Craig Eisele on …..

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.”

November 19, 2007

Intra-Regional Trade an Imperative for Africa

‘Intra-Regional Trade an Imperative for Africa’
The Herald (Harare)

8 November 2007
Posted to the web 8 November 2007

By Victoria Ruzvidzo
Intra-Regional trade in Africa is not an option but an imperative for the African continent to sustainably eradicate poverty, unemployment and poor health systems among its challenges.

This came out strongly here yesterday as the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (Trapca) annual conference entered its third day.


Overall, Africa was not ready to sign such agreements as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) from its current weak position but needed to build capacity through increased trade within regional groups such as Sadc, Comesa, Ecowas and Sacu. Presently there was not much trade activity within due to a myriad of challenges that included tariff barriers, misconceptions about the quality of local products and other perceptions that led many to believe that products from the continent were inferior to what the rest of the world produced.

Zimbabwe is a member of both Sadc and Comesa. There was heated debate yesterday regarding the status quo on the continent. Poor trade within regions was reflected in low socio-economic growth and the continent’s inability to claim a significant share of global trade despite its rich endowment of natural resources.

Africa commanded only 2,3 percent of world trade. Intra-Africa trade was the lowest at 14 percent compared to other regions such as the European Union whose figure stood at 60 percent and the North Atlantic Free Trade Area, which was at 50 percent.

“This indicates that we need to do more to trade amongst ourselves. We should value this kind of trade to ensure that we become more competitive as a continent,” said Mr Fudzai Pamacheche, a Zimbabwean who heads the African Union’s Private Sector Development, Investment and Resource Mobilisation division based in Ethiopia. Regions needed to develop their trade capacities and infrastructure while taking the trade debate to a higher level that included not just Government representatives but the private sector as well.

Leaving out the private sector had been a major drawback in fostering intra-regional trade while also compromising Africa’s position in world trade negotiations. “In most instances we forget the key players involved, which is the private sector. Negotiations should be all-inclusive in character so that they become easy to implement. Involving all stakeholders is critical to allow everyone to make an input,” said Mr Pamacheche.

A delegate from Zambia also remarked that Africans lived under the misconception that selling their products to America was much better than trading with other African countries. “We are our own enemies. We have to defeat that notion so that we boost intra-regional trade and negotiate from a position of strength,” he said.

A senior lecturer at the University of Buea in Cameroon Dr Ernest Molua challenged the continent to put its act together and look inwards before negotiating trade pacts elsewhere. “There have been a lot of missed opportunities to promote trade amongst ourselves,” he said. To enhance trade, it was important that African countries liberalised trade amongst themselves. This could be done through reduction of tariffs, more efficient customs systems, increased political will to promote trade and the adoption of appropriate exchange rate policies.

Furthermore, it was essential that countries diversified their exports.

United Nations Development Programme International Policy Advisor based in Mongolia Dr Koffi Addo challenged the continent to move with the times and realise that world trade polices were largely influenced by regional trade arrangements. “We should trade more among ourselves before we think of America, United Kingdom etc. Trade is the engine for economic growth and prosperity,” he said. This was echoed by the Minister Consular (Trade) at the Zimbabwean consulate based in Johannesburg Mrs Constance Zhanje who drew much applause when she remarked that it was all about attitude.

“In Africa we need to start changing our attitudes because if we don’t, nobody will. Why should we see some countries buying water from Europe when we have it here,” she said. In his official opening remarks on Monday, Swazi leader King Mswati lll challenged the continent to improve trade within itself. “It is noteworthy that intra-regional trade is critical to economic development and poverty reduction in Least Developed Countries (LCDs) given that regional integration offers better markets while creating a bigger domestic territory amongst countries.

“It is, therefore, important for us to explore ways of modernising trade facilitations in order to encourage more trade amongst countries in the same region,” he said.

Zimbabwe is represented by Mrs Zhanje and two International trade experts from the Ministry of Industry and International trade.

September 9, 2007

East African Leaders Interested in African People or African Markets?? Scathing Op-Ed Piece

East African Leaders Go Into Slow Motion

Weekly Trust (Kaduna)
4 September 2007
Posted to the web 4 September 2007

By Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem
At the historic summit of the AU in Accra in July President Yoweri, Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, was one of the surpriseed pro-gradualism leaders who made it easy for the other leaders principally led by South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, who are only interested in Africa and Africans as markets rather than peoples, to gain their pyrrhic victory.

His reasons for becoming a latter day gradualist at the continental level while he had been a faster-faster unionist and ardent promoter of the political federation of East Africa was that regional integration needed to be consolidated because there was more likelihood of convergence on economic, social, political and even historical non state linkages that would make this possible. That was the mantra of all leaders in Accra. Many of them not known for caring much about their people’s wishes also became listening leaders in Accra, arguing that the bulk of the people have not been consulted. How one wishes that this love for consulting the people was genuine! How many of them bother to even consult their own cabinet, parliament or political parties before signing away the future of their countries to foreigners in the name of encouraging investment? Did any one of them subject their neo-liberal policies to the masses’ consent?


The main political gain in Accra for those of us who believe in immediate political union was that nobody, no head of state argued against political union. What they lacked was just the courage to agree to concrete steps towards it, instead they heed behind ‘step by step’ and the need to consolidate regional economic communities (RECs) which was a very seductive argument but used to subvert the African Unity agenda. For instance, if indeed post apartheid South Africa had been interested in regional integration in the SADC region instead of just expanded markets for South African goods and services that region could have been more integrated with full freedom of movement by now. Confronted with the prospects of African Union, President Mbeki suddenly discovered the virtue of regional integration!

President Museveni must be reflecting over his Accra opportunistic switch now that his pet dream of faster political integration and federation of East Africa has been deferred at the recent summit of the East African states.

How can you argue for gradualism at the continental level and not concede the same at the regional level and also at the national level? That is the ridiculous but logical conclusion of the gradualist argument on Pan Africanism. They will never be ready.

In the 1960s, they used to argue that the nations newly liberated from colonialism were too young, needed consolidation therefore, could not go for political union continentally. More than four decades for most of them not many of them have been united. If gradualism is the route we should all be one happy family in the various countries but are we? So now they have shifted the goal post to ‘let us unite the region first’. And even that they want to do gradually!

Even those of us who believe in immediate union have no illusions that it would happen over night, but if we agree that destination the way we approach it will be radically different. We will give the required political authority and financial resources to the AU to carry out clearly defined functions on our behalf and align our regional and national policies accordingly. The RECs route would have been more sensible if there are not many of them wrecking any prospects of unity. We declare them to be the building blocs of the Pan African Enterprise but for more than four decades we have remained at the foundation level!

Actually, we keep building new foundations. Hence our states belong to more than one regional economic groupings. If you have so many foundations, when are you going to finish the building?

There are practical reasons why the East African Federation timeliness needed to be changed given its recent enlargement with the ascension to full membership by Rwanda and Burundi but these are not enough to halt the match towards political union. The presidents must stop looking at these issues as either/or.

How can the EAC leaders expect to negotiate the European Union dictated Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAS) regionally or form custom unions when they all belong to more than one regional economic block? Tanzania which ironically is now the most reluctant regional integrator ( Nyerere must be turning in his grave because he even offered to delay Tanzania’s independence for the sake of greater East Africa!) is in SADC in addition to all of them being in EAC and COMESA. The same is true among West African States and in the SADC countries.

They are talking about aligning economies that they do not control. The Chinese, Asians and globalisation are already aligning us forcibly and you can see them across this continent. Our only leverage is to have the political will to act together instead of being picked one by one to the slaughter house! These African leaders have to stop treating African unity as an ala carte menu. They are either committed to it in total and take necessary steps including abandoning their narrow ‘big man in Africa’ complexes which they conveniently interpreter as ‘sovereignty issues’ or quit deceiving us with a unity agenda that in effect mean ‘NOT IN MY LIFE TIME.’

August 21, 2007

East Africa Region to Have Single Currency by 2012

Region to Have Single Currency by 2012

New Vision (Kampala)
20 August 2007
Posted to the web 21 August 2007

By Felix Osike
THE East African heads of state yesterday resolved to have a common market and a single currency by 2012, then move on to a political federation.

While noting the overwhelming support of East Africans for a political federation, the leaders decided to “move expeditiously towards establishing a common market and a monetary union by 2012.”

The common market would allow the free circulation of goods and movement of the people within the region. To ease this, one common passport will be used within the five countries.

The decision came after most Tanzanians rejected the proposal to fast-track the East Africa political federation whose ultimate objective was to have a federal president and parliament by 2013. Tanzania wants a gradual movement towards the federation.

After hours of a closed-door meeting at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha, the leaders called for more time for consultations to take place in Rwanda and Burundi.

A statement issued at the end of the meeting said the leaders, after considering the reports of the national consultative committees, “noted the need to mobilise and deepen sensitisation on political integration and stimulate greater political will to promote deeper economic integration.”

Presidents Yoweri Museveni, Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Amani Abeid Karume (Zanzibar) and Burundi’s second Vice-president Gabriel Ntisezerana attended the meeting.

The leaders of Rwanda and Burundi, who were attending the summit for the first time since their admission last month, were asked to speed up the process of integrating fully in the customs union which came into force on January 1, 2005.

The chairman of the Council of Ministers, Eriya Kategaya, said negotiations among partner states on the common market starts next month.

Museveni, who chaired the summit, added that although there was overwhelming support for the fast tracking process in Kenya and Uganda, there was less support from Tanzania mainly because of questions regarding land, employment, security and other natural resources.

“These questions are easy to answer and cannot form an obstacle at all,” Museveni observed.

According to the findings, most Tanzanians were afraid their country risked being infected with ethnicity problems and corruption that characterise politics in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. There is also the fear of loss of sovereignty.

Tanzanians also fear Kenyans will take advantage to migrate to Tanzania and take up legal rights there.

