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Organization of African Unity

aka African Union


The OAU was established on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On July 9, 2002, the OAU changed its name to African Union). From 32 independent member states in 1963, the Union now has 53 member states.


1. to promote the unity and solidarity of the African States;
2. to co-ordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa;
3. to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity and independence;
4. to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa; and
5. to promote international cooperation, having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


1. political and diplomatic cooperation;
2. economic cooperation, including transport and communication;
3. educational and cultural cooperation;
4. health, sanitation, and nutritional cooperation;
5. scientific and technical cooperation; and
6. cooperation for defense and security.


1. the sovereign equality of all member states;
2. non-interference in the internal affairs of states;
3. respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each state and for its inalienable right to independent existence;
4. peaceful settlement of disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation or arbitration;
5. unreserved condemnation in all its forms, of political assassination as well as of subversive activities on the part of neighboring states or any other states;
6. absolute dedication to the total emancipation of the African territories which are still dependent;
7. affirmation of a policy of non-alignment with regard to all blocs.


The Assembly of Heads of State and Government meets in Ordinary Session the first Monday of June every year.

The Council of Ministers (i.e. Foreign Affairs Ministers) meets twice a year -- in February mainly on budget matters, and in May/June prior to Summit. Other Ministerial Sectoral meetings are held every two years in different domans such as Labor, Information, Trade, Health, Culture, etc.

The General Secretariat, based in Addis Ababa, is headed by a Secretary General, who is elected by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for a term of four years. He has five Assistant Secretary Generals, each elected from a geographical region by the Assembly for a term of four years. All of the Secretaries are eligible for re-election.

Specialized Commissions established are
Commission of Fifteen on Refugees
Defense Commission
Economic and Social Commission
Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Health Commission
Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

Autonomous Specialized Agencies working under the auspices of the OAU are
Organization of African Trade Union Unity
Pan-African News Agency
Pan-African Postal Union
Pan-African Telecommunications Union
Supreme Council for Sports in Africa
Union of African National Television and Radio Organizations
Union of African Railways


The annual budget of the OAU is provided by contributions from member states in accordance with the scale of assessment which is calculated on the basis of area, population and per capita income. The current budget is in the range of $27-30 million (U.S.).

Symbols of the African Union

Flag Broad green horizontal stripe at the top followed by a narrow band of gold. Broad white stripe bearing the African Unity Emblem at its center, followed by a narrow gold stripe and broad green stripe at the bottom. Green symbolizes African hopes and aspirations for unity. Gold stands for African wealth and Africa's bright future. White represents the purity of Africa's desire to have genuine friends throughout the world.

flag of the African Union

Emblem The palm leaves shooting up on either side of the outer circle stand for peace. The gold circle symbolizes Africa's wealth and bright future. The green circle stands for African hopes and aspirations. The plain map of Africa without boundaries signifies African unity. The small interlocking red rings at the base stand for African solidarity and the blood shed for liberation of Africa.

emblem of the African Union

Official Languages Arabic, English, French, Portuguese


Let us all unite and celebrate together
The victories won for our liberation
Let us dedicate ourselves to rise together
To defend our liberty and unity

O Sons and Daughters of Africa
Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky
Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

Let us all unite and sing together
To uphold the bonds that frame our destiny
Let us dedicate ourselves to fight together
For lasting peace and justice on earth

O Sons and Daughters of Africa
Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky
Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

Let us all unite and toil together
To give the best we have to Africa
The cradle of mankind and fount of culture
Our pride and hope at break of dawn.

O Sons and Daughters of Africa
Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky
Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

Member States

country (date of membership)
Algeria (May 25, 1963)
Angola (February 11, 1975)
Benin (May 25, 1963)
Botswana (October 31, 1966)
Burkina Faso (May 25, 1963)
Burundi (May 25, 1963)
Cameroon (May 25, 1963)
Cape Verde (July 18, 1975)
Central African Republic (May 25, 1963)
Chad (May 25, 1963)
Comoros (July 18, 1975)
Congo, Democratic Republic of (May 25, 1963)
Congo, Republic of the (May 25, 1963)
Côte d'Ivoire (May 25, 1963)
Djibouti (June 27, 1977)
Egypt (May 25, 1963)
Equatorial Guinea (October 12, 1968)
Eritrea (May 24, 1993)
Ethiopia (May 25, 1963)
Gabon (May 25, 1963)
Gambia (October 196f5)
Ghana (May 25, 1963)
Guinea (May 25, 1963)
Guinea-Bissau (November 19, 1973)
Kenya (December 13, 1963)
Lesotho (October 31, 1966)
Liberia (May 25, 1963)
Libya (May 25, 1963)
Madagascar (May 25, 1963)
Malawi (July 13, 1964)
Mali (May 25, 1963)
Mauritius (August 1968)
Mozambique (July 19, 1975)
Namibia (June 1990)
Niger (May 25, 1963)
Nigeria (May 25, 1963)
Rwanda (May 25, 1963)
São Tomé and Príncipe (July 18, 1975)
Senegal (May 25, 1963)
Seychelles (June 29, 1976)
Sierra Leone (May 25, 1963)
Somalia (May 25, 1963)
South Africa (June 6, 1994)
Sudan (May 25, 1963)
Swaziland (September 24, 1968)
Tanzania (May 25, 1963)
Tunisia (May 25, 1963)
Uganda (May 25, 1963)
Western Sahara (February 22, 1982)
Zambia (December 16, 1964)
Zimbabwe (June 1980)

Mauritania (May 25, 1963) was suspended from the OAU on August 4, 2005.
Morocco (May 25, 1963) withdrew from the OAU on November 12, 1984.
Togo (May 25, 1963) was suspended from the OAU on February 25, 2005.

member states of the OAU

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This page was last updated on 12/13/2018.