Sommet de l’UA à Addis-Abeba : Problèmes brûlants, solutions diligentes

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Le président Keïta et ses pairs ont estimé que la question des déplacés, des réfugiés et des migrants méritent toute leur attention
Le président Keïta et ses pairs ont estimé que la question des déplacés, des réfugiés et des migrants méritent toute leur attention

Les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement africains présents dans la capitale éthiopienne, entendent s’inscrire dans une dynamique de prise en charge de certaines préoccupations pour éviter qu’elles ne deviennent un casse-tête humanitaire.

Le 32è sommet des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de l’Union africaine (UA), sur le thème : «Année des réfugiés, des rapatriés et des personnes déplacées : vers des solutions durables aux déplacements forcés en Afrique», s’est ouvert dimanche dans le Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall au siège de l’UA à Addis-Abeba (Ethiopie), en présence de plusieurs dirigeants, notamment, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (Mali), Paul Kagamé (Rwanda), président en exercice sortant qui a passé le témoin à son homologue Abdel Fattah Al Sisi (Egypte), Pr Alpha Condé (Guinée), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger), Alassane Dramane Ouattara (Côte d’Ivoire), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo), Oumar el-Béchir (Soudan), Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (Burkina Faso), Idriss Deby Itno (Tchad), Theodoro Obiang Nguema (Guinée Equatoriale), le Premier ministre éthiopien Ahmed Abiy, Andry Rajoelina (Madagascar), Felix Tshisekedi (RDC). Ce dernier participe pour la première fois au sommet de l’UA.

Le sommet a enregistré aussi la présence d’invités de marque comme le secrétaire général des Nations unies, Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, le président de l’Etat de Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, la présidente de l’Estonie, Kersti Kaljulaid, le patron de Microsoft, Bill Gates et le président de la Fifa Gianni Infantino.

Le présent rendez-vous de la capitale éthiopienne était l’occasion pour les dirigeants africains de trouver des solutions aux conflits armés qui engendrent des catastrophes humanitaires. Les chefs d’Etat se sont attachés aussi à renforcer la résilience des populations soumises à la pression des conflits, des tensions politiques et autres.

Autre sujet d’importance, les difficultés du continent, notamment en termes de sécurité et de stabilité des peuples africains qui paient parfois un lourd tribut aux catastrophes et aux conflits armés. Il y a donc urgence et nécessité pour nos dirigeants de trouver les mécanismes requis afin d’éviter les déplacements des peuples et d’explorer les alternatives efficaces de prise en charge de ces phénomènes.

Les pays africains doivent donc identifier les actions prioritaires à mettre en œuvre et s’inscrire dans une vision concertée pour mieux contrôler le flux des réfugiés, des rapatriés et déplacés internes.

Les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement du continent sont convaincus de la nécessité d’accorder une plus grande attention à ces personnes en détresse et de leur implication personnelle pour gagner ce combat de dignité humaine, comme le président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta aime souvent à le dire.

SOUTENIR LA CAUSE AFRICAINE – Prévenir les catastrophes humanitaires, liées surtout aux conflits armés, sur le continent africain est un objectif à portée de main, mais requiert une plus grande justice, des actions de développement à la base, une juste répartition des ressources de nos pays. Les dirigeants africains en sont convaincus. Beaucoup sont en train d’accomplir de gros efforts de développement dans leurs pays respectifs (certains ont véritablement mis le cap sur l’émergence).

Des pays développés et stables, voilà ce qu’il faut pour éviter les catastrophes, très souvent liées aux crises politiques qui débouchent sur des répressions sanglantes, des affrontements ethniques. Toutes choses qui engendrent le départ des populations de leurs terres natales pour se réfugier dans des zones de paix, de stabilité.

À l’ouverture de la rencontre, les différentes interventions avaient un point commun : mettre le doigt sur les préoccupations réelles du continent et ses défis futurs.

Premier orateur de la série des interventions, le président de la Commission africaine a rappelé les progrès accomplis dans les pays du continent en termes de paix et de réconciliation. Moussa Faki a aussi reconnu que la conscience et les pratiques démocratiques en Afrique ont enregistré des avancées, avant de souligner que 16 élections générales sont attendues en Afrique cette année.