There was broad consensus from the five partner states that the East African Community should negotiate one economic partnership agreement with the European Union. However, Tanzania rejected a proposal backed by the four nations to allow other countries in it.

The summit also adjusted various administrative and financial systems geared at accommodating Rwanda and Burundi.

The membership of the Legislative Assembly will now increase to 55 members from the current 33.

In his address, Museveni urged the leaders to ensure that the process towards regional integration was not reversed. “All the options are leading to progress and not to stagnation that has characterised the last 50 years in Africa.”

He said even for the 13 original colonies to agree to form a nucleus of the United States of America was not easy.

“We are all now worshipping the USA instead of worshipping God. The Latin American Spanish colonies which after independence acted differently are now far behind the USA in all aspects of human endeavour.

“Europe which was the epitome of fragmentation, war, bigotry etc is also waking up,” he asserted.

“Some leaders are talking of United States of Africa. Do not under-estimate this view. Eventually, small countries of West Africa have found out, from the experience of the last 50 years of independence that without unity they cannot manage. It is a good movement; it needs to be harnessed carefully,” Museveni warned.

Museveni said Africa was the cradle of mankind and civilisation yet it in the last 500 years, “it has bled, been humiliated and lagged behind other continents.”

“Fifty years after independence, all African countries except South Africa, are still third world countries regardless of whether they have had a violent history or not,” he added.

He attributed this to the past leaders and the ancestors. “African leaders, past and present are responsible primarily for the misfortunes of Africa,” he commented.

He also remarked that after independence African leaders failed to “move strategically in order to immunise Africa or insure Africa against future re-colonisation, marginalisation or even extermination of her peoples.”

He paid tribute to the late Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere for his strong stance against balkanisation of African countries.

“Ever since my youth, I have been a supporter of the formation of the federation of East Africa. That is why I became a strong follower of Mwalimu Nyerere,” he remarked.

August 17, 2007

Africa: Infrastructures Are Priority For SADC Regional Integration

Infrastructures Are Priority For SADC Regional Integration

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
17 August 2007
Posted to the web 17 August 2007
Developing transport, communications, and energy infrastructures is a priority for economic regional integration of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

All heads of state and of government of the SADC member countries agreed on this at the opening session of the organization’s 27th summit in Lusaka on Thursday.

Regional integration is high in the agenda of the summit, along with the crisis in the neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawassa, who started his rotative mandate as the organization’s chairperson, taking over from Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, said that he is very much aware of the challenges and of his responsibility to the organization and to the entire region.

In his inauguration speech as the new SADC chairperson, Mwanawassa said that it is ‘with great sense of humility that I accept this honour and I assume the chairpersonship of SADC and I assume it in the name of the government of Zambia. I am aware of the huge challenges of leading the implementation of the common SADC agenda and the priorities set up in the Regional Indicative Strategic Plan’.

One of this plan’s priorities is to develop infrastructures, which is seen as a basic element for the regional integration.

The plan is focusing on the relief of poverty and equity distribution of wealth among the SADC member countries.

SADC executive secretary Tomas Salomao said that the summit, that is running under the theme ‘Development of Infrastructures in Support of Regional Integration’ stressed the importance of the meeting, supporting the words of the outgoing Mosisili, during a plenary, also attended by former Zambia Presidents Kanneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba.

In his speech, Mwanawassa urged all region leaders to work together to meet the commitments taken during the last summit, in Maseru, on flexibilising the regional integration, because ‘ only thus the organization will continue progress in the ways achieved since its creation, with all member countries mobilizing resources for a common end’, he said.

‘We must continue working together next year to improve our capacities , and use regional integration as a way to attain high levels and sustainable socio-economic and levels, which are key elements for the SADC region to increment its influence, both in the African continent and internationally’, said Mwanawassa.

He said that to attain this target, one must necessarily work together and mobilize resources and the capacity for all countries through the creation of a SADC Development Fund, agreed upon during the extraordinary summit in Midrand, in South Africa, in October 2006.

The fund is to cover the infrastructures development programme, that is part of the New Partnership for African Development Programme (NEPAD), and this will stimulate intra and inter-regional communications.

Zambia has already embarked on a number of projects to improve roads, aiming at the development of its communications network with other SADC member countries.

Speaking of the regional integration, Mwanawassa admitted that ‘all SADC members states are, one way or another, committed in trade negotiations at sub-regional, regional and multilateral levels that, most probably, will generate significant results in the future’, and for that end, ‘it is the task of the member states to ensure the instruments of trade agreements may contribute to the promotion of the interests of Africa’, he said.

Among the challenges SADC is facing at the moment are the consolidation of the Free Trade Area, which highly depends on modernization or innovation of production infrastructures, the continuation of some trade barriers between some of the member countries, due to their multiple participation in various programmes in SADC and other African regions’ integration programmes, and also the issue of food security, that affected Southern Africa lately, among others.

Mwanawassa called for the respect for the calendar for a full Free Trade liberalization.

He also called for the setting up of an organization of a full institutional mechanism to flexibilize the processes toward a Customs Union as some of the priorities of his country’s chairpersonship of the organization.

Africa: New SADC Chair to Prioritise Infrastructure

New SADC Chair to Prioritise Infrastructure

BuaNews (Tshwane)
16 August 2007
Posted to the web 16 August 2007

By David Masango
The new chairperson of the SADC, President of Zambia Levy Patrick Mwanawasa is to prioritise a number of focus areas during his term, including regional infrastructure development.

He takes over the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) from the Prime Minister of Lesotho Pakalitha Mosisili.

President Mwanawasa, will focus on among others, developing regional infrastructure, the SADC Fund and establishing a Free Trade Area (FTA).

“In order to achieve this goal [of infrastructure development in support of regional integration], road, rail air transport, telecommunications and energy development are going to be the main catalysts of our integration process,” he explained.

In his acceptance speech during the 27th SADC Ordinary Heads of State and Government Summit, which officially kicked off in Zambia Thursday, Mr Mwanawasa said he was aware of the enormous challenges of guiding the overall implementation of the SADC common agenda.

President Mwanawasa said the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan entails amongst others, strong infrastructure development.

He explained that SADC had registered “remarkable” successes since its inception because all member states mobilised their resources and cooperated closely to shape a common destiny.

“Together we must ensure that all SADC institutions fully exploit existing opportunities and explore new ones in order to promote and accelerate regional integration in a dynamic manner,” he emphasised.

Regarding the SADC Infrastructure Development Fund, Mr Mwanawasa explained that it drew its strength and support from the New Partnership for Africa’s Development initiative.

“We therefore have to focus on those infrastructure programmes and projects that facilitate quick and efficient linkages in our communication systems.

“This requires prioritising the development of the regional trunk road network, strategic air transport facilities and the most effective telecommunication network that will enhance intra-regional travel and communication,” he explained.

The consolidation of the FTA, he said remained elusive partly due to the inherent production structures, which he said had remained by and large unfavourable, and the continued existence of intra-regional trade barriers between member states.

This situation is compounded by the existence of a number of overlapping and sometimes conflicting regional integration programmes in the region and Africa at large.

He praised the work being done by the SADC Joint Ministerial Task Force of Ministers of Trade and Finance to come up with recommendations to move forward, in regional developments and relations with other regions.

He cited the negotiations with the European Union on Economic Partnership Agreements as an example of this.

He promised to work tirelessly with members and other partners, where necessary, during his tenure in office to ensure that SADC finds a solution to those challenges.

“In particular, my priorities will include ensuring the full operationalisation of a Free Trade Area in which SADC members fully implement commitments with respect to the tariff liberalisation schedules as well as addressing the elimination of non-tariff barriers,” he said.

The chairperson also acknowledged the improvement in peace and security in the region and congratulated Lesotho, Madagascar, Tanzania and Zambia for holding successful elections.

“These elections will further entrench the tenets of democracy and good governance in our region,” said Mr Mwanawasa.

Other challenges that the chairperson is faced during his term in office include food security, the environment and natural resources.

He called on member states to implement the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Food Security, which entails that governments allocate 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture and increasing the use of organic fertiliser, amongst others.

The chairperson pointed out that climate change was a threat to food security and development as it amongst others negatively affected food production; caused floods that damaged crop and infrastructure and caused droughts.

Mr Mwanawasa said the abundant natural resources and wildlife found in Africa, if fully exploited, could contribute considerably to the region’s socio-economic well-being.

He also pledged to fight HIV and AIDS, and to improve gender equality.

August 16, 2007

Africa To Sign ONLY Limited EPA … For Now

Continent to Sign EU Market-Access Pact First

East African (Nairobi)
14 August 2007
Posted to the web 14 August 2007

By Julius Barigaba
With barely five months to the expiry of the current trade arrangement between the European Union and Africa, Pacific and Caribbean countries, the East and Southern Africa region will sign only parts of the new trade pact, the Economic Partnership Agreement.

The current rules, contained in the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement, which was signed in 2000, gave preferential market access to the EU to 77 ACP countries.

The agreement, which governs trade and development co-operation between the two blocs, expires in December.

However, the ESA region has agreed to prioritise negotiations on market access and development to meet the December deadline.

The grouping will sign pacts on the two issues and push negotiations on the other EPA issues beyond December.

“We are prioritising market access in order to be WTO-compatible. If we sign on market access we will then maintain our preferential access to EU markets,” said Emma Mutahunga, a trade policy analyst in Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.

The EPA has six areas of concern that are being negotiated – market access, development, fisheries, trade in services, trade related issues and agriculture. Signing part of the EPA clusters is a strategy that the ESA group adopted at a regional negotiation forum in Port Louis, Mauritius, from August 3-5.

The strategy will enable the region to maintain its preferential access to the EU markets and, at the same time, remain compatible with World Trade Organisation rules, which require all countries to open up their markets.

This means that the next two forums of regional trade experts, as well as the ESA-EC ministerial meeting, will devote more discussion to market access, while the other pending clusters will be put on hold.

