The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of all 55 countries on the African continent. It was established on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the aim of promoting unity and solidarity of African states, to spur economic development, and to promote international cooperation. In this respect, the AU’s vision is “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.” The objectives of the AU are:
- To achieve greater unity and solidarity between African countries and Africans.
- To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
- To accelerate the political and social-economic integration of the continent.
The African Union has been effective in boosting cooperation and unity within Africa, putting its efforts towards diminishing conflict and boosting democracy. Processes are also being implemented that aim to diminish corruption and boost credibility amongst African leaders like the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). APRM evaluates member states on their successes and failures in a wide range of areas. Under this mechanism, leaders submit themselves to public scrutiny.
Uganda has been hailed as being among many examples of governments leading society and acting decisively in building a better life for current and future generations despite challenges. Uganda’s efforts in promotion of gender equality and empowering women; free movement of persons; the fight against malaria and child education have been recognized by the African Union. Furthermore, the country is pursuing its development objectives in line with the African Union Agenda 2063, which is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The agenda puts forward seven aspirations for “the Africa that we want” as below;
- A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
- An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
- An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
- A peaceful and secure Africa
- An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
- An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
- Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner
The Africa-Europe D4D Hub Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development in Africa was held in March 2022 after the 6th European Union –African Union Summit, where leaders from both continents announced a EUR 150 billion Africa-Europe Investment Package, which amongst other priorities aims to accelerate Africa’s sustainable digital transformation. This ambition aligns with the EU Global Gateway, a strategy set out to boost smart, clean, and secure investments in connectivity, and the AU Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa 2020 – 2030. Additionally, the Forum will transform Africa’s economies and societies by harnessing digital technologies, the potential of data and innovation for the benefit of people.
In March 2022, African Union Commission and Kingdom of Morocco signed the Revised Constitution of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Memorandum of Implementation (MoI) of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). The signing the SAATM Memorandum of Implementation (MOI) the countries commit to revise all their Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) with other African countries to make them compliant to the provisions of the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) for full liberalization of air transport services. The following 35 AU Member States have signed the solemn commitment to implement the SAATM: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Eswatini, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
African Union further launched an initiative to unlock USD20 billion for Financial and Economic Inclusion of African Women and Youth in March, 2022. The newly announced “African Union’s Women and Youth Financial and Economic Inclusion Initiative”, seeks to unlock USD20 billion, to enable financing opportunities and parity in employment for at least 1 million African women and youth by 2030. The initiative is aligned to the February 2020 Declaration by African Heads of State and Government, of years (2020 - 2030) as the decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion. In this declaration, African leaders recommitted to scale up actions for the progressive gender inclusion towards sustainable development at the national, regional and continental levels.