Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
Three African regional economic communities (RECs) have agreed to start work on a merger into a single REC with the objective of fast tracking the launch of the African Economic Community.
In the interim the Tripartite Summit, which sat in Kampala, Uganda, on 21-22 October 2008, approved the rapid establishment of a Free Trade Area (FTA) encompassing the member/partner states of the three RECs with the ultimate goal of establishing a single Customs Union.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), and the East African Community (EAC) agreed to a harmonisation of their operations to give way to the FTA.
SADC chairman President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa said the FTA, which will span 26 countries from Egypt to South Africa, was vital for Africa’s development.
"We see regional integration as a central component for our development in an increasingly globalised world economy," Motlanthe said.
The blocs are planning to co-ordinate their operations to use their combined numbers to secure better terms in trade talks at the world stage, he added.
The 26 member countries of the groups have a total population of 527 million and a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$624bn.
The Presidents attending the Summit were Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Motlanthe, Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki, who is the Chairman of COMESA, and Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, the Chairman of the African Union.
"The greatest enemy of Africa, the greatest source of weakness, has been disunity and a low level of political and economic integration," Museveni said. "Bigger markets are a strategic instrument of liberating people from poverty."
Kagame said African trade blocs should make special provision for weaker economies in the initial stages of their planned integration if the union was to succeed.
The final Summit communiqué said a task force comprising members of the three blocs would formulate a strategy for establishing the Free Trade Area within six months.
The Summit directed the tripartite task force of the three secretariats to develop a roadmap for the implementation of this merger for consideration at its next meeting.
For the FTA the Summit directed the three blocs to undertake a study incorporating, among other things, the development within six months of a roadmap for the establishment of the FTA.
The study would take into account the principle of variable geometry ; the legal and institutional framework to underpin the FTA ; and measures to facilitate the movement of business persons across the RECs.
The study which will be presented at a Tripartite Council of Ministers for consideration within the next 12 months, will determine the timeframe for the establishment of a single FTA ; encompassing the three RECs.
The Summit directed the chairpersons of the Council of Ministers of the three bodies to ensure that joint programmes are speeded up to enhance co-operation and deepen co-ordination in industrial and competition policies, financial and payment systems, development of capital markets and commodity exchanges.
The Ministers have also been tasked with ensuring that the secretariats participate, coordinate and harmonise positions on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations and other multilateral negotiations.
In the area of infrastructure development, the Summit launched the Joint Competition Authority (JCA) on Air Transport Liberalisation which will oversee the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro decision on air transport in the three RECs starting January 2009.
The Summit directed the three RECs to put in place, within one year ; a joint programme for the implementation of a single seamless upper airspace ; and a joint programme for the implementation of an accelerated, seamless inter-regional ICT broadband infrastructure network.
It also called for a joint programme for implementation of a harmonised policy and regulatory framework that will govern ICT and infrastructural development in the three RECs.
The three blocs were directed to effectively coordinate and harmonise — within one year — the regional transport master plans, energy priority investment plans and the energy master plans.
The Summit also also called for joint financing and implementation mechanisms for infrastructure development within one year.
With regard to the legal and institutional framework, the Summit directed the Council of Ministers of the three blocs to consider and approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on interregional cooperation and integration within six months.
A Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government was established which will sit once every two years. Source : october 31, 2008
3-14 November : NEPAD/GTZ train-the-trainer workshop for French-speaking journalists in West Africa, Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire.
5-7 November : Zambia stakeholders engagement towards launching NEPAD implementation structures, Lusaka, Zambia.
6-7 November : NEPAD-CAADP media sensitisation workshop, Midrand, South Africa.
1-5 December : CGIAR annual general meeting 2008 — Investing in agricultural science : the best bet for the future, Maputo, Mozambique.
4-5 December : Regional stakeholder engagement workshop, Midrand, South Africa. Source : october 31, 2008
The following draft statement was issued after a meeting of African Ministers of Agriculture and development partners on “partnership for advancing African agriculture”. The meeting, held in Washington DC on 11 October 2008, was organised by the African Union Commission and USAID.
With the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as part of NEPAD, the member states of the African Union have recognised the significant contribution of agriculture to growth and poverty-reduction strategies.
