The African Union (AU) was created in 2002, replacing the former Organization of African Unity, which was founded on May 25, 1963.
Imbued with the values of independence, unity, peace and cooperation, which motivated the constitution of its predecessor, the AU seeks to promote African solutions to the challenges faced by African countries, with a view to strengthen peace, sovereignty and social and economic development on the continent. The organization’s objectives and goals are listed in the so-called ‘2063 Agenda’, launched on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of the African Unity, in 2013, with the aim to guide the AU workings in the next 50 years.
The economic dimension of the African Union – the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – has given priority to international cooperation projects highlighting the concept of ‘partnership’, with a view to foster effective development on the continent. In April 2019, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) came into force, which will become the world’s largest free-trade area once it becomes fully operational. With its secretariat based in Accra, Ghana, the AfCFTA’s goal is to increase intra-African trade and to strengthen Africa’s position on the international market.
The African Union has contributed significantly to the continent’s institutional development by playing an important role in the so-called “African rebirth”, in conflict prevention and resolution and by forging a new profile for Africa, which is marked by modernized political institutions and economic frameworks. The AU’s initiatives are aimed at the respect of human rights, economic openness and transparent administrative framework of its member states. Highlights among these initiatives include the promotion of sustainable development, gender equality and empowerment of women.
The African Union is a key actor in the Brazilian foreign policy for it is an indispensable forum to discuss and launch initiatives in many areas, including politics, economy, agriculture and social development. The opening of the Brazilian Embassy in Adis Abeba, Ethiopia, home to the AU headquarters, in 2005, also reflected Brazil’s interest in the activities of the organization. Since then, Brazil has been invited to take part in the main AU events as an observer country. In 2007, Brazil and the AU signed a Technical Cooperation Agreement, which has provided a legal foundation for several bilateral and regional cooperation projects between Brazil and its African partners. The ambassador of Brazil to Ethiopia is also accredited as representative of the Brazilian government to the AU.
Chronology of bilateral relations
2018 – The undersecretary general for Africa and the Middle East, ambassador Fernando José Marroni de Abreu, visits the AU headquarters in Adis Abeba
2015 – Brazilian Army General Joarez Alves Pereira Júnior visits the Peace and Security Department of the African Union, in Adis Abeba
2013 – President Dilma Rousseff attends the African Union Golden Jubilee in Adis Abeba, Ethiopia
2013 – The Third South America-Africa Summit (ASA Summit) is held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
2012 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) sign a memorandum of understanding on the occasion of the visit of the Executive Director of NEPAD, Ibrahim Assane Mayki, to Brazil
2011 – Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attends the 17th Summit of the African Union, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, as head of the Brazilian delegation
2009 – President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva attends the 13th Assembly of the African Union, in Sirte, Libya
2009 – The Second South America -Africa Summit (ASA Summit) is held in Isla Margarita, Venezuela
2007 – The president of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konaré, visits Brazil. Brazil and the AU sign the Technical Cooperation Agreement
2006 – The first Africa-South America Summit (ASA Summit) is held in Abuja, Nigeria (endorsed by the African Union, a member of its Coordination Group, which is responsible for monitoring it)
2005 – Opening of the Brazilian Embassy in Adis Abeba, with responsibility for Brazil’s representation to the African Union