Organization of African Unity (OAU)

Organisation de l'unité africaine (OUA)
Munadhamat Alwahdah Al'Ifriqyah

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History

25 May 1963, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), on signature of Charter by representatives of 32 governments. Major landmarks on the road to African continental solidarity and earlier groups of African States were: Conference of Independent African States, 22 Apr 1958, Accra (Ghana), also referred to as 'All-African Peoples Conference'; Union of African States, 24 Dec 1960, Conakry (Guinea); African States of the Casablanca Charter (Casablanca Group), 7 Jan 1961; African and Malagasy Union (Brazzaville Group), 12 Sep 1961, Tananarive; Ghana-Guinea Union, set up 23 Nov 1958, joined by Mali, 29 Apr 1961; Pan African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa (PAFMECA), subsequently referred to as 'Pan African Freedom Movement for East, Southern and Central Africa (PAFMESCA)'; Organization of Inter-African and Malagasy States (Monrovia Group), 25 Jan 1962, Lagos (Nigeria), following preliminary conference, 8-12 May 1961, Monrovia (Liberia). Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa South of the Sahara (CTCA) and Scientific Council for Africa South of the Sahara (CSA) merged with OAU, 1 Jan 1965. Statutes registered in 'UNTS 1/4688'. By decision of meeting of Heads of State, 8 July 2001, Lusaka (Zambia), ceased to exist at summit, June 2002, Durban (South Africa), when replaced by African Union (AU) following a one-year transition period.

Aims

Promote the unity and solidarity of African States; coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa; defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence; eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa; promote international cooperation, having due regard to the charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To achieve these goals Member States pledged themselves to harmonize their policies in the following fields: political and diplomatic cooperation; economic cooperation, including transport and communication; educational and cultural cooperation; health, sanitation and nutritional cooperation; scientific and technical cooperation; cooperation for defence and security.

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Activities

'Decolonization and the Struggle against Apartheid' Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa organized diplomatic support and channelled financial, military and logistic aid to liberation movements. The liberation movements recognized by the OAU included: African National Congress (ANC), South Africa; Pan African Congress of Azania (PAC), South Africa. Has been instrumental in persuading the United Nations to accept liberation struggles as legitimate, and to grant observer status to liberation movements at the United Nations. Maintained a Special Fund through which international support was channelled to lend financial support to liberation movements in the continent. Has been dissolved by Resolution AHG/Res 228, adopted by the OUA Assembly of Heads of State and Government meeting in its 30th Ordinary Session, 13-15 June, 1994.

'Settlement of Disputes' Confronted with a number of boundary conflicts and interstate civil uprisings, OUA has been instrumental in settling, or at least influencing the amicable settlement of such disputes, some of which had threatened the very existence of the Organization (among these are the Nigerian Civil War, the Angolan Civil War, disputes between Guinea and Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, Uganda-Tanzania conflict, border disputes between Somalia and Ethiopia, and between Sudan and Ethiopia). A particularly difficult crisis has been faced since 1982 over the recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). OAU plays a role in defending the independence of nations whose sovereignty and territorial integrity are threatened (among member nations which have received such assistance are the Congo, Nigeria - where a Civil War flared up and threatened the Federal Republic of Nigeria to its very foundations, Egypt - which was aggressed and occupied in parts by Israeli forces in 1967, and Guinea). OAU Neutral Military Observer Group to Rwanda (NMOG) was set up, July 1992, and expanded, Aug 1993, to carry out peace-keeping efforts; an International Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and the Surrounding Events, created by the OAU in 1998, made its report in July 2000. African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), set up Apr 1992, Durban (South Africa), encourages and promotes the constructive resolution of disputes and assists in achieving political stability, economic recovery and peaceful co-existence within just and democratic societies. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its 29th Ordinary Session, 28-30 June 1993, Cairo (Egypt), created the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, guided by the objectives and principles of the OAU Charter, in particular, the sovereign equality of Member States, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, the respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States, their inalienable right to independent existence, the peaceful settlement of disputes as well as the inviolability of borders inherited from colonialism. It functions on the basis of the consent and the cooperation of the parties to a conflict.

