Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission Chairperson has reiterated the need for financing the African Union agenda if the regional body is to become self-sustainable to guide the continent’s transformation.
Mahamat was speaking at the opening ceremony of the a meeting of the Committee of Ten Ministers of Finance (F10) responsible for the Financing of the African Union in Kigali this Saturday.
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.
This meeting reviewed the progress on AU financing AND make recommendations to the January 2018 Summit which will bring in regional Heads of State. .
“Financing of the AU is crucial, even existential for the future of our Union.
The decisions taken in Johannesburg in June 2015 and in Kigali in July 2016 attest to the determination of our leaders to live up to our collective ambitions as articulated in AU’s Agenda 2063.” Mahamat said.
The AU’s self-financing decisions which was adopted during the organization’s summit held in Kigali in 2016 was as a medium to establish financial dependence not only in the Commission but on the continent at large, with a view that depending on international partners was such that the credibility of the African political project was at stake, according to Mahamat.
The Kigali Decision seeks to institute and implement a 0.2 percent Levy on all eligible imported goods into the Continent, with the intended purpose to address these challenges.
During that Summit, Heads of State and Governments instructed Finance Ministers to implement that decision, including opening of a special account in their respective central banks for predictability of disbursements to the AU Commission.
They also decided that Finance Ministers ensure proper financial management, including establishment of adequate financial accountability systems of the Commission.
“Significant progress has been made on the implementation of the Kigali decision. I am proud of these advances. To date, 21 Member States are at various stages in the implementation of the 0.2% levy on eligible imports. I urge other AU member states to follow suit and with the urgency required for the collective interests of the continent.” He added.
He noted that AU Member States have so far contributed $29.5 million to the Peace Fund, enabling the body to fund some of regional prevention and mediation activities.
Available information indicates that as of December 2017, the African Union Commission had on record twenty Member States that were at various stages of implementing the Kigali Decision. Out of these, fourteen Member States had already started collecting from the levy and had deposited the funds at an account dedicated for AU opened with the 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
F10 chairperson Abdoulaye Sabre Fadoul observed that, AU continued “heavy dependence” on external partners for funding was unsustainable thus the Union requires adequate, reliable and predictable resources which remains paramount to the implementation of its programmes.
“we the F10 countries will set the pace and lead from the front on the implementation of the levy. I wish to reaffirm our support to the reforms process and state that we remain available for consultations particularly those related to the prudent financial management in view of delivering on our development agenda,” Fadoul said.
The hosting Finance Minister Claver Gatete said that despite some “foreseen difficulties” in the implementation of Kigali decision the F10 meeting should allow participants to make further progress towards implementation of that financing decision.
“Let me emphasize that we are not here to debate the decision of our Heads of State and Government but rather to discuss how to implement that decision taken in July 2016 on the financing of the African Union,”Gatete stated.
“This includes addressing specific issues for various countries with the view of making further progress in implementing the said decision. We are all strong supporters of achieving sustainability of financing our African Union, and I strongly believe that the outcome of this meeting will constitute another significant milestone in that direction,” he added.
The levy of 0.2 per cent on eligible imports to finance the African Union is intended to pull enough resources which will finance 100 per cent of the African Union operations, 75 per cent of the AU programs and 25 per cent of contribution to the Peace Fund.
The F10 meeting will consider and adopt the technical documents that have been developed pursuant to recommendations and will also review draft decisions to be presented to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government later this month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This Meeting will also 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 per cent import levy towards financing of the African Union.