Editorial: AU financing: Africa can’t afford to dilly-dally

A meeting opens tomorrow in Kigali to review the progress of the implementation of the self-financing mechanism for the African Union (AU).

A meeting opens tomorrow in Kigali to review the progress of the implementation of the self-financing mechanism for the African Union (AU).

It will bring together the AU Commission and finance ministers of member states of the Committee of Ten (F10) to iron out all hurdles remaining to fulfill a decision by African Heads of State that was adopted in 2016 in Kigali during the 27thAU Summit.

At that time, it was decided that AU could no longer afford to rely on external donors to finance its own operations. Each member state would impose a 0.2 percent levy on taxable imports to go into the self-financing kitty.

As of just two weeks ago, only 21 countries were at various stages of implementing the self-financing principles and 14 had already started honouring their pledges.

While some countries were still trying to go around domestic legal obstacles, it is very worrying that only a third has come on board one year and a half later. Yet, going by past experiences, it is not surprising that things have not been ironed out.

Africa cannot afford to drag its feet in recovering its dignity lost over decades of moving around with a begging bowl to run its own affairs.

Now that F10 has five new members, when they meet tomorrow, they should put away diplomatic niceties and get straight to the point; member states should show goodwill of honouring their pledges and, if they have trouble doing so, they should be open to accepting technical assistance from their peers.

The 27th AU Summit gave African countries a window to reinvent the organisation, African leaders should not squander the opportunity of shaping the continent’s future with no unnecessary outside influences. They owe that to their people.

 

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