African Union Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Ephraim Percy Kenyanito

The African Union (AU), the single largest organization of states in Africa, marked its 50th anniversary from May 25 to 27, 2013 at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sparking debate among Africans throughout the continent over the organization’s relevance and effectiveness.

The AU began as the Organisation of African Unity, founded on May 25, 1963 with 32 members. Though often criticised for the inability to enforce its decisions, the organisation played a key role in ending colonial rule on the continent through its aid to rebel groups.

After the African Union replaced the Organisation in 2001, many of the same criticisms – that the union had little real power to tackle the poverty and conflict afflicting the continent – have followed. The AU now has 54 member states.

African Union 50th anniversary logo. Image from African Union Website: http://www.au.int/

African Union 50th anniversary logo. Image from African Union Website: http://www.au.int/

The anniversary celebrations encouraged discussions among Africans who…

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