Zambia has today heeded to implement a 0.2% levy on eligible imports to contribute to financing the African Union.
President Edgar Lungu of Zambia said Africa has been taken advantage of by others for quite some time and “it is time we wake up and do justice to our continent.”
Meanwhile, his host President Paul Kagame also the Chairperson of African Union said that so far, of the bloc’s 55 member states, 21 countries have signed this deal which aims at pushing for AU to finance itself.
AU member states estimate to raise $1.2 billion through the import levy that would make the bloc self-sustaining and end dependence on donors who fund about 70% of the budget.
During a joint press conference at Village Urugwiro on Thursday, President Paul Kagame said that some countries still dragging their feet in adopting the levy “they are not clear on what this implies.”
“I wish to say that 21 countries are not bad to begin with. More countries intend to start using this formula. Some people are not clear what this [AU implementation of 0.2% levy tax] implies. A lot of effort has been put into trying to explain this,” he said.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu is in the country for a two day state visit which began on Wednesday. The two leaders have signed a comprehensive cooperation package that will deeply unite both countries in various sectors.
“We have the task to explain, show the origin, the need and the actual possibility of achieving other goals that are important to African. Accountability process will have to be put in place so that Africa can move forward and stop being dragged back,’’ he added.
On Africa having the permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Kagame said discussions are being held to have the African continent’s voice heard more.
“It should have been the case but as we know things don’t work the way we want. There are on-going discussions as to how the council can be reformed and part of that being inclusion of the African voice.”
He explained, “the discussions continue and many views continue to come up. What is important is to know that certain seats are permanently for Africa and how to rotate them depends on us.”
On Africa’s development as a continent, Kagame admitted that Africa is still far from achieving what it wants despite having all it needs to be where it wants to be. “It’s a “shame,” he said.
“My thinking is to do whatever is humanly possible together with other African leaders to bring progress and development in our continent,” he advised.