Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Netherlands Permanent Representation to the African Union

The Ambassador/Embassy also represent the Netherlands in matters related to the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other in Addis Ababa situated multilateral organizations. The African Union (AU) is a pan-African member state organization. Currently 54 African States are member of the AU. The AU was established in the year 2002, as follow-up to the Organization of African Unity.

The African Union is charged with spearheading Africa’s integration, prosperity and sustainable development by promoting political and economic unity, solidarity, cohesion and cooperation among the peoples of Africa and African States, as well as developing new partnerships worldwide. One of its strategic partnerships is with the European Union.

The African Union has its seat and headquarters in Addis Ababa, though several of its so-called bodies (like for example the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development – NEPAD – have their offices elsewhere on the continent).

The African Union is linked to the Regional Economic Communities, the REC’s. These are regional groupings of African States. The RECs have developed in different ways and therefore also their roles and structures are not identical. Generally, the purpose of the REC’s is to facilitate regional economic integration. However, some play a more important role in peace and security matters in their region.

The AU recognizes 8 REC’s:

  • Arab Maghreb Union (UMA);
  • Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA);
  • Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD);
  • East-African Community (EAC);
  • Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS);
  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS);
  • Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD);
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The main decision making body of the African Union is the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, who meet at least twice a year. The Peace and Security Council (PSC) has gained importance in recent years. Daily operations are executed by the African Union Commission under the chairmanship of South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Though the African Union is mainly a political organization, it also implements several programme’s on a broad range of topics, like peace and security, regional integration, climate change, infrastructure, etc. The African’s Union’s long term 50 year vision is laid down in the ‘Agenda 2063’, the more shorter term plans in its ‘Strategic Plan 2014-2017’. In this strategic plan, eight priorities are identified:

  1. Human capacity development focusing on health, education, science, research, technology and innovation;
  2. Agriculture and agro processing;
  3. Inclusive economic development through industrialization, infrastructure development, agriculture and trade and investment;
  4. Peace, stability and good governance;
  5. Mainstreaming women and youth into all our activities;
  6. Resource mobilization;
  7. Building a people-centered Union through active communication and branding; and
  8. Strengthening the institutional capacity of the Union and all its organs.

The Netherlands is supporting some of the activities relating to the implementation of the Peace and Security Programme and human rights. The foundation for this is laid in the Multi Annual Strategic Plan 2014-2017 for the Horn of Africa.


Program Officer Netherlands Embassy:

  • Mrs Hanna Idema