The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established in 1963 to coordinate African state cooperation, to defend state sovereignty and eradicate colonialism. In 2001, it became the African Union (AU) and consisted of all 55 African states. The AU’s 2017 mission statement is ‘Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous & Integrated Africa’. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), established in 1980, echoes the OAU’s original message of cooperation between African states, focussing on a socio-economic partnership, including protocols on energy and gender. In 2000, it had eleven southern African member states and today (2017) has 16 member states. Most of the Arabic-speaking countries of North Africa are members of the Arab League, created in 1945 to encourage Pan-Arabism and common interests. Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Nigeria and Gabon still comprise the African membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), formed in 1960 to stabilize oil prices. In 2000 (as in 2017) many of the countries of southern Africa were voluntary members of the British Commonwealth.
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