West Cold-Shoulders Rebuilding Southern Africa

Lorenzo Fioramonti

 

Crises, like those gripping Europe, tend to expose the process and practice of regional governance as technocratic and elite-driven. But citizens and civil society may well demand more voice and power, in a ‘politicisation’ of regions.

In a globalizing world, where old and new evolutions challenge traditional decision making and (nation) states find it increasingly difficult to govern political processes and economic transactions that are ever more cross-boundary in nature, supranational regional governance has proven a powerful tool to address such growing complexity.

As a meso-level between the state and a hypothetical global government, regional organizations have been purposefully created with a view to providing more effective management structures to deal with phenomena and processes transcending the borders of national communities. Traditionally, trans-frontier natural resources were the first common goods to be placed under the administration of regional organizations. For instance, the oldest existing regional organization in the world is the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine, an authority established in Europe during the 1815 Congress of Vienna. Its purpose was to manage cross-boundary transports along the river Rhine, which cuts across France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and – in spite of its limited political clout – it set an important precedent for the future evolutions of European integration. The forerunner of the European Economic Community, which then transformed into the European Union, was the European Coal and Steal Community, a supranational authority created to provide common jurisdiction over the most fundamental natural resources of the continent, whose direct control had historically been the main source of conflict in the region.

Nowadays, there is a virtually endless list of regional organizations operating in divers sectors, entrusted with varying degrees of power and decision-making authority. Although most of them only perform specific functions (e.g. natural resources management, conflict prevention, legal advice, customs control, policing, etc.), there has been an increase in the establishment of ‘general purpose’ regional organizations, of which the EU is the most well-known and developed example. Some of them have evolved out of specific trade agreements (e.g. free trade areas), such as the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), while others have been created with a view to guaranteeing security and development, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the African Union (AU). As famously remarked by P. Katzenstein, the contemporary international arena may very well develop into a ‘world of regions’, where openness and cooperation are reinforced by growth in cross-border exchanges and global transformations in interstate relations.

Regions and crises

According to Karl Deutsch, one of the forefathers of regional studies, the most fundamental example of region-building is constituted by so-called ‘security communities’, groupings of countries that share institutional systems to avoid internal conflicts and address common external threats. In this vein, the existence of certain threats (often in the form of fully-fledged conflicts) has been instrumental to the creation of regional organizations. The European integration project emerged out of the ashes of World War II. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was created after the end of colonialism while its successor, the AU, was established to guarantee peace and development in a traditionally troubled continent. Similarly, ASEAN was founded to oppose the advancement of communism in South East Asia and strengthen the small countries of the region vis-à-vis their strong and powerful neighbours.

Supranational regionalism and crises have always been intimately connected, both empirically and theoretically. Yet, although most theoretical approaches appear to discuss crises as potential springboards for more and better regional cooperation/integration, the opposite is equally true. For instance, De Gaulle’s critical stance vis-à-vis the process of European integration (which led to a prolonged institutional crisis in the 1960s) prompted Ernst Haas, the founder of the neo-functionalist approach, to conclude that regional integration theory was ‘obsolete’. The current sovereign-debt crisis (often dubbed as the Euro-crisis) is raising a lot of doubts about the capacity of the EU to weather the storm and re-launch integration of the European continent. Public discourse not only in Europe, but also in the rest of the world, hints at the fact that regional cooperation/ integration does not deal well with ‘rainy days’, when member states tend to become more inward looking and seek refuge in short-sighted nationalism.

The word ‘crisis’ derives from the ancient Greek verb krinein, which means to ‘separate, decide and judge’. As such, it therefore describes events or phenomena that produce change and lead to decisions. Looking at most current events, it is not easy to gauge the extent to which these crises may lead to more regional cooperation/integration or, conversely, to gradual/abrupt disintegration. However, there is little doubt that they present fundamental turning points in the evolution of regional cooperation/integration and pose significant challenges to all stakeholders involved. At the same time, they may very well become opportunities to reassess the usefulness of supranational regions and prospectively re-design a world of new regions.

Euro-crisis and the weakening of the European model

Crises are revelatory moments. They break the repetitive continuity of ordinary processes and present us with unexpected threats and opportunities. As disruptive events, they force us to rethink conventional wisdom and become imaginative. In the evolution of political institutions, crises have been fundamental turning points opening up new space for governance innovations or, by contrast, reducing the spectrum of available options. They have ushered in phases of progress and prosperity or plummeted our societies into the darkness of parochialism and backwardness.