According to Mutahunga, once the region wraps up the deal for market access and development, it will then seek to negotiate the remaining clusters in 2008, since they do not impact on WTO rules.

At next ESA-EU meeting in September the region is expected to table its strategy to focus the talks on market access, but this could also be a tenable proposition for the EU.

Already, the EU has planned a proposal for duty-free quota-free market access for the ESA group, according to Peter Thompson, trade director at the EU Secretariat.

The EU wants countries in the region to respond to this proposal before the end of 2007.

“On market access for goods, the EU has an offer on the table. We have had indications from ESA on their approach, but have yet to see the details. It is something on which we must move forward quickly,” said Mr Thompson.

Uganda and 15 other countries from the ESA are negotiating the trade agreement with Europe and have two more regional meetings in which to wrap up the negotiations.

The negotiations started in 2004; they have to be concluded and the respective blocs have to sign the deal by December 31, or the ESA will lose European market access.

Mr Thompson says the African countries have had the offer since April, to be effective from the date of signing the agreement, with a transition period for sugar and rice, which ends in 2015 and 2010 respectively.

The African countries are expected to gradually open their markets for EU products with a phased removal of tariffs. Uganda currently exports products worth about $380 million to Europe annually.

But for the signing to take place, Africans say the EU must commit more development resources to the region to enable it to address production, infrastructure and marketing constraints. This is one of the issues that will dominate the remaining rounds of negotiations.

During the February ESA-EU ministerial meeting in Brussels, the conclusions on financing adjustment costs such as loss of revenue pointed to the need for the EU to provide 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) by 2010.

These funds are to be available before the EPAs are signed, the Brussels meeting noted.

August 8, 2007

A Call for Fewer African Trading Blocks

Fewer Trade Blocs, Please!

East African (Nairobi)
7 August 2007
Posted to the web 7 August 2007

By Oscar Kimanuka
Recently, Kigali hosted yet another conference, this time for Africa’s ministers in charge of integration under the auspices of the African Union Secretariat.

This added to the feeling in Africa today that something new and drastic has to be done, even if it means fast-tracking economic or other forms of integration, to make up for lost time and catch up with the rest of the world.

However the problem lies with Africa’s policy makers with their affinity for rhetoric and high sounding declarations. For instance, we have always talked of intra-African trade, but, how much of this trade do we carry out among ourselves? How can we have enhanced integration when we are reluctant to fix our institutions, dilapidated roads and other infrastructure?

The urgency of Africa’s integration was highlighted once by the former executive secretary for the UN Economic Commission for Africa, K.Y. Amoako, when he said that African regional integration must accelerate so that the continent can take on a globalising world.

ACCORDING TO the head of the European Union delegation in Rwanda, David McRae, Africa should borrow a leaf from the EU – it is meaningless for African countries to be members of several organisations.

RWANDA – NOT necessarily following this – has on its part chosen to consolidate its membership in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the East African Community.

Many regional groupings are marked by unco-ordinated initiatives, political conflicts and low levels of intra-regional trade. Indeed, a number of external and domestic factors that impeded our integration in the past have improved, giving grounds for cautious optimism.

The question remains: What sense does it make for a country to be a member of many regional economic organisations and hope to maximise benefits of regional integration?

I believe that in our quest for regional integration we should be modest and learn the hard lessons of our past experience.

Our quest for having a share in world commerce and trade should not be utopian but realistic.

Oscar Kimanuka is a commentator on social and economic issues based in Kigali.

August 3, 2007

I Europe Pushing African Countries Into Signing Trade Agreements

Europe Not Pushing Countries Into Signing Trade Agreements

Rwanda News Agency/Agence Rwandaise d’Information (Kigali)
1 August 2007
Posted to the web 1 August 2007
African countries are not being forced by the European Union to finalise a trade deal before the end of the 2007 deadline, Kenya’s top trade official said Wednesday.

“Europe has not pushed the December 31 2007 deadline on us. It is part of the Cotonou agreement that we all agreed to and signed”, David Nalo the Trade Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, said.

The Cotonou Agreement was signed in June 2000 between the European Union and the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP). It was signed in Cotonou (Benin) by 79 ACP countries and the then fifteen EU states.

The deal has allowed ACP countries non-reciprocal market access to EU member states at preferential tariffs since 2000, meaning ACP did not have to give EU products market access in return.

The European Union obtained a waiver from the World Trade Organisation until December 2007 for its deals with the ACP block, among them Rwanda.

This will change from January 1, 2008 because the EU now wants access for the goods and services offered by its member states to ACP countries.

Rwanda and fifteen other countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) are negotiating a reciprocal free trade agreement with the European Union (EU).

Mr. Nalo denied what he called the misinformation that Africa had been coerced to agree to the deadline for the new trade plan, known as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

“That is contained in the Cotonou agreement to which we contributed and put our signatures”, he told African journalists at a Reuters Foundation workshop in Nairobi.

EPAs are basically reciprocal free trade agreements that upon signing will open developing country markets to the products and services from the European Union block – which now has 27 members.

Mr. Nalo said the trade benefits to the East African Community states (EAC) will offset the revenue loss after the new trade deal is concluded. Rwanda and Burundi joined the EAC in June bringing the family to five states including Uganda Kenya and Tanzania.

Critics of the plan have continuously argued that African countries are ill-prepared and would face detrimental effects from the deals such as loss of much needed revenue.

July 24, 2007

Do New Trade Deals Mean Africa “Loses” while EU “Gains”??

New Trade Deals – Continent to Lose Out As EU Gains

East African (Nairobi)
24 July 2007
Posted to the web 24 July 2007

By Gichinga Ndirangu
As Africa’s leaders met in Accra, Ghana, last week to consider ways of consolidating continental unity through increased trade, pertinent questions were being raised over the impact that a new trade arrangement between the European Union and the 75-member ACP trading bloc will have on regional integration.

At least four regional trading blocs in Africa – Comesa, Ecowas, EAC and SADC – are working towards establishing Customs Unions to reduce their dependence on the EU market and take advantage of regional economies of scale.

But as the clock ticks towards the end of 2007, the deadline for concluding negotiations between the ACP and EU, uncertainty looms on what will happen if the deadline is not met and the impact that a deal will have on the trade fortunes of individual countries within the regional blocs.

A deal between the ACP and EU will usher in a new trade framework based on reciprocity that will require agreement on uniform tariffs on at least 80 per cent of goods traded. This will effectively end years of preferential access enjoyed by the ACP countries, under which their goods entered the EU market duty-free even as EU exports to ACP markets attracted tariffs.

The current negotiations have been necessitated by the imminent expiry of the waiver granted by the WTO, which allowed the EU-ACP preferential trade arrangement to continue until the end of 2007. This has been viewed as discriminating against non-ACP members and in violation of WTO trade rules; it is also implicit that the EU wants a share of the pie by increasing exports to the ACP markets on more favourable terms.

But the entry of EU goods on more favourable terms has raised concerns that more efficient EU firms and subsidised agricultural goods will out-compete local enterprises involved in value-added production and farmers, thus limiting the benefits of regional integration to individual countries.

THE EU believes that the economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations will strengthen regional integration through more predictable trade policies, but the limited time left to conclude negotiations and the serious capacity constraints facing many ACP countries have raised concern that they actually risk slowing down regional integration.

A major concern is the isolation of members of the same regional trading blocs forced to negotiate under different EPA configurations, which now creates the risk of members of one regional bloc committing to different tariffs and trade liberalisation measures from those agreed upon under regional blocs.

For instance, Tanzania, though a member of the East African Community, is negotiating under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) while Kenya and Uganda negotiate under the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) configuration.

Yet, even as EPA negotiations raise mounting concern over their potential impact on the African trade blocs, the reality is that integration efforts in most regions have been slow due to cumbersome border controls, inefficient Customs administrations and poor transport infrastructure, which have limited intra-regional trade to an average 10 per cent for individual countries.

BUT DESPITE these difficulties, regional trade for some countries, like Kenya, has grown. A total of 49 per cent of Kenya’s exports are now destined for other African countries, dominated by the Comesa region, while the EU takes up 25 per cent of the country’s exports.

However, the EU still remains an important market destination for many ACP countries as a result of limited intra-regional trade. For instance, whereas the EU absorbs 49 per cent of Ghana’s exports, the country exports an insignificant 2.6 per cent to neighbouring Benin – a situation replicated in many other African countries.

Even as the EU market remains a prime destination, it is ridden by uncertainties over constantly changing criteria of eligibility, especially from EU consumers and the private sector. Strict sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, pesticide traceability criteria and other health certification standards are among the most challenging non-tariff barriers to trade facing exports into the EU.

Under EPAs, the different regional configurations will be expected to liberalise at least 80 per cent of their trade over an average 12-year period, even though many African countries favour a time frame pegged on the achievement of specified development indicators rather than arbitrary timelines. This approach is intended to allow local enterprises prepare adequately for competition from EU firms.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has warned that the EU stands to benefit the most from a reciprocal trade arrangement with the ACP countries. In particular, the EU would benefit from improved access to regional markets, while African countries are likely to lose out on intra-regional trade.

FOR INSTANCE, intra-regional trade in the Comesa region is expected to decline by 5.8 per cent, which translates into a loss of $242 million. On its part, the EU stands to increase exports to Comesa to the tune of $1,152 million under a new trade arrangement based on reciprocity.

The situation is replicated in West Africa, where the ECA estimates that Ecowas countries could lose trade worth $365 million to EU competitors, who are expected to increase their exports by an estimated $1.87 billion into this regional market.

These trends emphasise the relative efficiency of EU firms over local enterprises, which will result in increased presence of EU products in their markets, hence eating into the share of individual country exports within these markets.

Indeed, with an anticipated elimination of existing tariffs on at least 80 per cent of the ACP’s trade with the EU, it is estimated that regional trade in ACP countries will decline by about 22 per cent, which will translate into a loss of jobs and investment in different regions.

