The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on Saturday launched the “African Union Foundation” here with a message that there is the need to have alternative sources of funding for the organization so that “Africans can claim ownership of the foundation”. In a press statement, the AUC quoted Dlamini Zuma as saying: “although the foundation accepts funds from outside donors, we should begin to fund our development projects ourselves.”
Dlamini Zuma said the issue of domestic and alternative sources of funding has been an intrinsic element of the continent’s commitments of the Pan African values of self-determination, solidarity and self-reliance. She therefore called on Africans to act as goodwill ambassadors to the foundation. She disclosed, however, that African Ministers of planning and finance had deliberated on the issue but said the issue will be discussed further in details in March. Established by the AU Assembly in May 2013, the African Union Foundation aims to finance priority projects in Africa through voluntary contributions.
The Foundation will focus mainly on critical issues in line with AU’s agenda 2063. Other priorities that will be funded by the foundation include the development of skills and human resources, women’s empowerment and gender equality, regional integration, youth development and entrepreneurship in Africa. Diversity management is also one of the main issues that will be addressed by the Foundation “as it is a very important element for peace and stability”, she said.
The Foundation supports and is derived from the African Union vision of “an integrated, people centered and prosperous Africa, at peace with itself and taking its rightful place in the world”. It was created to accommodate voluntary contributions from African private sector, African individuals, Philanthropic organizations, African Diaspora, companies doing business in Africa and any other donations or contributions.
In this regard, it is deemed necessary for the various players, including public, private and civil society to be mobilized to act in partnership to accelerate the pace of integration that has thus far been largely State led. At the launching ceremony were the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, other AU Commissioners, and the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. P.J. Patterson, among others.