Financing the African Union: Mugabe’s Symbolic Gesture

Published on 11th July 2017

President Robert Mugabe’s observation that while it is never going to be easy for the African Union  to wean itself  from the donor dependence syndrome,  the continental body should work at funding itself 100%, is a correct move. The President went ahead to hand over a cheque of One millions United States Dollars that Zimbabwe realized from the Sale of 2000 heads of cattle for the capacitation of the African Union Foundation.

The AU aspires to finance 100% of our operational budget, 75% of its programme budget and 25% of its peacekeeping budget in the next five years. The AU approved budget for 2017 is $782 million, and about $200 million of it is expected to come from member states contributions. Five countries --Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, and South Africa --cover at least 66% of the member states' share of the budget. Getting African nations to meet their financial obligations to the AU has been difficult. The AU is also reluctant to name and shame member countries that default. The AU depends on donations from the West and China while the United Nations finances most peacekeeping activities.

If member countries commit to financing the AU, the organisation can become more assertive and effective in local and global decision making. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has demonstrated one way to realize this future.

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