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African Union

  • By: Garth Myers
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The African Union (AU) is a regional organization that aims to strengthen continental solidarity, territorial integrity and sovereignty, and development. The AU officially began in 2002, emerging out of what had been the Organization of African Unity (OAU). It has 53 member states, comprising all of Africa's continental and island independent states except Morocco and including the nonindependent Sahrawi Arab Republic (Western Sahara). The AU is particularly pertinent to political geographers as an example of the 21st-century phenomenon of growing significance for supranational and international organizations amid contemporary globalization.

In 1999, the OAU decided to relaunch itself, but it took three more years to officially become the AU. The AU can be distinguished from its predecessor mostly through its commitment to invoking African unity to further ...

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