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November 1, 2003

FULL RATIFICATION OF AFRICAN PARLIAMENT IS IMMINENT

The African Union's Constituent Republic of Egypt was the 23rd state to ratify the Pan African Parliament, on 24th October, 2003. Ratification by four more African states is required in order for the parliament to become functional. The protocol governing the formation of the parliament shall enter into force thirty (30) days after the deposit of the instruments of ratification by a simple majority of the Member States, [i.e., 27 states].

The purpose of the Pan African Parliament, as stated in the Constitutive Act of the Afican Union, is to give "concrete expression to the common vision of a united, integrated and strong Africa".

The parliament aims to provide a common platform for African peoples and their grass-roots organizations to be more involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the African continent. The parliament also serves the "urgent need to further consolidate the aspiration of the African peoples for greater unity, solidarity and cohesion in a larger community transcending cultural, ideological, ethnic, religious and national differences".

The objectives of the Pan-African Parliament shall be to:

1. facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the OAU/AEC and, ultimately, of the African Union;
2. promote the principles of human rights and democracy in Africa;
3. encourage good governance, transparency and accountability in Member States;
4. familiarize 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;
5. promote peace, security and stability;
6. contribute to a more prosperous future for the peoples of Africa by promoting collective self-reliance and economic recovery;
7. facilitate cooperation and development in Africa;
8. strengthen Continental solidarity and build a sense of common destiny among the peoples of Africa;
9. facilitate cooperation among Regional Economic Communities and their Parliamentary fora.

The Pan-African Parliament shall have legislative powers. However, during the first term of its existence, the Pan-African Parliament shall function in an advisory and consultative capacity. The parliament will:

1. Examine, discuss or express an opinion on any matter, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Assembly or other policy organs and make any recommendations it may deem fit relating to, inter alia, matters pertaining to respect of human rights, the consolidation of democratic institutions and the culture of democracy, as well as the promotion of good governance and the rule of law.
2. Discuss its budget and the budget of the Community and make recommendations thereon prior to its approval by the Assembly.
3. Work towards the harmonization or co-ordination of the laws of Member States.
4. Make recommendations aimed at contributing to the attainment of the objectives of the OAU/AEC and draw attention to the challenges facing the integration process in Africa as well as the strategies for dealing with them.
5. Request officials of the OAU/AEC to attend its sessions, produce documents or assist in the discharge of its duties.
6. Promote the programmes and objectives of the OAU/AEC, in the constituencies of the Member States.
7. Promote the coordination and harmonization of policies, measures, programmes and activities of the Regional Economic Communities and the parliamentary fora of Africa.
8. Adopt its Rules of Procedure, elect its own President and propose to the Council and the Assembly the size and nature of the support staff of the Pan-African Parliament.
9. Perform such other functions as it deems appropriate to achieve the objectives set out in Article 3 of the Union Act.

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