African Union Reconstruction
AU’s organization is built with the EU as a model. Its main bodies are the Assembly, the Executive Council, the Commission and the All-African Parliament. Arabic, English, French and Portuguese are working languages.
Short for African Union on Abbreviationfinder, AU’s highest decision-making body is the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The heads of state and government of the member states meet in a summit at least once a year. Then the guidelines for the organization are drawn up and an annual work plan is approved. Resolutions are adopted by the Assembly by a two-thirds majority. Extraordinary meetings are held when a member state so requests and two-thirds of the assembly agrees. The Assembly also adopts the AU’s budget, monitors Member States’ compliance with the Statutes, decides on membership issues and mediates in disputes between Member States. The Assembly also appoints judges to the Supreme Court, which has been established under the Union Treaty.
At each ordinary annual meeting, a chairman of the congregation is elected. He holds the post for one year until the next annual meeting. At the first summit in Durban in July 2002, South African President Thabo Mbeki was elected chairman. Since then, the position of chairman has shifted between different heads of state every year. At the end of January 2017, Guinea’s President Alpha Condé was elected chairman.
The Executive Council consists of the foreign ministers of the member states or another government representative. The Council meets in February and July each year. The chairman of the council is usually the foreign minister in the country where the chairman of the parish comes from.
The Executive Council is accountable to the Assembly. Its main tasks are to prepare for the assemblies of the Assembly, to coordinate the activities of the Union and to monitor compliance with the decisions and guidelines of the Summit by the Member States.
Committee of Permanent Representatives
This committee is composed of AU Ambassadors (Permanent Representatives from the Member States) and meets at least once a month to draft the Executive Council’s agenda and to give the Council recommendations on the decisions to be taken. The committee is accountable to the Council.
The Commission is the AU secretariat and consists of a chairman, a vice-chairman and eight commissioners. The chairman is elected by the congregation for a period of four years and can be re-elected no more than once. Since March 2017, Moussa Faki from Chad has been chairman. He has previously been Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in his home country. The choice of Commissioner takes into account geographical spread. The eight Commissioners are responsible for each area: peace and security; political questions; infrastructure and energy; social matters; education, science and technology; trade and industry; agriculture and rural economics as well as economics.
The Commission shall present its activities to the Executive Council. It handles administrative tasks and ensures that the decisions made by AU are implemented. A wide range of topics are on the Commission’s table, such as disaster management, the fight against epidemics, famine, international crime and terrorism, environmental issues, trade, population and refugee issues. The Commission is assisted by staff of various kinds.
Under the Commission, seven specialized committees are tasked with implementing AU’s projects. These include ministers and senior officials from the Member States. There are committees on monetary and financial affairs; agricultural policy; trade, customs and immigration issues; industry, science, technology, energy, natural resources and the environment; transport, communications and tourism; health, labor market and social policy, as well as culture and education.
Infrastructure, energy and environment
Within the AU, a special group, the African Energy Commission (Afrec), is working to increase cooperation between Africa and other regions in the field of energy.
In 1964, the OAU decided that Africa would be a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and the AU worked to ensure that nuclear power was used only for peaceful purposes. AU has also inherited conventions on the conservation of the continent’s nature and natural resources as well as on control of the import and management of hazardous waste.
The poor infrastructure in many parts of Africa is seen by the AU as a major obstacle to economic development, and the Union aims to improve and coordinate communications on the continent.
The All-African Parliament has been in South Africa since the autumn of 2004, and it was inaugurated in March of the same year at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (the AU had not then agreed on where the parliament would be located). Parliament shall have 265 members, five (of whom at least one woman) from each Member State. As early as May 2012, there had been no enlargement following South Sudan’s independence in July 2011. The AU Parliament is chaired by a Speaker and four Vice-Presidents – a representative of East, West, South, North and Central Africa, respectively. Parliament meets twice a year, but extra sessions may be convened if at least two-thirds of the members so request. There has long been talk of developing Parliament into a legislative body.
AU has planned to set up a total of 17 bodies and institutions, but several of them are still missing. These include an African central bank, an African monetary union with a common currency (by 2023) and an African investment bank.