5 countries set to contribute 65% of AU budget

Sirte- Libya (PANA) -- The five leading "economic powers" of Africa, namely South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and Libya might soon become the major contributors to the African Union budget, financing as much as 65 % of the continental organisation's ordinary budget.
Reliable sources told PANA in Sirte on Saturday morning that each of the "big five" would pay 13%, while Libya has accepted in principle to contribute 15% of the budget.
The other 47 African countries will pay the remaining 35% of the budget following the traditional system, which is based on each nation's gross domestic product.
A consensus in this direction appeared to have been reached Friday during an ad-hoc session of the Executive Council (foreign ministers) in Sirte, which is preparing the agenda for the 4-5 AU summit.
The proposed new contribution formula was first tabled in Maputo, Mozambique, but some AU members had expressed reservations.
The proposal was re-submitted on Friday night by South Africa's foreign minister, Dr.
Sikozana Dlamini Zuma, in her capacity as chair of the ad hoc committee on the AU budgetary problems.
She has chaired the ad hoc committee since the last summit held in Abuja, Nigeria in January 2005.
If the proposal is not shot down before the Executive Council ends meeting at the weekend, the foreign ministers will then be forwarded for approval by the Heads of State summit next week at the birth place of the Libyan leader, Colonel Moammar Kadhafi.
The new system which will no longer be based exclusively on the macro-economic aggregates but on the "actual capacity of states to pay their contributions" "will have to be reviewed every three years" - a condition set forth by the "big five.
" On their part, the "small countries" made it clear that the 65% contributions "shall not give the major contributors any special advantage over other members.
" The so-called small states apparently made this remark in reference to the proposed two permanent UN Security Council seats being sought for by African countries, within the framework of current political manoeuvres for reforms of the world body.
The current budget of the African Union stands at over US$60million, a huge increase from the expenditure of between US$30 million and 40 million during the final years of the defunct Organisation for African Unity.

03 july 2005 20:24:00

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