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The African Union (AU) has invited the African Diaspora to become “voting members” of the AU so that together African people can move toward making the unification of the African continent into the reality called the Union of African States (or United States of Africa) in the near future.

The AU -the African Union- is the linear descendent of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The OAU ceased to exist in 2001-2002 with the birth of the AU. The AU is the African government-centred, continent-wide body of 53 member’s states (Morocco has not joined) established to represent the joint interest of African countries, and to eventually create a Union of African States, which will be a single country of Africa to replace the current 54 countries. The AU has laid out, on paper a roadmap for the creation of a real Pan African unification, and the Diaspora is a big part of those plans.

In 2003 the AU amended its constitution (called the AU Constitutive Act) to clarify its fundamental relationship with the Diaspora and to invite the Diaspora to join the organization to help African unify.

In article 3(3q) of the AU’s amended Constitution, “the AU hereby” ….. invite(s) and encourage(s) the full participation of the Diaspora as an important part of our continent, in building of the African Union”

The advent of the African Union (AU) can be described as an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent. On September,9,1999, the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) calling for the establishment of an African Union, with a view, inter alia, to accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems compounded as they are by certain negative aspects of globalisation.

The main objectives of the OAU were, inter alia, to rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonization and apartheid; to promote unity and solidarity among African States; to coordinate and intensify cooperation for development; to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, and to promote international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations.

Indeed, as a continental organization, the OAU provided an effective forum that enabled all member states, to adopt coordinated positions on matters of common concern to the continent in international for and defend the interests of Africa effectively.

Through the OAU Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa, the Continent worked and spoke as one with undivided determination in forging an international consensus in support of the liberation struggle and the fight against apartheid. (Source: OAU)