Craig Eisele on …..

July 13, 2011

What is a non-traditional Strategic Planner?

What is a nontraditional Strategic Planner?

The easy answer is one that does not use the same format as Boston Consulting Group or Booz Allen. But that is too easy. See the large firms are often brought in to help boost someone else’s plan or to Design and implement a Management Information System. But who challenges the Top Management of Major Companies today. The short answer is almost nobody. And the reasons are as obvious as fear and as subtle as brown nosing.

A NON traditional Strategic Planner can come in many forms but for the sake of this post… and of course to bolster my own work,,, I would like to share with you my approach to Strategic Planning.

Let’s start with a simple idea. Often the problem that a person or company thinks they are facing is not really the problem but a symptom. There are other times that the problem is misstated. But realizing that the core issues are not being addressed is an afterthought most of the time.

Then there is the failure to see the future with greater accuracy. A bold statement given that NO ONE can see the future but we can predict with greater accuracy the further we extend our information sources outside of the Core Business.

In deciding a future for a company it is always important to identify issues affecting the employees, the Supplies and the Customers.

The Non traditional approach will see what is happening in these entities world and what is the potential that their business or behavior will be affected. Not just stopping there but going even further as to what may be happening in the Communities from Local to National to International and then what is happening in Technology outside of your core.

The purpose of this extensive network information gathering is to provide not only data for current operations but to see where the future may  be affected by those external forces.

One need only look at Facebook’s phenomenal growth and now Facebook is facing n uncertain future in how to grow as the number of subscribers is flattening out and they look to Apps to grow or to change the paradigm in how their growth is measured.

Changing the paradigm is always an interesting way to change the future of a company… the Companies that are most successful do this on a regular basis and are leaders. The rest are followers and will grow or decline in response to how quickly they can adapt.

But there is another approach that is often over looked. When companies/ organizations or even societies face uncertain futures the Questions that are posed are usually a knee jerk reaction to a change in environment. WE HAVE A PROBLEM they say… but as I said above the problem they state is usually just a symptom and if treated as the sole problem does not address what is really going happening.

Sometime the problems are “unsolvable” in the context that they are presented. This is where my favorite technique is used the most and to the greatest advantage,

“IF YOU CANT SOLVE THE PROBLEM YOU ARE FACING YOU ARE FACING THE WRONG PROBLEM”

The second part of this is also appropriate in evaluating if the supposed problem is really a problem or just a symptom

“CHANGE THE DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM TO COME UP WITH WORKABLE SOLUTION”  

This also opens the door to not only being an industry leader but ancillary business with limited windows of opportunity and fabulous returns on investment.

A Practical Example;

Egypt: a Country of 80+ million people that depend on the Nile River.. There is a nearly a century old Treaty brokered by the British that dictated the amount of water that must flow to Egypt from the riparian Countries (those upstream and on the Blue and White Nile Rivers). This was not just for the use of the Egyptian people but to prevent the salty water of the Mediterranean from moving up the Nile River and contaminating Fresh water (potable water) supplies.

Most of these countries are breaking the treaty for various reasons. The most egregious of these is Ethiopia which claims the water as its own for purposes of Industrial, Hydro Electric, Dams, Commercial, Agricultural and human consumption without regard to Egypt’s critical needs. Adding to this siphoning off of water is the study by Egypt that even with all the water previously guaranteed by the treaty it would have water shortage problems by 2016.

The PROBLEM that is stated is that these riparian countries must release the water to Egypt. In all frankness that will not happen. Egypt has said it vies the taking of this necessary water as an act of war, and they appear to be justified. But WAR in a conventional manner is not a resolution to the problems Egypt really faces.

Some have suggested that Egypt use Desalinization plants that consume power that is still in short supply in Egypt and if Fossil Fuel is used then the huge cost is difficult to bear for the industrial nations of Europe and North America let alone Egypt Egypt has authorized a nuclear power plant they hope will help but it does not sole the REAL PROBLEM.

From my statements above you know that I have attempted to redefine the problem. The problem is how much water flows through the Nile River. You may at first say that is obvious and given the current attempts to resolve the problem as most see it (that being the Riparian countries excessive use) that there is little hope of getting more water to the Nile. But you would be wrong in assuming that the above listed actions are the ONLY methods of getting water to flow in the Nile.

There is another way to bring water to the Nile… and yes I have found it… but I will not give it away at this time. This is how I do strategic planning… not only can I bring more water to the Nile for less than 500 million US Dollars but I can create and sustain 10’s of thousands of new jobs in the process. These jobs go a long way to improve the economy of Egypt and to foster greater stability as well. Basically this plan addresses several of Egypt’s needs at the same time.

How can Egypt pay for this… that answer is simple as well. With the exception of maybe 5 million dollars upfront the Entire project can be paid for with no other funds from Egypt or loans Guaranteed by Egypt or even by giving away things to outsiders. Others will pay if for no other reason than peace

This is the type of strategic planning I do. Find issues that appear to have no solution redefine those problems, devise a strategy that will not only address that particular problem but also other problems in the environment, incorporate other “benefits” into the solutions presented, and just as important find the economic benefit that pays for the solutions as implemented. It is a NON traditional manner of Strategic Planning… but something I think should be more main stream in all areas of business, government and society.

To be a truly effective Strategic Planner we must look beyond the reality presented to see if that is truly the reality. Challenge the conventional thinking and come up with creative but executable methods that incorporate benefits that are far reaching assure a future positive outcome.  It is not easy although it may appear to be. It takes a mindset that is not rigid, is flexible, and a think tank type approach. Simply it takes thought and creativity which few have today.

I am not soliciting business as I turn down 50 times more projects then I take on because most who seek my skills are not really looking for ideas they are looking for approval for their own. I am very very selective and of course expensive… but I generate returns far greater than most as I believe the economic realities demand profits in one way or another.

I am better in explaining things in person then I am in writing… as is the case for many my mind is usually faster than my fingers but I hope I was able to at least give you food for your thought processes

Craig Eisele

March 28, 2008

Infrastructure Development Tops AfDB Projects in Africa

I have read the article below and am in awe of the lack of strategic planning and the failure of appropriate methodology to bring to Africa this much needed Infrastructure. This lack of this basic “backbone” infrastructure is what hold Africa back more than any other issue that faces Africa today. Trying to develop Africa in the same way as North America or Europe is NOT feasible. There has to be a unique and special plan such as the one developed by Trans-African Development  Strategies and the sister Company Trans African Development Company to bring this “backbone” Infrastructure to fruition. The current approach will hold Africa back for at least 50 years. When I read articles like this I can honestly say I am furious at the lack of true understanding… but then I remember that organizations like AfDB are NOT inclined to think “outside the box” …. As those who know me will tell you I subscribe to the basic philosophy “If you cannot solve the problem you are facing…. then you are facing the wrong problem” If AfDB and others would redefine the problem as I have then the realistic and implementable solutions would be obvious!!! But I have tried to discuss this with AfDB and others… and to my dismay they are not interested in even considering anything but the “Status Quo” thus dooming Africa and it’s people to decades of unnecessary poverty and suffering. My offer to AfDB and others interested in truly and honestly solving these and other issues that face Africa remains open but I am NOT optimistic that closed minded individuals will ever consider other pragmatic approaches.
Infrastructure development tops AfDB projects in Africa
 
 
The announcement was made during a recent conference on African infrastructure held in Senegal, which brought together donors, government ministers, and representatives of regional bodies such as the African Union and its intergovernmental development initiative, NEPAD.
An AfDB press release notes that the promised funds will come from the bank’s low-interest lending window, the African Development Fund (ADF). In December, the Bank secured commitments from donors to contribute a record $8.9 billion to replenish the ADF for the next three years.
It has earlier been reported that the loans will finance regional infrastructure projects, including the construction of “a number of major road and rail projects aimed at crisscrossing the continent with transport corridors.”
Proposed projects would include transcontinental transportation corridors that would require a huge outpouring of money. They would serve to benefit exporters and, by extension, transnational companies that profit the most from Africa’s commodities.Some of the more ambitious proposed projects include the construction of “Trans-African highway projects to connect Beira in Mozambique to Lobito in Angola, Dakar in Senegal to Lagos in Nigeria, and Lagos to Mombassa in Kenya.”
While Africa suffers from an acute lack of infrastructure, it is important to consider what type of infrastructure is most needed to help alleviate poverty on the continent. By and large, transcontinental highways and railroads will require a huge outpouring of money and serve to benefit exporters and, by extension, transnational companies that profit the most from Africa’s commodities. Roads and high-quality railroads are indeed necessary to move goods to and from land-locked countries such as Uganda.
The sheer scale of transcontinental projects, however, could distract effort and funds from these more manageable projects, and in the end the more grandiose projects have a higher likelihood of being abandoned because of unmet expectations.
At the same time, Africa’s poor will likely remain cut off by the lack of basic local road networks and adversely affected by the intense footprint that such large-scale physical infrastructure projects often entail.
A recent study by International Rivers and Environmental Defense also shows that large, capital-intensive infrastructure projects such as these tend to be the most prone to corruption. Questions also remain as to whether the AfDB has the requisite experience to identify and mitigate the serious potential impacts of these projects, and whether it wields sufficient leverage to ensure that its social and environmental safeguards, which are strong on paper, are enforced.
Since it resumed regular operations after facing a financial crisis in the early 1990′s, the AfDB has sought to define itself as a lender with special expertise on infrastructure in Africa. It has consistently allocated a significant portion of its lending to the sector, and was chosen to coordinate regional infrastructure initiatives, such as NEPAD’s Infrastructure Action Plan and the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA). However, the AfDB has made limited progress in its convening role, and few of its ambitious plans to create regional energy, transportation, and water initiatives under NEPAD have come to fruition.
While African governments appear keen to benefit from this and other regional infrastructure schemes, it remains unclear the extent to which this latest initiative is demand-driven or being pursued at the behest of donors. The lion’s share of new donor commitments at the AfDB have been earmarked for infrastructure, while a new high-level panel (see “High-level panel issues report on prospects for African Development Bank”) on the Bank recognizes that the board of the ADF is disproportionately influenced by its donors. A recent Financial Times article suggests that AfDB President Donald Kaberuka “is facing dissent from some African staff concerned that efforts to carve out an independent role for the AfDB are being undermined by some western donors.”

February 12, 2008

Some (NOT me) claim that AfDB Should be Africa’s Premier Development Institution

I am personally NOT convinced that the ADB/AfDB is actually the best… or even that good for African Development. I have spoken to them several times concerning projects and have found them to be… well let me just say indifferent to projects that are not traditional and conservative in their approach Africa not only needs but deserves aggressive lending practices for development… I do NOT find that with this bank… however in difference to fairness to them am posting this article.

AfDB Should be Africa’s Premier Development Institution – Says Panel Report

Accra Mail (Accra)
NEWS
28 January 2008
Posted to the web 28 January 2008
Accra
An Independent High Level Panel has said in a report released on Tuesday in Tunis that given the huge development challenges it faces, Africa, more than any other region, needs a premier continental development bank.

The report, “Investing in Africa’s Future: The ADB in the 21st Century,” says while poverty reduction and promoting growth and economic integration will be the overarching objective of the Bank, it should foster economic integration and, particularly, undertake regional investments in which returns are greater than those for any individual country and which may otherwise not be financed.

It says the AfDB of the 21st Century should provide a range of regional public goods, particularly knowledge and advisory services, to transfer experience and best practice, and to be an African voice on development internationally.

The report says the Bank should also channel development capital efficiently to all African countries on reasonable and predictable terms. The report lists four interlocking priorities for the Bank:

- Investing in infrastructure: Africa will never become competitive, or realize its productive potential, without massive improvements in infrastructure, with needs estimated at US$20-30 billion a year. Infrastructure is a precondition for, and an enabler of growth for private sector development. The report notes that the ADB already has solid experience in infrastructure, adding that the Bank has generally performed well on its mandate from the African Union to implement the infrastructure component of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as well as lead several multi-donor initiatives.

The panel, however, believes that the Bank must be more proactive and take more leadership in defining needs and priorities, designing strategies and action plans, bringing stakeholders together, and coordinating and managing implementation. It should help Africa build infrastructure to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change through clean energies (hydro and wind power), all-weather transport and irrigation projects. More of the resources available for infrastructure should be channeled through the ADB.

- Building capable states: The report says effective and accountable institutions are essential for sustained economic growth and social progress, explaining that building capable states must be at the heart of the ADB’s work just as engaging in fragile and post-conflict states is an imperative rather than an option.

The Bank should have a leading role in issues of governance but intervene selectively, consistent with its other areas of focus. Its assistance must be flexible, fast, and consistent, well coordinated with other players. Additional financial and human resources will have to be directed accordingly.

- Promoting the private sector: The report asserts that that the private sector will drive growth in Africa noting that it behooves the ADB to help it do so by promoting an enabling environment, by facilitating investment and entrepreneurship. This means listening to the private sector, lending directly to private interests, and helping governments reform their legal and regulatory frameworks to strengthen governance and accountability.

The ADB must better exploit the advantages of its integrated structure, building up country and regional strategies that encompass both the private and public sectors and foster the synergies between them, the report says, noting that the Bank’s direct private sector operations tripled in the last year and should grow further.

- Developing skills: The advisory panel urged the AfDB to help Africa build the skills it needs to be competitive, noting that in 2030 half of Africans will be under 25. The continent will have transitioned to a primarily urban population. Only economic growth can provide Africans with opportunities. However, to grasp these opportunities, they will need the right skills.

The report says that given the heavy involvement of other donors in primary and basic education, the ADB should concentrate on vocational training, higher education, and science and technology. The priorities should be building centers of excellence, providing the necessary infrastructure for education, and developing mutually supportive links with the private sector to promote the use of local skills.

This 13-member Independent High Level Panel on the Bank Group, co-chaired by former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano and former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, and including the Nobel Laureate in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, was established by President Donald Kaberuka as an independent advisory body to provide recommendations on the AfDB’s strategic vision and on the operational strategies needed in the medium to long term.

January 25, 2008

African bank to champion infrastructure financing

African bank to champion infrastructure financing

Fri 25 Jan 2008, 5:33 GMT
By Diadie Ba
SALY PORTUGAL, Senegal (Reuters) – Sixty percent of the African Development Bank’s $8.9 billion soft loan resources for 2008-2010 will go towards infrastructure projects on the continent, a bank official said on Thursday.

Last month, donor countries agreed a record level of support for the bank’s soft loan window, the African Development Fund, amounting to $8.9 billion for the next three years, 52 percent up from the 2005-2007 period.

The AfDB, whose shareholders include Africa’s 53 nations and 24 non-African donor countries, lends commercially to Africa’s richest nations and at concessionary rates to poor ones from its Development Fund, financed largely by Western donors.

Addressing an African ministerial conference in Senegal on Infrastructure Financing, Youssouf Ouedraogo, special adviser to AfDB President Donald Kaberuka, said $4.8 billion of these funds for concessionary lending were earmarked for infrastructure.

This included a number of major road and rail projects aimed at criss-crossing the continent with transport corridors.

“These resources are insufficient …. the bank will spare no effort to try to mobilise additional resources coming from multilateral and bilateral partners, sub-regional banks and the private sector,” he told delegates at the conference in the coastal resort of Saly Portudal.

Ouedraogo said the bank was already financing and carrying out feasibility studies in major existing transport corridor projects, such as those to link Djibouti on the Red Sea with Dakar and Libreville on the Atlantic coast to the west.

It would also support trans-African highway projects to connect Beira in Mozambique to Lobito in Angola, Dakar in Senegal to Lagos in Nigeria, and Lagos to Mombasa in Kenya.

Financing was also earmarked for three major bridge projects, at Rosso over the Senegal River between Senegal and Mauritania, over the Gambia River in Gambia and the Kazangula bridge over the Zambezi between Zambia and Botswana.

In addition, the bank was contributing to the financing of the rehabilitation and expansion of the giant Inga dam hydropower project in Democratic Republic of Congo.

In his speech to the conference, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade urged African countries to work together to develop the continent’s deficient infrastructure under the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), which aims to fight poverty and improve governance.

