AU cuts budget by 12%, pursues self-reliance

African Union has announced $408 million budget for 2019, the lowest in four years and down by 12% compared to the current budget.

The massive budget cuts are in line with the continent’s move to reduce dependency on partner funding and gradually move towards funding 100% of the Union’s operational budget, 75% of the programme budget and 25% of peace support operations by 2021 with resources generated from the Continent.

For the 2019 budget, AU member states contributed 66%, the largest to date, while partners covered 34%.

The union’s self-financing has increased from 33.3% in 2015. It is at 60% in 2018 budget while foreign aid stands at 40%.

AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat says the 2019 budget is “the first to pass with direct oversight from African finance ministers to ensure rigor and alignment with operational priorities.”

He posted Friday on his Twitter Account that AU reforms are in action for a more efficient AU Commission.

“The momentum brought by AU reforms to reinforce financial autonomy through stronger ownership, resulted not only in savings in the 2019 AU budget, but member states contributed more than half of the budget at 66%, the largest to date, while partners covered 34%,” reads one of Mahamat’s tweets.

AU statement indicates that 2019 budget will go in financing the operational budget of the union, programme budget and Peace Support operations.

The programme budget will support key flagship projects such as continental infrastructure development, driving the regional integration agenda through key projects such as the Continental Free Trade Area, the single air transport, the African passport and the free movement of persons.

Peace and security budget will focus on silencing the guns by 2020. More attention will also be given to education and skills development, energy, health, particularly the full operationalisation of the Africa CDC as well as promoting gender equality.

AU Deputy Chairperson Amb. Kwesi Quartey observed in the statement that “there is growing confidence in our ability to finance our agenda. The momentum in the implementation of the 0.2% levy decision is very positive and in fact, looking at the contributions to the peace fund using this mechanism, it is the highest we have had.”

“With this trend, the percentage of member states contribution is expected to rise to a level where Africa takes full ownership of its development agenda. We are very optimistic,” he said.

At least 14 AU member states are collecting the 0.2% levy from eligible imported goods to meet their assessed financial commitments to the union. These include Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Chad, Guinea, Sudan, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Gambia, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone and Ghana.
Other 23 countries are at various stages of implementation.

The levy aimed at mobilise financial resources for full AU self-financing was adopted in Kigali by Heads of State and Government in July 2016.

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