Mabasa Sasa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
President Mugabe’s long-held dream of a fully self-sufficient African Union moved a step closer to reality last Friday as the Deputy Chair of the bloc’s Commission, Dr Erastus Mwencha, announced moves to fund the organisation completely with internal resources.
The AU’s operations are presently 70 percent funded by non-African donors.
President Mugabe has on several occasions decried this state of affairs, saying it compromised Africa’s ability to craft and pursue its own agenda.
Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the bloc’s 28th Ordinary Summit. He is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and other senior officials.
The summit proper starts today, coming six months after African leaders agreed in Rwanda to fund its own operations.
Dr Mwencha said the funds would come from a duty to be levied on all imports into Africa.
“The decision directs all African Union member states to implement a 0,2 percent levy on eligible imports for the finance of the African Union,” said Dr Mwencha.
He said this would raise at least US$1,5 billion annually – which is already more than the bloc’s yearly budget.
Dr Mwencha said, “The decision will enter into operations for each member State from January 2017.”
He said this method of collecting money would ease pressure on countries.
This is because at present member states pay dues to the AU directly from their national treasuries, but now a new tax would mean those seeking to retail in Africa will finance operations.
Kenya, Rwanda, Chad, Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo have already implemented the levy.
At this Summit, African Heads of State and Government will also deliberate on proposals on rationalisation of AU activities to enhance efficiency so as to improve service delivery to the continent’s citizens.
The morning session today will see the handover of the Hashim Mbita historical volumes to the AU and the announcement of election results for the position of AU Commission Chair.
South Africa’s Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is stepping down as AU Commission Chair after four years at the helm, and five candidates are vying for the post.
Article Source: The Chronicle