Le patron de la Commission a expliqué aussi que l’UA avait invité certaines personnalités qui ont investi leur temps, leurs ressources et leur énergie pour faire progresser les programmes de développement en Afrique. Bill Gates a été convié dans ce contexte. Le dirigeant du géant de l’informatique a expliqué que son engagement pour le continent a pris corps, il y a un peu plus de 25 ans lorsqu’il a été sollicité par Nelson Mandela pour financer les élections en Afrique du Sud. Il y a contribué sans connaître grand chose de ce pays encore moins de l’Afrique. Il a rassuré qu’il continuerait à soutenir la cause africaine. Mais, pour lui, la solution passe par l’investissement dans les programmes de développement, notamment dans le secteur de la santé et de l’éducation. Il a expliqué qu’un dollar investi dans la santé génère 20 dollars de bénéfices socioéconomiques.

Quant au président de la FIFA, il a rappelé que l’Afrique a beaucoup apporté au football, un sport qui peut aider le continent à s’unir davantage. Pour lui, le football est plus qu’un jeu, il a une fonction sociale et économique et peut changer l’état d’esprit d’une nation. Gianni Infantino a aussi évoqué la nécessité de faire en sorte que le continent passe d’une éternelle promesse à une réalité dans le football.

Quant à Antonio Guterres, il a rassuré que les Nations unies soutiendront les différents agendas africains. Le secrétaire général des Nations unies a également identifié des défis à relever, notamment la paix et la sécurité, le changement climatique.

RÉFORME DE L’UA – Pour le président en exercice sortant de l’UA, l’objectif visé est de construire une organisation africaine solide capable de renforcer les piliers des agendas du continent et les aspirations des peuples. Paul Kagamé a aussi évoqué l’impératif d’examiner les spécifications du passeport africain, présenté il y a deux ans et qui avait suscité énormément d’espoir. Pour lui, au rythme de l’évolution du processus, le protocole de la zone de libre échange entrera rapidement en vigueur.

Le président égyptien qui a désormais pris les rênes de l’UA, a rappelé que le continent doit faire face à des défis dans le cadre de la défense de ses intérêts. «La faiblesse de l’Afrique réside dans les divisions. Une Afrique unie sera une des plus grandes puissances», a estimé le général Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, avant de décliner le programme qu’il entend accomplir dans son mandat, notamment en termes de renforcement de la conciliation et la diplomatie de prévention, de l’amélioration de la sécurité et des conditions d’offres d’emplois.

Il faut aussi retenir qu’avant l’ouverture officielle du sommet, les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont eu une séance de travail à huis clos au cours de laquelle ils ont examiné le rapport sur la réforme de l’UA, l’alignement des textes de certains organes, le règlement intérieur de la Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement, celui du Conseil exécutif et le statut de la Commission de l’UA. Ils ont aussi planché sur le rapport relatif aux questions liées à la zone de libre échange continentale africaine. Le chef de l’Etat nigérien a rendu compte à ses pairs du processus en cours sur l’Accord de création de ladite zone et sur les rencontres des experts et des ministres du Commerce.

Les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont aussi discuté du rapport de la mise en œuvre de la décision de la Conférence sur les négociations post-Cotonou. Sur la question, le président de la Commission de l’UA, Moussa Faki Mahamat, a informé sur les actions menées dans la mise en application de la décision du Sommet extraordinaire de novembre 2018 relative à la poursuite des négociations Afrique Caraïbe Pacifique/Union européenne (ACP-UE), dans le cadre du mandat convenu d’accord parties.

Après la séance de photo de famille, les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont dévoilé une stèle érigée, dans l’enceinte du siège de l’organisation africaine, en l’honneur de l’ex-empereur éthiopien, Haïlé Sélassié.

Envoyé spécial

Bréhima DOUMBIA

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  1. . In The irrelevance of a Continental African Free Trade Area, as a full-fledged concept

    African Countries import European products favorably in two circumstances: 1) These products are not competing domestically with ACP countries productions; there is no negative effect on economic integration process.2) They have cheap competitive prices and they contribute to welfare gains due to importation from more efficient EU producers. Otherwise, they can constitute potential welfare losses when they are cheap products exported by EU traders and they undermine African local production or displace more competitive producers in other parts of the world market. Under the economic partnership Agreements (EPAs ) of EU ,regional groupings of Africa and the EU offer reciprocal trade preferences to each other. Such opening up of the markets of small inefficient African economies to EU exports would displace domestic production and produce adverse effects. This will also result in loss of revenue of ACP countries due to tariffs elimination on exports of EU countries. The key objectives of regional economic integration: the increasing of inter-country trade, and of regional market size and the attracting of foreign direct investment because of the formation of large regional markets, will be jeopardized. It appears therefore that from the integration of small African countries with larger developed EU countries, beneficial trade creation arises in favor of EU which is more competitive. There will be trade diversion leading to welfare loss for African countries where African imports from more efficient extra regional suppliers is diverted to the EU ,less efficient intra-regional suppliers. In the two cases, the EU benefits. The long term adverse effects will be even much more destructive.

