Why do we need the African Union?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (front row, centre right) poses for a group photo with leaders attending the African Union Summit, which marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

Understanding the roles AU and exploring options for foreign engagement with partner organisations.

On Wednesday 28 September 2016, ACCORD Founder and Executive Director, Dr Vasu Gounden was invited to participate in a meeting organised in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the African Union and the Foreign Affairs Ministry and hosted by our partner, the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. The meeting mapped out strategic opportunities for a 21st century engagement with the AU, based on equality and respect between all partners and aimed to:

  1. To understand the role of the AU as an emerging actor in the African and global arenas;
  2. To explore the role that AU and other regional actors play in peace and security, justice and migration; and,
  3. To identify options for Netherlands engagement with the AU.


Dr Gounden presented a session, entitled “The African Union Today”, where he sought to improve the understanding of the audience on the role of the AU; how it has evolved and what role can we expect the AU to assume in the future. The session was attended by over 65 participants. These included: participants from different departments of the Dutch ministry of foreign affairs, representatives of African embassies accredited in the Netherlands, the African Union, the ICC, as well as some civil society organisations.

The overall meeting presented an interactive space for participants from different backgrounds, including involved practitioners to share insights based on the latest analysis of the workings of the AU.

Article by:

Stephanie De Freitas
Stephanie de Freitas
Programme Officer: Operations Division