African Union and regional organisations

African Union (AU)

The AU was established in 2002 to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) founded in 1963 ( The AU is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The chair of the OAU is currently held by Mauritania. Current President of the Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is striving to shift the Union's earlier focus on peace and security more towards activities in other political areas, but the various crises in Africa (Mali, Central Republic of the Congo, Somalia and South Sudan) still require the full attention of the organisation. At an extraordinary summit meeting in Addis Ababa on 25 May, the double anniversary of 50 years foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and ten years of AU was celebrated under the topic "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance". In the framework of this summit, the AU adopted its third, more outcome-oriented strategic plan for the years 2014 – 2017 and launched its Agenda 2063, an initiative of the AU Commission to work out a long-term strategic plan for the development of Africa over the course of the next fifty years.


The work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) revolved around finding solutions to the crises in Somalia and South Sudan in 2013. The organisation currently chaired by Ethiopia made a significant contribution to reaching an agreement between the Somali federal government and Jubaland. The Reconciliation Agreement signed after eight months of negotiations in Addis Ababa in August 2013 covers issues of the country's decentralisation as well as control of significant infrastructure such as the port of Kismayo. Following the outbreak of hostilities in South Sudan, IGAD immediately intervened as a mediating body in December 2013. Austrian Development Cooperation supports the Rapid Response Fund of IGAD's CEWARN, the regional Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism, and will continue to do so until the end of 2015 so that it can detect and quickly respond to cross-border conflicts over grazing land and water in the IGAD member states (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea (currently suspended).

East African Community (EAC)

Despite efforts to reach its ambitious goals – monetary union, common visa, etc. – and even though a protocol on the monetary union has been signed and major infrastructure projects, e.g. in the railway sector, have been agreed, EAC has hardly made any concrete progress. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda – the self-declared "Coalition of the Willing" – are particularly keen on reforms while Tanzania is sceptical about some of the projects.

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Malawi took over the chair of SADC at the SADC summit in August 2013 in Lilongwe/Malawi from Mozambique. Malawi is planning to keep the focus of the organisation's work on the economy and infrastructure. Namibia followed Tanzania in the chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security of SADC. The SADC mission in Zimbabwe to implement the political agreement reached between government and opposition in 2009 was declared concluded at the SADC summit in August 2013 after elections in Zimbabwe had been held. The efforts to restore order under constitutional law after the coup in Madagascar in 2009 were also concluded in 2013 after the successful presidential and parliamentary elections. In summit meetings with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), SADC is also trying to stabilise the conflicts around the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)

The ECCAS was successful in its mediation in the crisis in the Central African Republic and held several summit meetings to find a way to end the violence.

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Its intervention in the crises in Mali and Guinea-Bissau yielded some success. Little progress has, however, been made in the urgently required internal reform process to improve the institutional implementation capacity of ECOWAS.

The EU and ECOWAS are negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on the basis of the Cotonou Agreement of the year 2000.