11.8.2020 : 12:11 : +0200

General Information | Point of Contact | PoA initiatives & activites | Instruments & documents | Members


African Union (AU)


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Web site

Short description

The AU seeks to promote political and socio-economic integration, peace and security, democratic principles and institutions, sustainable development, and respect for human rights among African states, and to raise the living standards of Africans.


In 2010 the AU budget amounted to USD 250 million. The AU–EU Partnership makes the EU the largest external contributor. The Decisions of the 14th AU Summit (2010) requested member states to increase their contributions to the Peace Fund from 6 to 12 per cent over a threeyear period beginning in 2011. Germany (through its international development agency, GIZ) and the United States are among other bilateral donors also providing assistance to the AU.

The AU began in 1963 as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) with 33 members. It became the AU in 2002. With South Sudan joining the organization in July 2011, the AU’s membership has grown to 54. The SADR is the only AU member that is not also a UN member. It joined the OAU in 1984, which resulted in Morocco choosing to withdraw from the organization. As of June 2012 three AU members were under suspension: Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, and Mali.


54 members (53 are UN member states)

  • Current members*: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, CAR, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DRC, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, SADR, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe (Bold: founding member, Grey: suspended member)
  • Former members: Morocco
  • Membership pending: None

Overlapping memberships with other ROs

AU members represent:

  • 9 of 22 LAS members (Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan, and Tunisia are LAS members)

* Information accurate as of 2 June 2012

PoA Point of Contact

  • Peter O. Otim
  • Expert, Common African Defence and Security Policy, AU Commission


PoA-related activities

The OAU adopted the Bamako Declaration in December 2000 in order to develop a common position and generate political support for the 2001 UN Conference on Small Arms that led to the PoA. The AU has since called on its members to take concrete steps to implement the Bamako Declaration and the PoA, e.g. via the CSSDCA (2002) and Windhoek Common Position (2005), and has recognized the links among illicit trafficking of small arms and terrorism, corruption, and drug trafficking. More recently, the AU established the AU-Regions Steering Committee on Small Arms in 2008. The committee, made up of 10 RECs and two observers (see below), seeks to enhance capacity, and harmonize and coordinate the efforts of the AU, RECs, and other regional bodies with small arms mandates. In 2011 member states adopted the AU Strategy on the Control of Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons. This strategy calls on the AU to grant the Steering Committee on Small Arms the status of a standing committee and sets out responsibilities in such areas as coordination and information sharing, and engaging civil society across the continent. Responsibility for implementing the strategy is at three levels: states at the national level, RECs and regional bodies at the regional level, and the AU Commission at the continental level. The Steering Committee on Small Arms, with the regional police organizations and civil society, also monitors implementation of an EU-funded (EUR 3.3 million) project administered by RECSA. The AU engages in peace dialogue via its diplomatic prevention mechanisms (Panel of the Wise), has a continental early warning system, and conducts some small arms collection and destruction activities through its peace support operations (e.g. AMISOM).

PoA-related programmes and initiatives

PoA-relevant cooperation with other ROs

The AU-Regions Steering Committee on Small Arms consists of CEEAC, CEN-SAD, COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, the ICGLR, RECSA, SADC, and UMA. The EU is an observer, as is UNREC. RECSA administers the above-mentioned EU-funded project.

Legally binding regional instruments

  • None

Other official documents of interest


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