When African leaders met at the African Union headquarters two weeks ago ostensibly to read a riot act to the West and demand respect for Africaâ€™s sovereignty on matters ICC, they forgot who actually funds their sittings at the summit!
The new AU headquarters were built by China. In the 2013 AU Budget totalling USD $ 277 million, it will be funded as follows: AU member states will contribute $ 122.8 million (44 per cent) Development partners (Donors) will contribute $ 155.3 million (56 per cent) Total 277.1 million.
Out of the amount that the African governments will be contributing, only $5.3 million goes towards programmes of the AU while 96% goes to operational costs.
This amount is actually 1.9% of the total budget. The total operational cost is covered by the Member States. For the programmeâ€™s budget, the cost of programming at the AU is borne by external donors such as the European Union, Japan, USA, and Â China.
The unionâ€™s operational costs are met by membersâ€™ contributions but most of the members donâ€™t pay.
Even Kenya, which is relying on the union to save its leadership from the claws of the ICC, is a defaulter in paying annual subscriptions.
According to the statement issued in May this year by H.E. Mr Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Programme costs for key AU institutions such as the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the Human Rights Commission (ACHPR), the African Court (AfCHPR), NEPAD, the Commission on International Law (AUCIL), the Anti-Corruption Board and the Committee on the Rights and Welfare of Children (ACRWC) are all being paid for by donors, OOH the sweet big brother – The West!
In fact, there is no allocation at all from Member States towards costs for the ACRWC which has a mandate to promote and protect the rights of children in Africa.
The newly constructed AU Offices and Conference Centre facility were solely financed by the Chinese government at USD$200 million and the office building being constructed for the Peace and Security Council being financed by the Germany at 26.5 million Euro are also worth mentioning here.
Who then, is really in charge at the African Union? Who decides what initiatives and developmental projects are to be embarked on?
If our continental institutions and even our governments themselves obtain a majority of their funding from external donors, then, who really drives the African agenda?
Who defends Africaâ€™s interests in the global arena where these donors have great influence? Do the resolutions our leaders make at national and continental level have any leverage on world politics?
As long as we depend on the West, any position the AU takes will be akin to a barking dog with no TEETH to bite.
The sad thing is; the West will not stop funding AU because the body, paradoxically, works at its behest. AU is a creation of the Western world!