The African Union (AU) was created in 2002, replacing the former African Unit Organization.
The African Union has been active in the mediation and prevention of conflicts, such as in the cases of Somalia and Sudan. One of the principles enshrined in its founding treaty, and which has contributed to the defense of democracy in the continent, is the one that establishes the condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government. Created in 2004, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union was designed to act with regard to serious circumstances in member countries – such as war crimes, genocide, or crimes against humanity. The willingness to intervene in such situations is, in itself, another innovative element of the organization.
The economic plan of the African Union – the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) – has privileged international cooperation projects in which the concept of “partnering” overlaps with “assistance”, with a view to promoting effective development in the continent. This is another example of the African commitment, promoted by the AU, to actively engage in solving problems that affect the region.
The African Union has contributed significantly to the institutional evolution of the continent, leading to the “African Rebirth” and forging a new profile for Africa – mainly characterized by the modernization of political institutions and economic structures. The initiatives of the African Union are aimed at respecting human rights, economic openness, and administrative transparency of member States.
Brazilian foreign policy attributes great importance to the African Union, as it is an essential forum for articulating and impelling initiatives in several areas – from politics to economy, agriculture to social development. The opening of the Brazilian Embassy to Addis Ababa, headquarters of the African Union, in 2005, reflected the Brazilian interest in following the activities of the organization. Brazil has been invited, since then, to participate in the main events of the AU, as an observer.