We, the Heads of African States and Governments
assembled in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
Convinced that it is the inalienable right of all
people to control their own destiny,
Conscious of the fact that freedom, equality, justice
and dignity are essential objectives for the achievement
of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples,
Conscious of our responsibility to harness the
natural and human resources of our continent for
the total advancement of our peoples in all spheres
of human endeavour,
Inspired by a common determination to promote understanding
among our peoples and cooperation among our states
in response to the aspirations of our peoples for
brother-hood and solidarity, in a larger unity transcending
ethnic and national differences,
Convinced that, in order to translate this determination
into a dynamic force in the cause of human progress,
conditions for peace and security must be established
Determined to safeguard and consolidate the hard-won
independence as well as the sovereignty and territorial
integrity of our states, and to fight against neo-colonialism
in all its forms,
Dedicated to the general progress of Africa,
Persuaded that the Charter of the United Nations
and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to
the Principles of which we reaffirm our adherence,
provide a solid foundation for peaceful and positive
cooperation among States,
Desirous that all African States should henceforth
unite so that the welfare and well-being of their
peoples can be assured,
Resolved to reinforce the links between our states
by establishing and strengthening common institutions,
Have agreed to the present Charter.
The High Contracting Parties do by the present
Charter establish an Organization to be known as
the ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY.
The Organization shall include the Continental African
States, Madagascar and other Islands surrounding
The Organization shall have the following purposes:
a. To promote the unity and solidarity of the African
b. To coordinate and intensify their cooperation
and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples
c. To defend their sovereignty, their territorial
integrity and independence;
d. To eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa;
e. To promote international cooperation, having
due regard to the Charter of the United Nations
and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
To these ends, the Member States shall coordinate
and harmonize their general policies, especially
in the following fields:
b. Political and diplomatic cooperation;
c. Economic cooperation, including transport and
d. Educational and cultural cooperation;
e. Health, sanitation and nutritional cooperation;
f. Scientific and technical cooperation; and
g. Cooperation for defence and security.
The Member States, in pursuit of the purposes stated
in Article II solemnly affirm and declare their
adherence to the following principles:
The sovereign equality of all Member States.
Non-interference in the internal affairs of States.
Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity
of each State and for its inalienable right to independent
Peaceful settlement of disputes by negotiation,
mediation, conciliation or arbitration.
Unreserved condemnation, in all its forms, of political
assassination as well as of subversive activities
on the part of neighbouring States or any other
Absolute dedication to the total emancipation of
the African territories which are still dependent.
Affirmation of a policy of non-alignment with regard
to all blocs.
Each independent sovereign African State shall
be entitled to become a Member of the Organization.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MEMBER STATES
All Member States shall enjoy equal rights and
have equal duties.
The Member States pledge themselves to observe
scrupulously the principles enumerated in Article
III of the present Charter.
The Organization shall accomplish its purposes
through the following principal institutions:
1. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
2. The Council of Ministers.
3. The General Secretariat.
4. The Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and
THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
The Assembly of Heads of State and Government shall
be the supreme organ of the Organization. It shall,
subject to the provisions of this Charter, discuss
matters of common concern to Africa with a view
to coordinating and harmonizing the general policy
of the Organization. It may in addition review the
structure, functions and acts of all the organs
and any specialized agencies which may be created
in accordance with the present Charter.
The Assembly shall be composed of the Heads of
State and Government or their duly accredited representatives
and it shall meet at least once a year. At the request
of any Member State and on approval by a two-thirds
majority of the Member States, the Assembly shall
meet in extraordinary session.
Each Member State shall have one vote.
All resolutions shall be determined by a two-thirds
majority of the Members of the Organization.
Questions of procedure shall require a simple majority.
Whether or not a question is one of procedure shall
be determined by a simple majority of all Member
States of the Organization.
Two-thirds of the total membership of the Organization
shall form a quorum at any meeting of the Assembly.
The Assembly shall have the power to determine
its own rules of procedure.
THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
The Council of Ministers shall consist of Foreign
Ministers or other Ministers as are designated by
the Governments of Member States.
The Council of Ministers shall meet at least twice
a year. When requested by any Member State and approved
by two-thirds of all Member States, it shall meet
in extraordinary session.
The Council of Ministers shall be responsible to
the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. It
shall be entrusted with the responsibility of preparing
conferences of the Assembly.
It shall take cognisance of any matter referred
to it by the Assembly. It shall be entrusted with
the implementation of the decision of the Assembly
of Heads of State and Government. It shall coordinate
inter-African cooperation in accordance with the
instructions of the Assembly conformity with Article
II (2) of the present Charter.