“For several years, nobody wanted to hear about infrastructure. Today, we are unanimous,” he said.

Historically, Africa’s infrastructure has been geared to old colonial markets in Europe, resulting in economic isolation for the 40 percent of Africans who live in landlocked countries, and starving local markets of cross-border roads and railways.

“Without infrastructure, there’s no development. We need a single voice and a single agenda,” Bernard Joba, commissioner for infrastructure at the African Union, told the conference, which was attended by representatives of regional and international organisations.

December 5, 2007

AFDB Seeks “Intelectuals” to Promote Africa’s Economic Growth

AFDB’s Plan to Promote Africa’s Economic Growth
East African Business Week (Kampala)

NEWS
26 November 2007
Posted to the web 26 November 2007
By Geoffrey Kamali

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has for some time now been on a campaign to involve African intellectuals into dialogue on the African development agenda. Recently, the AfDB, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Economic Consortium, convened the second African Economic conference to encourage such dialogue. East African Business Week’s Geoffrey Kamali caught up with the President of AfDB, Dr. Donald Kaberuka over the new partnership and below are the excerpts.

The idea you initiated to involve African economists and researchers into debate on development issues affecting the continent appears to be wide, how is it going to work?

It is working already, because the idea to widen debate on African development issues to include African economists, the think tanks has results.

These are researchers from universities and the think-tanks and they come here to share ideas. The objective of this conference is to allow African economists and think-tanks to share scientific thinking on the development issues of the day. We were in Tunis (last year) and we have done so now. Every year, we add to our stock of knowledge on how things will work or not.

Has the process started feeding into policy making?

It’s still too early but there have been extensive discussions at this conference on managing the natural resources boom. Clearly now, there is positive dialogue, but this is quite bigger. If it is feeding into policy immediately, maybe not. But at least policy makers now have got a wide range of instruments that have been produced by the economists.

When is that time coming when research findings should feed into policy making?

Policies are made over a long period of time. Policies are not static, they evolve everyday. And my take will be that they are already getting together economists and policy makers in an understanding. On one hand you have practitioners handling issues on a daily basis, and on the other side you’ve got economists who handle things maybe on a theoretical point. Now, there are realities of both sides. As they interact, I expect the quality of policies to keep improving.

But the thinking of African economies is mainly done outside Africa and there’s nothing wrong with that. International financial institutions and agencies have in as much driven the African agenda, but what is happening here is now an African perspective to drive that agenda. Africa’s own economists are adding in their own perspective. It is the totality of this perspective that we are talking about.

Is this process going to work like a charter to legally compel African governments to implement such policies?

No, African governments are democratically elected. They are accountable to parliament, not to economists. This is not about a government receiving, it’s an exchange of experiences and there is an academic, theoretic confrontation of data, objective facts, with day to day realities.

It is the interaction of the two which improves the quality of policies. It’s a confrontation of policy realities, which enables Africa’s own thinking on Africa’s own problems.

Please understand this, there is such a difference to continue thinking that you got governments here receiving ideas from economists only is wrong.

There are economists in universities, in ivory towers, they have never been confronted with managing a country or managing a ministry or the Central Bank. But economists also have information, which can be useful. I expect yearly improvements. For example, next year, we will concentrate on an issue, such as growth. So, we’ll get economic growth at the centre of the agenda.

Now, you can come to economic growth from very many angles; institutions, investments, governance, education, whatever you want. But the finality will be the growth agenda, which is issue-based.

What’s important is that African intellectuals themselves and African policy-makers feeding into policies in Africa. It is not an exclusion of non-African ideas, far from it! It is aiding to those ideas in another perspective, by Africans and Africans in the Diaspora.

Various issues were raised at the conference, such as corruption, infrastructural challenges and governance, aren’t these likely to affect the process of this dialogue and policymaking?

The issues raised are numerous and they are all important. They recognise such challenges by governments and all the things you have mentioned. So here are experts, the AfDB and others to debate over them. Now, the issue is how is it done? Fighting corruption for instance is critical, getting experiences and sharing them.

Some recommendations made, such as private sector credit support and lowering interest rates by a half, are unrealistic and likely to be disruptive…

Okay, there is a recommendation to lower interest rates, for example. Well, let me come to it from this perspective. I expect economists to go back to their countries and look at the cost of capital, the competition in the banking sector, level of government borrowing and barriers, which influence interest.

And then, depending upon the findings, we see if the mechanisms are efficient enough to lower interest. There might even be cases for raising interest! So a scientific subject like this cannot be made into a recommendation…it cannot be.

Certainly, interest rates vary from economy to economy and so, we cannot declare them from here. I think the issue is that competition should be increased in the banking competition. But these are highly technical issues, such as excess liquidity in the economy… the Central Banks know what to do.

Africa’s current economic boom is pegged on newfound and existing resources such as oil and minerals, yet you seem to disagree.

Well, what I said on geology is not new. There is not much geology (resources that are under the ground) in India and China; there isn’t much under the soil. But they are the ones now driving the world economy. I said, use the resources from the boom to develop other resources. And among these other resources, I put talent as number one.

What time frame have you given this process (of interaction between economists and researchers) to feed into policy?

Each country is different, what we call initial conditions are different. Take a country like Liberia, which has just emerging from 20 years of crisis. You cannot have one formula for different countries. The important thing is to kick- start the economy to make it move.

You said the AfDB will support African universities to promote scientific training, how will this be achieved?

That support started before I came to the bank. It is part of a comprehensive approach and some examples of the support the Bank is doing is the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology. It has been getting this support.

This was not because of me because I was not there yet. Now, if we could find centres of excellence like this in every region…like the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture, it is an excellence centre. There is some idea to identify in every region, centres that have built excellence or where excellence can be built, and then we support them.

We have limited resources, we cannot do this in every country or university but at least…in West Africa, Central Africa and East Africa, we will identify centres of excellence and go there and support them. Technicians of AfDB will identify how to support and see the missing gaps…like the Bank tha just started… the Bank has supported to build laboratories and providing equipment.

You said AfDB has decided to adopt a particular economic approach for fragile economies. Please explain.

Every country has got its own natural resources endowment, like Liberia. Before Liberia went to civil war, at least it was a middle-income country. It made huge profits.

Liberia is a country rich in natural resources but it is a traumatised country in terms of institutions. Now, to help Liberia is not the same thing like helping say, Botswana…the problems are different. You need to appreciate that we cannot have a formula, which fits every country.

There is a new policy for fragile states, any of the fragile states emerging from conflict. The Bank has in the past helped them to clear the debt arrears…that was the first step, so they can re-engage with international financial institutions.

Once you have cleared arrears, you must now kick-starts the economy. And money alone is not always enough, you need to help them rebuild institutions. A country like Mozambique had to be helped to rebuild its institutions, especially the customs on its coast. So we are helping the to, one, clear arrears, kick -start the economy and then building capacity.

What in the Bank’s view should the citizens of Africa expect to achieve in the next 10 years?

Now, AfDB is one of the players, the biggest player in every country is that country itself. International organisations come in to support. We have no different agenda from other countries. Our agenda is to promote economic growth…I would hope that in 10 years, we will have attained the Millennium Development Goals and economic growth which is necessary for the MDGs. I hope that our share world trade and investment is growing everyday…now it is 2%. Asia is 8%, so I would hope our share also increases. Our dependence on foreign aid is declining. For that to happen, it means that we expect our institutions to have become stronger and governance is strengthening every day. If that happens, I think we will have contributed to what the countries themselves want to do.

December 4, 2007

The UK Doubles Contribution to the 11th replenishment of the African Development Fund

UK Doubles Contribution to Development Fund
African Development Bank (Tunis)

NEWS
17 November 2007
Posted to the web 29 November 2007
Tunis
The United Kingdom announced on Tuesday, 27 November 2007 that it is doubling its contribution to the 11th replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF XI), the first shareholder to do so.

The UK contribution will be £417 million, approximately US$ 863 million, and effectively twice the amount of its contribution from the previous replenishment.

Douglas Alexander the UK International Development Secretary made the announcement whilst on a visit to Tanzania.

“This is the biggest contribution that the UK has made to the African Development Fund”, he said. “It demonstrates our commitment to help build African institutions, our confidence in the reform process being undertaken by the African Development Bank, and our belief that the Fund can effectively support development in Africa’s poorest countries. I’m calling for all donors to increase their support for the Africa Development Fund at the final replenishment meeting in London in December.”

In his reaction to the announcement, the African Development Bank Group President, Donald Kaberuka, welcomed the announcement describing it as a concretization of commitments to double aid to Africa, a major boost to the concessional window of the Bank’s capacity to support low income countries in Africa over the period 2008-2010. He expressed his hope and expectations that other donors will follow suit to raise the ambitions of the ADF XI.

“I greatly welcome this announcement and applaud the continuing leadership shown by the UK in its support to Africa and in implementing the commitments made by the G8. I value the confidence shown in the Bank as an African institution. I know this announcement is based on an expectation of improved performance by the Bank. That is no less than Africa itself expects from us, and we are determined to deliver,” he added.

Going forward, Mr. Kaberuka underscored the determination of the Bank to make a major contribution to poverty reduction and the MDGs through growth by improving the productive capacity in Africa, promoting economic integration, investing in infrastructure, private sector development, developing the skills needed to be competitive, as well as stepping up engagement in fragile states.

He said the Bank aims at continuously changing into an organisation which is dynamic, flexible, and able to better respond to the diverse needs of African countries. “We are making progress in restructuring the Bank so that there is a greater focus on results, strengthening country focus, decentralization and synergy with other stakeholders. The reform programme will continue,” he further said.

He said the Bank has the capacity to channel effectively additional resources to Africa, adding that the final replenishment meeting in London on 10/11 December will agree on a comprehensive action plan and results framework. “We are ready to be judged on our results,” he emphasized.

“I very much hope that other shareholders will raise the ambitions and also pledge contributions to the replenishment consistent with the needs of Africa today and with the growing capacity of the Bank to deliver,” Mr. Kaberuka said.

The African Development Bank is a major source of development finance in Africa. It is crucial in helping African countries work towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals. In recent years the Bank has made significant reforms to become more effective. The amount committed to ADF-10 was US$ 5.40 billion (2004-2007).

December 1, 2007

AfDB President And U.S. Treasury Secretary Call for Intensified Public Private Partnerships

AfDB President And U.S. Treasury Secretary Call for Intensified Public Private Partnerships
African Development Bank (Tunis)

NEWS
22 November 2007
Posted to the web 23 November 2007
Accra
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka and the United States Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson have called for intensified Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the development of infrastructure in Africa.

Messrs Kaberuka and Paulson made the call on Monday at the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra during a panel discussion with a cross section of the banking, finance and private sector executives.

They emphasized the need for African countries to promote PPPs to sustain current levels of economic growth and highlighted how African governments, the private sector and donors could accelerate the financial sector’s development. Noting that the economic reforms had paid off in Africa, the two called for more resources to sustain the development of infrastructure.

President Kaberuka further emphasized the Bank Group’s role in the area of infrastructure. He also expressed the need to use Diaspora remittances as source of financing for the continent.

At the Akosombo Hydropower Station, which provides about 68% of Ghana’s electricity requirements, President Kaberuka and Secretary Paulson held round table discussions with government authorities led by the Finance and Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, on infrastructure financing. Africa’s development hinges on infrastructure and there is a need to mobilize more resources and ensure the effective implementation of projects, they said.

At the press conference, the US Treasury Secretary highlighted the significant change and progress made by Africa in economic reforms and development. He also emphasized, with satisfaction, the catalytic role played by the African Development Bank in this process.

During the visit, Secretary Paulson and President Kaberuka paid a courtesy call on President Kufuor and empathized with him over a recent accident in which the Ghanaian President escaped unharmed. They commended Ghana’s achievements in the areas of poverty reduction, investments and infrastructure.

President Kaberuka later held discussions with the Finance Minister on a host of bilateral and current issues, including the need to speed up project implementation, public and private sector collaboration as well as infrastructure development.

November 23, 2007

AfDB Group Supports Energy and Finance Management Projects in Egypt and Angola

AfDB Group Supports Energy and Finance Management Projects in Egypt and Angola

African Development Bank (Tunis)
PRESS RELEASE
14 November 2007
Posted to the web 14 November 2007
Tunis
The Boards of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group approved today in Tunis, loans amounting US$ 334.27 million to finance energy and financial management support projects in Egypt and Angola.

The Bank approved US$325 million for Egypt and US$ 9.27 million for Angola.

Egypt – The project aims at increasing the generation capacity of the Unified Power System (UPS) by about 4% in the year 2012, to meet the electricity demand on the system in the short-to-medium term. When completed, it will contribute toward making sufficient and reliable power available to various consumers including households, agriculture, business and industries. The project will enhance the overall goal of sustaining economic growth by providing adequate energy at minimum cost to the various economic sectors thereby improving the standard of living of the population.

The project is estimated to cost US$ 1,322.73 million. The AfDB loan will cover 24.5% of the total cost. Other financiers are the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Arab Fund (AFESD), the Kuwait Fund (KFAED), and the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC).

In November 2006 the Bank supported comprehensive structural and financial reforms initiated by the government of Egypt with a loan of US$ 500 million, the highest amount ever approved by the institution for any of its regional member countries.

The ADB Group began operations in Egypt in 1974. To date, its commitments in the country stand at US$ 2.5 billion in 49 operations.

Angola – For its part, Angola will receive a loan of US$ 9.27 million from the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the Bank Group, for its Financial Management Support Project (PAGEF), which seeks to strengthen institutional capacities in the areas of state property management, and internal and external audit systems, with a view to ensuring transparent and efficient public finance management in order to promote more equitable economic growth.

PAGEF falls within the strategic context of the Government’s General Program and its interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP-I), which aims in particular, for “the creation of a favorable macroeconomic framework for growth and poverty reduction” and “institutional capacity building and improvement of governance”. By promoting transparency and strengthening the integrity of the budget system, through greater accuracy of budgets and General State Accounts (GSA) as well as effective external audits by the Court of Auditors, the PAGEF will contribute to the enhancement of financial governance, necessary for macroeconomic stability and improvement in the business environment for private sector activities.

It is in line with the Bank’s intervention strategy in Angola, as defined in the Results-based Country Strategy Paper (RBCSP 2005-2007), especially the thrust on creating an enabling environment for private sector development.

The cost of the project is estimated at UA 6.57 million. The loan will cover 89.7% of the costs. The Angolan government will provide the remaining UA 0.68 million or 10.3% of the total cost of the project.

The Bank Group’s operations in Angola started in 1983. To date, the Group has committed a total of UA 298.07 million, about US$ 469.3 million in 32 operations in the country.

November 18, 2007

Africa Risks Not Meeting MDGs Deadline, Say Leaders

Continent Risks Not Meeting MDGs Deadline, Say Leaders

The East African (Nairobi)
NEWS
6 November 2007
Posted to the web 6 November 2007

By David Musoke-Kezio
Nairobi
African leaders attending the “Connect Africa” summit in Kigali have recommended that the deadline for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should be brought forward by three years to 2012. This, they said will speed up the process of achieving the objectives.

The Kigali summit’s objective was to mobilise the human, financial and technical resources required to expand the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and ensure it is used effectively in pursuit of the UN development goals for Africa.

 

Led by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and his counterparts Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and the Swazi Deputy Prime Minister Constance Simelane, they said the continent risked not meeting the MDGs by 2015 because of the slow pace at which countries were working towards achieving the goals.

President Nkurunziza, for example, said there were only 50,000 computers connected to the Internet in Burundi and appealed for more investment in ICT.

The “Connect Africa” summit organised by UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a multi-stakeholder initiative to accelerate the implementation of MDGs. Participants were drawn from governments, industry, development banks and international organisations. Dr Hamadoun Touré, the secretary-general of ITU, said that Africa should seek more investment than aid, if the MDGs dream is to be achieved. He said the summit projected about $300 billion invested in ICT projects in Africa by 2012.

In a special session, ministers in charge of ICTs in sub-Saharan Africa were invited to renew their commitment to the recently endorsed Nepad $2 billion submarine cable project to connect Africa to the rest of the world.

