Beset by war, disease, famine, human rights abuses, and numerous other problems, Africa today is a continent in need of good leadership. Many people believe the only way Africa will be able to solve its many challenges is by uniting the more than 50 nations on the continent. To that end, the African Union was formed in 2002 as a successor to the largely ineffective Organization of African Unity. The purpose of the African Union is to turn Africa into a political and economic power. The new organization faces many challenges, and the solutions to Africa's problems will not be easy to find. Yet on its shoulders the African Union carries the hopes and dreams of a continent.