The African Union (AU) has developed ambitious plans for the continent, ranging from security to trade. But when it comes to financing these ambitions the organisation is caught between a rock and a hard place. Since the AU does not have an independent source of income, it either has to affront members for their irregular payments or remain dependent on external partners. Financing the AU goes to the heart of its pan-African agenda, which is driven by decolonial integration and development objectives. Having examined the finances of numerous organisations in the Global South, researchers observed that the double dependency on member states and external donors poses important challenges for the establishment of independent and powerful administrations. The AU is a particularly telling case of this trend. Achieving financial autonomy requires member states to improve their payment record. Simultaneously, the AU needs to wean itself from external funding, even if its administrative and institutional reforms make it ever more attractive to external partners.
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