Friday, March 3, 2017

#African solutions for #African problems - how about African funds for African problems

We in Africa should be talking about and debating this: The African Union, the continental body African governments established to help them pursue collective agendas, has so little money and is so dependent on outsiders for sustenance it could as well be someone else’s organisation.
Housed in a building donated by the Chinese and often host to African leaders who usually make big declarations of intent about this and that and then seemingly forget about them the minute they return to their individual countries, the AU currently finances only a quarter of its budget from its own resources.

The rest comes from foreign sources, the bulk from Western donors. If you are the kind of person who wants to see actual amounts rather than percentages to get the picture, here you are: This year donors will give the AU some $576 million. We Africans whose primary responsibility it should be to finance it will provide a paltry $205 million.
There are several important reasons for this state of affairs. We can examine those some other time. Today is for looking at new developments and what they may mean. These developments spring from the feeling by a number of significant Africans, that the issue of the AU’s dependence on donors is one of dignity.

Where is our dignity as Africans if even in order to pay for the outfit that our leaders would like to use to pursue the important objective of identifying and applying African solutions to (some of) Africa’s problems, we go to outsiders, begging bowl in hand?

Most important among the new developments was the landmark decision by the leaders during the 27th AU Heads of State Summit in Kigali in July 2016, to adopt the Kigali Declaration, a formula suggested by eminent Africans concerned about this issue of dignity among others.

The Kigali Declaration is meant to enable the AU to wean itself off the generosity of its external benefactors. As the place where the decision was made, Kigali was significant for two reasons.

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The writer should have mentioned that RWANDA's GDP is financed mostly by donations.

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