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Organisation of African Unity
Organisation de l'Unité Africaine
""Flag of the Organisation for African Unity
Capital n/a a
Government Not specified
 •  1963–1964 "Kifle Wodajo
 •  1964–1972 "Diallo Telli
 •  1972–1974 "Nzo Ekangaki
 •  1974–1978 "William Eteki
 •  1978–1983 "Edem Kodjo
 •  1983–1985 "Peter Onu
 •  1985–1989 "Ide Oumarou
 •  1989–2001 "Salim Ahmed Salim
 •  2001–2002 "Amara Essy
 •  Charter 25 May 1963
 •  Disbanded 9 July 2002
Preceded by
Succeeded by
"Casablanca Group
"Monrovia Group
"African Union
a Headquartered in "Addis Ababa, "Ethiopia

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU; "French: Organisation de l'unité africaine (OUA)) was established on 25 May 1963 in "Addis Ababa, "Ethiopia with 32 signatory governments.[1] It was disbanded on 9 July 2002 by its last "chairperson, "South African "President "Thabo Mbeki, and replaced by the "African Union (AU).



The OAU had the following primary aims:

Emperor of "Ethiopia "Haile Selassie with President of "Egypt "Gamal Abdel Nasser in "Addis Ababa for the Organisation of African Unity summit, 1963.

A Liberation Committee was established to aid independence movements and look after the interests of already-independent states. The OAU also aimed to stay neutral in terms of global politics, which would prevent them from being controlled once more by outside forces – an especial danger with the Cold War.

Part of "a series on the
"History of the
African Union

The OAU had other aims, too:

Soon after achieving independence, a number of African states expressed a growing desire for more unity within the continent. Not everyone was agreed on how this unity could be achieved, however, and two opinionated groups emerged in this respect:

Some of the initial discussions took place at "Sanniquellie, "Liberia. The dispute was eventually resolved when "Ethiopian emperor "Haile Selassie I invited the two groups to "Addis Ababa, where the OAU and its headquarters were subsequently established. The Charter of the Organisation was signed by 32 independent African states.

At the time of the OAU's disbanding, 53 out of the 54 African states were members; "Morocco left on 12 November 1984 following the admission of the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as the government of "Western Sahara in 1982.

The organisation was widely derided as a bureaucratic "talking shop" with little power. It struggled to enforce its decisions, and its lack of armed force made intervention exceedingly difficult. "Civil wars in Nigeria and Angola continued unabated for years, and the OAU could do nothing to stop them.

The policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states also limited the effectiveness of the OAU. Thus, when "human rights were violated, as in "Uganda under "Idi Amin in the 1970s, the OAU was powerless to stop them.

The Organisation was praised by "Ghanaian former "United Nations Secretary-General "Kofi Annan for bringing Africans together. Nevertheless, in its 39 years of existence, critics argue that the OAU did little to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens from their own political leaders, often dubbing it as a "Dictators' Club"[2] or "Dictator's Trade Union".

The OAU was, however, successful in some respects. Many of its members were members of the UN, too, and they stood together within the latter organisation to safeguard African interests – especially in respect of lingering colonialism. Its pursuit of African unity, therefore, was in some ways successful.

Total unity was difficult to achieve, however, as the OAU was largely divided. The former French colonies, still dependent on "France, had formed the "Monrovia Group, and there was a further split between those that supported the United States and those that supported the "USSR in the "Cold War of ideologies. The pro-"Socialist faction was led by "Kwame Nkrumah, while "Félix Houphouët-Boigny of the "Ivory Coast led the pro-"capitalists. Because of these divisions, it was difficult for the OAU to take action against states involved in internal conflicts because it could rarely reach an agreement on what was to be done.

The OAU did play a pivotal role in eradicating "colonialism and white minority rule in "Africa. It gave weapons, training and military bases to rebel groups fighting white minority and colonial rule. Groups such as the ANC and PAC, fighting "apartheid, and "ZANU and "ZAPU, fighting to topple the government of "Rhodesia, were aided in their endeavours by the OAU. African harbours were closed to the South African government, and South African aircraft were prohibited from flying over the rest of the continent. The UN was convinced by the OAU to expel South Africa from bodies such as the "World Health Organisation.

