The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) is an advisory organ of the African Union, established during the third Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2004 under the provisions of articles 5 (i) and 22 of the AU Constitutive Act. The organ is mandated to actively engage the civil society in the processes and work of the Union, particularly with regards to Africa’s integration and development. The term Civil Society Organization (CSO) is commonly used to encompass a broad plethora of organisations which are engaged in the development process. Executive Council Decision EX/CL/Dec. 869 (XXVI) of 23-27 January 2015 and Dec. EX/CL 924 (XXVI) of June 2015 call upon ECOSOCC to collaborate with the Commission and Member States to mobilize national and regional CSOs and grassroots organizations to facilitate their constant interaction as well as the establishment of National Chapters of ECOSOCC within Member States, to achieve a people-centred Union in line with Agenda 2063 framework. The ‘Comprehensive CSO Mapping Strategy’ (CCMS) represents an ambitious initiative led by ECOSOCC for a thorough mapping of African CSOs actively engaged in the advancement of the continental development agenda.

The ‘Comprehensive CSO Mapping Strategy’ (CCMS) was conceptualised to bridge the gap between African CSOs and the AU thus further enhancing the participation of the African populace through the civil society interface. The CCMS comprises of two main components, namely the (a) National CSO-Platform Database and (b) Continental Directory of African CSOs. It is opined that national CSO platforms will be instrumental in assisting the establishment of the National ECOSOCC Chapters once the policy organs adopt the framework for national chapters. The conception of CDAC will further serve as a repository to complement ECOSOCC’s effort to start the accreditation of African CSOs in line with decision EX.CL/924(XXVII).