African Union Summit: New prospects through cooperation

04.02.2016 – A peaceful and sustainable Africa – that is the vision of the African Union. GIZ is supporting the AU on this path.

At the end of January, 54 African heads of state and government met for the half-yearly Summit of the African Union (AU), which has set itself the goal of together creating a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa. The 26th AU Summit agenda was shaped by present-day challenges: terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and the so-called ‘Islamic State’ are committing the most serious human rights violations causing the displacement of millions of people; compliance with the peace agreement in South Sudan is still not guaranteed and the United Nations is now warning of a renewed outbreak of civil war in Burundi.

Against this background, the summit focused on the enforcement of human rights and good governance as pre-conditions for a peaceful and sustainable Africa. Commissioned by the German Federal Government, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been supporting the African Union for over ten years in strengthening its political and economic cooperation and integration. In less than eight years, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (AfCHPR), whose establishment Germany supported, has evolved into the touchstone of human rights jurisprudence on the African continent. In nearly 40 cases to date, the AfCHPR has adjudicated on human rights violations committed by states and in five cases it has ordered countries to align their national legislation, which they have also done.

Early warning of burgeoning crises, preventive diplomacy, mediation and peace operations have become vital methods for handling critical security situations and crises. By way of example, a joint project supported by Germany and the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University is promoting efforts to structurally consolidate the AU’s peace and security operations by offering a part-time Master’s Degree. To date, this course has enabled more than 200 experts and managers from the AU and African regional organisations to attain further education. Moreover, applied research and policy consultancy are helping to develop and implement effective strategies for peace and security in Africa.

Overall GIZ is assisting the AU in implementing 15 projects in the areas of peace and security, education, agriculture and infrastructure on behalf of the German Federal Government. German cooperation with the AU is guided by the strategies set out in the AU’s Agenda 2063, in which the AU Member States present their vision for Africa’s peaceful, economic and social development over the next 50 years.