The current Euro-crisis may have a significant long-term impact on the ‘acceptability’ of regional integration as an end-goal for regionalism not only in Europe, but also in other regions. If the European project fails to deliver the expected outcomes of stability, well-being and solidarity, then it is likely that other regions will refrain from pushing for full-blown integration, perhaps privileging less demanding forms of cooperation. It also appears as if the EU ‘model’ of integration has been severely eroded by the global financial crisis and the turmoil in the Eurozone. There is indeed growing criticism of Eurocentric approaches to regionalism, not only among scholars, but also among leading policy makers. Especially, emerging powers in Africa, Asia and South America are becoming more assertive about the need to find different ways to promote regional governance in a world in which traditional power distributions are being fundamentally called into question. Moreover, the recent popular revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East are likely to reshape geostrategic equilibria in the Mediterranean and possibly usher in a new phase of regional cooperation within the Arab world and also with Europe.  

Citizens and regional governance

Citizens have been the underdogs of regionalism. From Europe, to Africa, Asia and Latin America, civil society has largely been on the receiving end of region-building processes. More often than not, civil society has been intentionally sidelined, while some sympathetic non-governmental organisations have been given the instrumental task of supporting institutions in their efforts at building a regional ‘identity’. In spite of rhetorical references to the importance of civic participation, regionalism has largely developed ‘without the citizens’.

Yet contemporary crises seem to bring ‘the people’ back into the picture, at least insofar as various attempts at regional cooperation and integration stumble upon the ideas, values and expectations of the citizens. The Euro-crisis is not just a matter of scarce liquidity and overexposure of a few national governments and most private banks. It is first and foremost a legitimacy crisis, which is revealing the fundamental limitations of an elite-driven regionalism model. Not disputing the pivotal role that European political elites played in setting the integration process in motion, there is little doubt that ‘deep integration’ will only be achieved when European citizens will have a say over the type of developmental trajectory that the EU should adopt as well as its ultimate goals. Looking at the astonishing amount of public resources channelled to rescue private banks in comparison to the harsh austerity plans enforced on allegedly profligate Member States, one cannot help but ask the question: what actual interests drive regionalism in the world?

Most observers have been traditionally looking at regionalization processes as politically neutral phenomena in international affairs. Research in this field has been generally restricted to the ‘quantity’ of regionalism, rather than its ‘quality’. Whether it is to explain the gradual devolution of authority from nation states to supranational institutions (as is the case with neo-functionalism) or whether it is to demonstrate the continuous bargaining process involving national governments (as is the case with intergovernmentalism), mainstream approaches to regional cooperation and integration have refrained from looking at the quality of regionalization processes. Will there be more or fewer regions in the world? Will regional institutions replace the nation state? Will regional governance become predominant in the years to come? Granted, these are very important questions and deserve to be examined in depth, especially in academic circles. Yet, the current crises force us to assess the state of regionalism in the world not only in terms of its predominance and diffusion, but also – and more importantly – in terms of how it contributes, if any, towards the well-being of our societies.  

Most ‘models’ and ‘practices’ of regionalism have tended to exclude the diversity of voices and roles in society. They have often served the specific interests of ruling elites (as in Latin America and Africa), the ambitions of hegemonic actors (as in Europe and Asia) or the agendas of industrial and financial powers. Moreover, through their apparently neutral technocratic character, most attempts at regional cooperation and integration have aimed to obscure the fact that there are always winners and losers in regionalism processes. 

This top-down model is being increasingly challenged. Overlapping crises and the redistribution of power at the global level call into question the capacity of regions to deliver on their promises, thus unveiling the unavoidable political character of any model of regionalism. In response to the growing cost of regionalism, citizens want to have more say over future regional trajectories and exercise their democratic powers. As a consequence, regionalism is evolving from a ‘closed’ process, designed and packaged by a small circle of political and economic elites, to an ‘open’ process, in which democratic participation and accountability are playing an ever more important role. Borrowing from the jargon of Internet users, one may say that regions are transitioning from a 1.0 phase dominated by technocrats to a 2.0 stage characterised by horizontal networks, alternative models and citizens’ contestations.