The 50,000km long cable with a capacity of 3.84 terrabits/sec – the newest of series of submarine cables that are still underway – is designed to provide telecommunications connectivity within Africa and connect the continent to the US, Europe and Africa.

The cable is expected to be in place before 2010 according to Albert Butare, a minister from Rwanda.

The cable has been dubbed UHURUNET and UMOJANET for its terrestrial segment. The summit recommended the holding company of the submarine cable be named Baharicom. Under the arrangement, Nepad Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be the largest single shareholder.

South Africa’s Minister for Communications, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, said experiences in South Africa and Mauritius show that private sector-led undersea cable projects, where “private clubs” decide the cost of telecommunications are not beneficial to countries in urgent need of affordable broadband connectivity.

The eight MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV and Aids and providing universal primary education by 2015 – form a blueprint agreed upon by all UN’s 192 members and all the world’s leading development institutions.

Dr Touré said that since 33 per cent of Africans are employed in the ICT sector, the summit wanted to push sub-Saharan Africa to interconnect all African capitals with ICT broadband infrastructure and strengthen connectivity to the rest of the world by 2012 as well as interconnect major African cities by 2015.

“The summit adopted key regulatory measures to have e-strategies including cyber security using accessible technologies in each country in Africa by 2012,” he said.

This prompted the ITU to sign a memorandum of understanding with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to collaborate on the interconnection of all African capitals with broadband Internet.

The World Bank Group in a parallel event announced that it will double its investment in ICTs in Africa from $1 billion injected over the past five years to $2 billion by 2012.

UN Confident $55 Billion to Wire Up Continent

UN Confident $55 Billion to Wire Up Continent

Rwanda News Agency/Agence Rwandaise d’Information (Kigali)
NEWS
1 November 2007
Posted to the web 1 November 2007
Kigali
Commitments from the ICT industry, financial agencies, African governments and development partners amounting to USD 55billion is well above expectation to achieve what President Paul Kagame called ‘much-needed economic revolution’, the UN telecommunications agency (ITU) has said.

On Tuesday, up to 1000 delegates concluded the high-powered summit meant to set a faster tone to broadband infrastructure and strengthen connectivity for Africa. The Summit also sets out to meet the World Summit on the Information Society goals for capacity building, establishing an enabling environment for investment, and e-government services.

Governments say there will be a level playing field for the industry to compete. It was also decided to ensure harmonization of the regulatory framework to stimulate cross-border integration in large-scale projects. Capacity building was identified as one key area for cooperation among all stakeholders.

Mobile operators of the GSM Association are to invest USD 50 billion over the next 5 years to expand and upgrade networks across the continent by 2012. This would provide mobile coverage to more than 90 per cent of the population in the fastest-growing sector over the last five years, the group said.

The World Bank said it would double commitment to connectivity in Africa to $2 billion for five years as well from ongoing investments amounting USD 1 billion since 2001.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) expects to invest 60% of its concessional resources on infrastructure, including wiring up the continent in the next three years. The Bank has already injected some USD 65 million into two RASCOM and EASSy.

The EU through various channels plans to provide some 100 million Euros in grants and 260 Million Euros for loans for the period 2007-2008. The funding targets cross-border projects or national projects with a regional and continental impact that would include ICT. The International Telecommunications Union will have Euro 6 Million for regulatory reform initiatives on the continent.

“Investment and trade – as opposed to aid and charity – must drive the transformation of our economies”, President Kagame of Rwanda told delegates on Monday launching the summit attended by seven heads of states.

He called for a dynamic ICT sector to connect Africa to the global information superhighway. “In order to realize this much-needed economic revolution, we have to forge productive relationships between government and business,” said Kagame.

Sounding upbeat when asked to assess the success of the summit during the closing session on Tuesday afternoon, ITU Secretary-General Mr. Hamadoun Touré said: “Africa is open for business.”

“We are looking for investment through win-win partnerships in a viable marketplace by an expanding ICT industry.”

He also said wealth creation is key to achieving the five UN development targets known as the Millennium Development Goals aimed at halving world poverty by 2015. “This new investment in ICT infrastructure will lead to new jobs and overall economic growth,” said Dr Touré.

The ICT industry however maintains that the problem has always been the recipients but otherwise the technology has been around for ages. The industry wants African governments to put their houses in order by reforming regulatory structure and stop the conflicts that would eat away their invested resources.

“This is not a technology problem – the technology is waiting to be deployed,” said Mr. Craig Barrett, who serves both as Chairman of Intel Corporation and the United Nations’ Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development. “We now need the government priorities, decisions, and policies to drive the implementation of a pan-African infrastructure.” (End)

World Bank, AfDB Announce $55b Investment in Africa 2

World Bank, AfDB Announce $55b Investment in Africa

Leadership (Abuja)
NEWS
1 November 2007
Posted to the web 1 November 2007

By Betrand Nwankwo
Abuja
The Connect Africa Summit ended yesterday in Rwanda with World Bank, European Commission and African Development Bank (AfDB) announcing investment commitments amounting to over $55 billion, with the information and communication technology (ICT) sector taking the lead.

The summit decided to bring forward ICT connectivity goals to 2012 to enable the achievement of the broader Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

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Commitments were made to interconnect all African capitals and major cities with ICT broadband infrastructure and strengthen connectivity to the rest of the world by 2012. By 2015, broadband and ICT services will be extended to all African villages. The summit also sets out to meet the World Summit on the Information Society goals for capacity building, establishing an enabling environment for investment and e-government services.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, the European Commission announced support for trans-African networks that facilitate interconnectivity. An EU Trust Fund for Africa of almost 100 million Euros in grants and some 260 million Euros for loans has been established along with the European Investment Bank and ten EU member states for the period 2007-2008.

The fund, which will be substantially replenished at the end of 2008, will finance cross-border projects or national projects with a regional and continental impact that would include ICT. The information, which was communicated to LEADERSHIP disclosed that the commission has equally announced another contribution of six million Euros to support ITU’s regulatory reform initiatives in Africa.

The World Bank Group that promised to double its commitment to ICT in Africa to $2 billion by 2012 from its current investment programme of $1 billion over the last five years. The financing will continue to promote private sector participation.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), LEADERSHIP also gathered, has scaled up its investments in infrastructure and expects to invest 60 per cent of its concessional resources on infrastructure, including ICT, in the next three years. AfDB has committed close to $65 million to two key regional infrastructure projects: RASCOM and EASSy.

The president of AfDB, Dr Donald Kaberuka, said the development banks and other financing partners agreed to step in where gaps are holding back development in the region.

Commenting, the secretary-general of International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr Hamadoun Toure, said Africa is open for business.

“We are looking for investment through win-win partnerships in a viable marketplace by an expanding ICT industry,” he said.

Toure added that wealth creation is key to achieving the MDGs, stating, “this new investment in ICT infrastructure will lead to new jobs and overall economic growth”.

The representative of the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Mr Sha Zukang, under-secretary-general of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that innovative ways were needed to extend the reach of ICT to the most remote corners of the continent.

His words: “I am confident that with the entrepreneurial spirit of the African private sector working with their international partners, the support of the international community and the commitment from governments, universal connectivity in Africa is no longer a utopian dream.”

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda stated that investment and trade – as opposed to aid and charity – must drive the transformation of African economies. He therefore called for a dynamic ICT sector to connect Africa to the global information superhighway.

“In order to realise this much-needed economic revolution, we have to forge productive relationships between government and business,” the Rwandan leader stressed.

Over one thousand participants, including six heads of state, took part in the Connect Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, from 29 to 30 October 2007.

October 18, 2007

Trans-African Projects Planned.

Trans-African Development Company (Not-For-Profit) continues on its path towards raising 45 Billion Dollars to rehabilitate the 108,000 KM of trade related roads in Sub-Saharan Africa. As previously disclosed this is a result of a Study done for the World Bank by David Wheeler et al. The cost benefit analysis is quantified very well showing the impact on each country and the individual routes that need attention and prioritized them as well as classified each route as to the current condition they are in. TAD/TADCO is attempting to raise this money from “donor” countries as a way of giving appropriate aid to Africa and at the same time being able to access suitable and marketable natural resources within Africa and creating job growth and opportunity while allowing other NGO and Aid Organizations to effectively get the necessary aid to their targeted markets more efficiently.

Trans-African Development  Strategies  (TADS) has continued on its quest to build MAJOR Infrastructure projects throughout Africa. The most significant is the Planned 4-lane Pan-African Highway that will first run from North to South. The final route from the Mediterranean to the Indian and Atlantic Ocean Convergence has her to be finalized but the Highway project will include a path that will bring Electric Transmission Lines, a Railroad and a Fiber Optic Cable  as well as pipelines for Water and Oil and Gas (both Crude and refined) products.  Working conjointly with TAD/TADCO it is envisioned that the road rehabilitation project will have multiple interconnections to the 4-lane highway (as well as the railroad) allowing for access to sea ports around Africa for global trade opportunities

In keeping with TADS visions it has also noticed the Democratic republic of its interest in building a major Hydro Electric Plant with intentions to connect it to the Grid being formed along the Highway Project.

All TADS projects have independent outside source financing independent of any participation or debt structure to any African Country. No TADS Project is being financed by the African Development Bank (ADB or AfDB)  for undisclosed reasons by TADS. HOWEVER, while there are Private Enterprise Projects they do not have any pre-arranged interconnections to any countries infrastructure which are the subject of future negotiations. Further, the ownership of these projects by TADS is not mandated to be exclusive to TADS and its partners and is subject to each Individual Counties choice in how of if they wish to participate. BOT (aka BOOT)  as well as public listing on diversified international stock exchanges are also possibilities to be discussed with the various Countries involved.

This post has been made to further explain the Differences between TAD/TADCO and TADS as well as to expound on the various projects that are in progress  for both companies throughout Africa.

Craig Eisele

October 15, 2007

Afdb Moves to Improve African Business Environment

Afdb Moves to Improve African Business Environment

African Development Bank (Tunis)
PRESS RELEASE
12 September 2007
Posted to the web 13 September 2007
Tunis
In a bid to improve the African business environment, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on Wednesday in Tunis, endorsed a grant of US$ 15 million, from its surplus account in support of the Investment Climate Facility (ICF).

The ICF is a new Public-Private Initiative through which donors, international and domestic corporations and NGOs, will collaborate with African governments and regional organizations, to improve the investment climate at the national, regional, and continental levels.

The Facility was incorporated in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in April and will work with other players in the field of investment climate enhancement by proactively identifying opportunities to develop programs that address important constraints on business on the continent.

To achieve this, the ICF will focus on building the environment for investment encouraging, developing and working with coalitions for investment climate reform, and supporting business-government dialogue; getting the investment climate right, supporting governments in creating a legal, regulatory and administrative environment that encourages businesses at all levels to invest, grow and create jobs; and encouraging business to respond, improving Africa’s image as an investment destination through coordinated effort to publicize improvements in the investment climate.

The Facility will support the design and implementation of programs in eight areas that have been agreed on as priority constraints to the enabling environment. These are property rights, taxation and customs; infrastructure facilitation, competition, business registration and red tape, financial markets, labor markets, corruption and crime.

ICF activities fall under six broad areas – legislative review and reforms; capacity building of key institutions such as land registry offices, company registries and commercial courts; promotion of public-private sector dialogue; implementation of recommendations of the NEPAD APRM (African Peer Review Mechanism) process; research as well as economic and sector work in the priority areas; and media work aiming at improving Africa’s image as a place to do business.

The governing structure consists of two primary organs: the Board of Trustees (BOT) and its sub-committees; and the Management. A third organ supporting the Board and Management Executive is the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

The ICF’s business plan calls for processing about 12 new projects each year. The size of projects will vary from less than US$ 500,000, which can be approved by the CEO, to over US$ 1 million, which requires the approval of the BOT. The ICF will target projects that fill specific gaps in the programs offered by other development partners and will generally seek larger projects to gain economies of scale.

The initial phase of the ICF’s operations will be driven by three strategic themes: Intra-African trade – improving Africa’s import and export environment as well as improving and simplifying administration in order to facilitate cross-border trade; Facilitating business development and expansion, focusing on constraints on ICT and infrastructure development, business registration and licensing, and property rights; and, Facilitating financial and investment environment, developing capital markets, increasing access to finance for enterprises, improving the regulatory environment for second and third tier institutions and facilitating improved digital infrastructure.

At the invitation of the Facility, the Bank will play two key roles as its primary regional partner, core financial contributor and resource administrator.

The ICF’s projected funding needs stand at US$ 550 million during its life-span (7 years) with an initial target funding level of US$ 120 million for the first three years of operation. The US$ 15 million grant will be approved by the Board of Governors of the Bank Group.

October 1, 2007

Craig Eisele Creates Trans-African Development Strategies, Inc.

Craig Eisele Creates:

Trans-African Development Strategies, Inc.
 

            Trans-African Development Strategies, Inc or “TADS” is a New “Private” NGO focused on Infrastructure Development in Africa.

            The purpose of TADS is as follows:

1.    To provide Infrastructure development throughout Africa, whereas the Countries of Africa incur NO DEBT.

2.    To rehabilitate the 108,000 km of roads in Sub-Saharan Africa as identified in a study for the World Bank in 2006 (co-authored by David Wheeler) to facilitate development of trade throughout the Continent of Africa.

3.    To establish a modern limited access 4-lane “Highway” extending from the Mediterranean Cost of Africa and ending in South Africa (hopefully Cape Town, and 1 to 2 kilometers wide the full length of approximately 10,000 km.

4.    To encourage investment in the major portions of Infrastructure in the areas of Communications, Transportation and Power along the path of the “highway listed above in Item #3 and itemized below.

5.    To facilitate the development of a Trans-African Railroad

6.    To facilitate the development of a series of Pipelines to include Oil and Gas (refined and crude products) and Transportation of Water resources to areas in need.

7.    To bring a Fiber Optic Cable through the CENTER of Africa allowing Communication, Video and Internet into areas beyond the coastlines of Africa.

8.    To erect an Electric Transmission line from North to South through the Center of Africa.

9.    To develop electric Generation facilities including Hydro, Solar, Wind, Nuclear and Natural Gas along this same route.

10.  10 To assist in the development of Manufacturing Facilities and secondary and tertiary processing facilities for Natural resources to maximize value added services within Africa and to substantially add and foster job creation.

11.  To Assist in the building of Schools and Hospitals along this same pathway.

12.  Assist in the development of large scale commercial farming and ranching operations.

13.  To repeat Items 3 through 12 on at least one possibly 2 East to West Trans Continental Paths in Africa intersecting with the Primary Route of North to South and tying the Continent of Africa together with World Class Facilities.

We are certain that this will allow Africa to not only be self sufficient, but also Increases Wages to alleviate Poverty, reduce human suffering increase health care availability, and foster educational benefits throughout Africa and allow other NGO’s to better server those people who are in need but are not getting the aid they now desperately need because of the lack of infrastructure.

We also believe that the increase in GNP and GDP will spawn an increase in Tax Revenues and the ability for the countries to be able to access international financing for other projects that each individual country deems appropriate for its population.

TADS expects to raise 100 Billion Dollars of “AID” for the Roads and Highway Projects paid over the next 7 years. With Direct Spending on African Labor and materials to exceed 40 Billion Dollars up to 70 Billion dollars over the 7 year period. A Strategy to obtain these funds has been developed and refined over the last 2 years. While meet with skepticism by many the project is real and attainable despite the nay-sayers and those who would detract form the ultimate goal of a “New and Brighter Future for Africa.”

This estimate does not include anything except the road and highway projects.

TADS has a REAL Vision for Africa and invites anyone wishing to see this vision realized to participate in anyway they feel is appropriate.

While this is the first in a series of Announcements, more information will be provided over the near future.

 

Craig Eisele

Managing Director

Trans African Development Strategies, Inc.

 

September 24, 2007

FREE… that is what African Countries have been told!

FREE… that is what African Countries have been told!

By: Craig Eisele 24 August 2007

Free is just that FREE!!

What am I referring to?? 108,000 Kilometers of road rehabilitation… cost… about 40 billion US dollars… Cost to participating African Countries… ZERO!!

“What?” I can hear the disbelief coming through my computer already!! Yes… Zero Cost!!

