Primary Sources

PrintPrint CiteCite
Style: MLAAPAChicago Close


African Union: The Constitutive Act

Published July 11, 2000



African Union: The Constitutive Act

This act, adopted at the Lome Summit (Togo), established the African Union on July 11, 2000, and entered into force in 2001.


INSPIRED by the noble ideals which guided the founding fathers of our Continental Organization and generations of Pan-Africanists in their determination to promote unity, solidarity, cohesion and cooperation among the peoples of Africa and African States;

CONSIDERING the principles and objectives stated in the Charter of the Organization of African Unity and the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community;

RECALLING the heroic struggles waged by our peoples and our countries for political independence, human dignity and economic emancipation;

CONSIDERING that since its inception, the Organization of African Unity has played a determining and invaluable role in the liberation of attainment of the unity of our continent and has provided a unique framework for our collective action in Africa and in our relations with the rest of the world.

DETERMINED to take up the multifaceted challenges that confront our continent and peoples in the light of the social, economic and political changes taking place in the world;

CONVINCED of the need to accelerate the process of implementing the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community in order to promote the socio-economic development of Africa and to face more effectively the challenges posed by globalization; GUIDED by our common vision of a united and strong Africa and by the need to build a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular women, youth and the private sector, in order to strengthen solidarity and cohesion among our peoples;

CONSCIOUS of a major impediment to the socio-economic development of the continent and of the need to promote peace, security and stability as a prerequisite for the implementation of our development and integration agenda;

DETERMINED to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights, consolidate democratic institutions and culture, and to ensure good governance and the rule of law;

FURTHER DETERMINED to take all necessary measures to strengthen our common institutions and provide them with the necessary powers and resources to enable them discharge their respective mandates effectively;

RECALLING the Declaration which we adopted at the Fourth Extraordinary Session of our Assembly in Sirte, the Great Socialist Constitutif Act of African Union People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, on 9.9. 99, in which we decided to establish an African Union, in conformity with the ultimate objectives of the Charter of our Continental Organization and the Treaty establishing
the African Economic Community;


Article 1 Definitions
In this Constitutive Act:
“Act” means the present Constitutive Act;
“AEC” means the African Economic Community;
“Assembly” means the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Union;
“Charter” means the Charter of the OAU;
“Commission” means the Secretariat of the Union;
“Committee” means a Specialized Technical Committee of the Union;
“Council” means the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the Union;
“Court” means the Court of Justice of the Union;
“Executive Council” means the Executive Council of Ministers of the Union;
“Member State” means a Member State of the Union;
“OAU” means the Organization of African Unity;
“Parliament” means the Pan-African Parliament of the Union;
“Union” means the African Union established by the present Constitutive Act.

Article 2 Establishment

The African Union is hereby established in accordance with the provisions
of this Act.

Article 3 Objectives
The objectives of the Union shall be to:
(a) achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa;
(b) defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States;
(c) accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
(d) promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples;
(e) encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
(f) promote peace, security, and stability on the continent;
(g) promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;
(h) promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments;
(i) establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations;
(j) promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies; living standards of African peoples;
(l) coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;
(m) advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular science and technology;
(n) work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.

Article 4
The Union shall function in accordance with the following principles:
(a) sovereign equality and interdependence among Member States of the Union;
(b) respect of borders existing on achievement of independence;
(c) participation of the African peoples in the activities of the Union;
(d) establishment of a common defence policy for the African Continent;
(e) peaceful resolution of conflicts among Member States of the Union through such appropriate means as may be decided upon by the Assembly;
(f) prohibition of the use of force or threat to use force among Member States of the Union;
(g) non-interference by any Member State in the internal affairs of another;
(h) the right of the Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity;
(i) peaceful co-existence of Member States and their right to live in peace and security;
(j) the right of Member States to request intervention from the Union in order to restore peace and security;
(k) promotion of self-reliance within the framework of the Union;
(l) promotion of gender equality;
(m) respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance;
(n) promotion of social justice to ensure balanced economic development;
(o) respect for the sanctity of human life, condemnation and rejection of impunity and political assassination, acts of terrorism and subversive activities;
(p) condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of governments.

More on This Topic


The African Union

Author: Stephanie Hanson

The African Union succeeded the old Organization for African Unity (OAU) in 2002. Since then, the new institution has struggled to reform...