PO Box 3243
Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area) W21K19
Tel: +251 11 551 7700
Fax: +251 11 551 7844
The Commission is the African Union’s secretariat. Its specific functions, as set out in article 3 of the Commission Statutes, include to:
• Represent the AU and defend its interests under the guidance of and as mandated by the Assembly and Executive Council
• Initiate proposals to be submitted to the AU’s organs as well as implement decisions taken by them
• Act as the custodian of the AU Constitutive Act and OAU/AU legal instruments
• Provide operational support for all AU organs
• Assist Member States in implementing the AU’s programmes
• Work out AU draft common positions and coordinate Member States’ actions in international negotiations
• Manage the AU budget and resources
• Elaborate, promote, coordinate and harmonise the AU’s programmes and policies with those of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
• Ensure gender mainstreaming in all AU programmes and activities
• Take action as delegated by the Assembly and Executive Council.
The Commission was established under article 5 of the AU Constitutive Act. It is the successor to the OAU General Secretariat.
The Commission is composed of a chairperson, deputy chairperson and eight commissioners, plus staff (Constitutive Act, article 20; Commission Statutes, article 2). The Assembly elects
the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson for renewable four-year terms and appoints the Commissioners, who are elected by the Executive Council for four-year mandates (Commission Statutes, article 10).
As of January 2014, the Commission had 1444 staff including those at Headquarters and regional offices.
The Chairperson of the Commission is the Chief Executive Officer, legal representative
of the AU and the Commission’s Accounting Officer (Commission Statutes, article 7). The Chairperson is directly responsible to the Executive Council for the discharge of his or her duties. Article 8 of the
Commission Statutes outlines the Chairperson’s functions, including:
• Chairing all Commission meetings and deliberations
• Undertaking measures aimed at promoting and popularising the AU’s objectives and enhancing its performance
• Submitting reports requested by the Assembly, Executive Council, Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), committees and any other organs
• Preparing the AU budget and strategic planning documents
• Acting as a depository for all AU and OAU treaties and legal instruments
• Facilitating the functioning, decision-making and reporting of all AU organ meetings, and ensuring conformity and harmony with agreed AU policies, strategies, programmes and projects
• Consulting and coordinating with Member States’ governments, other institutions and the RECs on the AU’s activities, and carrying out the AU’s diplomatic representations
• Appointing and managing Commission staff
• Assuming overall responsibility for the Commission’s administration and finances
• Preparing the annual report on the AU and its organs’ activities.
The Chairperson of the Commission is elected by the AU Executive Council and appointed by the Assembly for a four-year term, renewable once (Commission Statutes, article 10).
The Deputy Chairperson assists the Chairperson in the execution of his or her functions for the smooth running of the Commission and is in charge of administration and nance. The Deputy acts as the Chairperson in his or her absence.
The Deputy Chairperson is elected by the Assembly for a four-year term, renewable once. Election is by secret ballot and a two-thirds majority of Member States eligible to vote. The Deputy must not be from the same region as the Chairperson of the Commission. Elections and terms are governed by the AU Assembly Rules of Procedure (chapter II) and the Commission Statutes (articles 6 and 10). The next election is scheduled to be held in mid-2016.
Eight commissioners are elected by the AU Executive Council and appointed by the Assembly. Appointments are declared during the Assembly Summit following the Executive Council elections. Terms are for four years, renewable once (Commission Statutes, article 10).
Under article 6 of the Commission Statutes, the region from which the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are appointed is entitled to one commissioner each. All other regions shall be entitled to two commissioners. At least one commissioner from each region shall be a woman.
The Commissioners support the Chairperson in running the Commission through their assigned portfolios: peace and security; political affairs; infrastructure and energy; trade and industry; social affairs; rural economy and agriculture; human resources, science and technology; and economic affairs.
Commissioners have the responsibility to implement all decisions, policies and programmes relating to their portfolios (Commission Statutes, article 11).