1. Assembly of Heads of States and Government
  2. The Council of Ministers
  3. The General Secretariat
  4. The Commission for Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration


  1. The Assembly of Heads of States and Government: The Assembly of heads of states and government is the supreme and most powerful organ of the organization. It is the highest decision making machinery of the Organization. This organ is made up of Heads of States of all member States. The organ meets once in a year but an extra-ordinary meeting can be convened if approved by two-third majority of its member States.



  1. Appointment of Secretary General: It is the function of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government to appoint Secretary General of the organization.
  2. Admission of New Members: The Assembly of Heads of States and Government decide on the admission of new members States into the organization.
  3. Amendment of the Charter: It is the duty of the Assembly of Heads of States to approve proposals for any amendment to the charter of the organization.
  4. Coordination of Policies: The Assembly of heads of State discusses issues of common interest to Africa so as to coordinate and harmonize the general policy of the organization.
  5. The body reviews the structures, functions and activities of all the organs and specialize agencies created by the organization.
  6. The organ also has the duty of looking into the problems of members states and helps to settle such problem.
  7. The body appoints ad-hoc committee to settle disputes involving member nations.



The council consists of foreign affair Ministers of member States or such other ministers as may be determined by a member state. It prepares the agenda for the meeting of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government and implements the decision of the Assembly. It also prepares annual budget of the organization. The council meets twice a year but can hold extra-ordinary meeting if approved by two-third majority of member states.



  1. The council prepares the agenda for the meeting of the Assembly of Heads of States and Government.
  2. The council approves the budget of the organization.
  3. It implements the decision of the Assembly
  4. The council makes recommendation to the Assembly for the appointment of Secretary General of the organization.
  5. The council recommends a new independent state to the Assembly for admission into the organization.
  6. The council is responsible to the Assembly and deals with all matters referred to it by the Assembly.
  7. The council is responsible for coordinating and harmonizing inter-African cooperation.
  8. It prepares the annual budget of the organization.



The General Secretariat is the administrative headquarters of O.A.U and it is located at the organization’s headquarters in Addis Ababa. The Secretariat is headed by the Secretary General, who is assisted by crops of Staff. The Secretary General is appointed by the Assembly of Heads of States and Government on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers for a period of three years subject to re-election.



  1. The General secretariat carries out all the administrative work of the organization.
  2. This body prepares programme or agenda for the meeting of the Council of Ministers.
  3. It supervises and executes the decisions of the Council of Ministers
  4. The secretariat prepares the annual report on the activities of the organization.
  5. The secretariat has the duty of circulating news to member states of the organization.
  6. It prepares the annual budget of the organization for the approval of the Council of Ministers.
  7. The Secretariat controls the finance of the organization
  8. The facilities needed for all meetings of the organization are provided by the secretariat.



This commission is responsible for the peaceful settlement of disputes between member states. It was set up in 1965 and has twenty members elected by the Assembly from a list submitted by the Secretary General. This commission sits at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and it has a President, vice President and a registrar. In addition to this commission, O.A.U has other specialized agencies which carry out different functions and they include;

  1. The Economic and Social Commission
  2. The Educational and Cultural Commission
  3. Health Commission
  4. The Defense Commission
  5. Scientific, technical and Research Commission



  1. State five functions of the Council of Minister of O.A.U
  2. Give five functions of the Secretary General of O.A.U




The achievements of O.A.U include the following:

  1. Resolution of Conflict: The O.A.U facilitates peaceful resolution of conflicts among member states. Indeed it has encouraged the peaceful resolution of conflict among member states, such as Somalia and Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda etc.
  2. Eradication of Colonialism and Apartheid: The O.A.U played an important role in bringing colonialism and apartheid to an end in the continent. It did not only condemn them but also supported liberation movements in countries like Zimbabwe and Angola.
  3. Economic Cooperation: The O.A.U encourages economic cooperation among member states. The African Development Bank (A.D.B.) which renders assistance to member states is one of the economic initiatives of O.A.U.
  4. Promotion of African Culture: The O.A.U supports efforts to project African culture to the outside world. The Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) is a point in time.
  5. Settlement of Refugees: O.A.U provides refuge for people displaced by war and environmental disaster. Such assistance includes provision of relief materials to the refugees.
  6. Common Voice: On some issues, the O.A.U has provided opportunity for common position at the international arena. Such issues like trade and disarmament has attracted common and uniform stand by African countries speaking through O.A.U.
  7. It provides African leaders forum for discussion on issue of importance to Africa and the entire world.
  8. A.U in collaboration with other international organization like U.N.O, has contributed to world peace and security.



  1. Highlight 5 achievements of O.A.U
  2. How has O.A.U been able to settle dispute in Africa?



  1. Financial Problem: One of the major problems facing O.A.U since its inception is financial problem. Activities of O.A.U have been impeded by insufficient fund. Some member states default in their contributions. This has over the years hindered the execution of many O.A.U resolutions.
  2. Political Instability: Constant change of leadership result in policy changes and this affects the degree of support for the organization’s decisions.
  3. Economic Dependence: Although members of the O.A.U are politically independent, economically, they are not free from external control and this forced them to depend on economically advanced nations. This economic dependence which is the aftermath of colonialism makes member states to dance to the tune of foreign nations at the expenses of O.A.U.
  4. External Influence: Many African countries are still attached to their formal colonial powers. Some times there is divided loyalty by the member nations to the O.A.U and their formal colonial masters.
  5. Lack of a Standing Army: The organization has no standing army since its 26th years of birth. The organization can not fight colonialism and apartheid because of this problem.
  6. Inter State Rivalry and Suspicion: Sometimes there is supremacy struggle between leaders and different motives are read to suggested proposals.
  7. Persistent Conflict: The frequent and recurrent wars and serious conflict between and within states shows that the organization has not been very effective in guaranteeing peace and security in the continent.
  8. Linguistic Problem: Language barrier tend to slow down any effective means of communication adopted by the organization this leads to its failure in so many ways.
  9. Religious Difference: Member-states of O.A.U belong to different religious beliefs and this has equally turned into two parallel lines that can never meet on any issue. This religious difference has also caused a lot of conflicts within and between member-states of the organization.
  10. Poverty: Most member states of O.A.U are very poor and they depend on foreign powers. Therefore, there is tendency for these African states to be more loyal to those foreign powers than the O.A.U itself.



Explain five problems facing O.A.U



  1. Explain external control as one of the problems of O.A.U.
  2. How has economic dependence hindered the success of O.A.U?
  3. Identify the specialized agencies of O.A.U.



  1. Which of the following is not an aim of O.A.U? (a) Defense of the sovereignty and independence of African states (b) Enthronement of undemocratic government in Africa (c) Promotion of unity and solidarity in African states
  2. Nigeria belongs to all the following international organization except (a) European Union (b) United Nation Organization (c) Common Wealth of Nations
  3. The following are the problems of O.A.U except (a) economic dependence (b) political independence (c) political instability
  4. The organ of O.A.U that is responsible for the implementation of the decision of the Assembly of Heads of States is (a) the Council of Ministers (b) the Secretariat (c) the Economic Council
  5. The most powerful organ of O.A.U is (a) the Council of Ministers (b) the Assembly of Heads of States and Government (c) the General Secretary.



  1. Describe the duty and functions of the General Secretariat.
  2. Give reasons why you think that the O.A.U has failed.


See also






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