The EU, undoubtedly the most advanced and successful example of regionalism in the world, is now experiencing the direst consequences of such a transition. Amid rising unemployment, social malaise and growing discontent for the lack of accountability of national and regional politics, millions of citizens have been protesting against the Union and its political and economic agenda. Contrary to what eurosceptics would have us believe, these citizens do not call for less Europe: they want a different Europe. They would like regional integration to be more about connecting cultures and individuals and less about supporting capital. They would like their regional institutions to focus on helping the unemployed rather than bailing out bankrupt banks. They would like to see more solidarity across classes and generations, rather than less. They would like cooperation to be about building a different future instead of reshuffling old ideas. The future of regionalism may very well entail a growing ‘politicisation’ of regions, whereby citizens and civil society demand more voice and power in influencing not just general principles and values, but also the long-term political trajectories of their regions.

 

Source: Open Democracy

LILONGWE/JOHANNESBURG, Aug 29 2013 (IPS) – The Southern African Development Community has had to revisit its plans to raise funding for its ambitious regional development plan in the wake of a cold-shoulder from western nations and multilateral finance institutions.

“Nobody has come forward to fund any of the projects we have outlined. I have been to Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, among other countries,” SADC deputy executive secretary for regional integration Joao Samuel Caholo told IPS.

“What is holding us back as SADC is our inability to fund our own priorities and programmes. Therefore, a sustainable funding mechanism has to be established if we are to show that we are committed and progressing.”

However, development experts have questioned whether SADC is sufficiently mature to handle ambitious projects such as the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP), which is estimated to cost 500 billion dollars.

The RIDMP aims to rebuild the region’s deficit road, rail and ports infrastructure, increase its power-generation capacity, and establish communication and weather systems. Access to water, and providing the infrastructure for its distribution is also a priority.

“SADC has the potential and we are asking for the goodwill of all member states. Let them put in the seed money,” said the outgoing executive secretary.

The long-awaited SADC Development Fund will be modelled on the European Investment Bank and other regional funding ventures. SADC countries will initially contribute 1.2 billion dollars or 51 percent. The private sector and international partners will contribute the remaining 37 and 12 percent respectively.

Contributions will be over a five-year period starting in 2013 based on a country’s affordability, institutional capacity and other criteria, which Caholo was reluctant to divulge.

“If after five years a country fails to pay its contribution, its shares will be recalled and distributed among the complying states so that the 51 percent shareholding by African states is maintained,” Caholo said.

However, a member state will still be able to access funds for its development projects as outlined in the RIDMP.

Professor Eltie Links, the chairperson of Doing Business in Africa at South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch Business School, told IPS that “SADC as a regional body would have to think about the objectives and the management of a new financing arm.”

“The fact that the region comprises a number of countries with varied levels of development makes it essential that some or other form of assistance be given to economies that are suffering in the development sphere. This, however, can only be afforded if there is sufficient economic and financial muscle in the regional body,” Links said.

He said there was no doubt about the need for more infrastructure development in the region, but development aid channelled through SADC “will always be at the cost of the bilateral support given by these same [donor] countries to the region’s needy countries. This aid funding pool has always been finite.”

He suggested that donors would need to be convinced that SADC is now at a stage where it can handle multi-billion dollar projects.

“SADC’s record as an institution that is well organised and governed has been questioned in the past. To the extent that these perceptions of a body with challenges in governance still persist, it will not get the type of support needed for a project financing arm.

“It will also have to demonstrate the ability to administer and manage such funding and projects; something it has not been able to prove beyond any doubt.”

This view was echoed by the chief executive officer of the Frontier Advisory consultancy, Martyn Davies, who argued that the SADC secretariat should not be the body that seeks to fund projects, and should instead focus on coordinating and bringing projects to the point of bankability.

“SADC, unfortunately, does not do enough in harmonising pursuits towards regional integration, and needs to do more of the basics toward promoting the facilitation of trade and capital flow in the region,” Davies told IPS.

“Donors regularly work with SADC, but the more important engagement should be with big business, and this is currently insufficient. There needs to be greater communication from SADC as to its role and also outreach to and engagement with business in order to better implement these goals.”

Trade consultant John Mare agreed that initially SADC should play more of a coordination role.

Mare told IPS a new funding institution was not needed as “there are already too many others – but SADC can help shape bankable projects and relate them to SADC priorities.”

