AU to restrict donors who attach strings on funds

Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat

The African Union may block future donors who attach strings on their funds in one of the proposals that aim at making the continental bloc self-sufficient.

An outside view of the African Union’s building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat told a gathering of Foreign Ministers from member states that, the continental body, as part of its continuing reforms will reject monies from entities that seek to divert the organisations from its core values.

In a speech to open the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, Mahamat said the organisation is now seeking a balance between interactions with outside organisation and maintaining the bloc’s identity.

“The two components of such a balance have been identified as, on the one hand, 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 programmes of the Union deemed sensitive,” he said in Addis Ababa.

The Council, which is composed of Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs and regional integration from Africa, was gathering amid a push to change the organisation structure of the African Union, seen previously detached from realities on the continent.

In February this year, at the 38th Session, the Council had issued a proposal to reform the entire institution of the African Union, including merging its Commission’s departments and changing the flow of work and reporting channels.

One thing stuck out like a sore thumb, however: The African Union, a 55-member organisation, has been inherently donor-dependent, and yet the internal measures to avoid wastage had been weak.

“The entrenchment of the practice of good administrative and financial governance within the African Union can only take place through the primacy accorded to auditing,” Faki told the Ministers on Thursday in an opening speech of the two-day meeting.

“This affords the possibility of early detection of dysfunctions and other breaches of regulatory provisions, but above all of putting in place corrective measures, the strict application of which reverses the trend towards impunity.”

The AU Commission boss won his second, four-year, term this year unopposed. But it was on a promise to right the wrongs seen in the first term, which had made the AU lethargic in responding to crises as it was usually financially constrained. Leaders had agreed on a general mode of contribution, including regular fees levied on things like airfare or imports and be remitted to the AU.

(With input from agencies)

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