    The Potential impact of the Continental Free Trade Area on African’s regional and continental integration and development prospects.
    Given the large spectrum of production of EU countries ,a broad array of products ranging from cereals and livestock to metal products and transport equipment will have access to African markets. The production and trade capacities between EU countries and African countries are totally asymmetric For example, while EU exports 20% of its total exports to Eastern and Southern African countries, these countries exports only represent 0,1% of total European exports. West African exports 0.5 % of European exports .European exports include mainly manufacturing products and capital goods and also fuels and foods items. African exports are confined to a narrow range of primary products. The EPA Agreements based on reciprocity would benefit EU from the bulk of tariff cuts. Its exports gains would exceed by far African gains.In terms of impact on economic integration process, the EPA would lead to trade diversion for Africa ,with the adverse effects on intra African trade. The impact of EPAs on African countries real income would be negative because of a decline in tariff revenues. The imports of goods from EU will increase while the African exports to EU will increase, but much smaller.
    The lack of coordination of EPA provisions within the African Union Economic Space could jeopardize the adoption of Common External tariff, CET, which could derail the process of African Economic Integration process. Unilateral preferences discourage food self sufficiency in Africa, slow down the pace of diversification and distort or dislocate fragile African industrial structures. The high trade costs due to lack of heavy transport systems could make imported goods even more expensive and nullify the gains of African countries. Reducing trade barriers across the all territory of African Union to EU countries which are more developed competitors will result in economic slow growth in Africa .In Africa, the past economic relations between these two economic groupings show the poor effect of economic aid and the neglect of critical development of economic areas in Africa, such as heavy transport systems, construction of regional industrial base and creation of national and regional integrated structures.
    The critical stage for merging the regional economic communities so as to create a solid and well –articulated Common Market

