African Union Plans for Financial Independence to Ensure Autonomy

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union Commission is taking actions to bring about Institutional Reform and for the smooth functioning of both the Commission and other organs of the pan African body.

The actions are being taken as per the directions prescribed by the AU Executive Council in February, this year.

The ongoing efforts to reform the AU are proceeding well and in line with the recommendations, Mahamat said in his opening remarks at the 39th meeting of the Council, that convened at its Headquarters in Addis Ababa, on Thursday.

The chairperson, however, stressed on the need to secure financial independence of the Union to make the reforms a success and ensure AU’s autonomy.

Chairperson Mahamat said the preparation of the budget for the financial year 2022, for instance, was marked “by a methodology of work that leaves little room for imprecisions and uncertainties of the modalities of its funding”.

The austerity budget, he said, “is marked, among other things, by the firm rationalization of expenditure items, compliance with the budgetary ceiling, the financing of supplementary budgets primarily on the basis of internal budgetary savings”.

He said priority is now given to “the budget balance which harmonizes predictable revenues and expenses, without inclusion of budget deficit pending an uncertain contributions from partners”.

He stressed on the need to put a stop on donations from partners, which compromises the AU’s autonomy.

Concerns were expressed regarding partners of AU that provide significant budgetary support during the deliberation of the Draft Program Budget.

“They focused on the urgent need to strike a balance between the usefulness of partner funds and the need to preserve the sovereignty of the Union,” Mahamat said.

“Two components of such a balance have been identified,” he said

The components are the “non-acceptance of funds from partners with conditionalities out of step with the fundamental values of our Union and, on the other hand, the financing from own funds the programs of the Union deemed sensitive,” he told the Council.

Institutional Reform

Mahamat also reported that the adopted new departmental structure of the AU Commission is being implemented as part of the ongoing institutional reforms.

It is taking place in strict compliance with the new recruitment standards and quotas, he said

However, due to various constraints, the initially fixed duration of the first phase of the Transition period will experience a slight delay, which will certainly have repercussions on the duration of the following phases, he told the Executive Council.

Christophe Lutundula, foreign minister of DR Congo, which currently holds the presidency of the AU for a one-year term, stressed the importance of fully implementing the envisioned AU reforms.

“Our aim is to make Africa more united and a powerful force to be reckoned with in the world,” he said.

This week’s AU Executive Council session was the first meeting in two years with in-person participation, though some members chose to attend virtually.


Featured Image Caption: Chairperson of AU Commission making the opening remark at the 39th meeting of the Council on Thursday.