Rwanda is, for instance, expected to increase its imports from the EU from the current 27.4 per cent to 32.2 per cent, even though a large number of these imports could be sourced locally and hence help augment trade in industrial goods. The ECA warns that, “This threatens to weaken regional integration efforts as Comesa countries could significantly lose out to the benefit of the EU countries, especially Belgium, France, Germany and Netherlands.”

KENYA’S DEVELOPMENT strategy, which is increasingly shifting emphasis to regional markets, is also expected to experience the effects of the EU’s foray into key regional markets like Comesa, which accounted for an estimated 67 per cent of the country’s manufactured exports (excluding agro-processed products) in 2003 compared with 9 per cent to the EU market.

Currently, Kenya’s trade with Comesa stands at nearly Ksh80 billion ($1.2 billion), an increase of Ksh19.3 billion ($288 million) over the 2005 earnings totaling Ksh60.7 billion ($906 million). This has made the region Kenya’s most significant trading partner.

However, as the main destination for Kenya’s agricultural exports, the EU remains a significant market, accounting for 25 per cent of total exports, while Africa takes up 49 per cent. A full 37 per cent of Kenya’s total exports to Africa go to the Comesa region.

THE KENYA Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) estimates that Kenya stands to lose 15 per cent of its regional trade under an EPA. It adds that Kenya will lose out to the EU, especially in exports of manufactured products to the EAC and Comesa.

“This will undermine the country’s trade in value-added goods and increase dependence on primary exports, narrow the range of products that Kenya currently trades in as well as the diversity of its trading partners,” observes Kippra.

Given the fears that a broad liberalisation of trade with the EU could adversely impact on intra-regional trade, negotiators must try for a less ambitious liberalisation, excluding higher-value products traded among individual African countries, even as the EU seeks a more ambitious regime encompassing broad tariff reduction.

Gichinga Ndirangu is a lawyer and trade policy analyst based in Nairobi

July 20, 2007

A “REAL” Vision for African Development!

A “REAL” Vision for African Development!

A proposal by Craig Eisele and the Trans-African Development Company.

First and foremost I must say that “most” of the “Aid” to Africa is needed and serves a good purpose. HOWEVER… I believe, that the most important “aid” to African Development is not being given in the manner in which it is most needed.

Given the Statement released at the Last AU Meeting in Accra this month (July) and the focus on Regional Integration and the Ultimate Goal of African Integration and Unity I feel that this proposal, I put forth today, is in keeping with these stated Goals and Ideals. I hope the leaders and governments of those Countries read this and believe in it half as much as I do and commit to making this “Vision” a reality… for the future of Africa is at stake.

It is no secret that the “Keys to Investment” (as well as economic prosperity) are Power, Communications and Transportation. No society can develop without these three key components… and the lack of these components also hinders (actually cripples) the ability to have an effective (let alone vibrant) “manufacturing” sector of the economy. Manufacturing brings most jobs to the most people. Without these Components poverty, and despair become the norm. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Africa today… yet that can change dramatically and substantially within 10 years IF we can do what I propose.

So what can be done for Africa that is “really” in Africa’s Best interest… and even in the best interest of the world at large. If you believe my introductory statements above, then I will hope you agree that what Africa needs, more than anything, is a MAJOR COMPREHENSIVE Development of its Infrastructure. A form of Governmental/Private development needs to be initiated. A Developmental Project that will NOT create any Debt to any Country. A project that will have a portion of it as private (but publicly traded components) as well as a segment or portion under “Governmental Ownership and Control” …. specifically, the Highway Portion of the project.

I envision this Comprehensive Infrastructure Development Project as follows:

It is through the building of a “Highway” and “rehabilitation” of the major trade roads in conjunction with the establishment of a “uniform” railroad; Development of the Power Generation and Transmission sector and the Ability to Communicate with the outside markets and the world for Technology, education, ideas and innovation that matters the most. If this is done, then I believe, that not only will the economic benefits proliferate throughout the ENTIRE Continent of Africa, but that the overall health education and welfare of the vast Majority of Africans can be established quickly and effectively.

The world has tried to “fix” or otherwise address problems throughout Africa without the basic means of delivering their “aid” to Africans. Kofie Annan, in his recent quest for better Agricultural production, has indicated in a footnote that transportation is necessary for the Agricultural Sector to flourish. It is evident that Africa can not only grow sufficient food for every person in Africa and have more than enough for a productive export market for basic food products, but there is no effective way to get that food to markets before it decays throughout its own Country or to even a neighboring Country …. let alone the rest of the Continent or the world.

OK… sorry I am impassioned on this subject and sometimes I get carried away in what I want to say… so here is MY Vision for the Future of Africa that I firmly believe will not only be able to create a 100 plus million strong “Middle Class” of Consumers within Africa, but will exceed the Millennium Development Goals that CANNOT be met without the program that I will articulate below. ANY person who believes that the MDG’s can be met without this and believes Africa can be self-sufficient within 20 years without this project is at the least incredibly nieve’ or worse delusional.

Africa today is in a unique position of building infrastructure from the ground up using 21st century technology that can be effective for the next 50 years with minimal maintenance and upkeep before major upgrades will be required… by that time the “tax base” and revenues generated by the individual countries will be sufficient to upgrade that Infrastructure the same as all industrialized countries currently can do today and without international “aid”.

My Vision on How to best accomplish the MDG’s (and so much more) and actually give Africa an opportunity to be something more than a depository for international aid, is listed below in three phases that are to be implemented simultaneously:

  1. Phase 1: Obtain a right of way one kilometer wide from each Country that the first segment of a “highway” will go through. This is envisioned as a Trans Continental Highway similar to the ones that Most Industrialized nations have and close to the US Model of Interstate Highway System. However the FIRST segment must be constructed to prove its worth.

I have already received expressed interest from 3 of the first nine countries that this first segment will go through.

ALL of this Construction MUST be done by a Private Company with focus on costs and efficiency and completion and MUST be done at NO COST to any country. The Highway Component of this Infrastructure along this “right of way”, will be transferred to COMPLETE Ownership by the AU (African Union) and the individual Countries for the revenue generated to be used for routine Maintenance, security and general governing purposes.

It is hoped that each country will take advantage of this “highway” to create planned communities, cities and Industrial parks along this path. Planning for Potable water, Electricity and sewage and trash and looking for synergies between industries and natural resources along the way is imperative to maximize economic benefit and the quality of life for the citizens. I suggest a 50-kilometer “zone”or buffer on either side of this project for the planning to be professionally engineered and developed for maximum effectiveness.

I would like to see a fleet of NEW Trucks and tractor-trailers built by someone like Peterbuilt ON THE CONTINENT of Africa. Given that Peterbuilt has a factory that produces 5000 trucks a year in a single factory today in the USA, it is obviously more cost effective to build a NEW plant in Africa for the Construction of these trucks… AND, I would be willing to not only help them build such a plant but to BUY the first 5,000 trucks for exclusive use on this highway. The Domestic Market in Africa and the export potential is worth this type of investment IF we build such a “highway”. Just look at South Africa now who is building cars for export to Europe!

Simply the creation of such a Highway by itself gives access to huge economic benefits that those countries involved are not able to see without this “highway”.

Now the scary news for some… the cost for this 4-lane highway is estimated at 45 to 50 Billion dollars (35 to 40 Billion Euros). Given the 60 billion to be spent on Aids in Africa the next 5 years by the US Government… I DO NOT expect the US Government to pay the entire cost for this highway… but I do expect them to substantially contribute to this highway. And yes, I do expect them to mandate that a certain amount of this money be spent with US Companies as I expect any other country “donating” to this project will also expect benefit from their “donation”. But, the majority of labor MUST be African and local subcontractors within Africa MUST be incorporated into this project to maximize the benefit within Africa and create an economic benefit far greater than the highway itself in the short run. Further… wages must be at least 2 times the current local wages.

I consider this “Highway” a bargain at twice the price. But again the key is to let a “PRIVATE” company under the auspicious of a “Not-for-profit” subsidiary to build it to keep cost LOW and assure that the monies spent are mostly on the “Highway” and then transfer ownership as indicated above. Using the Non Profit Company forces greater transparency in the process and assures a corruption free development.

I consider this HIGHWAY a moral imperative for aid by countries claiming they want to help Africa. This Highway however should be incorporated into “Phase 2” of this project as listed next… making the total cost over 7 to 10 years close to 100 Billion Dollars or 75 Billion Euros. But Combined, the benefits as indicated by David Wheeler would be many times that amount on a regular and recurring basis… and that was a study just on Trade… if you factor in the self-imposed mandate I am offering that 80 percent of labor and available raw materials be purchased in Africa… the economic benefit on a local level is staggering. I also proposed to make pay for workers 2 to 3 times the current wages being paid locally for the greatest benefit to the local economy.

  1. Phase 2: Joining ALL the Sub Sahara Countries. I mentioned a study by David Wheeler earlier. In this study (which I consider extremely enlightening and beneficial) he and his group, in a study done for the World Bank, were very specific in identifying the existing roads, the quality of these roads, the trade that exists on those roads, and the economic benefit that repairing these roads would bring based upon Trade alone.

