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Cablegate: Au Donor Support Group Plans November 2009 Meeting

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O 230649Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6273
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 002294


DEPT FOR AF/FO, AF/RSA
PLEASE ALSO PASS TO USAID FOR AFR/DP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID AU
SUBJECT: AU DONOR SUPPORT GROUP PLANS NOVEMBER 2009 MEETING

1. (U) This Message contains an action request in para 9.

2. (U) Summary: Members of the AUC, UNECA and donor countries met on
September 17 to discuss an up-coming Donor Support Group meeting
scheduled for the week of November 30. The meeting will give
high-level policymakers from donor countries a chance to hear from
AUC and UNECA leaders on their plans and priorities. Armed with
this information, the group will discuss how donors can best support
a cohesive, AUC/UNECA-driven program that promotes African
priorities. Meeting organizers are eager to know who will
participate from Washington. End Summary.

--------------------------
HIGH-LEVEL MEETING PLANNED
--------------------------

3. (U) On September 17, about 14 donor country representatives
gathered to discuss preparations for a Donor Support Group
consultative meeting in Addis Ababa the week of November 30.
Anthony Okara, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Deputy Chairperson to
the African Union Commission (AUC), chaired the meeting. Viewed as
an opportunity for high-level policymakers to engage with leaders
from the AUC and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the
November meeting is intended to give donors insight into AUC and
UNECA objectives, and to enable them to coordinate support.

4. (U) The June 2009 Diplomatic Note that proposed the establishment
of a donor support group stated that, "Membership of the group will
be based on commitment to a minimum specified level of support to
the AU Strategic Plan and/or the ECA Business Plan." However, the
amount of such a commitment has yet to be agreed upon. According to
Mike McCarthy of the UK's Department for International Development
(DFID), the U.S. "is a really important donor, even if they only
give a dollar." The threshold of support will be discussed at the
November 2009 meeting.

5. (U) Donors and the AUC and UNECA leadership hope to achieve
several goals through this first Donor Support Group meeting. To
start, AUC Chairperson Jean Ping and UNECA Executive Secretary
Abdoulie Janneh want to explain to donors their agenda and the
AUC/ECA relationship. By clarifying their strategies, priorities
and management process, the AUC aims to get donors to buy into a
cohesive program that promotes African priorities, rather than a
piecemeal approach that reflects donor will. The hope is that donor
countries can channel their support more constructively and with
less duplication of effort once they have a clear understanding of
AUC/UNECA objectives. Ideally, the AUC would like donors to move
toward unearmarked, predictable budget support so that organization
heads can align a set budget with agreed-upon priorities.

----------------
PROPOSED AGENDA
----------------

6. (U) Following is the proposed agenda for the Donor Support Group
meeting. AUC Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha confirmed that he
is available the week of November 30. Debate centered on whether
the meeting should be two, three or four days long. Tentatively,
day one will take place at the African Union and day two at ECA with
a third day reserved for wrap-up.

(1) Discussion of the AU Strategic Plan (approved, abridged version
in preparation)
(2) Discussion of the ECA Business Plan (currently in review)
(3) Strengthening of AUC and ECA collaboration
(4) Functioning of the Donor Support Group
(5) Donor Support Group funding modalities

7. (U) The Donor Support Group also discussed the expected outcome
of the November meeting. Possible concrete deliverables included an
agreed-upon framework, a signed agreement and a roadmap with
benchmarks.

------------------------
WASHINGTON PARTICIPATION
------------------------

8. (U) Two questions arose regarding participation from capitals
during the meeting. First, the DFID representative, who coordinates
Donor Support Group planning meetings, wanted to know whether the
USG has responded to the Note Verbale on this topic. On behalf of
the USG, USAU conveyed its support on July 10, 2009 for the
establishment of a Donor Support Group that will meet annually.

9. (U) ACTION REQUEST: Second, organizers would like to have an
idea of who from headquarters will attend, as well as the name of a
working-level contact in Washington with whom to coordinate prior to
the November meeting. Most missions plan to send Africa-division
directors general or deputy directors. Some will send
director-level personnel from their development arms. Please advise
USAU of expected USG representation. USAU Ambassador Battle will
attend from Addis Ababa.

MEECE

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