The CAADP agenda, as an African-led initiative, reflects principles of responsibility and accountability. CAADP today provides a credible collective framework for development planning, public private partnership and delivery of external assistance to the agricultural sector in Africa.
As part of the implementation of CAADP, more than two dozen countries, under the leadership of two of Africa’s main regional economic communities, COMESA and ECOWAS, are actively involved in refining sector policies, developing investment programmes, and establishing the necessary partnerships and alliances to successfully implement the CAADP agenda and achieve its targets of 6% annual agricultural growth rate and 10% agricultural budget share.
We also recognise that numerous countries in Africa and the international community have taken urgent action to put in place emergency and short-term programmes to address the crisis created by the high food and fuel prices. The multitude of actions poses risks to aid effectiveness.
To ensure that the numerous short-term efforts to address the emergency situation are well coordinated and support or do no harm to the longer-term efforts and agricultural agenda, countries will take immediate steps to establish coordination arrangements for all actions before the next cropping season.
A growing number of bilateral and multilateral development partners have recognised and are aligning their assistance programmes in the agricultural sector to the CAADP framework and process. A CAADP Partnership Platform has been established, which is serving as a forum for policy dialogue and review, and has the potential of becoming a major tool for development planning and coordination.
The implementation of the CAADP agenda has now reached a decisive point. It has to be taken to the next level in the coming months by its main actors, — African governments and the development community — or it will fail to achieve its important and ambitious targets.
We are determined to take the following concrete actions to expedite the implementation of the CAADP agenda as decided by the African Heads of State and Government.
Communicate to the African Union by the end of October 2008 a date between now and June 2009 for the organisation of the CAADP Roundtable and the signing of the CAADP Compact for our respective countries ; Initiate Cabinet-level consultations in our respective countries with the view of raising the political profile and expediting the preparation of the Roundtable ; Undertake the necessary dialogue with local development partners to facilitate alignment of development assistance with the national priorities as defined under the CAADP Compact ; Convene, latest by January 2009, in consultation with the Regional Economic Communities, regional meetings to review and resolve any remaining impediments and establish the necessary partnerships for scaling-up implementation ; Convene, under the auspices of the African Union, a CAADP Partnership Platform meeting in December, in connection with the water summit in Libya ; Organize a continent-wide meeting of Heads of State and Government in February 2009 to launch global partnerships and adopt funding mechanisms for accelerated implementation of the CAADP agenda, including the establishment of a trust fund to finance the pillar level early actions. Convene at the country level, all emergency short-term programmes supported by the government and development partners to ensure there is effective coordination to expedite, harmonise and align efforts with the country CAADP process by the next season. Source : october 31, 2008
The global financial meltdown and the ensuing recession has led some analysts to predict that Africa is going to lose out in terms of the external focus, partnerships and assistance that in recent years have been dedicated to its development agenda.
However, it is also evident that African-based initiatives such as NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) are standing out as the most prudent avenues for genuine poverty reduction efforts in Africa.
It is in this regard that Prof. Richard Mkandawire, Head of the NEPAD Agriculture / CAADP won this year’s Drivers of Change individual award.
The Drivers of Change awards, which are organised by the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper and the Southern Africa Trust recognise individuals or organisations from across the Southern Africa region that are making a real impact, especially in developing effective public policies and strategies, to overcome poverty.
It is awarded in three categories : civil society, government, and business. The award has been established to hold up living examples of innovative practices, inclusive attitudes, and effective processes that build social trust and create the best conditions to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty. This year, 60 nominations were received.
Writing in the Mail and Guardian of 24 – 30 October 2008 (p.16 of the ‘Investing in the Future’ supplement) Neville Gabriel (former Director of the Southern Africa Trust), noted : “This year’s winners represent a fresh approach to creating lasting change in our region. The kind of change that turns around how we look at the problems we face as societies”.
He went on to add that “the visionary Richard Mkandawire” had won the individual category “for his outstanding leadership in convincing African leaders and the international community that Africa can muster the ability and political will to overcome hunger and poverty through a green revolution for food security. His efforts are already producing good results”.
At the awards event, Gabriel alluded to the “quiet, yet determined resolve of this well respected agricultural economist who has attracted considerable international attention to the plight of African agriculture and development and raised considerable hope for Africa’s future”.
