African Union (AU)

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The African Union (AU) is a continental organization comprising 55 member states located on the African continent. The AU was first proposed in the Sirte Declaration in Sirte, Libya on September 9, 1999, and was officially established on May 26, 2001, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before its launch on July 9, 2002, in Durban, South Africa. The AU was established to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was founded in Addis Ababa on May 25, 1963, by 32 signatory governments and was disbanded on July 9, 2002. The Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states, makes the most critical decisions for the AU.

The African Union Commission, the AU’s secretariat, is headquartered in Addis Ababa. Lagos, Nigeria, is the largest city in the AU, while Cairo, Egypt, is the largest urban agglomeration. The African Union has over 1.3 billion people and covers an area of approximately 30 million km2 (12 million sq mi), including world-renowned landmarks like the Sahara and the Nile. The AU’s primary working languages are Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili. The AU also has official bodies, such as the Peace and Security Council and the Pan-African Parliament, within its framework.

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