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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

The United States and the African Union

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 19, 2011


Also available in Arabic, Portuguese and French

The United States and the African Union (AU) enjoy a strong partnership that continues to develop as we engage in areas of mutual interest spanning a variety of sectors. The United States and the AU formalized this partnership in August 2010 by signing a $5.8 million assistance agreement that supports projects in peace and security, democracy and governance, agriculture, health, trade, and other fields, as well as general capacity building. As further evidence of the U.S.-AU partnership, the United States and the AU initiated an annual high-level meeting in 2010 that brings together U.S. and AU officials at the cabinet-level to discuss African political and economic issues, existing initiatives, and future areas of collaboration. The United States and the AU work together to foster a more stable, democratic, and prosperous environment for citizens of Africa and the global community.

Peace and Security
Since the Department of State established the U.S. Mission to the African Union (USAU) in 2006, the U.S. Government (USG) has dedicated significant resources to supporting the AU’s peace and security programs. The United States has assisted the African Standby Force, a pan-African military corps, as it works to become fully operational. The USG has also contributed resources and expertise to the on-going development of a sound maritime strategy and to improving the medical planning capability of the AU’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD). The United States has also provided much-needed communication equipment and training to support the AU’s goal of developing a continental communication architecture that includes regional standby brigades and on-going peace support operations. Training is a significant component of U.S. support to the AU's peace and security initiatives, including in the areas of strategic communications, conflict monitoring and analysis, and military planning. Since 2007, the United States has provided support valued at $258 million to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), making the U.S. the largest individual financial contributor to AU peacekeeping operations in Somalia.

Democracy and Governance
The United States and the AU share a commitment to democratic principles, including free and fair elections, just transitions of power, and sound governance. To support these goals, USAID works with the AU’s Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit to improve election processes across Africa. USAID also assists the AU to promote the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance. More broadly, the USG looks to the AU as a respected voice on the continent that builds consensus on African issues among member states and stakeholders. In this context, the United States and the AU engage in substantive and frank dialogue about how to address such issues as unconstitutional changes in government in Africa.

Transnational and Global Issues
As the relationship between the USG and the AU deepens, so does the range of issues on which the two parties engage. Cross-cutting areas of interest to both the U.S. and Africa include climate change, food security, trafficking in persons, and drug trafficking, as well as youth, civil society, and information and communication technology (ICT). Recognizing the global and interconnected nature of such issues and their capacity to affect people’s social, political and economic well-being, the United States and the AU seek innovative ways to tackle these issues together to ensure peace, progress and stability.

PRN: 2011/604

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