One of the key messages is that NEPAD’s CAADP has the potential to reduce hunger and poverty through growth in the agricultural sector.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, which was endorsed by the African Union in 2003, is an Africa-led and Africa-owned initiative and framework to rationalise and revitalise African agriculture for economic growth and lasting poverty reduction results.
As part of the CAADP framework, African governments have already agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum 10% of their national budgets and to attain an annual average growth rate of 6% in agriculture.
In responding to the recognition of his role in revitalising the focus on African agriculture Professor Mkandawire pointed out that the work on CAADP had been made possible by the prioritisation of agriculture by the African Heads of State and Government through NEPAD.
In addition he also highlighted that it is the African leadership’s voice that has induced the international development community to respond.
“The world is listening and the world is responding to this African call in support of Africa to support itself through NEPAD.”
NEPAD is a home grown African initiative, crafted by African leaders to respond to Africa’s continued under-development and marginalisation within the context of the broader global political economy. NEPAD serves as a platform for the articulation of a new voice rooted in the collective commitment of African leaders to democratic principles and to crafting a new development paradigm for Africa. Source : october 31, 2008
The 2003 African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as a framework for contributing to the attainment of food security and poverty reduction goals in Africa.
To underscore the commitment to agriculture development, the 2003 AU Summit further adopted a resolution that countries commit at least 10% of the annual national budget to agriculture and rural development by 2008.
The AU and NEPAD conducted a comprehensive 2007 survey of the progress African countries are making towards attainment of 10% national expenditure allocation to agriculture development.
Since 2008 is the deadline for compliance with the 2003 Maputo declaration, it is important that the findings of this survey should be presented to the next AU Summit in 2009.
In line with AU procedures, the AU/NEPAD is convening a technical validation workshop for the 2007 agriculture expenditure tracking system draft report in Midrand, South Africa on 4-5 December 2008.
The objectives of the validation workshop are :
To give senior civil servants the opportunity to verify and endorse the findings to enable the African Union Commission-Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (AUC-DREA) to table them before the Ministers of Agriculture and the AU summit ; To seek stakeholder input in reviewing the current agriculture expenditure tracking system (AETS) and the guidance note to implementation of AETS ; To identify the measures to accelerate national attainment of 10% allocation to agriculture development ; To review the attributes and components of the future agriculture expenditure system.
Targeted participants are directors of policy and planning (Ministry of Agriculture) and directors of budget (Ministry of Finance and Planning). A small number of technical staff of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and development partners will also attend. Source : october 31, 2008
African countries are now subsidising agricultural production through the provision of farm inputs under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
The Permanent Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Romano Kiome, says Kenya is working towards achieving the CAADP’s 10 percent budget allocation to the agriculture sector although for now it is still low at 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
CAADP, which has seen Malawi increase its agricultural production tenfold and deal decisively with food insecurity, is driven by NEPAD to make the continent self-sufficient in food production.
Dr. Kiome, who announced the second multi-sectoral agriculture conference to be held in Nairobi next month, said the Kenya Government and NEPAD recognise the critical role of agricultural research and utilisation of technology to increase food production.
The conference will also be used as a launch pad towards enabling farmers to take up agriculture as a form of business to produce more food while at the same time creating employment opportunities. Source : october 31, 2008
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) won the Best Development Bank of Africa award at the recent African Banker Awards.
These awards were endorsed by the World Bank Africa Region and supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Corporate Council on Africa.
Participants included finance ministers, central bank governors, bank directors and CEOs from across the African continent as well as representatives from intergovernmental organisations and leading businessmen and VIPs from all over Africa, Asia, Europe and the US.
The DBSA was chosen from a strong shortlist by a distinguished panel of judges, including Virginia Anchu, CEO, MGSL, Lagos ; Aissa Hidoussi. CEO, Best Bank, Tunis ; Koosum Kalyan, Chairman, G8 Business Action for Africa ; Dr. Nkosana Moyo, Managing Partner, Actis Capital, London ; Christopher Peel, Head of Africa Equity Research, Exotix ; and Lionel Zinsou, Managing Partner, PAI Private Equity, Paris. Source : october 31, 2008
The Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) has blamed the collapse of the agricultural industry on the failure of the Ghana Government to appreciate the effect of trade agreements on the agriculture sector. According to Ibrahim Akalbila, national coordinator of the GTLC : “Government is still oblivious of the negative influences of unbridled trade liberalisation and has busied itself with the negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) despite the proven negative consequences of the EPAs”.
