African ministers meet to review progress on self-financing AU

Friday January 12 2018

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame is the chairman of the African Union effective January 1, 2018. He has a tough task of steering the continental body away from heavy dependence on aid. PHOTO | FILE 

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African finance ministers will meet in Rwanda on Saturday to review progress in the implementation of the 0.2 per cent levy on imports aimed at fully financing the African Union.

Of the bloc’s 55 member states only 13 countries have implemented the tax that was adopted as a new funding model for the AU during a heads of State and Government Summit in Kigali in July 2016.

A joint statement by African Union and Rwanda names Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Chad, Djibouti, Guinea, Sudan, Morocco, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, Gabon, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire as having started collecting the levy.

The statement adds that four other countries have initiated internal legal and administrative processes to allow collecting of the tax.

Implementation of the financing mechanism was supposed to begin immediately with member states putting in place national legislation but some countries were said to be dragging their feet on coming up with domestic legislation and figuring out how it will be effected.

AU member states estimate to raise $1.2 billion through the import levy that would make the bloc self-sustaining and end dependence on donors who fund about 70 per cent of the budget.

AU’s activities include peacekeeping missions, programmes, and operational costs.

The finance ministers meeting in Kigali will review recommendations to be presented at the next Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia later this month.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who spearheaded the continental reforms, will assume the role of chairmanship of the African Union for the year 2018 at the Summit.