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Objectives of the African Union
The African Union has seventeen objectives in view. These objectives are enumerated herein under are provided in Article 30 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and Article 3 of the Protocol to amend the Constitutive Act. These are:
- Achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa;
- Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its member states;
- Accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
- Promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;
- Encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- Promote peace, security, and stability of the continent;
- Promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;
- Promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and other relevant human rights instruments;
- Ensure the effective participation of women in decision-making, particularly in the political, economic and socio-cultural areas;
- Establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations;
- Promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies;
- Promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples;
- Coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;
- Advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology;
- Work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent;
- Develop and promote common policies on trade, defense and foreign relations to ensure the defense of the continent and the strengthening of its negotiating positions;
- Invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our continent, in the building of the African Union.
A mere reading of the above stated objectives suggests that the African Union is more comprehensive in its objectives than the OAU. Recent developments have made the African Union able to envisage objectives which were previously relegated to the domestic affairs of member states. Internal human rights problems within a member state is, for example, a new dimension which widens the objectives of the Union.
Generally speaking, the objectives of the African Union are aimed at bringing political, economic and social integration between member African countries and making the continent a better place for life. It is only in such a way that we can achieve the desired end. The long lists we have in the objectives of the Union are clear manifestations of the fact that it is a general, not a special, international organization.
A simple look at the objectives and principles of the Union would enable one to take the intentions of member states of the Union into account in any endeavor to make a viable interpretation of any of the laws of the African Union.