Finance ministers to discuss progress on African Union self-financing

The African Union Commission in collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has organized a meeting of the Committee of Ten Ministers of Finance (F10) responsible for the Financing of the African Union, according to the statement.

The African Union Commission in collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has organized a meeting of the Committee of Ten Ministers of Finance (F10) responsible for the Financing of the African Union, according to a statement.

The meeting that will take place in Kigali on January 13 2018 will review the progress made in the implementation of the decision of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union to implement a 0.2% import levy towards financing of the African Union.

According to a statement, the planned meeting is a follow-up to the one held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August last year during which, ministers made recommendations on, among others, a need to develop a set of rules for establishing clear financial management and accountability principles, a need to review the sanctions regime on the payment of assessed contributions and a need to review the current scale of assessment for more equitable sharing of the burden of the Union’s budget.

Ministers also called for the expansion of the committee from ten to fifteen in order to accommodate countries that contribute more to the budget of the Union. The Ministers further expressed a need for the F10 to play an oversight role in the budgetary processes of the Union.

This meeting will consider and adopt the technical documents that have been developed pursuant to these recommendations. It will also review the draft decisions to be presented to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government later this month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The New Times understands that as of December 2017, the African Union Commission had 21 Member States that were at various stages of implementing the AU self-financing mechanism that was adopted in 2016 in Kigali during the 27th AU summit.

Progress

The mechanism that was designed by a group of experts led by Dr Donald Kaberuka, will ensure the continental progressively weans itself off external funding especially for its operational costs.

Out of these 20 members, 14 had already started collecting the 0.2 levy on imports and depositing the funds on an account dedicated for AU opened with their respective Central Banks.

These Countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Chad, Djibouti, Guinea, Sudan, Morocco, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, Gabon, Cameroun, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

On the other hand, Ghana, Benin, Malawi and Senegal have initiated internal legal and administrative processes to allow implementation of the decision while despite their national economic and legal constraints, Mauritius and Seychelles have also indicated full commitment to the principles of financing the Union.

“In many ways, the choice of Kigali as the venue for this meeting has symbolic significance in that the Decision to implement the 0.2% was taken here in Kigali at the special Retreat of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union on the 16th July 2016,” the statement further reads.

In addition, President Paul Kagame has been entrusted to lead the reforms process currently being undertaken in the African Union and he is also expected to assume the Chairmanship of the African Union for the year 2018 during the Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia later this month.

The F10 comprises ten countries representing the five regions of the African Union as follows:  Chad and Congo for Central Africa; Ethiopia and Kenya for East Africa; Algeria and Egypt for North Africa; Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana for West Africa; and South Africa and Botswana for Southern Africa.

Cameroon, Nigeria and Morocco will also attend the meeting based of the interest they expressed to be included in the Committee, the statement says.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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