The African Union (AU) is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state that is not a member is Morocco. The AU was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The objectives of the AU are:
To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the 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 promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples.
To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent.
To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance.
To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.
To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations.
To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies.
To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples.
To coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union.
To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology.
To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.