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The African Union: What role in tackling Africa’s challenges?

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The African Union (AU) represents different things to different people. For some, it is a core part of the development landscape in Africa – a symbol of pan-Africanism, continental collective action and aspirations for ‘The Africa We Want’. Others know of its existence but are less sure of its relevance, or how its programmes and policies could or should affect what they experience day to day in their own countries. For others who seek to support African development and international partnerships, the AU is a natural counterpart to the European Union – two continental unions, seeking similar goals. Though all of these partially reflect reality, both in Africa and Europe we see a need to better explain and understand what the African Union does and how it works. This virtual guide aims to do just that.

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For information about this guide please contact Philomena Apiko at or Martin Ronceray at To know more about ECDPM’s work on African institutions and regional dynamics, and on the PEDRO II project, contact Bruce Byiers at

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The African Union: What role in tackling Africa's challenges?

This guide was created by Philomena Apiko, Martin Ronceray, Luckystar Miyandazi, Bruce Byiers, Alfonso Medinilla, Lidet Tadesse and Valeria Pintus. It is part of our work on the Political Economy Dynamics of Regional Organisations in the time of COVID-19 (PEDRO II) project. It builds on earlier works conducted under the Political Economy Dynamics of Regional Organisations (PEDRO), in line with ECDPM’s mission to inform and facilitate relations between Europe and Africa, and financed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ.

African economic integrationAfrican Union (AU)Africa