The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was the high peak of several historical currents and political trends on the African continent. Delegates from 32 African independent countries agreed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to form a union of the African countries. Independence was a mandatory condition for attaining membership status. OAU was established between May 22 – May 25, 1963 and the most important reason was to continue the Pan-African movement.
The Birth of OAU
One of the most significant influences was the late 19th century Pan-African movement which emerged in the United States. The intellectuals involved in the Pan-African movement believed in a free nation for black people. Mainly, influenced by the Christianity beliefs, early Pan-Africanists sought to bring the spirit on the African continent.
The idea for OAU began to consolidate though the scholarship of W.E.B. Du Bois, a true fighter for the freedom of Africa. He said that colonialism was sucking out the African resources and fused the social and political problems. After the idea was “launched” again, more intellectuals took up the cause of advancing the Pan-African ideal. Therefore, their aim was to complete the independence of the African continent and reject the colonialism.
- To intensify the cooperation of African states
- To defend the independence of African states
- To eradicate all forms of colonialism and white minority
- To ensure that all Africans enjoyed human rights
- To raise the living standards in Africa
- To promote international collaboration
However, to achieve this objects, OAU called on member states to recognize and implement several things.
- The sovereign equality of member states
- No interference in the internal politics of each state
- Respect the sovereignty of each state
- Peaceful negotiations
A New Union
On July 9, 2002 the Organization of African Unity was disbanded. At that time, 53 out of the 54 African countries were members. Only Morocco left the organization in 1984 following the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. However, right after the “fall” of OAU, a new organization was founded. The African Union (AU) was officially launched on the same day when OAU was disbanded. Today, AU is a continental union consisting of all 55 countries on the African continent.