He added that there was a need for better capacities inside SADC to work on such projects and, especially, a greater need for coordinating mechanisms between all stakeholders at national and regional levels.

“A key challenge is to improve SADC coordination with other regional organisations in which many SADC members are also members. It is crucially important that this happens – and the tragedy is that SADC is said to have more capacity than many other regional organisations in Africa,” Mare said.

He added that while there were many potential projects in Africa, what was missing was driving mechanisms for these projects.

Davies agreed there is no shortage of projects, but suggested “the challenge lies in fostering cooperation between the respective governments and bringing the projects to bankability.”

“I have never seen a good project that cannot get funding when politics is aligned.”

Originally published by IPS.

Declaration "SADC We want: acting together -­ ensuring accountability!" (9th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum)

Author: Ilene Grabel
Working Paper, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, malady
June 2012

Abstract:

The current crisis is proving to be productive of institutional experimentation in the realm of financial architecture(s) in the developing world. The drive toward experimentation arose out of the East Asian financial crisis of 1997?98, which provoked some developing countries to take steps to insulate themselves from future turbulence, IMF sanctions, and intrusions into policy space. I argue that there are diverse, unambiguous indications that the global financial architecture is now evolving in ways that contribute to a new institutional heterogeneity. In some policy and institutional innovations we see the emergence of financial architecture that is far less US- and IMF?centric than has been the norm over the past several decades. Moreover, the growing economic might, self? confidence and assertiveness on the part of policymakers in some developing countries (and, at the same time, the attendant uncertainties surrounding the economies of the USA and Europe) is disrupting the traditional modes of financial governance and dispersing power across the global financial system.

In making these arguments it is important not to overstate the case. It is far too early to be certain that lasting, radical changes in the global financial architecture are afoot, or that the developments now underway are secure. Nor am I arguing that all regions of the developing world either enjoy the opportunity and/or have the means to participate in the process of reshaping the global financial architecture. Rather, my goal is more modest. I show here that today there are numerous opportunities for policy and institutional experimentation, and there are clear signs that these opportunities are being exploited in a variety of distinct ways. As compared to any other moment over the last several decades, we see clear signs of fissures, realignments and institutional changes in the structures of financial governance across the global South. I have elsewhere characterized this current state of affairs as one of “productive incoherence.” I use this term to capture the proliferation of institutional innovations and policy responses that have been given impetus by the crisis, and the ways in which the current crisis has started to erode the stifling neo?liberal consensus that has secured and deepened neo?liberalism across the developing world over the past several decades.

The productive incoherence of the current crisis is apparent in the emergence of a denser, multi-layered and more heterogeneous Southern financial architecture. The current crisis has induced a broadening of the mission and reach of some existing regional, sub?regional, bilateral, and national financial institutions and arrangements, and has stimulated discussions of entirely new arrangements. In some limited cases these institutions and arrangements substitute for the Bretton Woods institutions. This substitution is most pronounced in cases when the Bretton Woods institutions have failed or have been slow to respond to calls for support, or when they have responded to such requests with conditionality that has been overly constraining of national policy space. But in most cases, the institutions and arrangements that I discuss here complement the global financial architecture. I will argue in what follows that recent changes in the Southern financial landscape increase its potential to promote financial stability and resilience, support the development of long-run productive capacities, advance aims consistent with human development, and expand national policy space. Moreover, the emergence of a vibrant Southern financial architecture is not simply additive. Rather it may prove transformative, insofar as the Bretton Woods institutions are pushed to respond to long?standing concerns regarding their legitimacy, governance, and conditionalities.

 

 

Download full report

By Tjiurimo Hengari

 

The 19th summit of the African Union (AU) from 9-16 July in Addis Ababa will in all likelihood not be ordinary, purchase as it will mark a decade since the transformation of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) into the AU in 2002 in Durban, South Africa. Crucially, ten years on, the July summit theme ‘Boosting Intra-African Trade’ captures a new agenda and the importance of economic growth and trade integration as essential aspects in the continent’s integration in the global economy.

While the OAU manifestly fulfilled its role and historical mandate of decolonisation, the vision and mandate of the AU is largely premised on development, including economic and political integration of the African continent. In light of this developmental premise and emphasis in its Constitutive Act, which entered into force on May 26, 2002, the AU represents a major shift from the legal, political and institutional framework of its predecessor.