'Action in Favour of African Refugees' In parallel with concerns on colonialism, liberation and conflict, activity is directed towards aiding the numbers of refugees in the African continent. AU Commission on Refugees, a division of the Political Department of OAU, was set up in 1964 and consists, since 1994, of 20 OAU member states; it supervises the activity of the OAU and its member states in this area. OAU Coordinating Committee on Assistance to Refugees, established in 1968, is an advisory body on refugee assistance and is directly answerable to the OAU Commission of Twenty on Refugees. OAU Bureau for Refugees, Displaced Persons and Humanitarian Affairs (OAU/BR) is guided the Commission of Twenty and the Coordinating Committee. OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, Sep 1969, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), is the regional complement of the United Nations' Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and Protocol of January 1967 relating to the status of refugees. Major factors for refugee-seeking include: inter-state conflicts; foreign intervention; racism and political destabilization; civil strives and conflicts; natural disasters/calamities; human and individual rights abuses; religion. A joint conference with the United Nations, 24 Aug 1988, Oslo (Norway), led to the 'Oslo Plan of Action', seeking international humanitarian aid and rehabilitation, research for durable solutions (whether voluntary repatriation, integration in the host country or installation in a third country), informing and sensitizing public opinion and follow-up and evaluation of interventions at national, sub-regional, regional and international levels.

'Economic and Social Development' An economic committee studies in depth the causes for the small share of developing countries in world trade, the persistent deterioration of terms of trade and export of primary products, among other problems. Africa has 20 of the 31 least developed countries of the world, hence her interest in and concern over global efforts to achieve an equitable distribution of the world's resources through the establishment of a 'New International Economic Order (NIEO)'. In this regard African States join other Third World nations in pressing for the achievement of this objective at various international forums. The 'Lagos Plan of Action', identifying areas of economic development was adopted in 1980 and followed by 'Africa's Priority Programme for Economic Recovery (APPER)', adopted 1985. An extraordinary summit, 1987, addressed the problem of increasing external debt; the dialogue and cooperation achieved produced 'Africa's Common Position' on the issue. Progress towards an African Economic Community (AEC) was achieved, 3 June 1991, when African leaders signed the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (Abuja treaty); when this has been ratified, its annexed protocols will be implemented in stages extending over 34 years. The Community first met at OAU Summit, June 1997, Harare (Zimbabwe). Special Emergency Assistance Fund for Drought and Famine in Africa (SEAF), short title 'Special Relief Fund', is managed by the African Development Bank Group. Plan for African Revival and Development, agreed by Heads of State, July 2001, presented to the United Nations in Sep 2001.

'Communications' In cooperation with the ECA, blueprints for a rational continental telecommunications network and efficient air and road transport have been laid. The scheme, coordinated through Trans-African Highway Bureau, includes: Algiers-Lagos Trans-Saharan Coordinating Committee; Beira-Lobito Trans Southern African Highway Coordinating Committee; Cairo-Gaborone Trans East African Highway Authority (TEAHA); Coordinating Committee of the Dakar-Ndjamena Highway; Coordinating Committee of the Lagos-Tangier Axis; Lagos-Mombasa Trans-African Highway Authority (TAHA); Ndjamena-Masawa-Djibouti Trans-Sahelian Highway Coordinating Committee; Tangiers-Cairo Trans-African Highway Coordinating Committee; Tangiers-Lagos Trans-African Highway Coordinating Committee; Tripoli-Windhoek Highway Coordinating Committee. This has led to development throughout Africa, with the building of roads, railways and bridges aimed at fulfilling the continent's hopes for a proposed Trans-African Highway and the Trans-Saharan Highway. OAU was represented on the coordinating committee of Pan African Telecommunications Network (PANAFTEL), which is now a project of African Telecommunications Union (ATU); efforts are being intensified towards the implementation of this network, including the eventual installation of a Pan-African satellite. There are also plans to secure standardization of equipment, the improvement and coordination of operational arrangements, and the provision of appropriate personnel training facilities. OAU's communications policy also aims at defining common general policies on all questions relating to intra-African postal communication problems and policies, particularly as regards the standardization and coordination of postal procedures and practices, and the establishment of Intra-African Postal Systems.

