African leaders ponder "solidarity" budget for AU Commission

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- Leaders attending the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa have agreed to hold consultations on an AU Commission "solidarity budget," pending suggestions from a special session to be organised by the Executive Council on the issue within the next three months, informed sources said Wednesday.
The leaders, it was learnt, promised that before the end of the Summit, they would give the AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare "an idea about the amount they intend to allocate to him" for urgent operations.
According to delegates who followed the budget debates held behind closed door, no delegation from the 30 speakers who took the floor Tuesday and Wednesday, made any financial commitment following the suggestion that each country contribute 0.
5 percent of its national budget.
However, almost all the Heads of State commended the "clear, generous, ambitious and pragmatic" vision unveiled by Konare, former Malian President.
Some even recommended that the vision should be disseminated to all African universities and high schools, for public enlightenment on the direction of the African Union.
Other speakers welcomed the document as a "perceptive," but said it lacked "an order of priorities and would be clearer if it mentioned the overall amounts devoted to functional needs of the Pan-African administration apparatus, as well as a budget envisaged for the financing of the programmes and projects.
" A senior AU Commission official told PANA Wednesday, "what has been proposed to us from the highest level, is not far from our minimal expectation.
" "Fortunately, they (leaders) moved to encourage us by pledging something before leaving (the summit).
Now the expectation is to see how much they will earmark at the end of the ongoing consultations," the official added.

07 july 2004 16:41:00

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