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The African Union (AU) Executive Council has on Thursday passed a record 308 million budget for the AU Commission’s activities next year, just a day after it heard the organization faced nearly 75 percent deficit in 2013 budget.

 

The Commission’s Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha told journalists in Addis Ababa Thursday that the Executive Council on its second day meeting approved the budget for the organisation’s annual activities in 2014.

This has come only after the Council heard at its first day meeting that the AU has solicited from members’ contributions only 77.3 million of the 278.2 million dollars approved for 2013 fiscal year.

A report by AU Sub-Committee on Contributions from member states presented to the Executive Council Wednesday revealed the total amount of contributions from member states amounted to a little over 54 million dollars while the settlement of arrears owed to the organization amounted to 23.2 million. The sub-committee also indicated that in the five months of this year, 22.6 million dollars were paid by external partners out of an expected budget of 160.73 million dollars.

The total outstanding assessed contributions owed by member states as at 31 December, 2012, amounted to over 163 million, the Sub-Committee reported.

Contributions by member-states are used by the bloc to fund its activities

According to the report, of the 54 AU members, only Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Rwanda, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and Zambia have paid their contributions to the Pan-African organization.

Ironically, the two paramount economies of the continent, Nigeria and South Africa, have failed to pay their contributions.

Nevertheless, Mwencha indicated that as the foreign ministers approved the draft statistics plan and the budget for 2014, they pledged that they countries will live up to their commitments this time so that they can hold the Commission accountable.

“The approved budget is very much in line with the Commission’s statistics plan. This is the first budget to be implemented alongside the statistics plan,” Mwencha said during a press conference at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. He also stated that he plan outlines outputs and has a timeframe for implementation of each component.

The plan will be presented to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to approve when it meets in Addis Ababa on May 26 and 27 May 2013, on the morrow of a special summit in connection with the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU.

The plan comprises eight priority areas, including economic development, with a focus on issues of growth and transformation, and regional integration based on trade and infrastructure development. Human capital, science and technology, and innovation; agriculture, environment and natural resources; gender streamlining; and communication, are also in the priorities batch.

Peace and security, social, economic and human development combined will consume 55 percent of the budget with institutional capacity building and communication expected to take 25 percent.