This paper explores some of the founding principles of the African Union (AU) and the frameworks devised to implement them. It looks at various doctrinal and practical issues pertaining to either the continent's progress towards an effective and strong continental integration or a repeat of the failings of its predecessor Organisation, the Organization of African Unity. The interlinked principles relating to democracy and the rule of law and human rights and sustainable development have been the main issues of inquiry rather than economic (and monetary), collective security or the African human rights considerations. The inquiry will offer an interdisciplinary and theoretical insight onto the normative and practical dimensions of the integration debate in Africa. By highlighting the tension between liberal and constructivist theories of institutions and various integration strategies as applied to Africa, the paper purports to identify and to critique the achievements made so far and the serious challenges ahead of the AU. It is argued that whilst the progress made thus far is significant, it would be premature to talk of the huge success or complete failure of the decade-old AU.