Established in the Ethiopian Capital of Addis Ababa on 25 May 1963, the OAU was formed with the objective of co-operation between independent member African States in order to confront the challenges faced by Post-Colonial Africa and to assist with the liberation of African countries that were still colonised.
It was replaced with the African Union in 2002, and it made a significant contribution to Post-Colonial development in Africa.
Below is a full Text of the OAU Charter and speech by Kwame Nkrumah at the opening OAU Summit.
The Organisation Of African Unity Charter
We, the Heads of African States and Governments assembled in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,Convinced that it is the inalienable right of all people to control their own destiny,Conscious of the fact that freedom, equality, justice and dignity are essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples,Conscious of our responsibility to harness the natural and human resources of our continent for the total advancement of our peoples in all spheres of human endeavour,Inspired by a common determination to promote understanding among our peoples and cooperation among our states in response to the aspirations of our peoples for brother-hood and solidarity, in a larger unity transcending ethnic and national
differences,Convinced that, in order to translate this determination into a dynamic force in the cause of human progress, conditions for peace and security must be established and maintained,Determined to safeguard and consolidate the hard-won independence as well as thesovereignty and territorial integrity of our states, and to fight against neocolonialism in all its forms,Dedicated to the general progress of Africa,Persuaded that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the Principles of which we reaffirm our adherence, provide a solid foundation for peaceful and positive cooperation among States,Desirous that all African States should henceforth unite so that the welfare and wellbeing of their peoples can be assured,Resolved to reinforce the links between our states by establishing and strengthening common institutions,Have agreed to the present Charter.
1. The High Contracting Parties do by the present Charter establish an
Organization to be known as the ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY.
2. The Organization shall include the Continental African States, Madagascar
and other Islands surrounding Africa.
1. The Organization shall have the following purposes:
(a) To promote the unity and solidarity of the African States;
(b) To coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a
better life for the peoples of Africa;
(c) To defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity and
(d) To eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa; and
(e) To promote international cooperation, having due regard to the
Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of
2. To these ends, the Member States shall coordinate and harmonize their
general policies, especially in the following fields:
(a) Political and diplomatic cooperation;
(b) Economic cooperation, including transport and communications;
(c) Educational and cultural cooperation;
(d) Health, sanitation and nutritional cooperation;
(e) Scientific and technical cooperation; and
(f) Cooperation for defence and security.
The Member States, in pursuit of the purposes stated in Article II solemnly affirm
and declare their adherence to the following principles:
1. The sovereign equality of all Member States.
2. Non-interference in the internal affairs of States.
3. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each State and for its
inalienable right to independent existence.
4. Peaceful settlement of disputes by negotiation, mediation, conciliation or
5. Unreserved condemnation, in all its forms, of political assassination as well as of subversive activities on the part of neighbouring States or any other
6. Absolute dedication to the total emancipation of the African territories which are still dependent.
7. Affirmation of a policy of non-alignment with regard to all blocs.
Each independent sovereign African State shall be entitled to become a Member of the Organization.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MEMBER STATES
All Member States shall enjoy equal rights and have equal duties.
The Member States pledge themselves to observe scrupulously the principles
enumerated in Article III of the present Charter.
The Organization shall accomplish its purposes through the following principal
1. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
2. The Council of Ministers.
3. The General Secretariat.
4. The Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration.
THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
The Assembly of Heads of State and Government shall be the supreme organ of the Organization. It shall, subject to the provisions of this Charter, discuss matters of common concern to Africa with a view to coordinating and harmonizing the general policy of the Organization. It may in addition review the structure, functions and acts of all the organs and any specialized agencies which may be created inaccordance with the present Charter.
The Assembly shall be composed of the Heads of State and Government or their duly accredited representatives and it shall meet at least once a year. At the request of any Member State and on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Member States, the Assembly shall meet in extraordinary session.
1. Each Member State shall have one vote.
2. All resolutions shall be determined by a two-thirds majority of the Members
of the Organization.
3. Questions of procedure shall require a simple majority. Whether or not a
question is one of procedure shall be determined by a simple majority of all
Member States of the Organization.
4. Two-thirds of the total membership of the Organization shall form a quorum at any meeting of the Assembly.
The Assembly shall have the power to determine its own rules of procedure.
THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
1. The Council of Ministers shall consist of Foreign Ministers or other
Ministers as are designated by the Governments of Member States.
2. The Council of Ministers shall meet at least twice a year. When requested by
any Member State and approved by two-thirds of all Member States, it shall
meet in extraordinary session.
1. The Council of Ministers shall be responsible to the Assembly of Heads of
State and Government. It shall be entrusted with the responsibility of
preparing conferences of the Assembly.