As the Founder of Trans-African Development I have spent the last 2 years trying to find a proper way of giving Africa a boost to be self sufficient… And I believe with my whole heart that I have done just that.

So what is the problem?? Well. Besides skepticism and people who are myopic (closed minded) and without hearing me through on this plan and how it can be implemented, dismiss the idea as fanciful or impractical…. The problem appears to be that this project plan has not been able to get to the decision makers of most African Countries to present such a plan for development. The “gatekeepers”, as they are called in marketing and management terms, are blocking access and as a result they are keeping Africa from Development that is needed for the PEOPLE of Africa.

Today in AllAfrica.com there was an article (http://allafrica.com/stories/200709240087.html) co-authored by Donald Kaberuka (President of the African Development Bank) and Pascal Lamy (Director General of the WTO… World Trade Organization) that specifically referenced the need for the rebuilding of Sub-Saharan Trade Routes (by aid I presume) to facilitate Africa’s ability to Trade Inter-Africa as well as Outside the Continent of Africa. YET… I have already devised a program to do just that…. based upon the same World Bank report co-authored by David Wheeler.

How is it possible that these gentlemen, these men with intense interest in developing Africa, are not aware of this project??… It is simple… the “gatekeepers” have decided that this project is not realistic without even hearing the presentation or reading the literature that supports this project. Hence… Africa and Africans suffer the consequences.

Africa is suffering from Paralysis by Analysis at its highest levels. The “movers and shakers”, those that are willing to actually do the work, are dismissed instead of being used to implement ideas and strategies that benefit the Continent of Africa. While the People of Africa are natural entrepreneurs, some governing bodies seem to me obsessed with more and more studies as the people of Africa suffer. In my opinion, this is just plain wrong.

The Continent needs a through and complete coordination of needs to facilitate plans that benefit the people and the Communities of Africa… but that requires that there be an actual implementation plan of action and that it actually be implemented…. Personally I cannot wait that long…. And I suspect neither can the Population of Africa. So I implore ALL Countries in Africa to endorse this plan as “good” for them and for all of Africa and to let me implement this project with minimal delays!!!

I am ready to IMPLEMENT this project plan… to rehabilitate the roads necessary for trade and Development of the Continent of Africa… but I cannot do it without the governing bodies of Africa… and so far trying to get to the right people, let alone get their endorsement has been frustrating.

Today I decided to make my frustration known… to publicly announce that I stand ready to raise the money for this “gift” to Africa and to start the process of rebuilding the most basic of Infrastructure needs… ROADS.

I humbly ask those decision makers in Africa to hear my call. I ask that they endorse such a gift and see the enormous potential that such a project can and will bring to the Continent. The idea that we can ease human suffering, create Jobs, Increase Investment, and start a positive path for the Population of Africa ….to ease their suffering, reduce poverty and despair and to bring hope for a better future to fruition via this project!

NGO’s take note… as this will allow your “aid” to get to the people in a timely and reasonable safe and efficient manner… to the Industries of the World take heed… this project bring transportation of raw and finished goods to a more efficient level… and to the people of Africa… I will not stop trying to help you to be able to be self-sufficient! No NGO or Industry should hinder this project.. and in fact they should also endorse it and encourage its implementation and development with all due haste. The question is… do you have the foresight and courage to do so??

This article is not meant to inflame or denigrate any person or persons… it is strictly a call to action for those that can help… to those that want to make a difference…

I neglected to say that several Countries have endorsed this project… but naturally they do not want to be left sitting alone while the rest of Africa ignores this project. I respect their need and desire to be anonymous until we have a majority of African Nations endorsing this project.

Lastly I want to reiterate the word FREE…. few if any African Country can afford to do what I am offering to do in their own countries… the only real way to help Africa is to give it the necessary Infrastructure to allow it to develop in the way it wants to develop… the road rehabilitation offer is only a tool for Africa to use…. BUT even then… such a project MUST be WITHOUT cost to ALL AFRICAN Nations… to saddle them with more debt is only to exacerbate the problems that have kept Africa down so long… and any cost to any African Nation for this project would simply add to what is already a tragic story…. So again I want to do this project for FREE (NO COST TO ANY AFRICAN COUNTRY)!!

Next week in Tanzania there is a conference (yes ANOTHER conference) with the world Bank about Aid and Trade… I would hope that this project and the Trans-African Development Company’s proposal would be discussed and publicly acknowledged as something that has potential if not more for Africa and should be encouraged to proceed with tacit endorsement pending review…. I will be watching and waiting to see if the decision makers are finally aware of this… and hopefully share with me this dream of a revitalized Africa in the near future.

NOTE: This “Road Rehabilitation” project is in addition to the Trans African Development Company project to build a 4-lane major highway extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the tip of Southern Africa and the ancillary projects it hopes to install as well along that path.

September 23, 2007

UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Launches ‘Unprecedented’ Group to Boost Continent’s Development

Ban Ki-Moon Launches ‘Unprecedented’ Group to Boost Continent’s Development

UN News Service (New York)
NEWS
14 September 2007
Posted to the web 14 September 2007

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today convened international development leaders for the inaugural session of a new steering group to boost Africa’s as yet failing efforts to meet the ambitious goals the world has set itself to slash poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality, and other social ills, all by 2015.

This was an “unprecedented gathering,” Mr. Ban told reporters after chairing the meeting of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Africa Steering Group, bringing together top officials from the African Union, European Union, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

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“We are concerned that many African countries are off track, particularly for the countries in sub-Saharan regions. That is the only region in the world where not even a single country is on the track. We must help those countries so that they can join on the track,” he added, noting that the Group had agreed to strengthen their collaboration to expedite the achievement of the MDGs adopted by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000.

The first of three challenges the Group resolved to address is to identify effective mechanisms for implementing the MDGs for health, education, agriculture and food security, infrastructure and statistical systems.

Five of the eight goals seek to cut by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and suffering from hunger; ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling; cut the mortality rate among children under five by two thirds; reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters; and halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

“Our organizations will work together to review international implementation mechanisms and support Governments in making the investments needed to achieve the MDGs,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “We will determine how these mechanisms can be strengthened where they are falling short, and where new ones need to be added.”

The second challenge they set themselves is to improve aid predictability. “Our organizations will make our own aid more predictable,” they said. “We will also work with other donors to help establish country-by-country schedules for official development assistance to rise to meet existing commitments, so that African Governments can plan effectively for the practical investments needed to achieve the MDGs.”

Thirdly they pledged to strengthen joint efforts at the country level. “Starting in a sub-set of African countries, we will launch an intensive collaboration among our organizations to support Governments in preparing and implementing strategies that are ambitious enough to achieve the MDGs,” they declared.

“Just past the midpoint to the target date of 2015, it is of paramount importance that we focus on practical steps to implement existing pledges,” they added. “With the launch of the MDG Africa Steering Group, we reaffirm our commitment to spare no effort in reaching the MDGs in Africa.”

The leaders pledged to mobilize their institutions in cooperation and partnership. “We know that rapid progress is possible, and will work with other world leaders to use all the tools, resources and commitments available to support African countries in halving extreme poverty by 2015, and in charting a path towards sustained economic growth.”

A MDG Africa Working Group, led by the Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who was also present during today’s discussions, will meet on 20 September to launch operational work, brining together top leaders of the Group’s organizations plus other bodies such as the 30-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of industrialized, market-economy countries.

All those attending praised Mr. Ban’s move. “This is an excellent initiative,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick told reporters afterwards. “It is certainly a timely one.”

African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs Maxwell Mkwezalamba noted that international support had not been forthcoming as promised. “This has been one of our major concerns. You look at the commitments made since Monterrey in 2002, the Gleneagles summit in 2005, we find that there is not much that has come to Africa,” he said, referring to major international economic conferences.

“And this indeed is something that needs to be addressed if Africa will attain the MDGs by the target date of 2015.”

European Union Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel stressed that not only would the donors have to fulfil their promised but the African countries also had to make every effort to reach the targets. Toward this end, he stressed the importance of trade.

“We have a special focus for aid for trade,” he said. “There cannot be a sustainable development in the developing countries without very strong support on trade, because trade can of course bring prosperity and jobs and also can give to the states the means they need in order to bring the basic services to the people.”

September 20, 2007

Has Minning OPerations Helped or Hurt Africans??

Mining Has Not Benefitted Africa – Aimes

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
NEWS
19 September 2007
Posted to the web 19 September 2007

By Joseph Coomson
Accra
Africa Initiative on Mining, Environment and Society (AIMES) have observed that although foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa’s extractive sector has significantly increased over the last few decades especially with the new entrants such as China, India, as well as the US involvement in the oil extraction in Gulf of Guinea, this have not led to improvement in poverty reduction, environment protection, and respect for human rights in Africa.

AIMES in a meeting in Freetown said they have rather increased deprivation of the people and governments of Africa to the benefits of mining. Key among these negative consequences are increased incidence of poverty, scarcity of environmental and livelihood resources, conflicts, gender disempowerment, violence and insecurity.

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The meeting which was held in July acknowledged that bad governance, inadequate policy framework, corporate lobby, pressure from IMF/WB and corruption are some of the reasons for the increased cost and reduced benefits from the mining sector.

The communiqué which was signed by members said mineral policies and laws have legalized mineral resource capture and capital flight by making provisions for high off-shore retention of profits, low royalty tax; inadequate compensation; minimum state equity participation, numerous holidays for corporate and income tax; and duty free importation of mining equipments.

“Bad governance also expresses itself in the lack of predictable and participatory decision making processes in the mining sector at all levels”. It also expresses itself in inadequate level of transparency and accountability in the mining sector and access to information to make informed decisions”. In addition, the communiqué stated that governance institutions are weak and poorly-equipped to regulate the mining sector, which has resulted in inadequate regulation of the sector.

The meeting also observed that community marginalization in mining issues has exacerbated the abuse of communities and deprived them of the benefits of mining. Increased mining activity has led to a corresponding decline in the quality of life for people living in mining areas.

Most mining communities lack the capacity to deal with the mining issues that affect their livelihoods and hence are paralyzed to take any actions to advocate and demand for their rights. These problems are reinforced by the attitude, behavior and practices of transnational mining corporations that are implementing new tactics to increase their profits through corporate lobbying in order to influence national policy choices for the extractive sector.

The policy prescriptions for the extractive sector are pitching mineral endowed African countries in a competition for a race-to-the-bottom. Indeed, neo-liberal regional and international frameworks, like Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) will consolidate the neo-liberal framework which mining companies are operating under, and fragment African economies by demanding services liberalization.

These agreements open the extractive sector for the benefit of transnational corporations at the expense of national economies, workers, local industries and local communities.

Again, participants observed with concern that pressure and policy prescriptions by the International Financial Institutions(IFIs) more especially International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG), European Investment Bank(EIB), African Development Bank(AfDB) and others, are inconsistent with the development needs and priorities of African countries and peoples.

The communiqué was endorsed by members of the Africa Initiative on Mining, Environment and Society (AIMES) from Burkina Faso, Congo DR, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe in collaboration with our partners from USA. Lindlyn Tamufor and Abdulai Darmani endorsed it for Ghana.

September 9, 2007

African Development Bank (AfDB), approved a US $ 25 million equity investment to Develop a Currency Exchange (TCX)

AfDB Private Sector Paves Way for Increased Local Currency Lending
African Development Bank (Tunis)

NEWS
5 September 2007
Posted to the web 7 September 2007
Tunis
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), approved a US $ 25 million equity investment under its private sector window, on Wednesday in Tunis, to create a ground-breaking fund to develop local currency products. This Currency Exchange (TCX) will be established with a transaction capacity of US $ 1.2 billion.

TCX is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will offer its shareholders basic currency and interest rate derivatives in emerging markets. The derivatives will be simple products: forwards, forward rate agreements, and swaps. TCX’s most popular product is expected to be the cross-currency interest-rate swap, which could be used by TCX investors, such as Banks, to source local currencies for on-lending where issuing bonds in the local markets is impractical or less cost-effective.

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The Bank will play a multiple role in TCX. First, the AfDB will play the role of African regional partner in TCX. Second, the Bank will assist in disseminating information about TCX to other MDBs. Third, and most importantly, as an investor in TCX, the Bank will be in a position to use it as a funding alternative to finance its projects in local currencies.

An investment in TCX will strongly support the Bank’s development objectives by providing local entrepreneurs with funding in local currency, thereby eliminating the currency mismatches that are typically created between local-currency revenues and foreign-currency liabilities. Furthermore, TCX’s substantial and recurring hedging requirements will help deepen local financial markets and extend yield curves, thus facilitating the introduction of new asset classes.

TCX is also well aligned with the Bank’s policies and strategies for financial sector and capital market development. It will be an important instrument in the implementation of the recently approved framework on local currency lending.

TCX will be complementary to commercial sources of local currency hedging as it will offer longer terms than otherwise available. The AfDB will work with TCX to build awareness of the importance of derivative instruments in the development of robust local capital markets. As the premier financial institution on the continent, the Bank is expected to be an important source of deal flow to TCX, which is a critical underpinning of its diversification model.

September 2, 2007

African Development Bank (AfDB) VP Gantsho Discusses Bank Role in a Futuristic United Africa

VP Gantsho Discusses Bank Role in a Futuristic United Africa

African Development Bank (Tunis)
INTERVIEW
29 August 2007
Posted to the web 29 August 2007

By Dr. Mandla S.V. Gantsho

The following interview presents an African Development Bank’s view on the development impact of a Unitary Government in Africa.

The Vice President in charge of Infrastructure, Water and Sanitation, Private Sector development, and regional integration and trade, Dr. Mandla S.V. GANTSHO who has just completed his first year in this position, discusses the idea of the Unitary Government for Africa and what he anticipates for the Bank in its regional integration activities as the Unitary Government idea gains momentum and eventually materializes.

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African leaders met recently in Accra for a 3-day summit where they promoted the idea of a “Unitary Government for Africa”. You brought up the subject in your welcome speech during last month’s workshop of the Regional Integration and Trade Department of the AfDB, attended by representatives from Nepad, World Bank, RECs, etc. In your view, what does the coinage represent?

The concept of a Unitary Government for Africa represents a vision of total unity for the people of Africa, living together in lasting peace, security and prosperity. African leaders have long been unanimous on the need for continental unity and they’ve also been in broad agreement that the ultimate objective, or the destination of the African Union, is the United States of Africa with a union government. We now have the African Union (the AU) as it is currently constituted, and we’re saying, “Let’s move to our final destination, which is, the United States of Africa”. Perceptibly, to attain the U.S. of Africa, there has to be a union government for Africa. Thus, the debate is not about the destination, but rather, how to get there with dispatch. Essentially, we’re considering a number of road maps to guide us to the destination of total unity on the African continent.

You are saying that African leaders have basically agreed on three issues: the destination, the need to move to a Union Government for Africa, and to do so with dispatch. The debate is now on the process – how to achieve a union government. The President of the AfDB, Dr. Donald Kaberuka addressed the issue in a communication to the Board of Directors of AfDB, and  pointed out several possibilities: a federation of 53 African States, a Union of independent states, a United States of Africa (per the U.S. model), or a European Union model. Whatever the final decision, the African Development Bank should consider this a period of remarkable transition for Africa. In your view, how should the Bank, as a catalytic development finance institution, manage this transition?

You’ve placed the emphasis on the right words – “catalytic development institution”. We’re a development institution that is predominantly owned by the African member countries. So, what African Member Countries expect from us is a catalytic role…one that will be enabled by the knowledge base that this organization possesses and continues to acquire, for fostering sustainable development. We want the African Development Bank to be the voice for Africa regarding development issues. At the micro level, we are expected to both opine on and facilitate the setting up of the right structure of sub regional institutions on the continent. Here, I’m talking about specific specialized institutions such as power pools in the energy sector or river basin authorities in the water sector. Given our knowledge base, we play a role in making sure that these institutions are sustainable going forward. At the macro level, the role is no different. We see ourselves getting involved right across the value chain of the development of the union government of Africa.

You’ve mentioned a number of available options. As I said earlier, the real debate is about how to reach the dream of a united peoples of Africa. There’re two distinct schools of thought, among others, that I’d like to highlight:

  • First, the immediate formation of a continental government. Proponents of this school of thought argue, as did its first proponent, the late Ghanaian President (Dr.) Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, that political unity is a prerequisite for economic development. Hence, the need to establish a big continental government at once.
  • The second school of thought argues that the process should be built from the bottom up. That is, we must acknowledge that we are disadvantaged in the global economy if we remain as small, landlocked and fragmented countries with relatively weak Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that are dependent on aid. As you are aware, these are weak pillars, and we cannot integrate our continent on the basis of weak pillars. This school of thought, therefore, believes in the need to strengthen these institutions first, strengthen the RECs and countries that make up the RECs. Doing so would strengthen the foundations of the (continental government) we’re trying to build. However, the immediate establishment of a continental government would be tantamount to trying to place a roof on walls of straw or on walls that are built on foundations of soft sand.

In a nutshell, the question is Do you start by building a roof instead of building a foundation and making sure that the foundations are strong enough? This is where I believe we (the African Development Bank) need to play a role….to use our knowledge base to inform the process. You may be aware that the Heads of State and Government agreed to set up a ministerial committee that would look into the definition of the relationship between the union government and the Regional Economic Communities and finally, and elaborate on the road map together with the time frames for establishing a union government. We have a role to play. We have to give technical assistance and technical support – advisory services – to a ministerial committee before they report to the heads of state government in January 2008 in Addis Ababa. That is the role I believe the African Development Bank (AfDB) should play – providing knowledge and technical assistance.

At a number of Bank-sponsored meetings, the RECs, the ECA and other external partners emphasize the need to strengthen regional integration by promoting intra-regional and international trade and physical integration, strengthening national capacities for policy making in regional integration and enhancing the capacity of the RECs to undertake more Bankable projects. In your purview as African Development Bank Vice President in charge of Infrastructure, Private Sector development, Regional Integration and Trade in what ways would a Union government strengthen the capacity of the RECs to deliver to other markets?

This is a critical question. We’re talking about the AfDB working with the RECs. I have already said most of them are weak and therefore their institutional and technical capacities need to be strengthened and, the  AfDB can play a role in terms of providing human and financial support and sharing experiences between African RECs and economic groupings in other parts of the world.

I am a proponent of the school of thought that sees regional economic unions as the basis for the Union Government, where the constituent countries yield some sovereign powers to the RECs.  This would fast track sub regional political and socio-economic integration through investment in regional economic infrastructure.  This would also engender a more effective and efficient provision of regional public goods that are needed to catalyze both the integration as well as the development process across the entire continent.  This way,

  • the RECs would be empowered with sovereign authority that allows them, for example, to borrow and implement regional infrastructure pograms;
  • bigger markets would emerge;
  • economies of scale and scope would make large infrastructure investments viable;
  • Private sector investment would be attracted.

The AfDB would play its advisory, catalytic financier and partnership mobilizer roles in these developments.

On the issue of access to markets, I believe an important step towards enhancing Africa’s competitiveness on the global market is to work with African countries to optimize the potential gains from intra-regional trade.  To this end, the Bank intends to enhance its advisory and technical assistance support to the regional economic communities via capacity building, harmonization of regulatory and legal policies and ratification of protocols of agreements that have already been signed by the African countries.

Does the process for establishing a unitary government call for any changes in the Bank’s approach to its mandate?

Certainly.  A more integrated Africa is the core of the Bank’s mission.  Achieving such a goal would mean the RECs would effectively become regional governments or organizations with sovereign authority. A situation like that would ensure the ultimate government at the continental level is rested on strong regional pillars. The Bank would thus deal with fewer and bigger entities/governments, five or so regional governments, as compared to the fifty three individual countries. So, we’d be more preoccupied with regional policies instead of national policies and we’d also be spared the difficulty of working with countries that sometimes are regarded as non-performing within the RECs.

We’d be looking at regions instead of individual countries, and relying on countries within regional blocks to put peer pressure on one another. We haven’t lent to Zimbabwe, for example, because the country is in arrears on its loan repayment obligations to the AfDB. But if we were looking at Zimbabwe as a part of a viable region we’d find a way of delivering development to the people of that country by working with the regional government and then relying on member countries of that sub-region to deal with their weakest link through peer pressure. They’d turn to the country concerned and say, ‘Listen, you’re actually slowing down the pace of development in our sub-region …You are making it difficult for us to get assistance for our regional development programs from the African Development Bank. So, please, let’s address your problem head-on’.

Consequently, this would empower member countries of a sub-region to deal with one of their own, and, therefore, make the work of the AfDB and other development partners much easier. Of course, in this framework, instead of the current country-based allocation system, we would have to contend with the issue of the regional performance-based assessment and resource allocation system. In other words, we would need to tilt the balance from individual country ownership and commitment to joint ownership and commitment, because we would be dealing with regional states instead of individual countries and, this will allow us to lend to regional entities.

Although this would lead to a more optimal development process, the regional entities generally find it difficult to borrow from us because they don’t have balance sheets, or borrowing powers due to the lack of sovereign authority. Thus, if we were to work towards this vision from a regional perspective, empower the RECs to be sovereign bodies, our lending for regional projects and programs would be facilitated. The private sector would also benefit from a much bigger market space. We would have bigger markets that the (regional) infrastructure would serve; regional governments would engender a harmonization of policies and this would eliminate or at least minimize the possibility of cross-border and regional conflicts; etc. Therefore, there are benefits but the pace for realizing such benefits depends on which model will be followed.

The African Development Bank, as we know, has proven expertise in infrastructure development. But Africa needs to invest massively in this area to ensure free movement of goods and services across national borders and to create economies of scale through the integration of national economies – an issue you’ve also discussed well. This would, in turn, create an enabling, results-based business environment that would attract investments, generate rapid economic growth and culminate in poverty reduction, which is of course a key Bank goal. How do you articulate the role of the Bank’s Infrastructure operations function you’re currently managing in the context of those indicators?

I wish to refer to what I have alluded to earlier, that is, efforts to remove constraints imposed by poor and inadequate infrastructure in Africa.  Let me reiterate that harmonized economic, monetary and regulatory systems with large open markets are essential for effective intra-regional and international trade, and thus, economic growth. However, they are not a sufficient condition. Sustained and robust economic growth also requires the development and maintenance of modern and efficient regional transport, communications and energy infrastructure. Without these, there will be limited opportunities for harnessing complementarities and synergies between African economies, enhancing industrialization and creating employment. The Bank’s efforts to remove these barriers include:

  • Investments in physical infrastructure and services at both country and regional levels which are pre-requisites for sustainable socio economic development of the continent. With sustained efforts in this direction I am convinced that this can be achieved within the 21st century.
  • Enhanced efforts to mobilize additional resources for infrastructure development. These efforts are being made at the domestic and external levels.  At the domestic level, many African countries have increased their investments in physical infrastructure. At the continental level, the AU/Nepad programs have put emphasis on infrastructure resource mobilization. Our preliminary estimate of the infrastructure gap is in the order of US$24 billion. We are working closely through the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa which has its Secretariat at the Bank, to coordinate international efforts to mobilize additional resources to bridge this gap for infrastructure development and maintenance.
  • The Bank is also making efforts to enhance institutional capacity for infrastructure development and maintenance in Africa. These efforts need a concerted effort from all development partners and funding sources including the private sector. We are moving aggressively to encourage Public Private Partnerships.

Your question also entails discussing the rationale for the composition of the complex. The departments of this complex were not put together by accident. I believe that the main objective of putting the complex together was to pursue the goal of Regional Integration. Take infrastructure…

How do you make infrastructure viable? You need bigger markets that are engendered and made viable through regional integration. With bigger markets you can now lay out the infrastructure on the basis of sustainability.

The financing requirements for regional infrastructure are enormous and cannot be met by the public sector alone. The private sector and the attendant investment must, therefore, be mobilized to complement the public sector effort.

The Water and Sanitation (department) which is part of my responsibility addresses the particular issue of access to water and sanitation services, which together with infrastructure services, are critical to the achievement of MDG targets. Let me explain…

Although urban poverty is becoming a problem in Africa, poverty is still predominantly a rural phenomenon because the vast majority of Africa’s poor live in rural areas. This means that the achievement of the MDGs is inextricably linked to rural poverty reduction, which makes the provision of rural infrastructure a key imperative for attainment of the MDGs.

Access to water and sanitation is essential for health and education programs. Thus, the health and education MDGs cannot be achieved without adequate water infrastructure and water for consumption.

The lack of adequate transportation to move farm commodities and agricultural inputs to and from markets stifles the development and integration of product and factor markets, mutes the potential gains from market liberalization, raises marketing costs, and reduces the competitiveness of agricultural commodities in domestic and international markets.

Rural electrification helps to raise agricultural productivity by facilitating the adoption of simple power-based technology, which can stimulate agro-processing and small-scale rural industries, including tourism. It has the indirect effect of improving the environment by reducing the use of wood for fuel. It reduces domestic hardship of women in offering more efficient alternatives for food processing at the household and village levels. It helps to improve health and food security through refrigeration of medicines and perishable farm produce after harvest. Finally, rural electrification improves educational performance of the rural poor by extending the study hours.

Thus, in a nutshell, the operations complex I have been asked to lead has a central role to play in reducing poverty, promoting economic growth, and meeting MDGs generally.

How does the Bank intend to help determine outcomes in the area of infrastructure and private sector development in the RECs as globalization and the concept of a unitary government become permanent fixtures on the regional economic and political landscape?

I think the outcomes will speak for themselves. The results will be there for Africa to see. In essence, a unitary government will lower transaction costs for the Bank and other economic agents of the continent; and there’ll be fewer delays at ports and at border posts and there’ll be synergistic benefits that will accrue because you’ll have bigger markets and with this you’ll be able to compete as regions and as a continent. Regional peer pressure will help avert conflicts and governance generally will improve.

It will make investment in infrastructure much more viable and sustainable, as I said earlier. There’ll be free movement of people, goods and services between countries – thus intra regional trade will be boosted. All we have to do as a development finance institution is to continue playing the role we are given by African countries, which is operating as a development knowledge resource for them, a financier for their development programs, and a broker for additional development partnerships.

You mentioned that there’ll be fewer delays at the airports. In addition to port activities that cause unnecessary delays some African countries have very stringent visa policies all of which slow access to transboundary business transaction. These are major roadblocks to facilitating Regional Integration.

Yes, indeed. Let me first tackle the airport delays. There are general delays engendered by poor planning and/or technical problems. But there are more serious delays that derive from a sub-optimal use of landing rights across the continent. To redress the latter, we need to revisit the Yamoussoukro Accord and get it fully operational.

Now, let me address the other bottlenecks to regional integration. According to reports from the 9th Africa Rail Summit held in June 2006, bottlenecks at southern African border posts cost the region $48bn a year, mainly due to cumbersome inspection regimes by customs officials on goods transported across borders, the costly delays have a domino effect on turnaround times of transport and logistics service providers, with trains and trucks delaying ships, which then fail to deliver goods on time. Transport providers are forced to pay huge penalties for failing to meet their service obligations to their clients. This is why transportation costs in Africa are the highest compared to other regions of the world. These constraints would be resolved in an integrated Africa.

You have stated that “the Bank is committed to its three roles as financier, advisor and strategic partner at the service of our clients, the Regional Member Countries.” How well would these roles fit into the praxis of a united African continent?

In a United African continent, the Bank’s triple roles of a financier, advisor and partner would be even more enhanced and optimal, because they would be cast within the framework of a much larger market coupled with a much greater open space, with respect to land, air and sea, for the development business. Let me elaborate briefly on these triple roles.

First, they are roles that institutions like ours need to play. We should not only be finance providers, but should be able to marry finance with knowledge and development expertise. We use a strong balance sheet to intermediate finance from the international capital markets for the benefit of the poor. Yes, the money can also be mobilized by the private sector; but what makes us different is our ability to add knowledge value to that money and place it, as a solution package, at the disposal of our RECs. If we’re to deal with the RMCs as subcomponents of regional governments, that will be better because we would have a wider reach at a much lower transaction cost. Some countries are not performing in terms of our definition. If we were to avoid dealing with individual countries and rather deal with regional governments, we would make our technical assistance and advisory services available for all of those countries. We would mobilize our partners who currently don’t want to deal with countries that are not performing, and mobilize bilateral donors such as JBIC, KfW, and AFD  as our strategic partners.

The regional concept, for me is a viable one. Even the regions themselves would have certain boundaries between them, and that’s where you’ll need a unitary government of the continent to deal with the differences, and facilitate the harmonization of policies and practices, between the regions themselves. But at least half the battle will be won if we are able to eliminate many differences between countries.

So would a closer union in Africa enhance the Bank’s role in delivering services?

It would definitely enhance the AfDB’s role in delivering services and reduce transaction costs for us, reduce conflicts between countries. You’ll have groupings of countries with a closer relationship because they belong to a so-called single regional government. There’ll be fewer countries under sanctions, fewer countries in arrears. With countries belonging to a regional government, we would able to use the influence of individual member countries and bring it to bear on countries that don’t perform.

While the road map is not clear on a Union Government in Africa with these different arguments, there is growing interest among firms on exploring investment potentials. Africa is fast-forwarding its business partnerships with other regions, as noticed at this year’s Annual Meetings and key business meetings between African leaders and the European Union. And there is ample space in African countries to broaden trade and investment relationships. The Bank’s Chief Economist sees a lot of opportunities for joint-ventures and he is encouraging African businesses to engage more aggressively with Asian companies in the supply of processed materials and in tourism related investments. As Vice President for Operations – Infrastructure, Private Sector & Regional Integration – what advice do you have for foreign investors who are following up on the process for a unitary government in Africa and who intend to invest in the RECs?

Your question is about the private sector and their ability to take advantage of the massive emerging opportunities. Let me make this clear to the private sector. I want to tell them that Africa has turned the corner. It is showing sustained economic growth. There’re opportunities to promote further growth, one being investment in infrastructure and supporting Private sector development itself. We’ve spoken about regional integration which is key in resolving the challenge of small markets and landlocked countries, and fostering trade. In such an environment, strengthening the role of the private sector is a key imperative both in terms of foreign direct investment, smart partnerships as well as African entrepreneurship itself.

In summary, here’s the advice I would give in terms of opportunities and for promoting regional integration. First, the business environment is improving; foreign investors should take advantage of the harmonization processes…of rules and policies. They should take advantage of bigger markets; invest in infrastructure envigored by the economic space and economies of scale that would then follow as a result of a bigger economic space. That would also mean access to a bigger pool of technology, skills and resources… The private sector would, therefore, have better markets they can operate in, bigger markets for their products and human capital in countries, where regions have been able to integrate.

You have just completed one year at the ADB. How do you assess this time in Africa’s premier Development Finance Institution?

It is correct to describe the AfDB Group as the premier development institution for Africa. It is an institution whose mission is to help African countries fight poverty and generate economic growth.  To work for an organization that plays such a critical role is always a privilege. I have enjoyed my time here. In the Private Sector Operations area alone, we have committed more investment funds in the last 12 months than the sum total of business done in the last 10 years.

We’ve come up with innovative and entrepreneurial transactions in the public and private sector. We’ve been able to accelerate the activities of the rural water supply sanitation initiative, to raise awareness among the donor community of the huge infrastructural challenges that face the continent and, by so doing, we’ve been able to garner more support for infrastructure development on the continent. That support will translate into a bigger scale of commitments in future rounds of the ADF replenishment. We’ve not seen them deliver in concrete financial commitment terms of that commitment but we’re much confident that the awareness has been created. The lending programme is on track, and the President, in his closing remarks at the Board meeting (July 24) commended our efforts under the ADB-private and ADF-grant windows, where execution rates for the year to date (six months) for OIVP are at 160% and 76%, respectively.

We’ve proven those skeptics who regard Africa as a risky market for business wrong by being able to increase and double certain milestones and breaking records of previous years in our lending activities. Those are achievements I’d like to highlight. Of course, there’ve been some disappointments as well. The Bank is an established bureaucratic institution and this can be frustrating sometimes, although there’re pros and cons to this bureaucracy in a multi lateral institution like this. But coming from a significantly less bureaucratic background, I get frustrated more often. I think we can relax a bit on the bureaucracy. I’ve been quite impressed with the level of professionalism that people working for this organization display. It’s been a pleasure to work with them. So overall, my experience has been positive and I look forward to continuing my collaborations with colleagues from across the entire Bank, in delivering the mission of the AfDB.

August 27, 2007

African Development Bank’s (AFDB) Donald Kaberuka: Africa’s unique window of opportunity




African Banker
June 2008 edition

Donald Kaberuka: Africa’s unique window of opportunity


Africa is poised for an exciting new era in its economic and social transformation. In this interview with African Banker editor, Anver Versi, African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka explains how the Bank has taken the leadership role in driving African economies forward.


African banker: Why is the AfDB holding its annual meeting in Shanghai?

KABERUKA : The Bank responded favourably to an invitation from the Chinese government to hold its Annual Assembly in Shanghai. China has been a nonregional member of the Bank Group since the opening up of the Bank’s capital to non-regional countries. This will be the second time that the Bank goes outside the region to hold its Annual Meeting. We were in Valencia, Spain, in 2001. The theme of the Shanghai Meeting is ‘Asia and Africa: Partners in Development’; it is therefore quite appropriate that we are able to have this discussion in China. As you know, we in Africa are very keen to see and learn first hand, how China has succeeded in achieving tremendous growth over a fairly short period of time and also to promote trade and investment between Africa and China which is mutually beneficial.

What is the state of Africa’s economies today?

At its best in 30 years. We’re seeing, for the sixth year running, sustained economic growth across Africa at 5.5%. The economies with extractive industries such as oil and gas are leading, but even countries not endowed with such natural resources are growing. After many years of policy gains and reforms, macroeconomic stability is now anchored in most parts of the continent. And the external environment continues to be benign. But let me add a rider. First, not all countries are growing above the rate of the population increase. Second, this rate of growth would have to be sustained for many years for it to have any real impact on poverty. Third, in some regions the situation is fragile and the risk of reversal is always lurking around the corner. What we are doing as an institution is to try to consolidate this progress in order to open up further possibilities for Africa. To the frequently asked question: if the economies are growing, why is there so much poverty? The answer is in two parts. Firstly, as I have just mentioned, we would have to sustain this rate of growth for a long time for us to see the impact on poverty and secondly, if economies were stagnating, it would mean that real per capita incomes would be declining given the increasing demographic pressure and therefore deeper and more widespread poverty.

You are in the midst of a major reform process within the AfDB. You also appear to have taken on the leadership role in driving Africa’s economy forward?

First of all I must underline the following: The AfDB is a very solid financial institution. It has got the highest possible ratings. Its risk bearing capacity is very solid. What we are trying to do is to move to the next stage; build on this bedrock of financial soundness to  increase our operational effectiveness and get results on the ground. That is the purpose of the current reforms: becoming result oriented, focused and selective; having greater decentralisation; aligning strategically with partners and developing excellence in a number of areas such as infrastructure, regional integration, water and sanitation and be a strategic counsellor to our member countries on development. As I mentioned earlier, the internal and external conditions have never been better and we see Africa’s own Bank playing a bigger role as a channel of choice for the international efforts and also able to respond much more effectively to the demands of our countries. This is of course a medium term process but we are on track.

At one point, the World Bank was sitting on almost $10bn of un-disbursed resources for Africa. Why is there such a gap between approvals for projects and their implementation?

It is a challenge for all multilateral institutions including the AfDB. The real measure of our effectiveness should be actual results on the ground. How many children we are able to get into school? How many kilometres of roads have been constructed? How are we doing in increasing energy availability? These are the results which count, not the volume of approvals. This said, problems of absorption capacity are real. There are many factors responsible for the gap between approvals and disbursements. If, for example, a country receives a loan from the Bank and then for some reason a conflict breaks out, the chances are, we will suspend disbursements because our operations cannot proceed and the country will, in all probability, fall into arrears. Sometimes it is due to the delays to ratify the loans on time and fulfil other conditions of effectiveness. With increased decentralisation, greater presence in the field, we’ll be able to steadily close the gap between approvals and disbursements.
We have opened 22 out of 25 offices in different parts of Africa and I am already seeing encouraging results on the ground; where conditions for effectiveness, including ratification are faster. There are a number of things we also need to do internally here, especially in streamlining conditionalities in accordance with the “Paris Delegation” on Harmonisation and Development effectiveness.

Does this call for greater harmonisation of efforts?

It calls for greater harmonisation among partners and better dialogue with member countries, better understanding of the countries’ priorities, their institutions, capacity issues so that we can provide a kind of response appropriate to each country’s concerns. That is why field presence is critical.

You are undertaking major reforms to bring about precisely what you’ve talked about, that is. Streamlining operations. But you also work with many bilateral and multilateral partners. Do you see a movement on their part to streamline their operations as well?

We have all signed up to the “Paris Delegation” on Harmonisation and Development effectiveness. The real challenge is implementation. Progress is being made but is far too slow. Over the last 30 years, the international aid architecture has changed considerably with the number and nature of development agencies vastly increasing – multilateral, bilateral agencies, benevolent foundations such as the Bill Gates Foundation as well as the so called “vertical funds” like the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS. The risk of fragmentation, stretching and overloading national capacities is high, hence the need for greater harmonisation of efforts. Progress has been made but we need to move faster.

That leads us naturally to the next question. Despite the massive fanfare and the generous pledges made to African countries at Gleneagles, the level of aid has actually contracted. How can this be explained?

It is true that “core” ODA levels, that is, excluding debt relief and humanitarian operations, have actually declined. That is a fact. While we are aware of the budget constraints and limitations, which are real, it is critical that commitments made are kept.
The political will and momentum mobilised at the Millennium Summit, Gleneagles, must not be lost. Debt cancellation for many eligible countries was a good beginning and has already been realised. As for the next engagement which was to double aid to Africa and improve its effectiveness, all I can say is that it is work in progress. Both we and the World Bank are currently in dialogue with our partners on the future replenishment of our concessional windows which are principal instruments for transferring soft loans and grants to low income countries. We are only a few years to the MDG target and that “big push” is as urgent as ever. Beyond the declining aid levels, we are also disappointed by the slow progress on trade negotiations. We are not underestimating the challenges of an ambitious round such as Doha, but the prize is within reach if the political will is there. Africa, like Asia before, will prosper only by effective participation in world trade. That can happen on two conditions. First, that we have to have a fair international trade regime which frontloads the interests of low income countries. That is why it is called a “Development Round”.
The second condition is that we are able to remove the bottlenecks on the supply side and build our trading capabilities. I am referring to the quality of infrastructure, transport, communications, energy and expanding the trading space within Africa by more effective regional integration. I feel that the window of opportunity which exists today is unique. It is the first time there is such a large global consensus on what needs to be done. In the overarching agenda to fight poverty, it is critical that despite political constraints and other realities, this Multilateral Trade Round negotiations should not be allowed to fail.

How critical, in your opinion, is leadership and governance in accelerating growth in Africa?

Economic growth is all about investment and that requires confidence and stability. Good leadership, sound institutions are essential preconditions for economic growth, as clearly articulated in NEPAD. Today, much of Africa is at peace and under democratic rule, institutions are strengthening, leaders are regularly elected via competitive elections; this has gone a long way to create an era of stability and confidence which is a major contributor to the current positive economic growth.

Africa’s fortunes are still largely tied to the global demand for its raw commodities. Can Africa wean itself away from this pattern of exchange?

You are right to note the problem of dependence on primary commodities. It is true that the current bullish conditions in the global economy and the increase in Asian imports of minerals, oil and other soft commodities has indeed given a boost to some of our economies. Two things are important here. We should use this window, the terms of trade gains, for greater diversification and moving up the value chain. But we will do so if the Doha trade negotiations succeed in dealing with issues such as tariff escalation. We should also seize the opportunity to invest in infrastructure, skills and capacity so that we gradually become less reliant on raw commodities. There is encouraging progress in some countries where services such as finance and IT are fast growing, bypassing commodities. This is what the African Development Bank is trying to encourage and promote.

What is the Bank’s relationship with the private sector?

The AfDB has a private sector window which supports our countries with different instruments: direct lending, guarantees, lines of credit to local finance institutions, promotion of local currency lending and public private sector partnerships etc. We have almost doubled our private sector operations this year, and I expect this trend to continue. We are gearing ourselves to that by increasing our internal capacity to understand and manage risk. The private sector is the future for Africa. That is why the AfDB is also supporting our countries in improving the business climate by reducing the costs of doing business and creating greater confidence.

You do take equity positions?

We are investing in a number of equity funds and the experience so far is encouraging. We are also participating in the Pan-African Infrastructure Fund.

Is the investment commercially-oriented?

We have dual objectives; to get a good return on our investment and to promote development. Our objective is to help the funds and business grow, and our exit strategy is in the region of under 10 years.

How far should privatisation of the public sector go in your opinion? Can development and profits go hand in hand?

Let me rephrase your question. What is the right balance between the state and the private sector? It is no longer the state on one side and the private sector on the other. It is more a partnership between the two. In the first 30 years of Africa’s post-independent period, the public sector became very dominant; the pendulum swung too far. This caused large fiscal imbalances and efficiency losses. Making progress on privatisation is still important but the right balance varies from country to country and therefore it benefits of greater efficiency, reduced fiscal imbalances, are beneficial and the negative impacts temporary. In a number of countries there have been transactional difficulties especially in the aviation and utilities domain such as electricity and water. These are complex transactions requiring careful attention; but the principles remain the same. This said, I think the greatest challenge in Africa is the promotion of the private sector. In some countries, the sector is young and nascent and has to be nurtured. This requires not only the right business environment, but sometimes transitional direct supportive measures.

With the opening up of the 25 field offices as you mentioned, the ADB appears to be firmly on course to decentralisation. How much central authority are you prepared to relinquish?

We are moving away from a rigid centralised system to an agile, responsive one. We aim at tailoring and customising our field presence, depending on the challenges we face on the ground. Countries are different. We are decentralising while maintaining accountability and strong fiduciary controls. Decentralisation resolves some issues but also creates other problems. We are addressing them as we gather experience. But I have no doubt it is the way to go. This is not true just for the AfDB, it is also the same for other similar organisations. The action is in the field. But I once again emphasise the importance of strong fiduciary controls, accountability and seamless links between the field and headquarters.

Are you happy with the level of capacity you have at the moment?

It is an optimisation issue. The demands on the Bank are always increasing as Africa’s expectations on the institution grow. We are aware that we will never have all the financial and human resources we need, no organisation ever does. This is why it is important to be focused, to be selective, to optimise all the resources you have. We are, at this time, engaged in an exercise to increase our staff capacity both in Tunis and in the field offices and we are working assiduously to mobilise additional resources.

How can you encourage and assist national financial institutions to mobilise domestic savings for investment?

By promoting local capital markets and strengthening appropriate local financial institutions, consolidating reforms in the Bank and non-bank financial sectors as well as developing appropriate instruments for each country, depending upon the degree of financial depth.

When you were growing up, did you see yourself as a banker?  What subjects interested you the most while at school?

Like all young boys I wanted to be a pilot! Now, I am a pilot, not of an aeroplane but of Africa’s premier development institution! This said, Africa has always been a passion for me from a very young age and I am glad to be contributing in a modest way in the position I occupy today.

Who, in your opinion, past or present, do you admire the most?

[laughs]. Madiba, Nelson Mandela, the icon of modern day Africa.

What do you wish to achieve before the end of your tenure at the Bank?

I have a job to do here and I am determined to get it done. As for the legacy, I will leave that to historians. This said, I would like, at the end of my tenure, to have consolidated the strong financial position of the Bank and a more focused, effective institution, a channel of choice of support to Africa that is truly Africa’s Premier Development Bank. I would like to see Africa at peace with itself, expanding and diversifying economically, making faster progress at regional integration, moving up the value chain, and taking its rightful place in the world trade and investment flows. It’s a challenging agenda to which I would like to make my modest contribution during my tenure at the AfDB.

What do you do in you do in your spare time?

I play squash on and off, but less and less these days because of the demands on my time; and I listen to classical music.



Source: http://www.africasia.com/africanbanker/afbnk.php?ID=1320

August 18, 2007

Africa’s NEW Colonial Powers to deal with?? IMF, WTO, EU, AGOA, MDG’s,World Bank and more??

I have been asked this question a number of times. From the IMF, World Bank, WTO  through the African Development being a puppet to these new masters… the questions keep coming in to me.

Of particular relevance to me personally is the IMF position that African Countries already impoverished and debt ridden and facing humanitarian issues are being forced to PAY for their own Road Rehabilitation  eschewing the concept of Grants or other “free” Money to make what could be the most important development project in the history of Africa for decades to come and has been proven that such Road Development work would have exceptional economic and social benefits to the Entire Continent? This quite frankly baffles me and begs a question… Does anyone really want Africa to develop is there to much power in keeping Africa A welfare Continent?

I have looked for opinions that would support these assertions and or disprove them, but what I have found are more questions and an abundance of emotions.

To this end I am opening up this Blog entry for as many of you that wish to contribute to this debate.  As such I will all almost all responses to this question provided they are not “Spam” or intellectually dishonest, or filled with vindictive unproductive utterances.

July 24, 2007

Rascom – AfDB Strengthens Telecommunications Sector

Rascom – AfDB Strengthens Telecommunications Sector

African Development Bank (Tunis)
PRESS RELEASE
24 July 2007
Posted to the web 24 July 2007
Tunis
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday in Tunis approved a US $ 50-million senior loan under its private sector window in support of a Regional African Satellite Communications Organization Mebers (RASCOM) Telecommunications Project.

The RASCOM project involves the construction and launch of an earth-orbiting satellite system to provide point to multi-point telecommunications services throughout Africa. The project will: (i) provide a full range of telecommunications services to end-users; (ii) provide complete coverage of Africa (urban and rural), including remote locations; (iii) provide international telephone calls and internet connections at low cost; (iv) create direct links among all African countries; (v) allow interurban communications within each country; (vi) permit radio, television, and multimedia broadcast reception in each country as well as the exchange of TV and radio programs between African countries; and (vii) support limited intercontinental connectivity.

Development impacts that are likely to accrue from this project include, but not limited to (i) Rural Communities: RASCOM will provide telephony services (TES) to various remote rural areas throughout Africa which previously had no direct interconnectivity; this translates into a substantial economic value added. Rural end-users will benefit from an estimated consumer surplus of US$ 1.2 billion in present value terms, equivalent to an average of about US$ 210 million per annum; (ii) Interconnectivity: RASCOM will permit lower-cost pan-African interconnectivity for African telecom operators, compared to charges levied by existing service providers; (iii) Bandwidth Lease Services: BLS service subscribers, such as TV broadcasters, internet service providers (ISPs) and big corporations, are expected to benefit from an estimated consumer surplus.

This project demonstrates a very strong rural focus as a socio-economic impact. Even though the RASCOM project is geared to cover the entire continent, the most noticeable impact will be witnessed in rural areas.

The full impact will be achieved once the Ground Traffic Segment (GTS) investments are implemented by Telecoms in Regional Member Countries (RMCs). Farmers will have better access to market information, weather forecasts as well as new technologies. This will increase production, boost livelihoods and contribute to combating rural poverty. With internet connectivity and TV services, people in rural areas, particularly women and children, will have access to new sources of information and education. This will help to break the barriers of social and geographical isolation experienced in many rural areas. The project will help bridge the digital divide. The e-Schools Initiative sponsored by e-Africa commission through NEPAD will promote distance learning and will provide a linked ICT platform to all primary and secondary schools (urban and rural).

The RASCOM project is strongly aligned with the Bank Group’s core development policies and strategies as well as the Bank’s NEPAD objectives. RASCOM provides a model for public-private partnerships and will help create an enabling environment for private sector development in Africa.

July 18, 2007

Third Africa MFI (Micro-Finance Institutions) Conference Meeting is Slated for August

Third Africa MFI Meet Slated for August

New Vision (Kampala)
NEWS
17 July 2007
Posted to the web 18 July 2007

By Herbert Ssempogo
Kampala
THE third African micro-finance (MFI) conference will take place in Uganda from August 20-23. The theme is: “New options for rural and urban Africa.” Micro-finance minister, Salim Saleh, said Uganda was chosen because of its good performance in the sector.

“It provides us an opportunity to showcase our achievements,” Saleh said. Uganda has 100 microfinance institutions and over 50 micro deposit-taking institutions.

Over 300 delegates from Europe, Asia and Africa are expected. He said the conference is being organised by the Government, individuals and development partners.

The head of the Association of Micro-finance Institutions of Uganda, David Baguma, said they would share experiences.

African Development Bank (AfDB) today signed an agreement with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to Discuss Work

Tackling Rural Poverty – Learning the Lessons Together

African Development Bank (Tunis)
PRESS RELEASE
17 July 2007
Posted to the web 17 July 2007
Tunis
The African Development Bank (AfDB) today signed an agreement with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to conduct a joint review of their work in supporting agriculture and rural development in Africa over the last ten years.

The independent evaluation, which will deliver its interim and final reports in 2008, is being implemented as a joint operation between the two institutions’ evaluation departments and is an example of the agencies’ commitments under the Paris Declaration to increase the levels of coordination and joint implementation of aid programmes between donor agencies.

The IFAD President Lennart Bage said that the review will help both institutions to improve their understanding about what works and what does not work in fighting rural poverty. AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said that the study could make an important addition to knowledge in the two agencies as well as in other institutions working in rural development in Africa.

The evaluation will assess the effectiveness of the two institution’s policies, programmes and projects in stimulating rural development and reducing poverty. It will also examine the relevance of their work to the development strategies of the beneficiary countries and to the situation and needs of the rural poor.

The performance of the agriculture sector has been markedly poor in Africa compared to other regions with little improvement in crop yields or rural incomes, and declining levels of food security and agricultural trade balances.

The review will guide the Bank and IFAD on how to strengthen their work together in the future and in finding the most appropriate roles within the increasingly complex development assistance landscape in Africa.

Since the late 1970s, the two institutions have invested more than $10 bn in agriculture and rural development work in Africa.

BLOGGERS NOTE: I am concerned about the constant use or need for more and more studies. Is this a form of “Paralysis by Analysis” and how long will Africa have to wait for results, more committees and actual implementation of ideas??

July 17, 2007

ADB President Visits Libya

Official Visit of President Kaberuka to Libya

African Development Bank (Tunis)
PRESS RELEASE
16 July 2007
Posted to the web 17 July 2007
Tunis
The President of the African Development Bank Group (ADB) will be on a two-day official visit to Tripoli, Libya, starting 15 July 2007.

During this visit, the first by an ADB President for fifteen years, Mr.Kaberuka will have a series of discussions with the country’s highest authorities.

The African Development Bank and Libya are key movers in African integration and the social and economic development of the continent.

President Kaberuka’s visit will be an opportunity to explore ways and means of enhancing the cooperation between the two parties toward their common goals in Africa.

Libya is a prominent regional member country of the African Development Bank. Its substantial financial resources, generated primarily by oil exports, have enabled the country to opt to finance its economic and social development without recourse to ADB resources.

Cooperation between ADB and Libya has thus hitherto concerned only the non-lending instruments of the African finance institution. The two parties are currently taking steps to strengthen their cooperation ties.

Possible priority areas of this joint effort are economic and sector studies that could translate into banking, financial and sector reforms, in order to improve the country’s macro-economic management and promote the development of infrastructure (water, sanitation, transport, etc.).

As the principal source of development expertise in Africa and the premier African development finance institution, ADB is ready to assist the Libyan government in its efforts to modernize and raise the competitiveness of its economy. ADB support could initially concern technical assistance and the building of capacities for formulation of sector development policies.

Since the start of its operations on the continent in 1967, the African Development Bank has financed over 3 250 projects in favor of its regional member countries for a cumulative total of approximately 60 billion dollars, to contribute to their economic and social development.

Its share ownership comprises 53 African countries, including Libya, and 24 regional countries (America, Asia, Europe). With a Gross Domestic Product of some 35 billion US dollars in 2005, Libya has the highest per capita income in Africa, which is almost 7000 dollars.

African Development Bank (ADB) Seeks to Strengthen Ties With Libya

Cooperation Between ADB And Libya

African Development Bank (Tunis)
PRESS RELEASE
16 July 2007
Posted to the web 17 July 2007
Tunis
Libya is a prominent African development Bank member country. With 3.651 % of the institution’s voting powers, it ranks as a leading African shareholder of the ADB, confirming its keen interest in the continent’s socio-economic development.

Though it has been an ADB shareholder since July 1972, Libya is the only regional member that opted not to use ADB resources in financing its development. This choice was justified by the country’s sound financial situation, as one of the countries with the highest macroeconomic indicators, posting a Gross Domestic Product in the order of 35 billion dollars for 2006, and a per capita income of approximately USD 7 000. It also conveys Libya’s constant desire to show solidarity with the other countries on the continent, especially the most disadvantaged.

This concern for concerted and accelerated development of Africa explains Libya’s interest in strengthening cooperation between the nations of Africa, from North to South and from East to West, as well as promoting and developing regional integration.

Shared Commitment of ADB and Libya to Support Africa’s Development and Regional Integration

Founded in 1963, as part of the impetus for the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the African Development Bank (ADB) is an African initiative intended to support the economic and social development of African states, individually and collectively and thereby promote regional integration. Though OAU and ADB have no direct affiliation links, their objectives concerning the African populations are complementary from political and economic standpoints.

As a front-line member of the OAU and of ADB, Libya has been at the root of several initiatives to promote economic growth and further integration on the continent, with the aim of curbing the poverty prevailing in several countries and in its sub-regions, and intensifying its development. This concern shared with the African Development Bank, whose core mission is “to contribute to the economic development and social progress of its regional member- individually and jointly”, fuels ADB/Libya cooperation.

With over 3 250 projects financed in Africa since 1967, when it started its operational activities, for a cumulative commitment of 60 billion dollars, ADB has acquired sound experience in the analysis, study, financing and implementation of economic and social development projects in all its 53 regional member states, as well as several regional integration projects.

ADB, as a continental finance institution, has become the principal partner of all the cooperation and regional integration organizations, such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Community of Sahelo-Sahelian States (Cens-Sad) established in 1998 on Libya’s initiative and headquartered in Tripoli, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), The Common Market of East and Southern African States (COMESA), The Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC), the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) and the Economic Community of East African States (ECEA).

To contribute to the attainment of the key objectives of these regional integration agencies, ADBhas also provided its financial and technical support to their development finance instruments, particularly the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank), the West African Development Bank (WADB), the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), the East African Development Bank (EADB) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

Prospects of Cooperation between ADB and Libya

ADB in 2006 conducted two studies for the Libyan Government concerning the Libyan banking sector and the development of the water sector respectively. It has also processed a project for a gas pipeline linking Tunisia and Libya.

As Africa’s premier regional development finance institution, the African Development Bank is prepared to cooperate actively with Libya, which is spearheading regional integration initiatives in Africa, to promote the development of the entire region. The ADB can enable Libya to benefit from its expertise in key areas of development of African countries and assist it in designing and implementing reform programmes in different spheres of its economic and financial management: banking and finance reforms, the enhancement of the business framework and environment that is indispensable for the promotion of a dynamic private sector, improvement of strategies and policies to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, privatization of public enterprises, infrastructure (roads, railways, electricity, water supply, sanitation), etc.

The cooperation prospects currently being discussed notably concern the conduct by ADB of a number of economic and sector studies in the priority areas identified by the country and the Bank. This cooperation could range from direct financing of private enterprises to technical assistance, and include institutional support or advice for formulation of private sector support policies.

ADB is moreover prepared to provide financial support for the implementation of the Libya-Tunisia gas pipeline project and the RASCOM telecommunication project, to be executed under the leadership of RascomStar-Qaf, the first pan African telecommunications operator with majority shares held by the portfolio of Libyan investments in Africa and Société générale libyenne des postes et télécommunications, in conjunction with Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RASCOM) and Thales Alenia Space.

The African Development Bank is also ready to make its expertise and tools available for Libyan initiatives aimed at bolstering African Unity and regional cooperation. For example, thought is being given to the possibility of ADB, which has already built up an impressive stock of trust among the other African countries, serving as an intermediary for Libya’s development financing in Africa, for example through the establishment of a Libyan technical fund hosted by the African Development Bank.

July 11, 2007

USA State Department: Trade Act Helps Liberalize Continent’s Economies

Trade Act Helps Liberalize Continent’s Economies

United States Department of State (Washington, DC)
NEWS
9 July 2007
Posted to the web 10 July 2007

By Jim Fisher-Thompson
Washington, DC
Strengthening the partnership for economic reforms and development between the United States and 38 African nations is the aim of the sixth annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum.

The forum will be held in Accra, Ghana, July 18-19, and U.S. and African officials said activity under AGOA in the host nation spotlights the goals and potential benefits of the law.

Signed into law in May 2000 by President Clinton, AGOA provides duty-free access to American markets for a range of 6,000 African products. Its aim is to spur export-led growth in nations that agree to liberalize their economies.

President Bush extended trade incentives in revisions to the law in 2002 and 2004, and 38 African nations currently are eligible for its benefits.

The forum is an important part of AGOA, said Todd Moss, deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, because “it represents an ongoing dialogue between Africa and the United States to ensure that the benefits of AGOA are realized.”

And Ghana, he said, has been in the vanguard of countries that have taken to heart this year’s theme, “As Trade Grows, Africa Prospers: Optimizing Benefits under AGOA.”

As an early partner in the program, the West African nation was able to take advantage of AGOA’s favorable trade benefits, in part, because of macroeconomic and financial reforms undertaken by Ghanaian President John Kufuor, Moss said.

The country is now home to one of four “trade hubs” in Africa operated by the U.S. Agency for International Development as a one-stop shopping center for information on AGOA.

Moss will join other officials, trade experts and business executives at the forum in offering tips and advice on how to gain access to American markets.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns is expected to deliver a keynote address on agricultural trade development under AGOA. The forum also will include a meeting of finance, economic and trade ministers as well as separate sessions hosted by civil society and business groups.

Moss said that AGOA — the first U.S. trade legislation aimed at sub-Saharan Africa — shows the United States “has made Africa one of its priority regions,” adding that, as a result, “relations with the continent are as strong as they have ever been.”

“At no other time in the last 50 years has interdependence between Africa and America been greater,” and AGOA plays an important role in that dynamic, Moss said.

Since AGOA’s implementation in 2001, non-oil exports to the United States from Africa under the program have grown on average 18.7 percent annually, he said. “This is the type of economic momentum that we want to keep going, with the aid of experience and knowledge shared at the upcoming Accra forum,” he added.

The forum host, Ghana, “in particular is a key partner of the United States, and it’s not just on trade but on a whole range of issues, from peace and security to governance and economic growth,” he said.

President Bush made that point when he hosted President Kufuor at an April 2006 White House meeting.

“President Kufuor has done a fantastic job for Ghana,” Bush said. “He’s told the people of his country he’d bring honesty to government, and he has. He told the people of his country that he would work to create a stable economic platform for [development], and he has done that as well.” (See related article.)

Ghana exported $43 million in goods to the United States under AGOA in 2006, representing 24 percent of the country’s total U.S. exports for that year, according to the AGOA 2007 report of the U.S. trade representative (USTR).

USTR said Ghana has “a market-based economy with few barriers to trade and investment,” adding that sound macroeconomic policies and debt relief have resulted in declining inflation and interest rates, a stable currency and real economic growth averaging 5 percent to 6 percent yearly.

The World Bank’s recent Doing Business in 2007 Report also praised Ghana for its economic reforms and improvements in the business climate.

Ghanaian Ambassador Kwame Bawuah-Edusei said that as the first African nation to achieve independence from colonialism 50 years ago, “Ghana led Africa in political emancipation.” Through AGOA, he added, “we’re leading Africa in economic emancipation.”

“Under the leadership of President Kufuor we have had a paradigm shift in our economic and political thinking, leading to a much more investor-friendly atmosphere, and now our nation is open for business,” Bawuah-Edusei said.

Bawuah-Edusei said that Ghana began a range of financial and regulatory reforms, as well as infrastructure improvements, aimed at eliminating supply-side constraints to the economy that had hindered growth in the past. But trade constraints still remain, especially in the areas of storage, transportation and port services.

However, he said, recent deals like the $1 billion investment in Ghana by the Denver-based Newmont Mining Company, offshore oil finds and now direct New York to Accra flights by Atlanta-based Delta Airlines are indicators that Ghana is moving in the right direction.

Small and medium-sized enterprises in areas like textiles, agricultural product processing and information technology assistance also “are very much active in Ghana, and we hope more will follow through,” he said.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

July 8, 2007

Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations (ECOWAS)

EPAs Negotiations

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
NEWS
6 July 2007
Posted to the web 6 July 2007

By Joseph Coomson

GHANA HAS not yet concluded on its position on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which is to be signed by the end of this year.

However, the country will adopt the position of the sub-regional body, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the end of the year, the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and Presidential Special Initiative, Mr. Kwadwo Affram Asiedu said yesterday in Accra.

“Government’s position will be what would be decided by ECOWAS,” Mr. Asiedu said.

The Deputy Minister was speaking as the keynote addresser at the launch of ‘All Africa Business Summit’, which comes off in Accra between September 6 and 8 this year.

On Ghana’s part, the Deputy Minister stressed that deliberations were ongoing but more time was needed to for proper scrutiny of the agreements to be made.

“With this upsurge in civil society, more time is needed to study them. “We are handicapped as to sign or not now,” he said.

He was not comfortable with a clause in the agreement, which seeks to lift tariffs. In the event of that, he said Ghana would lose revenue and create unemployment.

Civil society Movements are working to correct the imbalances in the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement currently being negotiated between the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries and the European Union and which is due to be signed in December this year.

According to Oxfam, “The quiet advance of trade and investment agreements between rich and poor countries threatens to deny developing countries a favorable foothold in the global economy.

It stressed that the rules on liberalization of services in Free Trade Agreements has the potential of driving local firms out of business, reduce competition and extend the monopoly power of large companies.

The new rules in the EPA also pose a threat to poor people’s access to essential services. In some free trade agreements developing countries are committing themselves to let foreign investors into public utilities when the sector is opened up to domestic private companies.

The deputy minister then launched the summit.

Earlier, the President of Kingsworld Media Systems, Mr. Gordon Adjei, the organizer of the summit, said the summit would be organized around three key areas.

They are strategies for promoting successful intra-African trade, pulling down trade barriers and showcasing topmost investment attractions in Africa. The AU endorsed summit is to help improve upon the 10 to 12% trade between African countries. In all, 20 African nations, with delegates from the EU bloc, United Kingdom, China and Asia Pacific are participating.

The Chairman for the occasion was the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade, Mr. Seth Evans Addo.

African Development Bank Group (AfDB) Group Tops Billion Dollar Mark in Annual Private Sector Investments

AfDB Group Tops Billion Dollar Mark in Annual Private Sector Investments

African Development Bank (Tunis)
NEWS
6 July 2007
Posted to the web 6 July 2007
Tunis
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has made over a billion dollars in annual private sector investments in Africa for the first time since its founding in 1964. The Bank reached that highpoint following the approval on Thursday by its Board of Directors of two new financing transactions: a Euro 6 million loan to establish the Sahanivotry micro-hydro power station in Madagascar and a Euro 0.6 million equity investment in the microenterprise-oriented Access Bank of Tanzania. With both approvals, the AfDB’s total investments without sovereign guarantees thus far in 2007 amount to $1.01 billion.

The AfDB provides a range of financial products without sovereign guarantees to complement its traditional lending operations to governments with sovereign guarantees. Private sector operations of the Bank Group promote strong environmental, social, and corporate governance standards as well as help African companies achieve international best practices, making them more competitive at home and in the international marketplace.

