African Union (AU) members will have to find a way to break an impasse on a proposed import levy to fund its activities.

The continent’s three largest economies South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria have expressed reservations towards the levy. They say some of the countries are already burdened with current financial obligations linked to the African Union.

As the summit gets underway in Mauritania, the African ministers of finance will also debate ways of ending corruption.

This is the 31st AU summit under the theme combating corruption.  The issue has impoverished many African countries.

In a report compiled by former SA President Thabo Mbeki, the continent is losing $50 Billion dollars per year from moving illicit funds to other countries and approximately $150 billion to corruption in general. The AU wants action.

The leaders meeting at the summit agree that if it is to achieve the ambitions set out on its agenda 2063, then it must end corruption. The continental body has also embarked on reform processes.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame as chair of the AU is spearheading the reforms. One sticky issue is the 0.2% levy on all imports to fund the AU.

Countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt have opposed the levy. Also on the agenda is the progress made on the establishment of the continental Free Trade Area.

Forty-four countries signed the agreement in Kigali in April, setting the stage for the formation of the world’s largest free trade area.