Phase 3: Components to be added along the “right-of way”. The right of way does not mean that these components can link into any country or their infrastructure… only that the Skeletal Structure of this build can be available and ultimately subject to “Interconnect Agreements” with each country. It is obvious that those agreements will need to be worked out on an individual basis and that those will involve complicated negotiations… but the idea that these “Components” of the Infrastructure are available ultimately makes the interconnects a matter of reality for all parties. The Components I am hoping to build along this “right-of-way” are as follows:

      • Power: I would not want to establish a sewing factory in most places in Africa because of the unreliability of Power. Power is one of the 3 key components to attract investment and to develop a healthy economy. While Eskom (South Africa Power Company) has make strides in building out, to the northern neighboring countries, Electric Transmission lines, it is no where near sufficient to satisfy the needs of those other countries.
      • It is my hope that we can attract a Company like GE to build a factory IN AFRICA that will produce Wind Power generators for deployment along the “ right of way”. I envision the installation of Four thousand (4,000) 3.6 Megawatt wind turbines to run alongside of this “right of way”. As the highway will be newly build the transport of the blades and the Generators themselves, for these turbines will be possible. Given the world wide demand and the 2 year wait because if existing manufacturing facility constraints I feel this facility would be a great idea and whoever builds such a facility will “lock-up” the market in Africa for these wind turbines.
      • What is the COST of this electric Transmission line and 4,000 Wind Turbines and a few Gas Turbine Generators for specialty manufacturing such as smelting or processing of Ores from Mining or processing wood from Lumbering operations… about 25 billion dollars… and how do I expect it to be paid for… simply, it will ultimately be paid for by a sale of Equities in a Public Company that will be traded on at least 6 International stock exchanges around the world.

      Railroad: What is the sense of having an abundance of natural resources that can create jobs not just in the mining of such resources but in the processing of ores and ultimately the production of finished goods throughout Africa…. but that is the case now in Africa. Highways alone cannot handle all the requirements of economic development… a railroad is necessary to move huge quantities of goods to ports and markets around Africa and the globe and currently there is no standard rail system in place to do that… but that can change by use of a double track rail system capable of carrying rail cars set to various widths (gauges) but with the main gauge of standard gauge and a secondary gauge in many areas of “cape gauge”.

The initial Cost of a MODERN Rail System with RF readers and GPS (which can also be utilized on the “highway” for truck locations etc.) with a Modern State of the Art “Central Operations Center” electronically controlling all operations of the system I have been able to estimate at 35 to 40 billion dollars… again as with the Power Project Component, I plan on this to be financed by Equity issuance in a Publicly listed Company on international stock exchanges.

Fiber Optic Cable: So much as has been done to bring Fiber to the coast of Africa that it is like saying that only the coastal areas of Africa are worthwhile… I propose a Fiber Optic Program through the interior of Africa with FREE access to the WWW for Schools established along the corridor that this project will go through… the estimated cost (high actually) for 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of Fiber Optic Cable is under 500 million dollars. And Yes, I have a plan for that financing as well but it is NOT via Public Offerings.

Pipelines: As with the section I wrote on Railroad there is extensive wealth of Oil and Gas that is locked within the Continent of Africa… not easily accessible without the “highway” and even if it was accessible the transport is next to impossible without this being a major component of the right of way I am proposing. This pipeline should be used for “Crude” as well as “Refined” as the “Power” Component listed above will make it realistic and economical for Oil Companies to develop their field, refine a portion of their products IN AFRICA and sell those products in Africa as well as export to the world. Remember that Major Oil Companies have already said that existing Oil Production is not sufficient for the demand expected in 2030… so 200 a dollar a barrel prices are realistic generation will allow for refineries within Africa. This is also a case for the development of the Wind Power generation listed above as the revenue from Oil will be more important and better used from sale then for domestic consumption… a fact most industrialized nations are facing now and are rushing to use renewable energy to sustain their economies in the future. Cost: I have no Idea…. nor do I care… as the price of Oil and Gas makes this component economically feasible and a necessity for Oil and Gas Companies. So simply… they will have to pay for this.

But I also want to add the most precious commodity… a Water pipeline… this commodity is required by every country… and its availability… or unavailability is of extreme importance to every country on the continent. As Natural and renewable energy becomes the norm and oil and gas is in short supply the need for water will only continue to grow around the globe. Currently it is not economical to ship water around the globe… but agriculture and populations within Africa will need this in ever greater numbers and quantities… so the addition of this component is looking forward to the basic future of the Continent of Africa.



Well this is my Vision for Africa. One that I see creating 75 million jobs on the continent within 20 years. One that will bring development, the creation of wealth The Industrialization of Agriculture and reduction of hunger, one that will bring new opportunities in improving the human condition in Africa in areas such as education, health and the reduction of poverty to levels comparable to industrialized nations… but honestly it requires a commitment by the industrialized nations to actually want to improve Africa for the people of Africa… it requires a commitment of 100 billion dollars over the next 7 to 10 year to build the Phase 1 and 2 components of this project… to build the road structure necessary for the delivery of goods and services necessary for an economy that can be vibrant and not a welfare state … A Commitment that will allow Africa to grow itself into an Industrialized Continent capable of taking care of itself. Where the aid that may still be necessary in Medical and Education can be delivered to those that need it and done so in an expeditions fashion and minimal delays… A Continent that can feed itself, getting food to the people who need it will take days, and not months…. But again the Industrialized nations around the world MUST DONATE this to the Continent so as not to saddle the continent with excessive debt and where dribbling of aid that currently takes place is supplanted but a surge in aid with the objective of significantly reducing that aid as Africa grows and prospers from this project.


I have more than this… but I feel this is sufficient… the “Highway” will need to be expanded to run through at least 43 countries. While the rehabilitation will be a temporary substitute for that, it will be necessary to grow such a “highway” of 4 lanes or more of high speed from the benefits that the first 2 phases of this project I am proposing will be able to generate.

While this is my “Vision” for Africa… it is also a Moral Imperative that this take place for the benefit salvation of 800 million Africans.

This article is not a “puff” piece article… it is my drive in life to make this a reality… and so far I am extremely encouraged by the response I have gotten. Yes. There are the Naysayers. Those that say Africa will never develop. Those people and organizations that only see Africa as a giant war zone… Those that have no real comprehension of the real Africa, its people or its potential…. And those that say the project is simply too big to be accomplished… and yet I say to them “Pashaw!” ok… maybe that is too nice… but it is a nice way of saying that this project CAN AND MUST be done… and I expect to work on this for the rest of my natural life to assure that it is done and done right…. That being NO DEBT to already impoverished Countries!!!

If you have read this and are in a position to help make this a reality then I encourage you to write to me at the address listed on “About Craig Eisele” section of this blog. If you are not able to help and support this idea or concept… then please leave a message to let others know that this project has broad support.

I am willing to meet and discuss this with ANY Governmental or NGO group or organization that truly wants to help Africa and wants to see them flourish. Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime… I will always try to be available to make this project succeed… heck I have even established a methodology to that 92.5 percent of ALL funds donated to this project are used for the Construction with complete transparency to the world… not how is that for a capitalist….

July 13, 2007

EU Bullying SADC over EPA’s??

EU Official ‘Creating Rift’

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)
13 July 2007
Posted to the web 13 July 2007

By David Cronin
A top European Union official has been seeking to create divisions between South Africa and its neighbours in talks aimed at establishing a free trade deal, African diplomats have alleged.

Karl Friedrich Falkenberg, the deputy-director general for trade at the European Commission, is said to have recommended that measures against firms from South Africa should be contemplated by governments from its bordering countries.

The recommendation was made in June during talks in Walvis Bay, Namibia between the EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

During these negotiations, some SADC governments voiced concerns that their exports to South Africa are likely to be adversely affected if an EU strategy for opening the South African market to greater imports from Europe succeeds.

The EU is hoping to sign a free trade deal known as an Economic Partnership Agreement with eight SADC countries — Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and South Africa — by the end of this year.

EU officials hope that the EPA will lead to European firms having greater access to South Africa than they have under the free trade agreement concluded between the EU and South Africa in 1999. The EU side has gone so far as to advocate that tariffs levied by South Africa on a wide range of goods should be removed.

An African diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Falkenberg’s suggestion that neighbouring countries should place barriers on South African firms as “shocking”, as it runs counter to the European Commission’s stated desire of using the EPA to foster closer economic and political ties among the countries of southern Africa.

“One of the oft-stated assertions of Mr Falkenberg and other prominent Commission officials is that these negotiations are meant to support a regional integration process,” the diplomat added. “This advice by Mr Falkenberg goes against what he has been saying.”

The diplomat was also scathing about threats made by the EU executive to impose heavy tariffs on imports from southern Africa if their governments do not sign an EPA by Dec. 31. African goods entering the Union’s market currently benefit from a preferential regime, which has been granted a waiver from World Trade Organisation rules. That waiver is due to expire Jan. 1 2008.

“I don’t think people in southern Africa appreciate being bullied,” the diplomat said. “We’ve had all of that rubbish for far too long.”

IPS contacted Falkenberg, giving him an opportunity to reply to the diplomat’s allegations. But his office said that he is away from Brussels and could not be contacted.

Peter Power, the Commission’s spokesman on trade, denied that Commission officials have been pursuing tactics that conflict with their public statements in favour of African integration.

“This is a load of nonsense,” Power told IPS. “We are entirely committed to integration. This is the bedrock of our approach. Regional integration and local integration underpin all dimensions of the EPAs.”

Paul Goodison from the European Research Office, which monitors trade relations between the EU and Africa, said: “The main market the European Union wants access to is the South African market. The other markets are insignificant, as far as the EU is concerned.”

Goodison said that the EU’s strategy of focusing on targeted markets could have “profound implications” for South Africa.

In a paper published in April, the Commission said it would be even tougher than it has been to date in insisting that barriers faced by European firms wishing to operate in lucrative markets should be removed.

In particular, the Commission pledged to make greater use of international dispute settlements, pointing out that this approach had already paid dividends in recent years. The EU executive had succeeded in challenging a value added tax system in Colombia designed to protect local car manufacturers against imports and a Mexican law on diesel emissions that would have prevented European cars being sold in Mexico.

Goodison added that fears are being expressed in South Africa that the EU may mount a challenge to business schemes designed to help entrepreneurs from the black majority, by arguing that they discriminate against European firms. A South African trade official agreed that the Commission is seeking to drive a wedge between his country and its neighbours.

“The reason is simple,” the official said. “With the ACP [African, Caribbean and Pacific] countries, the EU is mostly talking to developing countries. South Africa is a developing country but in some areas is not a developing country. If you go into the rural areas, you will see the needs of a developing country. But the big cities are like London or Geneva or New York.”

