African Union handbook 2014

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Publication Date: 
28 January 2014
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The African Union Handbook 2014 is a comprehensive guide to the AU system and how it works. The handbook summarises all AU organisations and provides essential information about their aims, structures, and membership. This handbook is published by the African Union in partnership with the New Zealand Government.

I am delighted to introduce the first official African Union Handbook – a comprehensive guide to the African Union system. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU), and as we engage in the process of conceiving Agenda 2063, it is timely for the AU system to have this guide.

The handbook aims to inform Member States, AU Organs, Programmes and Offices as well as the Regional Economic Communities about the purpose, structure and key facts of the AU family. It will be of interest as well to AU partners, civil society and the media.

The handbook contains detailed and factual information about the AU since 2002 and summary information relating to its predecessor, the OAU, which was formed in 1963. It illustrates some of the work that has gone into building African unity, prosperity and peace through the AU, the solid achievements of pan-Africanism and pathways to the future. It also provides delegates and officials with detailed insights and understanding of the Union, upon which we must to base our renaissance. Today, the AU is central to the advancement of Africa. It is the pre-eminent organisation of the continent. I hope that this handbook will be of valuable assistance to our Member States, citizens and partners as they navigate the AU system. 

This first edition is available both in hard copy and electronically through our website, This first edition is in English. However, it is intended that the handbook will in the future also be published in the other working languages of the AU. 

My sincere gratitude goes to the Government of New Zealand for generously supporting the AU Commission to produce the handbook. 

I hope this very practical guide reaches a wide audience and helps readers have a better understanding of the African Union and its role in the development and integration of our mother continent.

I hope that the experience gathered in the laborious process of midwifing the handbook will be deployed to enhance our collaborative partnership.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Chairperson of the African Union Commission