He was speaking at the third National Farmers Week Durbar at Bontanga in the Northern Region under the theme : "National Farmers Day : farmers efficiency, Government inefficiency. What next ?" He called on the Government to revisit existing agricultural policies such as the ECOWAS agriculture policy (ECOWAP) to guide it.
"If that is done the Government will have all the support it needs from us to grow our country through our common efforts," he said.
In the view of the GTLC, agriculture plays a crucial role and serves as an efficient tool for development and poverty reduction. It urges the Government not to lose sight of this fact.
In addition, Government should be mindful of the role of the main actors - smallholder farmers and producers - as spelt out in NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the ECOWAP.
Regarding the National Farmers’ Day celebrations, Akalbila said the event should be tied to the attainment of productivity and infrastructural development benchmarks that are devoid of partisan politics.
When that is done, "it would make Government accountable and responsible to the millions of food crop farmers of Ghana. This we believe should bring to an end the lip service paid to farmers." Mohammed Adam Nashiru, president of the Peasant Farmers Association, said that Ghana has been at the receiving end of most of the IMF/World Bank failed agriculture interventions.
He regretted that "although Kwame Nkrumah’s Government attempted to use agricultural wealth as a springboard for the country’s overall economic development, Ghanaian agricultural output has consistently fallen since the 1960s."
He also lamented that agriculture is no longer lucrative and the youth are moving to the cities at an alarming rate to look for non-existent jobs thereby creating panic, anarchy, chaos and confusion.
He called on the Government to act without further delays. He recommended that Government should make credit available to all farmers irrespective of their location. He also asked for the rehabilitation and creation of more irrigation dams as well as guaranteed market pricing for all farm produce. Source : october 31, 2008
Fifty delegates from educational institutions, NGO’s, CBO’s, civil society and related government departments are attending a one-day indaba on education and culture in Midrand, South Africa, on 31 October 2008.
The participants are discussing issues around education and culture, from culture education in the family, the community, school, the church, the work-place and the media, to policies, programmes and implementation. Prof. Mathole Motshega, Executive Director of the Kara Heritage Institute, will provide the historical background of culture education in Africa.
Culture is an integral part of development efforts on the continent. Consequently NEPAD is giving special attention to the protection and nurturing of indigenous knowledge, which includes tradition-based literacy, artistic and scientific works, inventions, scientific discoveries, designs, marks, names and symbols, undisclosed information and all other tradition-based innovations and creations resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.
It is also ensuring that indigenous knowledge in Africa is protected through appropriate legislation, and promoting its protection at the international level by working closely with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
The indaba, organised by the education and training sector of the NEPAD Secretariat, is part of a consultation process leading to a national education and culture conference, which will be organised in partnership with the South African Departments of Education, Arts and Culture and provincial and local government and other local and international stakeholder organisations, including the Goethe Institute, Johannesburg.
It is a response to numerous recommendations, declarations and decisions on the link between education and culture for Africa’s sustainable development, which put arts, education policy and intellectual transformation high on the national, regional and continental agenda of African nations and government institutions.
These recommendations, declarations and decisions were adopted at various high-level African forums, including the first session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Culture, which was held in December 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya, where African Ministries of Education and Culture were urged “to create the forums for regular consultations and streamlining culture in education and education in culture, in particular through the building of African educational systems.”
The main objectives of the Midrand conference are :
to support the various calls and recommendation for the linking of education and culture, especially from the African Union ; to provide a forum for consultation on education and culture (arts education) ; to promote national dialogue on the link between education and culture for the achievement of the African renaissance and national development ; to promote reflection and dialogue on the role, the status and the future of education and culture in South Africa, leading to concrete actions to ensure its effective implementation at all levels, and in all forms of education in South Africa ; to promote networking among national education and culture stakeholders, and to lay the ground for the regional and continental conferences on education and culture, which will be held in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
The national conference will be followed later by a regional (SADC) conference, and later by a continental African conference. Source : october 31, 2008