The Commission is the African Union’s secretariat. Its specific functions, as set out in article 3 of the Commission Statutes includes:
|Represent the AU and defend its interests under the guidance of and as mandated by the Assembly and Executive Council||Work out AU draft common positions and coordinate Member States’ actions in international negotiations|
|Initiate proposals to be submitted to the AU’s organs as well as implement decisions taken by them||Manage the AU budget and resources|
|Act as the custodian of the AU Constitutive Act and OAU/AU legal instruments||Elaborate, promote, coordinate and harmonize the AU’s programmes and policies with those of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs)|
|Provide operational support for all AU organs||Ensure gender mainstreaming in all AU programmes and activities|
|Assist Member States in implementing the AU’s programmes||Take action as delegated by the Assembly and Executive Council. evolution|
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 and 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).