President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Monday presented a chwque worth USD1 million to the African Union (AU) Foundation, as a “humble gesture” to help push the regional block toward financial independence. President Mugabe said funding independence is vital to Africa’s future.
Mr. Mugabe made the donation during the opening of the 29th AU summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. He was fulfilling a pledge made during his tenure as rotating AU chairman, at the 25th AU summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Handing over the cheque, President Mugabe said the “modest” donation on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe “demonstrates what is possible when we apply our mind to the most urgent task before us, … of funding our union and in particular Agenda 2063.”
The Africa Union Foundation was launched in January 2015 to find new ways of generating domestic resources to fund African development programs and support Agenda 2063, an ambitious blueprint for future development of the continent.
“Unless and until we can fund our own programs, the African Union will not be our own,” President Mugabe said, referring to a decision made in 2016 at the 27th AU summit to eventually be able to finance its operational budget from African contributions.
President Mugabe said: “It is never going to be easy to wean ourselves from the ‘donor-dependency syndrome,’ but we need to forge ahead for our sake and that of our future generations. This modest contribution… is a symbolic step in that direction. Let us build our continent brick by brick, stone by stone.”
According to Moussa Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, the 0.2-per cent import levy requirement, originally scheduled to come into effect in January 2017, has yet to be fully complied by all member countries. Public Agenda can report that Ghana’s president Akuffo Addo has taken steps to ensure that Ghana complies with this AU decision.
(Xinhua/NAN with additional reporting from Public Agenda)