2. It shall take cognisance of any matter referred to it by the Assembly. It shall
be entrusted with the implementation of the decision of the Assembly of
Heads of State and Government. It shall coordinate inter-African
cooperation in accordance with the instructions of the Assembly conformity
with Article II (2) of the present Charter.
1. Each Member State shall have one vote.
2. All resolutions shall be determined by a simple majority of the members of
the Council of Ministers.
3. Two-thirds of the total membership of the Council of Ministers shall form a
quorum for any meeting of the Council.
The Council shall have the power to determine its own rules of procedure.
There shall be a Secretary-General of the Organization, who shall be appointed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The Secretary-General shall direct the affairs of the Secretariat.
There shall be one or more Assistant Secretaries-General of the Organization, who shall be appointed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
The functions and conditions of service of the Secretary-General, of the Assistant Secretaries-General and other employees of the Secretariat shall be governed by the provisions of this Charter and the regulations approved by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
1. In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall
not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other
authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action
which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible
only to the Organization.
2. Each member of the Organization undertakes to respect the exclusive
character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and
not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
COMMISSION OF MEDIATION, CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION
Member States pledge to settle all disputes among themselves by peaceful means and, to this end decide to establish a Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration, the composition of which and conditions of service shall be defined by abseparate Protocol to be approved by the Assembly of Heads of State andbGovernment. Said Protocol shall be regarded as forming an integral part of the present Charter.
The Assembly shall establish such Specialized Commissions as it may deem
necessary, including the following:
1. Economic and Social Commission.
2. Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Health Commission.
3. Defence Commission.
Each Specialized Commission referred to in Article XX shall be composed of the Ministers concerned or other Ministers or Plenipotentiaries designated by the Governments of the Member States.
The functions of the Specialized Commissions shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the present Charter and of the regulations approved by the Council of Ministers.
The budget of the Organization prepared by the Secretary-General shall be
approved by the Council of Ministers. The budget shall be provided by
contribution from Member States in accordance with the scale of assessment of the United Nations; provided, however, that no Member State shall be assessed an amount exceeding twenty percent of the yearly regular budget of the Organization. The Member States agree to pay their respective contributions regularly.
SIGNATURE AND RATIFICATION OF CHARTER
1. This Charter shall be open for signature to all independent sovereign African States and shall be ratified by the signatory States in accordance with their respective constitutional processes.
2. The original instrument, done, if possible in African languages, in English
and French, all texts being equally authentic, shall be deposited with the
Government of Ethiopia which shall transmit certified copies thereof to all
independent sovereign African States.
3. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Government of
Ethiopia, which shall notify all signatories of each such deposit.
ENTRY INTO FORCE
This Charter shall enter into force immediately upon receipt by the Government of Ethiopia of the instruments of ratification from two-thirds of the signatory States.
REGISTRATION OF CHARTER
This Charter shall, after due ratification, be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations through the Government of Ethiopia in conformity with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
INTERPRETATION OF THE CHARTER
Any question which may arise concerning the interpretation of this Charter shall be decided by a vote of two-thirds of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization.
ADHESION AND ACCESSION
1. Any independent sovereign African State may at any time notify the
Secretary-General of its intention to adhere or accede to this Charter.
2. The Secretary-General shall, on receipt of such notification, communicate a
copy of it to all the Member States. Admission shall be decided by a simple
majority of the Member States. The decision of each Member State shall be
transmitted to the Secretary-General, who shall, upon receipt of the required
number of votes, communicate the decision to the State concerned.
The working languages of the Organization and all its institutions shall be, if
possible African languages, English and French, Arabic and Portuguese.
The Secretary-General may accept, on behalf of the Organization, gifts, bequests and other donations made to the Organization, provided that this is approved by the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers shall decide on the privileges and immunities to be
accorded to the personnel of the Secretariat in the respective territories of the Member States.
CESSATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Any State which desires to renounce its membership shall forward a written
notification to the Secretary-General. At the end of one year from the date of such notification, if not withdrawn, the Charter shall cease to apply with respect to the renouncing State, which shall thereby cease to belong to the Organization.
AMENDMENT OF THE CHARTER
This Charter may be amended or revised if any Member State makes a written
request to the Secretary-General to that effect; provided, however, that the
proposed amendment is not submitted to the Assembly for consideration until all the Member States have been duly notified of it and a period of one year has elapsed. Such an amendment shall not be effective unless approved by at least twothirds of all the Member States.
IN FAITH WHEREOF, We, the Heads of African States and Governments have
signed this Charter. Done in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
25th day of May, 1963