The OAU also worked with the UN to ease refugee problems. It set up the "African Development Bank for economic projects intended to make Africa financially stronger. Although all African countries eventually won their "independence, it remained difficult for them to become totally independent of their former colonisers. There was often continued reliance on the former colonial powers for economic aid, which often came with strings attached: loans had to be paid back at high interest-rates, and goods had to be sold to the aiders at low rates.

The USA and USSR intervened in post-colonial Africa in pursuit of their own objectives. Help was sometimes provided in the form of "technology and aid-workers. Despite the fight to keep "Westerners" (Colonialists) out of African affairs,the OAU has failed to achieve to meet goals set up to advocate African affairs. The Organisation still heavily depends on Western help (Military and Economic) to intervene in African affairs despite African leaders displeasure dealing with the international community especially Western Countries.

Autonomous specialised agencies, working under the auspices of the OAU, were:

List of Chairpersons[edit]

List of Secretaries-general[edit]

OAU Summits[edit]

Egypt's president Nasser at the Cairo summit 1964
""Map of the African Union.svg
This article is part of a series on the
"politics and government of
the African Union
Host City Host Country Date
"Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 22–25 May 1963
"Cairo  "Egypt 17–21 July 1964
"Accra  "Ghana 21–26 October 1965
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 5–9 November 1966
"Kinshasa  "Democratic Republic of the Congo 11–14 September 1967
Algiers  "Algeria 13–16 September 1968
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 6–10 September 1969
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 1–3 September 1970
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 21–23 June 1971
"Rabat  "Morocco 12–15 June 1972
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 27–28 May 1973
"Mogadishu  "Somalia 1974
"Kampala  "Uganda 28 July – 1 August 1975
"Port Louis  "Mauritius 2–6 July 1976
"Libreville  "Gabon 2–5 July 1977
"Khartoum  "Sudan 18–22 July 1978
"Monrovia  "Liberia 17–20 July 1979
"Freetown  "Sierra Leone 1–4 July 1980
"Nairobi  "Kenya 24–27 June- 1981
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 6–12 June 1983
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 12–15 November 1984
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 18–20 July 1985
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 28–30 July 1986
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 27–29 July- 1987
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia Extraordinary Summit: October 1987
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 25–28 May 1988
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 24–26 July 1989
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 9–11 July 1990
"Abuja  "Nigeria 3–5 July 1991
"Dakar  "Senegal 29 June – 1 July 1992
Cairo  "Egypt 28–30 June 1993
"Tunis  "Tunisia 13–15 June 1994
Addis Ababa  "Ethiopia 26–28 June 1995
"Yaoundé  "Cameroon 8–10 June 1996
"Harare  "Zimbabwe 2–4 June 1997
"Ouagadougou  "Burkina Faso 8–10 June 1998
"Algiers  "Algeria 12–14 July 1999
"Sirte  "Libya Extraordinary Summit 6–9 September 1999
"Lomé  "Togo 10–12 July 2000
"Lusaka  "Zambia 9–11 July 2001, the last OAU summit

OAU members by date of admission (53 states)[edit]

  Indicates no longer member
Date Countries Notes
25 May 1963  "Algeria
 "Central African Republic
 "Democratic Republic of the Congo 1971–97 Zaire
 "Dahomey From 1975 Benin
 "Ivory Coast From 1985 Côte d'Ivoire
 "Morocco Withdrew 12 November 1984 protesting the membership of "Western Sahara
 "Sierra Leone
 "Tanganyika Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was renamed Tanzania 1 November 1964.
 "Upper Volta From 1984 Burkina Faso
 "Zanzibar Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was renamed Tanzania 1 November 1964.
13 December 1963  "Kenya
13 July 1964  "Malawi
16 December 1964  "Zambia
October 1965  "Gambia
31 October 1966  "Botswana
August 1968  "Mauritius
24 September 1968  "Swaziland
12 October 1968  "Equatorial Guinea
19 November 1973  "Guinea-Bissau
11 February 1975  "Angola
18 July 1975  "Cape Verde
 "São Tomé and Príncipe
29 June 1976  "Seychelles
27 June 1977  "Djibouti
1 June 1980  "Zimbabwe
22 February 1982  "Western Sahara
3 June 1990  "Namibia
24 May 1993  "Eritrea
6 June 1994  "South Africa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Department of International Relations and Cooperation - South Africa". www.dfa.gov.za. 
  2. ^ "BBC NEWS - World - Africa - African Union replaces dictators' club". news.bbc.co.uk. 
  3. ^ African Parliamentary Union

Further reading[edit]

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