By Addis Getachew and Seleshi Tessema
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
The African Union has decided to start imposing sanctions on member states that fail to live up to their financial commitments.
Speaking at a press conference Sunday at the conclusion of the 11th extraordinary summit of the heads of state and government of the African Union, Moussa Faki, the union’s chair, said so far only up to 50 percent of the amount expected in member state contributions is being made.
"The leaders have decided on a battery of sanctions, including the suspension of states that do not make their annual financial contributions from membership," said Faki.
"The first duty of a member state is to make its contribution," he said.
Membership financial contribution came up as part of the financial independence component of the African Union reform agenda, which also includes non-statutory payments of 0.2 percent of member states' import levies.
In addition, the reform introduced trimmed institutional structures within the African Union Commission, including cutting the number of commissioners from eight to six, according to a document seen by Anadolu Agency.
A decision was also made to transform the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) into an African development agency and to adopt the practice of peer review -- a mechanism in which countries submit their performances for debate and review.
Rwandan President Paul Kagami, who led the reform design, told journalists: "During the extraordinary summit, a lot has been achieved, many decisions have been made."
However, he added, many remaining issues were kicked back to the next summit set for January, again in Ethiopia, the union's capital.