Wallie Roux, a Namibian trade analyst recently suspended from the beef exporting firm Meatco for criticising the EU’s tactics in the EPA talks, argued that the Commission is wrong to insist that an agreement should be wider in scope than trade in goods. The Commission has been adamant that EPAs must cover such matters as foreign investment, government procurement and competition, even though poor countries had successfully lobbied for the removal of these items from the Doha trade talks, a separate round of negotiations held under the aegis of the WTO.

Southern African countries are not sufficiently prepared to sign a comprehensive EPA by the 31 December deadline, Roux contended.

“It’s a Catch 22 situation,” he told IPS. “The countries in Southern Africa only want to concentrate on trade in goods, because that’s what are covered by the WTO waiver. The EU, on the other hand, is still keeping the ‘new generation’ issues on the table. If the EU doesn’t soften its stance, there will be no agreement by the end of this year.”

July 12, 2007

Do Rich Nations Hold Key to Africa’s Success??

Continent Leaders, Rich Nations Hold Key to Africa’s Success

New Vision (Kampala)
11 July 2007
Posted to the web 12 July 2007

By Dr. Tajudeen
SATURDAY July 7, 2007 marked the halfway point in a journey whose destination and time of arrival was set by 189 heads of state and governments from most countries of the world, including all the 53 member states of the African Union (AU).

It also included the only African country that is not a member of the AU, Morocco.

It was a large bus of hope that the leaders invited the peoples of the world but especially the poor, the marginalised, the sick, the weakest to join with promises that come 2015, the bus will deliver them to a better life and give them more concrete reasons to have faith in leaders, states and society.

The Millennium declaration was transformed into concrete, achievable, measurable; time- bound commitments known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A journey of 15 years should have reached its midway point by July. So are we halfway to all the targets set in the eight goals?

If we are on target there will be no cause for alarm even though the driver and even some of the passengers may demand more effort to save more time. There is no harm in arriving early as long as we arrive safely. If we are not in the midway town, questions have to be asked why. Did the vehicle have a puncture? Or even worse was it involved in a headon collision or did it crash? Is the driver ok? Or did any of the passengers fall off or felt seriously sick needing emergency attention?

If the bus is still on the road but travelling slowly, we have to ask what can be done to make the journey smoother and safer, to catch up for lost time. The MDGs bus is happily not involved in any serious accident. It is still running across different regions of the world but the road-blocks are more in some places than in others.

Even within the same region there are varying speeds because in some parts the drivers seem to dose off whereas in others they are on full alert.

It is in Africa that the bus has been facing many road-blocks. Some of these were deliberately constructed by armed robbers of development (such as inept political leadership, corrupt elite and insensitive government and docile population) while others were artificially created by uncooperative users of the road (such as rich countries that continue to rob poorer countries through unfair trade) while some of the obstacles could be the result of what in Hausa is termed ‘gudu ba gyara’ – reckless driving.

The general global picture from the UN General-Secretary’s MID-term Report shows that Africa is the only continent where the MDGs risk not being met. Unfortunately, Africa is the region that needs the MDGs and really more than the MDGs than any other region of the world. But the general picture hides the growing success stories that show that it is not all bad news.

There are countries that are doing quite well on a number of the goals even if they may not meet all of them. Across the continent in education, most of the countries have seen huge rises in enrolment in primary schools as a result of debt relief and new prioritisation of the education of our children by many governments. Uganda, for instance, has raised the gear from universal primary education to the secondary level; Kenya is considering the same. Malawi has proven that where there is a will there is a way and even Africa’s sleeping giant, Nigeria has reintroduced compulsory universal basic education.

On maternal death in childbirth, infant mortality and education, Mozambique(returning to peace just in a decade) and Rwanda (that ended genocide only 12 years ago) are making steady progress. Uganda’s pioneering leadership in HIV/Aids awareness, advocacy, prevention and treatment are catching on in many countries that are actually beginning to do better than Uganda.

All this is good news and shows that it can be done and more can be achieved. South Africa is the only African country to have made a promise to achieve the MDGs not in 2015 but by 2014. Given the enormous resources of the country, it cannot be a congratulatory effort but it will be welcome.

Resource-rich African countries and those with big economies like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Angola, DRC, Egypt, Libya, should really be judged by the MDGs because they and should do much better than that. Even the poorer countries like Ethiopia can do better if they set their priority right. If Ethiopia has resources to occupy another country it can certainly do better at home.

The main internal and external obstacles to not achieving the MDGs remain the political will of our leaders and the insincerity of the political leaders of the rich world. The covenant on the MDGs was a very simple one.

If poor countries deliver on goal 1-7, i.e. hunger, poverty, health , education, governance and rights issues and livelihood the richer countries will also deliver on Goal No 8: improved quality and quantity of aid, debt relief and reform of the unjust global trading system that penalises the poor. We need to hold our governments accountable for our side of the bargain.

But even as we are succeeding in that respect, our gains will not translate into sustainable development and social progress if the West and other rich countries of the world do not deliver on their own promise.

Mutual accountability of the political leaders of the world to their citizens (who are the passengers on the bus) is what will grease the rusty bits, service the engine and refuel the MDGs bus at mid-term so that it can coast home successfully by 2015.

July 11, 2007

West African Private Sector Influence on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) or Lack Thereof

West African Private Sector And Epas (11)

This Day (Lagos)
10 July 2007
Posted to the web 11 July 2007

By Ken Ukaoha
Before we lambast the regional and national governments on the negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreements (ACPs), there is need for a constructive balance.

First, do the private sector in West Africa realise they are relevant in the EPA discourse? If they do realise, what efforts have they put in place and what have they done to either confront the issues, protect themselves or help provide succour to the environment under which they are operating (even if they are doing this at the level of their commitment or as part of their corporate social responsibility)?

If the private sector has not been able to meet and to review issues and the dynamics of the negotiations since about five years of the EPA dialogue, who went to sleep and who is to be blamed if an awful agreement eventually becomes the outcome? If it is the responsibility of the government to wake the private sector and such governments become negligent, is this a guarantee for the private sector to go to sleep?

Do we have any local or national private sector in West Africa who can boast of conducting impact assessment of EPA on her sectors and providing such information to her government as a guide in the negotiations?

Has any of the private sector deemed it important to convene a meeting of like minds at national or even local levels to appraise the possible effects of EPA on her operators? Were they waiting for resources from their governments or the EU to do these?

This is indeed a shame even as our governments are going cap in hands to the Europen Union (EU) for funds to conduct their own impact assessments studies. Where are the manufacturers? Where are the traders? Where are the Chambers of Commerce and Industries? Where are the farmers organisations? Where are the professional associations in various fields of services?

This reminds one of the West African Traders Association, the West African Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of West African Manufacturers Associations; where have these bodies gone to? Are these bodies only on paper? How active are they to their responsibility and obligation as pressure groups to influencing government policies such as the EPA?

Or are they waiting for the government to wake them up? They must carry their crosses too. Our governments are too busy especially at this period with no time left for frivolity.

Credit must however be accorded ROPPA for giving the region’s farmers a semblance of representation in the EPA process through the provision of briefs and informative materials relating to the agricultural sector.

To appreciate the depth of apathy on the part of the West African private sector, there is need to reflect on the fact that ECOWAS was established precisely on the 28 th of May 1975 and therefore more than 32 years ago therefore, the pursuit of economic integration in West Africa kick-started.

Sadly, till this day, despite the provisions of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), the private sector (particularly the traders and manufacturers) still confront trade impediments at various borders across the region.

The protocols on free movement of goods and services daily face the challenge of corrupt public servants and nothing seems to come from the private sector to challenge or pressure for change in this direction.

Back to the EPAs, there seem to be more fundamental questions that need to be asked by the private sector. These questions include: (i) What does the EPA have in stock for the private sector as potential gains? The answer to the question goes a long way to determine why the private sector must support or fight against EPAs.

This is essential especially in view of the revelation of serious potential effects of the EPA in terms of capital flight which ultimately affects not only the government but also the private sector’s capacity to reinvest for expansion of profits.

Has the EPA negotiators from both sides considered the effects of competition and consequential loss of market to the EU private sector who already possess an intimidating financial muscle, robust infrastructure, technology, research, and subsidy?

Is the EPA cognisant of the fact that the West African famished manufacturer for instance virtually sources her own energy to power her generators, digs her own borehole for water procurement, and sometimes constructs and repairs her own road outlets to the market aside from the heavy tax duty to be paid?

What plans or strategic interventions do the EPA negotiators have in place in practical terms for the local private sector to withstand the ensuing competition after the implementation of the EPAs?

If there are resources created to abridge the foreseen negative fallouts of the EPA, are these funds going to the governments directly? What portion should be made available directly to the private sector and what is their role or take in the management of such resources?

On the other side, are there going to be provisions for infrastructure improvement via the EPAs? What dimension is that going to assume so as to impact on the region’s supply side capacity? The planned UNIDO project for infrastructure in West Africa under the EPA could be a welcome development if well managed alongside the input of the private sector.

In the final analysis, we have heard of project facilities like that of ProInvest, TradeCom, CDE, and even OIF (Francophonie) and the EDF.

The reservation is that whereas these have been existing prior to the possible EPA implementation, it is not clear however what impact they have been able to make in relation to infrastructure upgrading, capacity building, production enhancement, etc in the region.

In this case therefore, one could be a bit unsure of their linkages to the EPA and what they can offer given the bogus, stringent and sometimes ridiculous measures and bureaucracy set out for accessing development funds from them.

Perhaps it is time to begin to measure how many private sector enterprises that have assessed funds from them. If the number is encouraging, then there could be hope for their performance under the EPA regime, but their processes have to be simplified.

As the EPA negotiations approach conclusion, it is not too late for the private sector to engage governments on with debates on concerns and issues like the speed at which trading of goods and services should be liberalised, issue of upgrading the production facilities.

