Previous page  
List of subjects |  Sources |  Feedback 

Share |

Discover in a free
daily email today's famous
history and birthdays

Enjoy the Famous Daily

Organization of African Unity: from1963

The OAU, or Organization of African Unity, is founded at a conference in 1963 in Addis Ababa - which remains to this day the site of its administrative headquarters. Its purpose is to promote solidarity between African nations and to eliminate colonialism in Africa. The controlling body is the assembly of heads of state which meets annually to discuss issues of common concern.

The organization achieves striking success in its early years, mediating successfully in border disputes between Algeria and Morocco in 1964-5 and between Somalia and its neighbours in 1965-7. It proves less effective in its attempts to halt civil wars in Nigeria (1968-70) and Chad (1966-90).

At the United Nations the OAU functions as a pressure group to further the interests of African countries and to resolve potential disputes between them. Its main initiative in the economy of the region has been the adoption in 1991 of an African Economic Community Treaty. This envisages the establishment of an African common market after the treaty has been ratified by two thirds of the OAU's members.

The most recent change of membership has been the withdrawal of Morocco in 1985 in protest at membership being granted to the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (representing Western Sahara). In 1999 there are fifty-three members. The secretary-general is Salim Ahmed Salim from Tanzania.

Previous page