    At the very start, let us point out the danger of the excessive importance given to the concept of Continental Free Trade Area among the 54 member States of the African Union .With the exception of a few countries which have built a more developed industrial structure, such as South Africa, Egypt and some member countries of Maghreb Arab, for the great majority of African countries, only agricultural products and some raw materials will be available for trading. It is expected that intra-African trade would rise from 10.2 per cent in 2010 to 15.5 per cent by 2022.In fact, the rise and decline of African revenue are closely linked to the prices of African exported commodities, such as oil, cocoa, diamond , gold, cotton, peanut, etc. It appears, therefore, that African countries with more advanced economic development, particularly with more developed and diversified economies would profit most of this Free Trade Agreement. It could be even feared that those countries could be faced with stronger competition from European countries because of the Agreements concluded between the European Union and the regional Communities of African Union on trade liberalization between EU and AU member States. The African countries having little product to export, particularly the landlocked countries ,the exports of which are suffering from heavy transport costs ,would lose on their commercial balance and also on their total amount of customs revenue .
    In fact, it was totally wrong to adopt the European Economic Integration Stages for the African Regions and for the whole Continent .This scheme places the establishing of Free Trade Area as the first stage of the integration process. In the industrialized European economies, there exists an effective productive economic system equipped with technological capacity and operated by trained high manpower which can promote economic diversification and transformation in a short period of time .In industrial sector, there are many industrial plants suffering from over production capacities .Trade liberalization and facilitation can bring about economic growth by making use of these unused production capacitiesAfrican Countries, the expansion of trade volume calls for a multi-sectoral approach to economic development and integration. You need to strengthen the physical integration: development of inter-state roads and railways, increasing electricity production; secondly, you must embark in production integration with the setting up of an appropriate industrial base to raise agricultural productivity and modernize the sectors (structural transformation).This requires to build the base for agricultural products and livestock sectors. You need to promote the local production of cheap and appropriate fertilizers and pesticides, to fabricate and/or assemble agricultural machinery and equipment, to make available relevant rural transport, to carry out rural electrification. In the field of livestock, the fabrication of wire enclosures to promote semi-intensive livestock development, and of rich animal foodstuffs and agro-industries with parking industries.
    In the industrial sector, the agro-industry excepted, the industrial structure is formed and strengthened using as intermediary products the processing chains components of the semi products of four to five intermediary industries : iron and steel, bauxite, alumina and aluminum, Petro-chemical industry and chemical industry, to which you can add the pharmaceutical industry. The analysis of the processing chains of these basic metals will contribute to create an integrated industrial structure.
    Consequently, we give the first priority to agriculture, agro food industry and agro industry, in general. In order to extend the full integrated support to agriculture and agro related industry, we initiate immediately the process of creation of a full Common Market for agriculture and agro-industry, at the regional level.
    Later on, we would add to this existing Common Market for agriculture and agro related industries, the Common Market for all industrial products.
    The rationale behind this approach is obvious. The increase of agricultural productivity would generate higher income per head. The parallel increase of saving, amounting to 50 billion dollars annually, would be invested in infrastructure development. It is critical, at this point, to conceive a system designed to organize and promote the intermediary industries and a cohesive manufacturing sector. The promotion of intermediary and capital goods industries would require the adoption of special policy measures aiming at formulating the concept of African multinational industries, the discussion and the adoption of technological transfer program and policy, the emphasis placed on joint venture enterprise, on share company, and on issues of competition, etc. In the various regions, even if we limit ourselves for a decade of years, to the production and the sale of metal, petrochemical and chemical semi products, this could generate a lot of revenue so as to embark in full scale manufacturing in industry sector.
    But, if we choose to spend the next 10 years in bureaucratic and procedural discussions related to a Continental free trade area full of incoherence because of trade reciprocity with the EU ,without the substantive productive sectors, agriculture and industry being engaged in sustainable productive process, if we rush into a continental free trade area which in our context must also entail the gradual removal of tariff barriers and non tariff barriers, the coordination and harmonization of tariff and non tariff systems among the 54 member States of the African Union, the establishment of a customs Union at Continental level, by the adoption of a common external tariff, at last, if we believe that ,at this point, we could also harmonize monetary ,financial and fiscal policies at the continental level, when we failed to implement this harmonization at the regional levels, we would have little chance to succeed at the Continental level at this precise moment. Like in South America, the total failure can occur.
    Since the countries within each economic Community have ample different levels of economic development, a system of compensation should be put in place to finance development projects from a common regional Fund for the least developed countries so as to reduce development disparities. This harmonization process should be carried out at the regional level .It would not be effective at the continental level.
    During the first stage, we believe that the regional economic development and integration are achieved through formulating and implementing the following integrated programs and policies by the member States of each Regional Economic community, REC, toward the creation of the Common Regional Market of goods and services ,consisted of:
    The creation of Common Market for agriculture and food products
    !) Stabilization of tariffs, customs duties, and other barriers to intra-community trade of agricultural products and food products;
    2) Establishment of a Free Trade Area within each Regional Community through the removal of trade barriers to agricultural and food products, the establishment of Common Customs Union, and the adoption of a common external tariff for agricultural and food products;
    3) Expansion of intra community trade of agricultural and food products through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regime and instruments throughout each REC;
    4) Construction of inter-state road system for promoting trade of agricultural and food goods;
    5) Setting-up of industrial base for agriculture and agro –alimentary productivity and modernization;
    6) Promoting agro-food and agro-industrial products, and in addition to the manufacturing of parking materials;
    7) Setting-up of Regional Common Market, through the consolidation of the structures of the Common Market, the establishment of the regional monetary Union, the creation of a single regional currency as well as an African Central Bank in each Regional Community.
    The Creation of Common Market for a full-fledged integrated regional indeustrial structure
    Simultaneously, the same approach will be adopted for the integrated industrial development of each Regional Community. The industrial base will be composed of the processing chains of four intermediary industries: iron and steel, bauxite, alumina and aluminum, chemical industry and petro-chemical industry. Related studies will be carried out in conjunction with the promotion of this vital sub industrial programs, such as :
    -Definition of African Multinational industrial enterprise;
    -The adoption of technology transfer policy
    -The definition of regional joint venture and share companies.
    When the stage of Common Market has been realized, all the components which contribute to the building-up of the Economic Community have been defined and set in motion. Regional system of production have been combined with a regional system of commercialization..It is at the level of common market where it is rational to harmonize and coordinate the integrated programs of the member communities of the African Economic community, in order to achieve a solid integrated and a well articulated Continental Community, ready to move to create the United States of Africa.
    In summary, through the coordination and the harmonization of the participating Regional Economic Communities, the African Common Market will be established. Free movement of people, goods, capital and services, the integration of economic and social sectors, the establishment of a single internal market as well as a continental economic and monetary union, the creation of the investment Bank ,the African Central Bank and African Monetary Fund.
    The United States of America was built in 150 years, step by step; protocols of Agreements negotiated for decades of years but signed on consent.The extraordinary achievement of the country Fathers was based on the conviction that they might not see the fruit of their century of hard work and sacrifices, but the coming generations would inherit a powerful and prosperous Nation. This spirit of devotion should inspire we Africans and teach us to be humble, but ambitious for the coming generations

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