We also have the issues of improving supply capacities and making local products meet international standards, access to market problem and necessary conditions for the development of West African exports, financing of the private sector, the involvement of the sector in the trade negotiations, protection of products made in the region as well as options for Private-Public partnership in the EPA process.

Essentially therefore, it is important to egg the private sector into demanding answers to the many questions raised here, including whether the time-frame is enough for the possible conclusion of a development friendly agreement.

If these questions remain unanswered, then the West African private sector and indeed every other private sector within the ACP configuration should prepare to face a hot battle for existence.

If not, now is the right time to come together, voice out, act and to demand for changes and possible alternatives in the EPAs. Indeed, the West African private sector should learn from their civil society counterparts in the region.

– Ukaoha, National President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), wrote in from Abuja

July 9, 2007

Analysis of Options left for African Leaders in Formation of a “Unified” Government or African Union Government.

Union Govt – Options Left for African Leaders

This Day (Lagos)
9 July 2007
Posted to the web 9 July 2007

By Gboyega Akinsanmi
African Union (AU) leaders convened last week in Ghana to discuss modalities for establishing the United States of Africa, a regional government being designed to redefine the continent’s roles in the international community. But opinions and views differ on this agenda. While some leaders advocate for gradualism, others support immediate action. Gboyega Akinsanmi writes.

Just a fortnight ago, members of the European Union (EU) gathered in Brussels to deliberate on the union’s mandate, which analysts describe as a constitutive mechanism of regional governance. It was a moment of restating and defending national interests. Even when the agenda for better integration was tabled for crucial redefinition, each member state was conscious of not just what its nationals stand to gain if “a fuller continental governance framework is agreed upon, but what becomes its internal institutions, structures and values the moment EU Mandate is passed.” This has pushed countries like the United Kingdom (UK) to declare that it would not support of any mandate that contravenes her governance ideals. Turkey, for reasons not limited to defending its sovereign entity, did not endorse the mandate, but this did not stop the process.

In Asia too, member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are becoming wearied of regional economic communities (RECs), thus meeting at different summits and fora discussing how better continental government could be constituted. While the United States (US) too is left with the option of joining EU, African Union (AU) just concluded its 9th Ordinary Session where its 53 member states from Cairo to Cape re-examined the possibility of establishing the United States of Africa, an idea which and Ghana’s maiden President, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah first introduced more than fifty years ago. Unlike what gave rise to this idea in the day of Nkrumah, African leaders perceived the importance of coming together with a view to redefining the continent’s roles in the global community, where according to realists might and strength determine what a nation-state state stands to gain in the process of inter-state relations.

As Akin Oyebode, a professor of International Law, recently argued at a roundtable which Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), the regional government is becoming a new order in the world of 21st century not because of the expansionist drive that shaped the world from the nineteenth to twentieth centuries. He termed its rationale for the need for better cooperation and integration among nation-states aimed at ensuring sustainable peace and security. This gives credence to the emerging trend of regional governance, which some analysts argue it is essential for global development and peaceful co-existence. This development must have informed Martin Khor, an eminent Asian economist when sometimes in June, stated that “one can no longer doubt the fact that globalisation is shaping the world of 21st Century more rapidly than ever imagined.

From what experts have said, the benefits of regional governance are unlimited and uncountable. But African states are lame ducks, most of which depend on foreign aid and assistance in order to meet the public needs. At the summit, this seemed not to have rung bell in their minds as the AU Government agenda was reduced to academic debate. The agenda polarised the continent’s Heads of State. At last, there was no consensus on what seems to have set the pace another EU administration in Africa. According to most commentators, the union government has potential to set pace for the birth of regional good governance on the continent. However nationalists flawed this position, stating that regionalism “does not transform to sound democratic governance automatically. It is argued that some level of people-oriented governance, peaceful co-existence and sustainable development must first be achieved at the national level. These qualities, as donor agencies and foreign partners have observed in various reports and studies, are present in African states. Rather African countries are plagued with bad governance, corruption and large-scale corruption. This kind of environment, as evidences shown in all parts of the world, is not good enough for this model of governance, which could have been tagged the United States of Africa.

AU’s Antecedent

Like EU whose creation was traceable to the European Economic Community, AU has a long historical antecedent. The spirit of African cooperation and integration, some historians have opined, is as old as the origin of mankind on the continent. According to them, the continent was characterised with social harmony and peace prior to the advent of colonialism, the experience which further sealed off the cracks in the continent’s walls of brotherhood and united them as the same brothers and sisters in battle against the justice of the west. So, argued Oyebode, the integration of African states has been existing in mind and spirit before Nkrumah, the Father of African Union, proposed the idea just after Organisation of African Unity (OUA) was established almost fifty years ago.

He made two major proposals. First is the United States of Africa while second is African High Command. The former, he argued, “requires African independent states irrespective of their colour, language and race to come to together and form a common government strong enough to meet the meet their people who were just let loose from the manacle of colonial power.” But his first proposal was not supported among other African leaders because most states were ready to surrender their sovereign powers. The latter was meant to establish an African Armed Forces. As some experts said, this idea was borne out of the need to defend the territorial integrity of Africa. Nkrumah’s proposal of African High Command was informed by the continent’s decades of servitude under different colonial powers. But the fear of domination or what some scholars called internal colonialism, discouraged most African leaders like President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Sir Abubakr Tafawa Balewa to cast off his proposals in the waste bin of history.

The OUA existed for forty years with insignificant success and mixed reactions of poor performance. The institution could be likened to a monument of African independent, though as analysts observed, “this does not translate to desired governance, peaceful co-existence and sustainable development. Rather the history of African states is no better than the history of war, which has brought untold miseries to both extinct and existing generations of African people.” In this light, as the new institutionalists argued, it “will take decisive efforts of African leaders to set their loose from this jinx of decades.”

It was upon this impression that the leaders of Africa convened seven years ago to redefine the framework of intra-African relations. The idea of Nkrumah was invoked again to shape the continent that was then being consumed in the furnace of civil wars and armed conflicts. These form the challenges which development agencies and foreign partners would lead to the collapse of civil order in Africa. Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor stressed this while addressing the summit that the need to end the continent’s nightmares culminated in the establishment of AU. Unlike when Nkrumah proposed it decades ago, the continent’s tune of cooperation and integration has now taken a new dimension. In the last summit, almost all African leaders agreed that there “is a need for regional government if the continent must be relevant in the new world and compete reasonably, but the speed to evolve this kind of government polarised the leaders into either the axis of gradualism and that immediate action championed by South African President Thabo Mbeki and his Libyan counterpart President Muammar Ghaddafi respectively.

Inside the Summit

A lot of questions were raised on how to evolve the union government. When started, African leaders were united on how to manage conflicts in Darfur and Somalia. In harmony, they called for another United Nations (UN) resolution to end the years of violence and armed conflict, the ripple effects of which some of them believe would hinder the flow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the continent because of the spread of terrorist attacks and activities therein. Besides, there was emphasis on how to end the regime of poverty, health crisis, bad governance, human trafficking and massive unemployment, which still constitute the major challenges of Africa.

Reacting to what one could term “major threat to human survival,” Kufuor took the position of Nkrumah when he said “we must not fail the people of Africa and its future by unexamined decisions during this grand debate”. This was the notice he served to other Heads of States and Governments at the opening of the Session. “We are at the crossroad, and at the same time at the threshold of a new era, with great opportunities but also many challenges and responsibilities for Africa. Whatever position any of us will espouse in the debate should be guided by tolerance and critical analysis, even when we disagree with each others’ positions. Given our high sense of responsibility to the course, I am confident that this Summit will rise to the occasion and the challenges ahead,” Kufuor said.

He was hopeful that since it was agreed that this all important issue of union government should be debated upon within the various countries by their respective citizenry, it is hoped that whatever the African leaders would put forward as their view points would reflect the views of their people. With this guiding principle, the leader of modern Ghana said, everything else should be secondary. He stressed “gender, religion, ideology and country should all be subsumed under the welfare of the peoples of Africa who empower us as their leaders to meet at this Summit, emphasising, “only our peoples’ ownership of this debate will give this conference its legitimacy and sustainability”.

Kufuor hammered on the need for individual African countries to merge their resources for the common interest of the continent in order to stand the howling tide of globalisation, which requires might and strength to prove African relevance in the new global order. Using the effusive words of Nkrumah, Kufuor said in resounding echo that “Africa must unite.” This, according to him would seek to accelerate Africa’s development, had been slowed down by a litany of factors including slavery, colonialism, imperialism, diverse cultures, language, geographical barriers, racism and bad governance.

Given the complexities and practical difficulties in the path of attaining the proposed Union Government, Kufuor charged the various Africa leaders to make mutual trust and respect their topmost priorities. We must, he said, acknowledge the necessity for shared values in terms of respect for human rights, principles of good governance and the rule of law. These values Kufuor described as the requirement of an effective Union Government that should constitute the fabric of the Union’s budding institutions like the Pan-African Parliament, the Union Court of Justice and Human Rights among others. Concluding with the words of encouragement, he said: “We should be able to arrive at a common understanding of the sort of continental government we want for ourselves and how to develop a roadmap with timelines towards its realization. This is our cross”.

Summit of Storms

When the summit started, there seemed to be harmony among African leaders. But the trouble kicked when the agenda of Union Government was tabled, and the leaders were divided on its pace. Ghaddafi, who led the radicals, advocated for immediate action. He was aflame about the idea indicating that this is an idea, which has for some time been consuming him. He ceased the opportunity to drum up the need for unity for Africa to overcome its myriad problems. He did not waste time in setting the agenda, calling on the continent to unite under a single government to compete effectively in a globalised world. But while he was supported by Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade, President Umaru Yar’Adua and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki opposed on the ground that the plan for union government should be implemented without rush.

