Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Paper on the OAU

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Organization of African Unity


The Organization of African Unity is a common, and one of the first, examples of Pan-Africanism. The Organization of African Unity was established in 16 in Addis Abeba which is a city in Ethiopia. The Membership has grown from independent Member States in 16, to the total of 5 today. Now, one interesting development is that the OAU will soon no longer exist due to the new formation of its successor, the African Union, or AU for short. In July of 000, in Lome, Togo, under the strong push by Libyas, Muammar Qaddafi, the AU was born. All in attendance agreed that the OAU would phase out soon after 00, and that the AU would take its place as a stronger, more unified organization.


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In 16, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, member states gathered together and drafted the charter of the OAU. In Article II they state the main objectives of the OAU, which are

1. To promote the unity and solidarity of the African States.

. To co-ordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa.

. To defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity and their independence

4. To eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa.

5. To promote international cooperation, having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The OAU Charter further goes on to state that the members of the OAU will combine their efforts in these specific fields in order to accomplish their goals

1. Political and diplomatic cooperation.

. Economic cooperation, including things like transportation and communication.

. Educational and cultural cooperation.

4. Health, sanitation, and nutritional cooperation.

5. Scientific and technical cooperation.

6. Cooperation for defense and security.

Finally, the OAU states in Article II that they will adopt the following principles

1. The sovereign equality of all Member States.

. No one state of the OAU will interfere with internal affairs in another fellow Member State.

. 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 Member 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.


The OAU is composed of the following three branches The Assembly of Heads of State and Government, The Council of Members, and The General Secretariat.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government meets every 1st Monday in June of every year. They basically have a round-table discussion about many straight forward-topics.

The Council of Members meets twice a year. In February they meet mainly on budgetary matters, and in May/June they meet again prior to the OAU Summit. Other meetings are held every two years to discuss different things such as Labor, Information, Trade, Health, Culture, etc.

Now, The General Secretariat (which is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), 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, which are each elected from a geographical region by the Assembly for a term of four years also. All six may be re-elected.

The General Secretariat is made up of the following parts

-Office of the Secretary General, which operates his Cabinet, Protocol, Information, Security, Legal Affairs, Inspectorate, Budget Control and Afro-Arab Co-operation.

- Political Department

- Economic Co-operation and Development Department (EDECO)

- Education, Science, Culture and Social Affairs Department (ESCAS)

- Finance Department

- Administration and Conferences Department.

- Regional and sub-regional Offices, which exist in New York (U.S.A), Geneva (Switzerland), Cairo (Egypt), Lagos (Nigeria), Brussels (Belgium), Niamey (Niger). Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), hosts the OAU Liberation Committee.

Finally, the OAU has five special departments that are specific to one area

- Economic and Social Commission

- Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Health Commission

- Commission of Fifteen on Refugees

- Defense Commission

- Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration Commission

The AU however, which is modeled somewhat similarly to the European Union, will have a General Assembly, an Executive Council, a Pan-African Parliament, an African Central Bank (which will eventually have common currency for all Member States, similar to the Euro.), an African Monetary Fund, and other organs and agencies under it.


The budget and income of the OAU comes from the amount of money the Member States give to the OAU. The amount of money each Member State gives is based on area, population and per capita income. However, there is a law stating that no individual Member State will be asked to donate more 0% of the yearly regular budget of the Organization. The OAU’s budget for the year 000 was between $7-$ million.

Successes, Failures, and the Eventual Takeover of Father Time

•The OAU has mediated several border and internal disputes and was instrumental in bringing about majority rule and the end of apartheid in South Africa, which in 14 became the 5d nation to be admitted to the organization. (Success)

•In 17, OAU members established the African Economic Community (AEC), envisioned as an African common market; the AEC signed an agreement with regional African economic groupings that was intended to lead to harmonization of policies of those common markets, which never fully succeeded. (Failure)

•Through an OAU fund, international support is being channeled to liberated areas in Guinea Bissau, Angola, and Mozambique. The UN has recognized OAU’s efforts and is now joining the cause to help the fight in areas such as Namibia, Rhodesia, South Africa, and Portugal. (Success)

•The OAU has been confronted with a number of boundary conflicts in North, East and Central Africa. Thanks to OAU machinery and efforts, these conflicts were settled in a true spirit of African Solidarity without outside intervention or interference. (Success)

•The OAU has helped to bring agricultural sciences to rd world countries in Africa such as fishery projects, anti-pest projects which has so far saved an estimated $1 billion in cattle, and helped in areas such as soil erosion and plant protection. (Success)

After its 40 year history, and all of the good that it has done, the OAU proved that it was not strong enough to withstand the changing times. The OAU has weathered many a storm and won many countries’ and organizations’ vote, such as the UN. But, even though it has stepped down to the succession of the AU, the OAU proved that it was all in all, a huge success, and that Africa will be forever grateful in helping to save its beautiful continent more times that it can count.

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