'Human Rights' African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) was set up under African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights (Banjul Protocol), signed 26 June 1981, which came into effect 21 Oct 1986, on ratification of the Charter by an absolute majority of OAU members. The 11 members of the Commission are appointed by the Conference of Heads of State and Government. Through the ACHPR, OAU is cooperating with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) set up African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR).

'Research, Science and Technology' African Union Scientific Technical Research Commission (AU STRC), set up 1 Jan 1965, by decision of Heads of State and Government, absorbed Commission for Technical Co-operation in Africa South of the Sahara (CTCA) established Jan 1950, Paris (France) and later referred to as Commission for Technical Cooperation in Africa. International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISCTRC), set up 1949, now comes within the framework of STRC. Other bodies under the aegis of STRC: Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR); Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (AU-IAPSC); International Coordination Office for the Development of the Fouta-Djalon-Labé Region, Conakry. Scientific Council of Africa (SCA), set up Nov 1965, acts as scientific adviser to the STRC and supersedes the Scientific Council for Africa South of the Sahara, founded 21 Nov 1950.

'Culture' An 'African Cultural Charter' was adopted, 1976, Mauritius, by the Conference of Heads of State and Government, with the object of: affirming the cultural identity of the peoples of Africa, liberating them from socio-cultural conditions which inhibit cultural development and promoting values which develop it; rehabilitating, restoring, safeguarding and promoting African cultural heritage; guaranteeing free access to culture for all.

'Other Dependent Organizations' Organizations set up jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa: African Institute for Higher Technical Training and Research (AIHTTR), Nairobi (Kenya); African Regional Centre for Engineering Design and Manufacturing (ARCEDEM), Ibadan (Nigeria); African Regional Centre of Technology (ARCT), Dakar (Senegal); Central African Mineral Resources Development Centre (CAMRDC), Arusha (Tanzania UR). Jointly organized with the African Development Bank: African Industrial Development Fund (AIDF); African Reinsurance Corporation (AFRICA RE). Another cooperative organization, Joint FAO/WHO/OAU Regional Food and Nutrition Commission for Africa (FAO/WHO/FNAf), has been in abeyance since 1986, following restructuring of OAU Secretariat.

Instrumental in setting up:

 • OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism;

 • African Women's Committee on Peace and Development, Addis Ababa (AWCPD);

 • African Anti-Apartheid Committee;

 • African Bureau of Educational Sciences (BASE);

 • African Centre for Applied Research and Training in Social Development (ACARTSOD);

 • African Centre for Fertilizer Development (ACFD);

 • African Centre for Monetary Studies (ACMS);

 • African Institute for Literacy and Continuing Education (INAAEC);

 • African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO);

 • African Training Centre for Literacy and Adult Education;

 • Afro-Arab Investment Institution;

 • Arab African Institute for Culture and Strategic Studies;

 • Centre for Linguistic and Historical Studies by Oral Tradition (CELHTO);

 • OAU Cultural Fund;

 • Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD);

 • Special Health Fund for Africa (SHFA);

 • Union internationale des journalistes africains (UIJA).

Proposed setting up:

 • African Defence Force (ADF).

Structure

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Languages

Arabic, English, French, Portuguese.

Staff

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Financing

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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 19 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 1 non-governmental organizations.
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Publications

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Members

Members in 54 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Amenities
    • Living Conditions
  • Transportation, Telecommunications
    • Communications
  • Communication
    • Communication
  • Societal Problems
    • Hygiene
  • Health Care
    • Health
    • Nutrition
  • Education
    • Education
  • Defence
    • Defence
  • Government
    • Nation State
    • Frontiers
    • Intergovernmental Communities
    • Political
    • Diplomacy
  • Economics
    • Economic
  • Technology
    • Technical
  • Science
    • Science
  • Culture
    • Culture
  • Security
    • Security
  • Solidarity
    • Solidarity
    • Cooperation
  • Vigilance
    • Unity

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

UIA Org ID

D3027

Last News Received

2001
* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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