Amid reforms, AU announces record low 2019 budget
The 2019 AU budget was a leading point of discussion at the 31st AU Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania on 1 July 2018. In a report on the institutional reform of the AU, President Paul Kagame and current AU Chairperson referred to it as “the most credible and transparent budget in AU history.”
Totalling $408 million, the 2019 budget demonstrates a 21% decrease from the 2018 budget ($515 m). Including peace support operations, the budget is still 12% lower compared to the previous year. This is the lowest AU budget in four years. More notably, AU member states have contributed more than half of the budget (66%) compared to partners (34%) - their largest share to date. This strongly aligns with the organization’s goal of increased financial ownership and sustainability in programme, operational and peace support areas.
Kagame stated that the AU’s institutional and financial reforms represent Africa’s preparedness for future challenges. Due to efforts from the Executive Council and the Committee of 15 Finance Ministers, the continent will be able to have a distinguished voice when addressing Africa’s security.
One of the major elements of the AU reforms is the 0.2% levy - a tax on selected imports from outside the continent. 34 member states have already adopted the levy with 23 of these states currently in the process of implementing the levy. As of April 2018, $41 million had been contributed by 21 member states to finance the AU budget and the Peace Fund. The levy, which was adopted in 2016 and launched in 2017, is expected to raise $1.2 billion annually to cover 100% of the operational budget, 75% of the programme budget, and 25% of peace support operations, in addition to establishing the AU Peace Fund endowment.
Partnership was another common thread at the Summit, with the achievement of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), championed by President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; the improved relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia; and the positive mediation of the South Sudan peace process by IGAD-mandated Heads of State. Significant strides were made towards unity, echoing one of the reform’s priorities areas - speaking with one voice as a continent.
For more information, refer to our resources on AU reforms available on the Tana Forum website. The theme of this year’s Forum was ‘Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union’.