African Union (AU)
The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 54 countries in Africa – the entire African continent with the exception of Morocco, which withdrew its membership from the AU’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in May 1984. The Union was formed in 1999 following a meeting of the African Heads of States at the summit of the OAU.
The AU shares a similar vision to its predecessor, that of: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”
Topic 1: The African continent in the twenty-first century: How good governance can help overcome environmental challenges
Environmental challenges have plagued the African continent for many decades and were exacerbated by the onset of El Niño in early 2016, causing uncharacteristically high temperatures as well as reduced rainfall. With two-thirds of the continent classified as desert – especially in the south – Africa is suffering from the impact of climate change, mainly facing challenges resulting from land degradation. As the food and water crises rages throughout Africa, intervention in the environment is crucial to alleviating the expected loss of two-thirds of arable land by 2025. Other environmental issues must also be dealt with, including soil erosion, deforestation and pollution, some of which have been caused by the foreign companies who have been investing heavily in the land in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Topic 2: Peace and stability in the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been subject to conflict and instability since its independence from France in 1960. Landlocked in an unstable neighborhood with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo to its south, Cameroon to its west, Chad and Sudan to its north and South Sudan to its east, the CAR struggles to protect its population of 4.6 million people and its borders. The country has been undergoing an unprecedented political and humanitarian crisis: following the onset of violence in 2013, more than 6,000 people have been killed and around 400,000 have been internally displaced. International troops have been deployed to the CAR in an effort to stabilize the country, as during previous crises in the region. The intervention of France (Sangaris Force) and a UN peacekeeping operation, MINUSCA – which replaced and largely absorbed a previous AU stabilization force, MISCA – have allowed for a minimal level of security to be established within the country, although it remains politically unstable.
African Union Study Guide: au-study-guide_en_final