The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of all 55 countries on the African continent. It was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the aim of promoting unity and solidarity of African states, to spur economic development, and to promote international cooperation. In this respect, the AU’s vision is “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.” The objectives of the AU are:
- To achieve greater unity and solidarity between African countries and Africans.
- To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
- To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.
To effectively achieve the objectives of the Union, its institutional set up is made of eight key organs that handle different pertinent issues. These organs include; The Assembly of African Union, The Executive Council, The Commission, The Pan African Parliament, The Court of Justice, The Permanent Representatives’ Committees, The Specialized Technical Committees, The Economic, Social and Cultural Council, The Peace and Security Council and Financial Institutions.
The African Union has been effective in boosting cooperation and unity within Africa, putting its efforts towards diminishing conflict and boosting democracy. Processes are also being implemented that aim to diminish corruption and boost credibility amongst African leaders like the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). APRM evaluates member states on their successes and failures in a wide range of areas. Under this mechanism, leaders submit themselves to public scrutiny.
Uganda has been hailed as being among many examples of governments leading society and acting decisively in building a better life for current and future generations despite challenges. Uganda’s efforts in promotion of gender equality and empowering women; free movement of persons; the fight against malaria and child education have been recognized by the African Union. Furthermore, the country is pursuing its development objectives in line with the African Union Agenda 2063, which is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The agenda puts forward seven aspirations for “the Africa that we want” as below;
- A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
- An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
- An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
- A peaceful and secure Africa
- An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
- An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
- Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner
The African Union through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trae has been influential in strengthening Trade cooperation through the adoption of the legal instruments intended to operationalize trading activities, under AfCFTA which commenced in January 2021. In ensuring peace and stability across its member countries, AU undertook necessary efforts in build necessary capacity to maintain law and order as well as the protection of civilians in peace support operations. This was cited through preparing and equipping officers with relevant knowledge and skills to enable them serve as military observers, military liaison officers and military advisers at any United Nations Peacekeeping Missions and particularly in the current United Nations (UN) operations.
Additionally, AU played a pivotal role in the ensuring the reinforcement of the East African Stand-by Force (EASF). This was envisaged through the presence of collaborative support from the African Union (AU), and European Union (EU), involving the review of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) III program for the year 2021. This aimed to review the state of play of the implementation of APSA IV to enhance capability for rapid deployment of forces to carry out preventive deployment, rapid intervention, peace support/stability operations and peace enforcement within the EAC region.
The African Union Commission, in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD Development Centre launched Africa’s Development Dynamics 2021. The 2021 edition of Africa’s Development Dynamics examines how to finance Africa’s development amidst the current global economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The edition further focuses on how digitalisation can create quality jobs and contribute to achieving Agenda 2063, making African economies more resilient to the global recession. Additionally, it explores priority policy actions with best practices across the continent and its five regions – Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa.