The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
The OAU Charter spelled out the purpose of the Organization namely:
To promote the unity and solidarity of the African States.
To coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa.
To defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity and independence.
To eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa; and
To promote international cooperation, having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.