Member states to finance AU by themselves: AUC

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For years, the Union has been challenged by financial constraints due to member states default.

By Muluneh Gebre, muluneh@alleastafrica.com

ADDIS ABABA – All African Union member states will begin to finance their Union as of this month, AUC Deputy Chairperson said on Friday.

At a press conference at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Erastus Mwencha said that a bill calling financing of the Union by member states has been passed by heads of states and government in Kigali, Rwanda in July, 2016, with the aim of promoting financial self-reliance.

This will effectively enter into operation in January 2017, he said.

Meanwhile, the new decision directs all African union member states to implement a 0.2 percent levy on eligible imports to finance the union.

“The levy is important to mobilize adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for successful implementation of the Union’s programs.” Mr. Mwencha said.

According to AU officials, reducing dependency on partner funds for the implementation of continental programs and relieving pressures on national treasuries is anoother objective.

“…it is important to note that some countries have already initiated action to implement. These include Kenya, Rwanda, Chad, Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo”, the deputy Chairperson indicated.

Mwencha stated that the levy is to be derived from 0.2 percent of the value of the illegible goods imported into a member states from a non member state, which is outside of the continent.

The levy is to be instituted in 2017 to finance 100 percent operational budget of the AU, of which 75 percent will be dedicated for program budget, while 25 percent budget to support peace operations, he added.

This initiative will enable the Union achieve self reliance, which was “the core of pan-African values of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)”, he emphasized.

The Union has been challenged by financial constraints due to member states default.

About 30 Member States default either partially or completely on average, annually creating a significant funding gap between planned budget  and actual funding, hindering effective delivery of the AU’s agenda.

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