The process for creating the African Union was initiated in September 1999, when the Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity called for the establishment of an African Union, with a view, inter alia, to accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems compounded as they are by certain negative aspects of globalization.
The Union was officially launched in 2002, when the first Assembly of the Heads of States was convened.
Among its objectives, the AU aims to:
- achieve greater unity and solidarity between African countries and peoples;
- accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
- promote and protect human and people’s rights;
- promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural level; and
- advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology.
The African Union also works on digital policy issues, and one example in this regard is the Convention on cybersecurity and personal data protection, adopted in 2014 to address issues such as: e-commerce, security of electronic transactions, personal data protection, cybersecurity, and cybecrime. The organisation is also active in global and regional Internet governance processes, such as the global Internet Governance Forum and the African Internet Governance Forum.