Each Member State shall have one vote.
All resolutions shall be determined by a simple
majority of the members of the Council of Ministers.
Two-thirds of the total membership of the Council
of Ministers shall form a quorum for any meeting
of the Council.
The Council shall have the power to determine its
own rules of procedure.
There shall be a Secretary-General of the Organization,
who shall be appointed by the Assembly of Heads
of State and Government. The Secretary-General shall
direct the affairs of the Secretariat.
There shall be one or more Assistant Secretaries-General
of the Organization, who shall be appointed by the
Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
The functions and conditions of service of the
Secretary-General, of the Assistant Secretaries-General
and other employees of the Secretariat shall be
governed by the provisions of this Charter and the
regulations approved by the Assembly of Heads of
State and Government.
In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General
and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions
from any government or from any other authority
external to the Organization. They shall refrain
from any action which might reflect on their position
as international officials responsible only to the
Each member of the Organization undertakes to respect
the exclusive character of the responsibilities
of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to
seek to influence them in the discharge of their
COMMISSION OF MEDIATION, CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION
Member States pledge to settle all disputes among
themselves by peaceful means and, to this end decide
to establish a Commission of Mediation, Conciliation
and Arbitration, the composition of which and conditions
of service shall be defined by a separate Protocol
to be approved by the Assembly of Heads of State
and Government. Said Protocol shall be regarded
as forming an integral part of the present Charter.
The Assembly shall establish such Specialized Commissions
as it may deem necessary, including the following:
1. Economic and Social Commission.
2. Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Health
3. Defence Commission.
Each Specialized Commission referred to in Article
XX shall be composed of the Ministers concerned
or other Ministers or Plenipotentiaries designated
by the Governments of the Member States.
The functions of the Specialized Commissions shall
be carried out in accordance with the provisions
of the present Charter and of the regulations approved
by the Council of Ministers.
The budget of the Organization prepared by the
Secretary-General shall be approved by the Council
of Ministers. The budget shall be provided by contribution
from Member States in accordance with the scale
of assessment of the United Nations; provided, however,
that no Member State shall be assessed an amount
exceeding twenty percent of the yearly regular budget
of the Organization. The Member States agree to
pay their respective contributions regularly.
SIGNATURE AND RATIFICATION OF CHARTER
This Charter shall be open for signature to all
independent sovereign African States and shall be
ratified by the signatory States in accordance with
their respective constitutional processes.
The original instrument, done, if possible in African
languages, in English and French, all texts being
equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Government
of Ethiopia which shall transmit certified copies
thereof to all independent sovereign African States.
Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with
the Government of Ethiopia, which shall notify all
signatories of each such deposit.
ENTRY INTO FORCE
This Charter shall enter into force immediately
upon receipt by the Government of Ethiopia of the
instruments of ratification from two-thirds of the
REGISTRATION OF CHARTER
This Charter shall, after due ratification, be
registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations
through the Government of Ethiopia in conformity
with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
INTERPRETATION OF THE CHARTER
Any question which may arise concerning the interpretation
of this Charter shall be decided by a vote of two-thirds
of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government
of the Organization.
ADHESION AND ACCESSION
Any independent sovereign African State may at
any time notify the Secretary-General of its intention
to adhere or accede to this Charter.
The Secretary-General shall, on receipt of such
notification, communicate a copy of it to all the
Member States. Admission shall be decided by a simple
majority of the Member States. The decision of each
Member State shall be transmitted to the Secretary-General,
who shall, upon receipt of the required number of
votes, communicate the decision to the State concerned.
The working languages of the Organization and all
its institutions shall be, if possible African languages,
English and French, Arabic and Portuguese.
The Secretary-General may accept, on behalf of
the Organization, gifts, bequests and other donations
made to the Organization, provided that this is
approved by the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers shall decide on the privileges
and immunities to be accorded to the personnel of
the Secretariat in the respective territories of
the Member States.
CESSATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Any State which desires to renounce its membership
shall forward a written notification to the Secretary-General.
At the end of one year from the date of such notification,
if not withdrawn, the Charter shall cease to apply
with respect to the renouncing State, which shall
thereby cease to belong to the Organization.
AMENDMENT OF THE CHARTER
This Charter may be amended or revised if any Member
State makes a written request to the Secretary-General
to that effect; provided, however, that the proposed
amendment is not submitted to the Assembly for consideration
until all the Member States have been duly notified
of it and a period of one year has elapsed. Such
an amendment shall not be effective unless approved
by at least two-thirds of all the Member States.
IN FAITH WHEREOF, We, the Heads of African States
and Governments have signed this Charter.
Done in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 25th
day of May, 1963