But Foreign Minister Sheikh Tidiane Gadio said Senegal was ready to put its name to a new government, stating that a breaking down of barriers could only benefit the continent. We can even bypass the discussions, according to him, Africans are ready, but the question is: are the African governments ready to catch up with their people. Like Ghaddafi, he subscribed to a common foreign and defence policy in Africa as well as an easing of trade barriers, which according to him, are clogs in the wheel of African development.

In the view of Mbeki, the troubles experienced by the AU since it was launched at a summit he hosted in Durban half a decade ago should be addressed by strengthening arms such as the current executive, the AU commission. At the last summit in Ethiopia in January, Mbeki told one delegate there was no point in building the roof over a house without cementing the foundations. Speaking from the perspective of Mbeki, African Union commission President, Professor Alpha Oumar Konare acknowledged at the opening of the three-day meeting that the current executive had to be improved and its remit was ill-defined.

But Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe did not support the above position as he joined the radicals to advocate for immediate actions. He said: “To tell you the truth, until and unless we put our act together, organise and start pulling our resources together, we will never ever prosper from any aid and assistance from any source outside Africa.”

What Options?

When the continent leaders could reach consensus, Ghaddafi called for referendum to determine what the masses support the idea or not. Even though referendum is conducted and majority of African people throw their weight at the constitution of Union Government, can a myriad of African crises and contradictions not bedevil it? Just as it is in Europe, both governance and security environments play key roles in building an effective regional government. Unlike the EU whose member states have good records of governance except in few countries that are just emerging from the ashes of armed conflict, Africa does not have enabling environment and basic infrastructures required to establish an effective continental government. This is what is required of African states to achieve before discussing a union government, which can only be facilitated by accountable governance, good standard of living, functional infrastructures and peaceful co-existence.

China to Build AU Annex Complex With U.S. $150 Million in Addis Ababa

China to Build AU Annex Complex With U.S. $150 Million in Addis

The Reporter (Addis Ababa)
7 July 2007
Posted to the web 9 July 2007
Addis Ababa
China will spend USD150 million to expand the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, the pan-African body said on Monday.

The new premises will stand on the site of the former central prison, which has already moved to Kaliti, 20 km. south of the city.

Site clearing for the annex, to be built opposite AU headquarters, started on Monday.

The Addis Ababa city administration gave the land to the AU in 2004, but the AU did not have the money to develop it.

The new construction will give the AU more office and meeting space, which are in great need, the AU said.

China has long provided aid to Africa for projects like roads, hospitals and ports, often with minimum conditions unlike those set by Western donors.

The Chinese government will also build residences for senior AU officials.

Kenya and China Sign Coffee Pact… Is Most of Kenyan Coffee Headed to China??

Country and China Sign Coffee Pact

The Nation (Nairobi)
10 July 2007
Posted to the web 9 July 2007

By Silas Nthiga
Most of the coffee produced in Kenya could soon be headed to the Chinese market following an agreement signed between the two countries.

The agreement between the Ministry of Cooperative Development and Marketing and the Chinese Federation of Cooperatives and Marketing Cooperatives will also see China provide the latest coffee processing machinery to Kenya.

A high-powered delegation of Kenyan officials left for Beijing, China, at the weekend to fine-tune the agreement and explore other avenues of trade between the two countries.

This will be a follow-up of a trip Chinese officials made to Kenya last month in which the coffee trade agreement was signed.

Major breakthrough

Speaking in Embu shortly before he left for China, Cooperative Development and Marketing minister Peter Ndwiga described the agreement a major breakthrough.

He said with a population of more than 1.5 billion people, China would be the highest single market for the locally produced coffee.

He, however, said the locally produced coffee was too little to sustain the Chinese market. “It is in this light that I wish to encourage all coffee farmers to increase production while observing quality in readiness for this expansive market.”

Kenyan coffee has traditionally been sold in the European market.

In many instances, the crop is sold to the European countries raw after which it is processed, branded and re-exported to the country.

Mr Ndwiga said in the new arrangements, locally produced coffee would be value-added before it is sold in the international market to fetch maximum returns.

Marketing chain

He said the Government was keen on reducing the number of middlemen in the coffee marketing chain for the benefit of the farmer.

The minister said the Kenyan delegation would also negotiate the sale of macadamia nuts to China.

The delegation will also discuss the possibilities of strengthening the local public transport sector.

The Kenyans will ask their Chinese counterparts to consider providing public transport vehicles to organised matatu cooperatives in Kenya at affordable prices as a way of boosting the sector.

“These are just but a few of the efforts the Government and, in particular, my ministry is making to ensure that the standards of living for Kenyans are improved,” he said.

Coalition Tells African Gov’ts NOT to Sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) with EU

Don’t Sign the EPAs – Coalition Tells African Gov’ts

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
9 July 2007
Posted to the web 9 July 2007

By Joseph Coomson

AS DECEMBER draws closer and intense pressure by the European Union (EU) is mounting on African governments to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), African youth have their leaders not to sign.

The EPA, which is a reciprocal free trade agreement that the EU is negotiating on bilateral basis with African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries would force African countries to open up their economies for highly competitive European services and operations when it comes into being.

A group called the African Youth Coalition Against EPAs in a press statement said ” African countries do not have the capacity to compete with EU goods and operations which would dominate African economies – thus leading to massive unemployment and loss of government’s revenue”.

Mr. Ofosuhene Kwabena Okine, Chief Executive Officer of Abibiman Foundation and an executive of the coalition stressed that African countries do not stand the chance of making any gains in the current negotiations.

This is because African governments are negotiating through regional blocs such as the ECOWAS, EAC and SADC.

“These poor and weak blocs are negotiating with the EU which has a membership of 25 with a combined GDP of about $13.300 billion,” he stated.

The press release further indicated that it was very evident that the EPAs would collapse African economies, hinder regional integration, aggravate regional segmentation and further worsen the poverty crisis bedeviling the continent.

Because of these problems, the collation is calling on African governments to ‘Stop the EPAs’ and focus on how to improve its regional integration and economies.

“As today marks the mid-point of achieving the MDGs, we entreat the government of Ghana and Africa for that matter to double its efforts to achieving the goals by 2015,” the statement said.

The coalition called for more advocacies, analysis and an increment in budgetary allocation to the health, gender, water and sanitation sectors of the economy.

On March 14, 2007, there was a consensus on Economic Partnership Agreements between EU and ACP Countries in Berlin, Germany after series of meetings.

The Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul stated in a concluding press conference with Hans-Joachim Keil, Associate Trade Minister of Samoa, that many questions had been successfully clarified during the dialogue: “There is a consensus and common understanding among EU and ACP member states that Economic Partnership Agreementss are to be an instrument for fighting poverty.”

Minister Hans-Joachim Keil added: “We have made a lot of progress today. With the meeting we had today, the will is there and the understanding is there. Everybody is cooperating now to make sure that negotiations are completed within the tight timeframe of 2007.”

The EPAs are going to provide a new basis for trade and economic relations between ACP countries and the EU.

EU And SADC Far Apart as Trade Talk Deadline Draws Closer.

Trade Talk Deadline Closer, But EU And SADC Far Apart

The Namibian (Windhoek)
9 July 2007
Posted to the web 9 July 2007

By Brigitte Weidlich

TRADE negotiations between Southern Africa and the European Union are progressing slowly and some sectors might not even be agreed on by the end of the year, when the signing of the trade agreement is to take place.

“We don’t want to be made to choose between access for our goods to the EU and regional integration in southern Africa,” Andrew Ndishishi, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

All world trade among states must be compatible with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The European Union however obtained a waiver from the WTO until December 2007 for its separate trade agreement it concluded several years ago with countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), among them Namibia.

Due to the looming deadline, the EU has to adjust its trade agreement with the ACP countries, called the Cotonou Agreement, to bring them in line with the WTO.

The Cotonou Agreement has allowed ACP countries non-reciprocal market access to EU member states at preferential tariffs since the year 2000, meaning ACP did not have to give EU products market access in return.

This will change from January 1, 2008 because the EU now wants access for the goods and services offered by their member states to ACP countries.

The prevailing fear is that the EU might swamp ACP with their goods.

Trade negotiations with African countries are multi-faceted since the different regional trade blocs like Ecowas for West Africa, Comesa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) require separate agreements.

Namibia is one of the 14 SADC member states, but also belongs to Sacu together with Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa, which are also SADC members at the same time.

Another facet to the proposed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) to be completed by December is that South Africa has concluded a separate Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) with the EU.

Although all EU-ACP trade partners knew about the looming deadline, proper discussions with southern African countries and the EU only started in earnest last month.

“The first official round of talks took place between 17 and 23 June with EU representatives at Walvis Bay,” Ndishishi told reporters last week.

“The other four members of Sacu now have to formulate tariff offers to the EU, which in reality means to reduce and eventually eliminate import tariffs for EU goods in order to match what South Africa already did under its separate TDCA with the EU,” Ndishishi outlined.

“Regional economic integration (at SADC level) would however be undermined if Sacu countries are to be differentiated and requested to offer different market access to EU countries,” Ndishishi added.

“With regard to Namibia’s fish exports, our Government aims to achieve an agreement that enhances market access to Europe, while not risking our marine resources.

Namibia is ready to liberalise tariffs for EU fish products to our country.”

The different categories to be negotiated are trade in goods, the rules of origin of goods, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards and regulations for fresh produce like table grapes and trade facilitation.

New sectors are ‘new generation trade’ and ‘trade in services.’ According to Calle Schlettwein, Finance Permanent Secretary, this includes the service industry, Internet Protocol (IP), which is a protocol for delivering data across networks and telecommunication.

“Trade in services includes public procurement and eventually EU companies would be able to tender in the SADC region to supply goods to Governments and state-owned enterprises ” Schlettwein said.

This would however have a negative impact on the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) procurement policy of Namibia currently being drafted.

“There is a possibility to negotiate the new generation trade issues at a later stage and first conclude EPAs on trade in goods regarding tariffs, rules of origin, sanitary issues and trade facilitation by December.”

Two more discussion rounds are planned between now and the end of the year.

May 2, 2007

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