Is the African Union’s Aspiration Towards Financial Autonomy Achievable?

The African Union (AU) is witnessing a potentially transformative era, through its decision on financial autonomy and broader reform agenda. Even though the discourse on financing of the Union is hardly new, this policy brief explains why the July 2016 Kigali Summit decision provide unique opportunities that could allow for its full implementation. It argues that the political willingness of AU member states to make timely contributions to the Union’s budget and the Peace Fund, remains the single most important consideration for the success of the Kigali Summit decision on financing. For this to happen, this policy brief underscores the importance of four main considerations namely: the increased representation of the main financial contributing countries in the management, utilization and oversight of the Union’s budget; a revised sanction regime for default payments by member states; improved coherent and coordinated relationship between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) as well as AU-authorised regional coalitions; and enhanced confidence of member states in the effective financial management and efficiency of the AU Commission. It concludes by suggesting that the current efforts to finance and reform the Union will define the future relevance and legitimacy of the AU as a sustainable partner in the promotion of governance, peace and security in Africa.