Strengthening of the management capacities of the AU Commission

Project description

Title: Strengthening of Steering and Management Capacities of the AU Commission
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: African Union Commission (headquarters: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Lead executing agency: African Union Commission (AUC)
Overall term: 2018 to 2020

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The African Union (AU) was launched in 2002 as the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The primary objective of this international organisation is to promote and implement the ambitious African agenda for integration. The AU provides an institutional and organisational framework for its 55 member states to accomplish the common vision of Agenda 2063 for ‘an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena’. 

In cooperation with the member states and various other AU organs, the AU Commission (AUC) is assigned a central and coordinating role. As the secretariat of the AU, it performs important coordination, executive and administrative functions. In 2016, the member states decided to enact comprehensive reforms with the aim of advancing the integration of the continent and improving the efficiency and transparency of the AUC. Among the results of this decision were two thematic priority areas of the current AUC strategy plan for 2018 to 2023: (1) institutional reforms and (2) the development of performance capacity, the improvement of service delivery, capacity development, partnership cooperation and public relations work.


Selected divisions of the African Union Commission work more efficiently, effectively and transparently. In particular, human resources management and financial management have been improved.

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The project supports the AUC in its efforts to enhance its performance, particularly with regard to efficiency, effectiveness and transparency. To achieve this, the project focuses on internal steering capacities that need to be improved. The aim is to increase the performance capacity of other divisions and of the entire AU, with advice being provided to the office of the Deputy Chairperson and to selected, subordinate directorates. Improving both human resources management and financial management is a priority area. 

The project is supporting the following processes:

Support for the professional qualification of personnel: The project supports the AU Leadership Academy and the Learning and Development Unit with the development, expansion and implementation of internal training measures. Furthermore, the development of cross-divisional e-learning capacities is being supported.

Strengthening of the recruitment process: The project promotes the professionalisation of the AUC recruitment system in a targeted manner by means of specialist and organisational advice. 

Improvement of financial management processes: Advice is being provided to the AUC on the adaptation of planning and financing mechanisms and on introducing more transparent cooperation between the AUC and international partners. In addition, the project supports the professionalisation of the Commission’s budgetary planning and the transparent reflection of donor contributions. Financial management will be further improved by the uniform use of SAP software. 

Support for the Office of Internal Audit of the AU: Employees of the Office of Internal Audit are receiving training and obtaining certificates on carrying out performance audits and using special auditing software to be fully able to adhere to international auditing standards. Staff members and departments receive trainings on international auditing standards 


The project is providing targeted assistance aimed at improving the AUC’s management processes. Here are some examples of what has been achieved so far:

  • Financial management: Joint planning and financing mechanisms between the AUC and international partners have been analysed. This data serves as the foundation for improved new basket financing. Moreover, the AU has decided to make all partner contributions transparent within its budget.
  • Professionalisation of internal auditing: Training for auditors has improved their specialist skills. Performance audits are conducted on a regular basis. Support for cooperation with the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI) has helped to achieve compatibility with international standards.
  • Digital learning: The project is contributing to the development and introduction of an e-learning platform. This system is aimed to be used by the entire AU for online training courses and has the potential to improve the quality and participation rates of training measures in the medium term. At the same time, the range of training measures available will be more individual and cost-effective, and will allow for mobile career development and planning for AUC personnel. 
  • Leadership development: The project is training change managers on an ongoing basis by providing in-service training in organisational development and by cooperating with the various interest groups within the AUC.
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