The underside of a complex equation

It would be simplistic to say that the African Union needs sufficient, reliable and predictable resources to implement its programs if it is to achieve its development and integrative goals. For decades, this question has plagued the continent’s leaders and heads of state.

However, since 2015, successive AU summits have taken decisions on fiscal reform to ensure sound and predictable financing to meet the challenges faced by the AU. But nothing is working because the said organization is still facing this problem. In this context, the High Level Meeting of the Committee of Fifteen Ministers of Finance (F-15) of the African Union, which took place on 13 and 14 June 2022 in Rabat, finds it of great importance.

Some even say it was timely because it was held in the specific context of the Ukraine crisis. The crisis is already affecting the global economy, especially in Africa. The African economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic for two years.

financial dependency

Furthermore, the topic chosen for this F-15 sanctuary speaks volumes: “Beyond the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian conflict: Strengthening the resilience of African economies and the financial capacity of the African Union.”

However, one cannot help but say that the financing of the African Union has become structural. And many senior executives have not stopped challenging this topic. Because the organization needs new money to implement its policy. Indeed, founded in 1963 to liberate the continent from the colonial yoke, the African Organization, with a budget representing 2% of the EU budget, is still largely dependent on external donors.

For Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, the former head of Senegalese diplomacy, the African Union can only assert itself if it is financially independent. “How do you expect the African Union to speak on an equal footing with other institutions when it is mainly funded by its partners?” he shouted during a conference in Dakar. According to the head of the African Institute for Strategies – Peace, Security and Governance (IPS), a think tank committed to research and reflection based in the Senegalese capital, African countries must sustainably and fully fund the African organization.

To get an idea of ​​the current state of CAF funding, its regular budget was $264.7 million, CAF F-15 Commission expert Lebelba Bheemi told us, although he declined to comment. According to this senior staff member of Chadian descent, a discussion has even started from Nairobi, Kenya, regarding the predictions for 2023. They are likely to be in the same ranges as the current exercise because the calculation is based on the average of the past three years.

Expected recommendations

To this end, the appeal of the former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, remains relevant when she says: “Africa must find alternative sources of financing.” This is the main problem of the institution, half a century after the creation of the Organization of African Unity, which became the African Union in 2002.

A few years ago, Gary Quince, the former EU special representative to the African Union, put fleas in the ear by reminding that “the operating budget is 100% approved and submitted by member states, but the truth is that they don’t pay the sums that They stick to it.” Before adding that the budget is drawn up irrelevant to the available money. Even if the situation has changed a lot today. As explained by Ms. Yassine Fall, Acting Vice President in charge of Regional Development, Integration and Service Delivery at the African Development Bank, Easily.

Moreover, his foundation just announced $1.5 billion to help African countries support agriculture and value chains. This is aimed at alleviating the continent’s dependence on grain imports that the Russia-Ukrainian conflict has brought to the fore. Admittedly, initiatives have emerged to fund the African Union such as the Kaberuka tax which proposes a 0.2% tax on imports.

But many countries struggle to pay these fees or do not pay them in full. However, the Rabat meeting should lead to innovative financing mechanisms for the African organization. Her recommendations will be carefully examined.

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