Pan-African Parliament Faces Existential Crisis Amid New Budget Cuts: First 2024 Plenary Session to Proceed


Pan African Parliament Logo 2023

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has announced its upcoming 3rd Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament, scheduled from June 24 to July 5, 2024. However, the session is marred by stringent budgetary constraints, severely limiting the Parliament’s operational capacity.

The 2024 budget, set by the African Union Commission, reflects ongoing reductions, totaling US$10,570,625. A significant portion, US$8,038,113, is allocated for staff costs, overshadowing funds for other operations. This allocation shifts focus towards staff salaries, relegating parliamentary activities to a secondary role.

Despite earmarking US$900,000 for two plenary sessions in 2024, each session requires approximately US$1.7 million, rendering the allocated funds inadequate. Similarly, US$530,000 for two committee sittings falls short of the required amount for even a single sitting.

The financial predicament has plunged the Pan-African Parliament into an existential crisis, raising critical questions about its sustainability and relevance. With a budget that barely covers operational costs, the PAP has been reduced to a shadow of its intended self, struggling to fulfill its legislative and advisory roles within the African Union. The stark reality of the situation is that without significant financial intervention, the PAP is now a mere ceremonial entity, unable to effectively contribute to policy-making or the promotion of democratic governance across the continent.

To put these figures in perspective, PAP’s budget in 2009 was just over US$13 million when the total AU budget was about US$170 million, representing roughly 8% of the AU Budget. By 2023, the PAP’s budget had decreased to under US$12 million, despite the total AU budget increasing to nearly US$700 million. The Executive Council, during the February 2023 AU Summit, had already deemed the 2023 budget inadequate and directed a review. Despite this, the budget reduction has persisted into 2024, exacerbating the PAP’s funding crisis. Consequently, the PAP’s budget now represents less than 2% of the total AU budget, reflecting a significant decline when adjusted for inflation and rising costs of living.

As the PAP prepares for its first plenary session of 2024, it faces the dual challenges of celebrating its 20th anniversary and navigating severe financial constraints that hinder its operational capacity. The Parliament’s ability to contribute meaningfully to the African Union’s  theme of the year’s educational objectives will be tested in the coming months, highlighting the urgent need for a reassessment of its financial support.

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