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African Union Countries Consider Air Travel Tax to Fund Bloc

The African Union said it’s considering taxes on air tickets, imports and insurance premiums to raise funds for the 53-member bloc.

Contributions from member states and partners are “no longer adequate, sustainable and reliable to meet the growing financing needs of the Union,” the organization, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said in an e-mailed statement today. Such taxes would “not only have a significant revenue impact for the union, but will also be equitable and efficient.”

The African Union is seeking to mediate in the conflict between Muammar Qaddafi and rebels opposing his rule in Libya, historically one of the bloc’s main financers.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has been appointed to head a panel investigating ways to finance the African Union. Taxes on plane tickets in Senegal and import duties in the Economic Community of West African States have proved successful funding mechanisms, the union said.

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