The African Union (AU) is a continental coalition that encompasses 55 member states located on the African continent. The idea of the AU was first announced in the Sirte Declaration, which took place in Sirte, Libya on September 9, 1999. The declaration called for the establishment of the African Union and was followed by its foundation on May 26, 2001, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The bloc was launched in Durban, South Africa, on July 9, 2002, with the intention of replacing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was disbanded on the same day.
The Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual gathering of the heads of state and government of its member states, is responsible for making the most important decisions of the AU. The African Union Commission, the AU’s secretariat, is headquartered in Addis Ababa, while Lagos, Nigeria, is the largest city in the AU, and Cairo, Egypt, is the most extensive urban agglomeration. With over 1.3 billion people and an area of roughly 30 million km2 (12 million sq mi), the African Union includes world-famous landmarks such as the Sahara and the Nile.
The official languages of the African Union are Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili. The AU also has official bodies like the Peace and Security Council and the Pan-African Parliament.