Ethiopia: African Union Summit considers new financing roadmap

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - African leaders gathered for a special retreat ahead of their main official Summit to discuss a raft of proposals on how to raise funds for peacekeeping and development programmes approved by the organisation, PANA reported on Sunday.

The Presidential retreat in Sunday is expected to prepare a report which would form the basis of Tuesday’s AU Summit discussion on what is required to make the AU more effective.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame was appointed the Chairperson and the coordinator of the AU Reform Steering Committee at the AU Summit in Kigali in July 2016.

The Summit in Addis Ababa is expected to formally approve the report and the outcomes of Sunday’s discussions on what is required to reform the African Union.

“The retreat is focused on the institutional reforms. President Kagame has listed issues which require reforms to deal with the chronic failures in decision-making. There are multiple areas of focus,” said Manoah Esipisu, the Spokesperson for President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also in the AU Committee.

The reforms are focused on enabling the organisation to be better equipped to respond during emergencies.

The reforms also deal with the financing options that are available and how the decisions taken in Kigali to raise the level of locally-sourced funds could be implemented.

The AU Summit approved a decision requiring all members to implement a 0.2% levy on eligible imports to avail more funds to the organisation to finance various projects.

AU Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha said the decision was taken to ensure the AU has access to reliable funding for its peace and security operations.

The new system of raising the funds would also shield the continental body from relying perpetually on foreign financing partners for the regional integration projects.

“The decisions will enter into operations for each member state from January 2017,” Mwencha said.

Kenya, Rwanda, Chad, Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo have already implemented the AU decision to raise local funding for the AU.

The AU officials say currently, all its plans and programmes cannot be implemented because of lack of predictable funding. However, the member states are currently able to raise 67% of the AU budget. At least 30% of the 54 member states are confirmed defaulters on their required contributions.

“This creates a significant funding gap between planned budget and the actual funding, which hinders effective delivery of the AU agenda,” the AU Deputy Chairperson told reporters.

The AU is considering surcharging Short Messaging Services (SMS), hospitality sector and air ticket purchases to raise a basket of funds for the continental body.

“After a careful evaluation of the potential of all the options, the 0.2% came out as the most viable in the sense that it was doable, equitable in the sense that the rate was the same across all countries,” Mwencha said.

When fully implemented, the AU expects to finance its full budget this year, covering 75% of its programmed Budget and 25% of its Peace and Security Operations Budget and any other budget lines approved by the Summit.
-0- PANA AO/MA 29Jan2017

29 january 2017 14:38:32

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