to "Strengthening OAU capacity to enable it to meet the challenges of the new millennium." This summit concluded and aimed at:

1. Effectively addressing the new social, political and economic realities in Africa and the world;

2. Fulfilling the peoples’ aspirations for greater unity in conforming with the objectives of the OAU Charter and the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community;

3. Revitalising the Continental Organisation to play a more active role in addressing the needs of the people;

4. Eliminating the scourge of conflicts;

5. Meeting global challenges; and

6. Harnessing the human and natural resources of the continent to improve living conditions.

To achieve these aims, they decided to:

"Establish an African Union in conformity with the ultimate objectives of the Charter of our Continental Organisation and the provisions of the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community."



II. Functions:

A. Objectives of the AU

In general, the African Union objectives are different and more comprehensive than those of the OAU. The OAU has served its mission and was due for replacement by a structure geared towards addressing the current needs of the continent.

1. The aims of the OAU were:
a. To promote the unity and solidarity of African States;
b. To coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa;
c. To defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence;
d. To eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa; and

2. To promote international cooperation.

Comparatively, the objectives of the African Union, as contained in the Constitutive Act, are to:

1. Achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa;

2. Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its member states;

3. Accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;

4. Promote and defend African common position on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;

5. Encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

6. Promote peace, security, and stability on the continent;

7. Promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;

8. Promote and protect human peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments;

9. Establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations;

10. Promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies;

11. Promote cooperation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples;

12. Coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;

13. Advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology; and

14. Work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.


B. Challenges

The AU has many good achievements. For Example:

1. The Algiers decision on Unconstitutional Changes of Government (1999) and the Lome Declaration on the framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes (2000).

2. The 2000 Solemn Declaration on the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation: establishes the fundamental principles for the promotion of Democracy and Good Governance in the Continent.

3. Responses to other challenges: Africa has initiated collective action through the OAU in the protection of environment, in fighting international terrorism, in combating the scourge of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria and tuberculosis or dealing with humanitarian issues such as refugees and displaced persons, landmines, small and light weapons among others.

4. The Constitutive Act of the African Union: adopted in 2000 at the Lome Summit (Togo), entered into force in 2001.

5. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) : adopted as a Programme of the AU at the Lusaka Summit (2001).


C. The Organs of the AU are:

1. The Assembly

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.

2. The Executive Council

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

3. The Commission

Composed of the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, eight Commissioners and Staff members; Each Commissioner shall be responsible for a portfolio.

4. The Permanent Representatives' Committee

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.

5. 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.

6. 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.


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.

8. 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.

9. The Specialized Technical Committees

The following Specialized Technical Committees are meant to address sectoral issues and are at Ministerial Level:
1. The Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural Matters;
2. The Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs;
3. The Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters;
4. The Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment;
5. The Committee on Transport, Communications and Tourism;
6. The Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs; and
7. The Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources.
8. The Financial Institutions
9. The African Central bank
10. The African Monetary Fund
11. The African Investment Bank



III. Budget:

The Commission prepares the Programme and Budget of the Union every two (2) years and submits it, through the PRC and the Executive Council and with the consults of many committees in the Union, to the Assembly for consideration. This proposed Programme and Budget includes, the programme of activities of the Commission, expenses of the Assembly, the Executive Council, the Committees and other organs of the Union, a list of contributions made by Member States in accordance with the scale of assessment established by the Executive Council, an estimate of the various incomes of the Union, a description of the financial status of the working Fund as created under these Statutes and the staff nominal rolls of the Commission.

The money comes from the member of the Union. The payments are due on the 1st of November. Each pays an amount assigned by the chairperson. The objective amount is derived from the Programme and Budget of the Union project paper.



IV. Strengths:

Many countries have faith in the new AU, because it replaced the dictatorship club with new some good governing. The new AU is also more interested on the need to improve the lives of ordinary people than on battles between each other.

Before, in the OAU, it was decided than no one interferes with the others business. The AU however, does. Thus it is fighting dictatorship African wide. There is a new law called "peer review" where the AU will judge members who performed genocides and etc.


V. Weaknesses:

The African countries big problems are hunger HIV, and many deadly conflicts ranging from rebellions to war. Now, the whole world is concerned with technological advancement problems, and war on terrorism problems. While the more important problems lie in the black continent. Many in Africa are either on the brinks of hunger, or have been infected with the deadly HIV/AIDS virus. However, the AU, regretfully, isn’t concerned now with the upcoming issues.

The situation has turned from bad to worst: important issues, such as HIV/AIDS or the staggering unemployment rate, do not seem to be a priority to the AU.

With such enormous problems one might think that the very best are at the helm steering the continent out of harms way. Unfortunately, little can be said about the leadership in Africa. It has now become a tradition in Africa to hold on to power at all cost. Little has changed: only a few States have placed the destiny of their peoples in their own hands.

Many, on the other hand, continue to silence the voices of change. Dissention in most African countries is considered to be a crime, and as a result many have lost their lives or are languishing in prison cells. Such brutality has forced the very best to seek employment abroad, where their expertise and leadership qualities are well appreciated. 

The founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity created the organization in hopes of ridding the rest of the continent from the grips of colonialism. While it was successful in combating colonialism, the OAU has failed to address the various problems that have plagued the continent. It now remains to be seen if the African Union will be bold enough to effectively address burning issues, such as the leadership problem in Africa, HIV/AIDS, hunger, and conflict, just to name a few. Success for the African Union can only be measured by how far it is willing to break away from the status quo. Hopefully, some member states, which have embraced the political system of accountability, will some how spread the message beyond their own borders.



VI. Plan for Improvement:

The AU should reconsider discussing issues that they are not involved in, such as IT. They should emphasize on their daily problems such as AIDS, famine, drought and etc. if they just emphasize on those issues and make them their priorities, then the AU will succeed.



Opening Speech:

Ladies and Gentleman…

Some years before, Africa fought wars to break the chains that colonization imposed on it. They paid their lives as a cost for freedom. When they got it, some were troubled with dictatorships. Those dictatorship held hands to fight the colonization and rebellions. They formed the OAU.

However, at 1999, those dictatorships were gone. The good governments destroyed that organization. They knew peace was their goal. Dr Kwame Nkrumah, President of Ghana believed in "united" Africa. But he lacked a definition for "united". Many countries thought the same. AU was formed to confront their goals.

The AU, however, is confronting big monstrous problems too. They are facing AIDS, famine, drought, and deadly wars. The AU members should concentrate on those problems rather than unsignificant problems.

Unity has a definintion. It is, by holding hands and working collectively, problems will be solved.

Thank you,