May 2017 2nd Edition

This month in history

Africa news

The Organisation of African Unity is formed

25 May 1963

Inspired by the dream of a united states of Africa, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded by 33 newly independent states in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 25 May 1963. A further 21 countries joined the organisation over the years. South Africa became the 53rd member on 23 May 1994.

The OAU was set up to strengthen cooperation between African states to achieve a better life for their people, to defend African countries’ sovereignty and independence, and to eradicate colonialism.

Its founding is celebrated every year on 25 May, Africa Day, marking the beginning of a quest for continental unity, political and economic emancipation, and the restoration of the dignity of Africa’s people.

In 2002 the OAU was dissolved and a new continental organisation took its place: the African Union.

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