Thursday, August 20, 2020

African Union Map Update: Mali & South Sudan Suspended, Sudan Reinstated

African Union: Map of Africa showing which countries are in the African Union in 2020, including active and suspended member countries and non-member territories. Updated for the September 2019 reinstatement of Sudan, the June 2020 suspension of South Sudan, and the August 2020 suspension of Mali (colorblind accessible).
Map by Evan Centanni, from blank map by Eric Gaba. License: CC BY-SA

Mali Suspended from African Union

The African Union (AU) suspended Mali from membership in the continental organization yesterday, after army mutineers marched to country's capital and overthrew the president. Major protests had been calling for the president's resignation for months, but his removal by force has not gone over well with the international community. In addition to the AU, Mali has also been suspended from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), an important group including most of Mali's neighboring countries.

Flag of Mali Country Short Name:  
• Mali (English, French)
Official Name:  
• Republic of Mali (English)
• République du Mali (French)
Capital: Bamako
The AU routinely suspends any member country that has unconstitutional change of leadership, especially if it involves military intervention in civilian politics. However, the rules generally turn a blind eye to leaders who stay in power unconstitutionally, or who had already taken over before the rules were implemented. Suspended countries are still considered members, but are temporarily shut out of the organization's meetings.

The African Union includes every independent, internationally-recognized country with a capital in Africa, including the partially-recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which claims to be the government of Western Sahara. Two cities along the North African coast, as well as some outlying islands, are controlled by non-African countries, leaving them outside the African Union for practical purposes. However, even many of those are still claimed by AU member countries in principle.

Learn More: Which Countries Are (and Aren't) in the African Union?

AU Suspension of South Sudan

Though we didn't get to report on it at the time, South Sudan was also suspended from the AU last month. Unlike other suspensions, South Sudan's was not related to a coup or other unconstitutional change of government. Instead, it's a penalty for not paying its membership dues.

Flag of South Sudan Country Name:  
• South Sudan
Official Name:  
• Republic of South Sudan
Capital: Juba
(There are about 60 recognized national languages in South Sudan, but English is the country's only "official working language".)

Because it was having major problems funding its programs, the African Union passed new rules in 2018 to sanction members who didn't make their promised financial contributions. At the time, the organization was only receiving half of the money it was supposed to be getting from member countries. South Sudan seems to be the first country hit with a full suspension under the rules, after failing to pay its dues for three years straight.

[Editor's Note, September 2023: It's since come to our attention that South Sudan had already paid off its debts by the time of this article was published, and its suspension was lifted no later than October of the same year. For more details, see our September 2023 African Union map update article.]

Sudan's Suspension Lifted

Another bit of news we're behind on reporting is the un-suspension of Sudan, South Sudan's neighbor to the north. Sudan was suspended from the African Union in June of last year after a military coup and crackdown on protestors, but the AU Peace and Security Council chose to lift the suspension three months later, after the coup leaders took major steps towards setting up a new civilian government.

You can see past and future updates to this map by viewing all African Union articles or all African Union suspensions updates on PolGeoNow.

Graphic of the Sudanese flag is in the public domain.