“Supporting private sector development on the continent is a top priority for the AfDB,” said AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka. “AfDB’s rapid expansion of its non-sovereign operations is demonstrating how the public and private sectors can work together to create opportunities and improve people’s lives. Our position as Africa’s premier financial institution provides us with an opportunity to work with development partners in areas such as infrastructure and access to finance and help lead development in lower income and post-conflict countries.”

The Bank began to undertake private sector operations in 1991 and currently pursues an institution-wide strategy that seeks to identify weaknesses in the investment climate and business-enabling environment in Africa and finance programs to address them, and selectively finance non-sovereign guaranteed projects that can have a strong catalytic and demonstration effect.

“Government commitment to improving the investment climate will largely determine Africa’s future growth and investment opportunities,” according to Mr. Mandla Gantsho, the Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure, Private Sector, and Regional Integration. “There are still significant challenges ahead, and we are working closely with governments and other development partners to improve the business-enabling environment and to create public-private project structures that attract investment capital, especially in the infrastructure sector.”

In this regard, the AfDB is working to ensure that African governments uphold contractual obligations to private investors, that African governments and communities substantially benefit from private investment, and that all parties respect international standards on environmental sustainability and open and transparent procurement.

“The sharp increase in the AfDB’s non-sovereign operations reflects the burgeoning level of opportunities for financially attractive public-private partnerships in a broad range of sectors. The development impact that increased private investment can have in Africa is stronger than ever,” said Tim Turner, AfDB Director for Private Sector Operations.

For future non-sovereign guaranteed investments in Africa, the AfDB will focus on public-private partnerships in the financial sector including microfinance, infrastructure, extractive industries, manufacturing, agribusiness and services, with special emphasis on projects that promote regional integration. The AfDB works in close collaboration with other development partners and its private sector operations are presently benefiting from special financial assistance from the government of Japan, which has joined the AfDB to establish the Enhanced Private Sector for Africa (EPSA) Initiative.

June 29, 2007

Sadly not Everyone is excited about the AU Africa Intergration Plan

Country’s Activists Lukewarm Over AU

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
NEWS
28 June 2007
Posted to the web 29 June 2007

By Gideon Nkala
Gaborone
Botswana civil society representatives at last week’s African Activists meeting in Tripoli, Libya are ambivalent on whether to rally behind the declaration for the quick establishment of a federal African government. Hundreds of civil society activists, among them lawyers, politicians, writers, academics, youth, women and media personnel converged on the Libyan capital apparently in a bid to caucus and build momentum for the fast-tracking of the establishment of an African government. At the end of the meeting a ‘Tripoli Declaration’ was issued.

“While the African Union is credited with the establishment of legal and legislative institutions in a short time, the results sought by the Africans themselves cannot be attained until these institutions become executive organs. Hence, the African popular demand for forming the federal government comes side by side with completion of the Pan African Parliament and the African Development Bank.

The meeting of the African active actors evokes and strongly urges us towards the realisation of the federal African government. For this reason, the meeting examined seriously and transparently the ways and means to move forward to bolster the unity of our continent and activate its institutions, utilise its natural and human resources for the welfare, prosperity and happiness of African citizens,” reads part of the declaration.

While some Botswana civic leaders who attended the meeting say they are not necessarily against the letter of the declaration, they however point out that its spirit needs to be in tune with some harsh realities.

Idah Mokereitane, Executive Secretary of Emang Basadi said she was concerned that the declaration’s conception is not inclusive.

“In my mind, we were going to discuss and deliberate and eventually form an opinion on what we should do. Unfortunately that was not the case. The ‘Tripoli Declaration’ was read to the gathering rather than the meeting producing the declaration,” she said.

MISA-Botswana Director, Modise Maphanyane echoes Mokereitane’s sentiments saying that the noble meeting was turned into a validation exercise. “I felt a little bit cheated that preliminary issues were not debated but we were only presented with a fait accompoli,” he said.

Maphanyane however thinks that the Tripoli Declaration presents an opportunity for the Botswana public to join the debate.

Despite the conference processes, Gaontebale Mokgosi of the National Youth Centre and Eric Ditau, vice president of Botswana Federation of Trade Unions maintain that the baby cannot be thrown away with the bath water.

They contend that the African Activists meeting was an eye opener in many respects.

“I have realised that government has kept the public outside the African Union debate. This meeting has presented us with an opportunity to pressurise our government to put African Union issues on the table. We do not even know what the government’s position is on the AU,” Mokgosi said.

According to Ditau, labour, not only in Botswana, needs to look at the implications of a federal government. “Our participation at this meeting has been critical. We mined crucial information which we would use to inform our position or even agitate for the establishment of a federal African government if it would be in the interest of labour,” Ditau said.

The chairman of the Law Society of Botswana, Gideon Duma Boko who also attended the meeting said as lawyers, they are naturally concerned about the rule of law, free movement of people, human rights and they would support any initiative that would qualitatively improve people’s rights.

“This was our first participation, we got a perspective from other regions. We have been exposed to the current thinking and I shall report to my principals and we will come with a position,” said Boko.

Baboloki Tlale of Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) admits that the Tripoli meeting showed that the civil society in Botswana is adrift on issues of a federal African government.

He says on the surface, people would embrace the idea but cautioned against real problems that cannot be wished away.

“At the moment, we are still grappling with regional integration and these are problems that cannot be wished away,” Tlale said.

He regretted that civil society was never engaged in Tripoli as politicians hijacked and ran the show. “Integration should happen in the context of shared core values such as human rights, transparency, rule of law, participatory democracy. Even in a declaration, every word must be negotiated,” he said.

Tlale like the others feels the declaration will act as a catalyst that would force a discussion on African Union on the table. This might ultimately lead Batswana to tell government what their view on a federal African government is other than government telling people what their view should be.

Sheikh Moulana Mall who represented the Botswana Muslim Association was beside himself with joy that Libya is mobilising Africa to its rightful place.

“This is a step in the right direction for Africa. Africa must unite because its resources have been exploited and divided by colonialists.” The Tripoli civic society gathering, which was organised by Libyan authorities, came a week before the African Union Summit in Accra, Ghana.

USA Questions Results from the Millennium Challenge Corporation

Payne Insists on Results from the Millennium Challenge Corporation

United States Congress (Washington, DC)
PRESS RELEASE
28 June 2007
Posted to the web 28 June 2007
Washington, D.C.
Representative Donald M. Payne, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, convened a hearing today entitled “Millennium Challenge Account in Africa: Promise vs. Progress.”   The objective of the hearing was to examine the achievements and setbacks of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) in Africa since its implementation in 2004.

The MCA is a signature program developed by the Bush Administration which ties US assistance to accountability and responsibility by recipient countries.   Based on the premise that free market economic policies and democratic principles allow sustainable economic growth to flourish, the Millennium Challenge Account is a competitive selection process that funds nations’ economic growth and poverty reduction initiatives.   The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), manager of the MCA, has the duty of selecting eligible countries, allocating funding and overseeing approved program proposals – also referred to as MCA Compacts.   To date, nineteen of the forty eligible countries are on the African continent.   With the recent additions of Lesotho and Mozambique, seven African countries have approved MCA Compacts, which is over half of the thirteen compacts approved thus far.   Of the $3 billion obligated for the compacts around the globe, African countries are set to receive over $2 billion.

However, those figures belie the fact that dramatic progress has not been made.   According to the Government Accountability Office, an independent and non-partisan investigative arm of the US Congress, it has taken almost two years for countries to develop and enter into compacts with the MCC.   Moreover, the signing of compacts does not equate to an immediate payout of funds.   In fact, African countries have received only 23% of the MCA’s planned disbursements.   Furthermore, there is uncertainty as to whether a significant portion of the money spent on compacts has been used to fund intended projects.   Payne warned, “Sooner or later, we may find that we are losing credibility in regards to delivering on the promises of the MCA.”

Congressman Payne, during the hearing, also addressed the issue of appropriated funds that have gone unspent.   Since its inception, Congress has appropriated approximately $6 billion to the Millennium Challenge Account with an additional $1.8 billion allocated for Fiscal Year 2008.   However, with a constrained budget and a slightly over 50% disbursement rate, Payne and other Members of Congress want to see the MCC improve upon the mechanisms that deliver monetary contributions to eligible countries.

“While I believe that we need to give this new initiative a chance because of what it could mean to African countries, it is important that the MCC begin showing results,” stated Payne.   “Other programs are suffering from shortages while money appropriated to the MCA remains unspent.   We’ve got to make this work better.”

June 26, 2007

AU Summit Starts Meeting with Unified Africa discussions.

AU Summit Kicks Off With PRC Meeting

BuaNews (Tshwane)
NEWS
26 June 2007
Posted to the web 26 June 2007

By Lavinia Mahlangu
Accra
The African Union Summit has kicked off in Accra, Ghana with the opening of the African Union (AU) Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), as part of the process to plot the way forward to a unified continent.

The first round of high level meetings began Monday, with a call for the PRC members convening at the International Convention Centre, to apply their minds to the unique and significant process ahead.

“Excellencies, you have before you a number of documents which, hopefully, articulate African issues in greater detail and depth and you are required to consider them and make appropriate recommendations to the Executive Council,” Ghana’s Foreign Minister Nana Akufo Addo said in his opening address.

“I urge you all to put Africa first in all your deliberations to make our Union achieve its objectives and our continent a better place to live.”

The PRC is meeting on Monday and Tuesday and will deliberate on issues including the Grand Debate on a unified African government.

PRC delegates are also deliberating on other issues of concern to the continent, such as legal and institutional matters including the report on the status of treaties entered into by the AU and its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity.

Socio-economic matters will also be under the spotlight, such as Africa’s progress on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the report on the AU’s relationship with Regional Economic Communities (such as the Southern African Development Community and the Economic Community of West African States, in which Ghana is located).

The PRC will deliberate and make recommendations on these and other matters, and forward them to the Executive Council of Foreign Ministers who will meet on 28 to 29 June for their 11th Ordinary Session.

The Executive Council will in turn, make their own assessments and forward them to the AU Heads of State, who are to meet from 1 to 3 July.

Minister Addo, who also sits on the Executive Council, explained that the 9th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State Summit was a crucial one “which seeks to determine the way forward for the African Union…which is firmly anchored in good governance, respect for human rights and sound economic management.”

The minister said Africans have a clear idea of where they had come from and what challenges currently face their continent, a fitting statement from the official whose country celebrates 50 years of independence from Britain this year.

“We rejoice at the fact that Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957 changed fundamentally the outlook of the African continent and its status and role in the world.”

“Developments in our era, especially the process of globalization which is engendering greater and greater integration of entire regions and continents, enjoin us to make, at this Accra Summit, historic and far-reaching decisions about the political and economic integration of our continent,” Minister Addo told delegates from over 50 African countries and their development and political partners from across the globe.

“This is thus the relevance of devoting this summit to a deliberation on the future direction of our continent.”

Speaking on 24 May at a seminar commemorating Africa Day, Dr Chris Landsberg, Executive Director of the Center for Policy Studies, outlined the three possible models to be considered by African leaders towards continental integration.

The first type is the “United States of Africa” model, which Dr Landsberg described as a “radical” view led by the Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

“It ‘plagiarizes’ [Former Ghanaian President Kwame] Nkrumah’s ideas of a united Africa and wants an African government now,” Dr Landsberg explained in his presentation.

Its drawbacks however are that “Gaddafi’s model does not talk of democracy, values, human rights and governance.”

The second option is the “African Union Government”. It is led by former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo.

“It advocates for the taking of 15 continental institutions created under the African Union and transforming them into the 55th state in Africa and the rest of the states should cede some sovereignty and functions to it,” said Dr Landsberg.

“Obasanjo rushes to say that the union should be established by 2015 with a president serving for a three year renewable term.”

The third option, the “Union of African States” is led by South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Dr Landsberg explained that this model advocated for taking the traditional AU route and turning Africa into a union of states, subscribing to common goals and values.

“It recognizes that this will take a long time and that we should in the mean time embark on strengthening three sets of institutions: executive institutions, judicial institutions and financial/technical institutions.”

According to Dr Landsberg, this is the predominant view among African leaders.

“In Accra a compromise is going to be achieved on realistic time lines for an African government. The radicals are going to be drawn to compromise and pursue strengthening financial institutions among others,” Dr Landsberg said.

Once the PRC and Executive Council have completed their work and handed over their recommendations to the Heads of State, the leaders will review their options, after-which Africa’s new direction will be known.

“This is the process that will strengthen our Union so that it can be a formidable force in the 21st century for the defense and advancement of Africa’s strategic interests,” Minister Addo said.

AU to Help member Nations Negotiate Trade With China

AU to Help Continent Benefit From Trade With China

East African (Nairobi)
NEWS
26 June 2007
Posted to the web 26 June 2007

By Francis Ayieko
Nairobi
The African Union will help its member states to develop a strategy for engaging China and other emerging economic powers from the South as a bloc, a senior AU official has said.

Tarana Loumabeka, co-ordination and liaison manager in the AU’s Department of Trade and Industry, said the continental organisation has been directed by its Summit to play a bigger role in the relations between Africa and China, India, Brazil and Turkey.

These countries are increasingly turning to Africa in search of new markets and business partnerships.

China has been particularly aggressive in seeking mineral resources and business opportunities in Africa in return for soft loans and development assistance without raising issues of human rights and corruption, unlike Western donors and the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

A co-ordinating role for the African Union in the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) will be in the interest of not only African countries but also China. It will provide a greater opportunity for a more focused and better organised engagement with China,” Ms Loumabeka said during a recent conference in Nairobi that discussed the role and interests of East Africa in a changing global order.

The AU says it will co-ordinate and guide Africa’s regional economic blocs and member states in coming up with a multilateral approach to doing business with the main emerging world powers.

The initiative is meant to ensure that by strengthening its trade relations with Africa, China does not end up being the continent’s modern-day colonial power.

Next year, for instance, the AU Commission will be involved in co-ordinating the Fourth Ministerial Conference on the FOCAC to be held in Egypt.

China’s diplomatic effort to engage Africa was initiated during a ministerial summit in Beijing in 2000 attended by ministers of 44 African countries. The second FOCAC meeting took place in 2003 whereas the third one, which brought together the heads of 48 African states, was held last year, also in Beijing.

Ms Loumabeka said AU’s involvement in FOCAC would prevent an unhealthy competition among African countries for the “carrots” in Africa-China partnership.

“Greater involvement of the AU in the FOCAC process will permit issues of regional integration to be accorded the priority they deserve in the African-Chinese co-operation,” she said. “It will also enable African countries to develop a collective response to the future challenges that may emerge in Africa-China partnership.” There have been concern that China’s continued engagement of Africa through bilateral trade and aid agreements might turn China into Africa’s modern-day imperialist.

During the conference, jointly organised by Fredrich Ebert Stiftung and Consumer Unity Trust Society, Prof Mwesiga Baregu of the University of Dar es Salaam, warned that unless Africa negotiates with world emerging powers like China with one voice, it could easily lose out in the long run.

“If we don’t unite, we will only have ourselves to blame as even countries like China will start exploiting us,” Prof Baregu warned.

He said the problem was that whereas China seemed to have a clearly-defined agenda in its engagement with Africa, the continent does not appear to know how best to benefit from the engagement.

He suggested that instead of just exporting raw materials to China and India in return for dollars, Africa could negotiate resource-for-technology deals with these rapidly growing economies.

Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister, Moses Wetang’ula, said that African countries must integrate to play a role and be relevant on the global scene. It is easier, he said, to negotiate as a bloc than as individuals.

He accused the World Bank and IMF of discriminating against African states.

According to Prof Rok Ajulu of the University of Witswaterrand, South Africa, whether China will turn into Africa’s modern-day imperialist depends on how the continent plays its cards.

“The emergence of China as a global player is worrying some people, but it is unstoppable. Africa must know how to deal with China,” Prof Ajulu told the conference.

One of the strategies Africa should use, he suggested, is to add value to the products instead of exporting them as raw materials.

May 2, 2007

Trans African Development Project Contact Information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please refer to the below referenced post for  new information.

 

http://craigeisele.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/update-on-corporate-cperations/

 

Information requests for the Trans African Development project can be made at the following E-mail Address:

CraigEisele@yahoo.com

The Rubric Theme Blog at WordPress.com.

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