African Union Introduces New Funding Model To Increase Self-Reliance

African Union Introduces New Funding Model To Increase Self-Reliance

The Africa Union (AU) has introduced a new funding model that will ensure the continental body become self-reliant and less dependent on foreign donors to run its affairs and finance peace keeping missions across the region.

The funding model, in which every member country will contribute 0.2 percent of its eligible imports (excludes imports exclude products such as medicines, fertilizers and baby food) to the AU, was announced at the just-ended summit in Kigali by Rwandan Finance Minister Claver Gatete, Bloomberg reported.

Observers said the new model, which would raise about $1.2 billion each year – triple the current AU’s annual administrative budget, would be more efficient than the current method, in which most of the funds came from foreign donor countries.

The contributions will officially start in 2017. The money will be collected by local revenue authorities and held in central bank accounts, from which the cash will be automatically disbursed, AFP reported.

In the existing model, African countries only contribute 28 percent of the AU budget. The rest of the money is donated by the United Nations and western donors to fund humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

“We should not be a burden to the donor communities, we should be able to finance our own activities, and this is the beginning,” Gatete said.

Speaking at the previous AU Summit in Ethiopia in February, South African President Jacob Zuma said African institutions need independent funding by Africans to avoid being dictated upon by foreign donors, SABC reported.

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The AU was once heavily bankrolled by toppled Libyan strongman Muammar Gadhaffi, who championed the institution as a means to challenge Western hegemony before he was toppled during the Arab spring.

African passport

Last year, AUs 54 member states resolved to find a way to fund three-quarters of its programs and a quarter of its peacekeeping missions.

“We should be the ones to pay for activities in which everyone has a stake. We need to do things differently and better. If African challenges are treated as routine, we should reject that future,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame told delegates.

“The unity of our continent, with an emphasis on integration, among other things, should never be subject to preconditions or exceptions, because lasting solutions always involve everyone,” he added.

To improve integration and free movement, the AU commission launched a continental passport that member countries will start issuing to their citizens so they can travel across the continent without having to apply for visas.

The passport will initially be available only to African head of state, AU officials and other senior government officials. There is not definite timeline as to when they will be available to regular Africans.