African Union (AU)
History. The African Union came into existence on 26 May 2001 following its ratification by the required two-thirds of Organization of African Unity (OAU) member states. On 25 May 1963 the heads of state or government of 32 African countries, at a conference in Addis Ababa, had signed a charter establishing an Organization of African Unity. Membership comprises 53 of the 54 African countries. The only African state that is not a member of the African Union (and was not a member of the OAU) is Morocco, which withdrew in 1985 following admittance of the disputed state of Western Sahara as a member in 1982. The new African Union harks back to pan-African aspirations of the 1950s, but in its current form is the brainchild of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi. African leaders agreed on the creation of the African Union at the conclusion of a two-day extraordinary meeting of the OAU held in Sirte, Libya in March 2001. The OAU dissolved itself on 25 May 2001 to allow for the creation of the African Union.