The Pan African Parliament was established as an organ the African Union (AU) in order to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent. The first Parliament was inaugurated on 18 March 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and its headquarters is in Midrand, South Africa.
The ultimate aim of the Pan African Parliament shall be to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage. The new protocol granting these powers has been adopted by the AU and is currently under ratification by member states. However until such a time that the new protocol comes into force, the Pan African Parliament shall have consultative and advisory powers within the AU.
The objectives of the Pan African Parliament is to:
- Facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the OAU/AEC and ultimately the African Union.
- Promote the principle of human rights and democracy in Africa.
- Encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in Member States.
- Familiarise the peoples of Africa with the objectives and policies aimed at integrating the African Continent within the framework of the establishment of the African Union.
- Promote peace, security and stability.
- Contribute to a more prosperous future for the peoples of Africa by promoting collective self-reliance and economic recovery.
- Facilitate cooperation and development in Africa.
- Strengthen continental solidarity and build a sense of common destiny among the peoples of Africa.
- Facilitate cooperation among Regional Economic Communities and their Parliamentary fora.
AU Member States are represented at the Pan African Parliament by five Parliamentarians, at least one of whom must be a woman. The representation of each Members State must reflect the diversity of political opinions in each National Parliament or other deliberative organ.