Canada, a longstanding partner for the continent, supports the African Union’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa. In 2002 African leaders transformed the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) –- a multilateral organization that aims to promote continental integration and sustainable development. Over the past decade, the AU has become the principal continental interlocutor for Africa.
With the exception of Morocco, all 53 states of the continent plus Western Sahara are members of the organization (totalling 54). A defining feature of the modern AU is its Secretariat, the African Union Commission (AUC), whose structure combines aspects of the European Union, the European Council and the United Nations (UN). The AU Assembly, which meets twice a year at summits, is comprised of Heads of State and Government and is the ultimate voting authority that determines the Commission's structures, functions and budget. Traditionally, the AU Assembly rotates its Chairperson annually among the five regions (North, East, South, Central and West Africa).
Canada continues to support institutional capacity building initiatives within the AU Commission. In the past several years, Canada has also focused on initiatives for democratic development, trade policy, strengthening food security across Africa as well as providing training and equipment to African countries involved in peace operations. In 2011 Canada committed $1 million to the peace mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD):
NEPAD is a vision and a strategic framework for Africa’s renewal. It is a program of the AU which was created and implemented by Africans to accelerate growth and sustainable development, eradicate widespread and severe poverty, halt the marginalisation of Africa in the globalisation process, and accelerate the empowerment of women. At the January 2010 Summit, the NEPAD Secretariat, formerly hosted by South Africa, was officially integrated into the AU Commission.
African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM):
Launched in 2003, the APRM is a voluntary process of self-assessment, peer dialogue, and sharing of best practices. The aim is to improve economic, political, and corporate governance, and social-economic development across Africa through peer review. In 2004 Canada, through CIDA, committed $ 5.9 million to the APRM, the first donor country to signal support for this important, home-grown, African-owned mechanism. The APRM continues to attract new signatory countries. As of January 2012, 30 of the 53 African states have voluntarily signed on – accounting for ¾ of the African population.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP):
The PAP was inaugurated on 18 March 200. Its permanent seat is in Midrand, South Africa. It was originally established to provide a platform for African peoples and their grass-roots organizations to be more involved in discussions and debates on the challenges facing the continent. The founders’ ultimate aim was for the PAP to evolve into a body with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage. At present, it exercises advisory and consultative powers and has 230 members.