Ethiopia: AU approves US$446 million budget for 2016

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union (AU) has approved a US$446 million budget for 2016, slightly higher than the US$416 million budget for 2015, PANA reported Friday.

The African leaders, meeting in Addis Ababa for the 26th annual Summit of the organisation’s Heads of State and Government Assembly, are expected to formally endorse the new budget on Saturday.

The new budget for 2016 will be shared between the respective African states, each paying US$167 million while the foreign donors will be paying US$277 million.

AU Commission Secretary-General Djeneba Diarra said this year’s Summit is expected to approve the implementation of the new scale of assessed contributions.

“A committee has been formed to look into what each state will be paying under the new scale that will be in place. At the end of this process, every country would be clear on what each state will pay,” Diarra told reporters at a news conference in Addis Ababa Thursday.

While the issue of foreign donors financing a huge part of the budget remains one of the most contentious issues for discussion at the previous Summits, a new plan is being put in place, to ensure the organisation can finance itself from more contributions from its 54 members.

However, a report on the status of the members’ contribution shows only 19 out of the 54 countries have paid up their dues, which has been only 2% of the entire budget.

The current plan of increasing the members' contribution proposes a hike of contributions to at least 2% from within the next five years.

The current budget does not include the finances required for the running of the peacekeeping operations in Somalia, under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

However, the rules approved by the Executive Council mandates the organisation to approve 2% of its budget for AMISOM.

There has been a slow move towards the implementation of a series of proposals on the alternative sources of financing the AU.

At the AU Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the Summit discussed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s report on alternative sources of funding to the AU Commission activities.

The report considered raising funds from tourism, airline taxes and other levies to assure the AU of stable financing.

“The countries have options to choose how they will pay for their contributions. We will not impose options, whether they prefer to raise the funds from taxes on tourism, oil or any sectors, they will have the rights to choose how to raise their assessed contributions,” Diarra said.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 29Jan2016

29 january 2016 15:15:40

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