With the summit looming, it is fitting to debate and reflect how this organization has fared a decade on, both in light of its promise of new principles, new thinking, including new approaches to African challenges and governance. These principles and approaches seek to capture on a wide continuum, the nexus between democracy, good governance on the one hand, and on the other Africa’s economic development and integration in the global economy.

Looking back: Ten years since the foundation of the AU

Over the past decade, international relations have gone through profound change. The rise of emerging powers, including China and Brazil have led to a momentous shift, creating new opportunities and threats in Africa’s engagement in international affairs. The global economic contraction in Europe, which started with the global financial crisis in late 2007, has altered the traditional relationship Africa had with key western powers. It has opened Africa’s commodity economies to possible shocks, thus forcing African leaders to accelerate trade integration on the continent, while seeking new partnerships in the developing world.    

On governance, it should be mentioned that the majority of Africa’s 54 states are to varying degrees democratic. There have been slow but steady developments with regard to forms and shapes of democratic governance.

The African Union, for instance, has taken an explicit decision not to recognise countries in which civilian governments have been overthrown by a coup d’état. Also, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), flowing out of the New Economic Partnership for Development (NEPAD) has as its explicit rationale the strengthening of democracies and the accountability mechanisms within it. In Côte d’Ivoire, a democratically elected president finally assumed office in 2011 after a decade of political deadlock and civil strive. In one of Africa’s more or less stable democracies, Senegal, a head of state seeking a de facto third term lost an election early this year and accepted defeat graciously.

Significant progress has been made in creating the institutional infrastructure and processes that are necessary for a more efficient African Union. In addition to these, the African Union has been undertaking crucial peacekeeping missions in various parts of Africa, including Burundi, Sudan and Somalia. The modest successes of these missions can be attributed to good foreign policy collaboration and momentum between Africa’s driver countries, including Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria.

However, as the years wore on, this momentum, also visible in the conceptualisation of Nepad and the APRM seems to have been lost. Moreover, the absence of a coherent state-led, but widely accepted AU approach with regard to conflict resolution and management has created a vacuum in what the AU can do as an institution.  

From an institutional viewpoint, relationships and coordinating mechanisms across diverse issue-areas have been built with various international organisations, including the United Nations and the European Union. Moreover, through the African Union, various attempts had been made with regard to streamlining the activities of regional organisations and economic communities in line with the objectives of the African Union.

Even if modest in their successes, interventions and the legitimisation of the AU’s cross-cutting agenda have allowed Africa to focus on the key challenges of governance, education and economic growth. These have without doubt legitimised the AU as the principal interlocutor in African affairs, worth strengthening.

It deserves mention, however, that the AU is still a work in progress and the past decade of its existence did not mask contradictions between what the AU ambitiously purports to be on the one hand, and the structural and institutional impasse in which it finds itself when it comes to achieving Africa’s developmental aims on the other. A continental institution is a sum of its composite parts. Therefore, it can only be efficient if the constituting membership allows it to function in line with its charter – thereby assuming and building its own institutional dynamism and organisational efficiency.

In light of these challenges, the roadmap that emerges out of the upcoming summit in Addis ought to be transformational and should crucially define the aspirations of the African Union for the next ten years. It will be a missed opportunity if it turns out to be just another summit.

Three Areas for Attention

Three aspects ought to enjoy specific attention. First, in line with its theme the summit should put explicit emphasis on the translation of modest democratic governance into concrete developmental deliverables in African countries. Even if economic growth has been positive over the past decade in many countries, this has not put a dent on widespread poverty and underdevelopment. This does suggest new bridges to be built between African driver countries as a means to bring renewed impetus to Africa’s developmental agenda and coordinated engagement with international actors on economic, environmental and social developmental issues.

Second, more attention should be placed than what has been otherwise the case thus far on the strengthening of regional economic communities as essential anchors in matters of peace, security and development. The past ten years have shown that regional organisations are the best platforms to promote peace, security and development.

As a case in point, under difficult circumstances, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had undertaken commendable work in the promotion of peace in that troubled region. The AU should reinforce such successes by playing a facilitator role based on clearly defined values, norms and objectives. For this to happen, the institutional capacity of the African Union should be strengthened, with more powers devolved to the Commission. A strengthened Commission would allow the institution to develop a coercive soft-power role, while giving it a much more active character in the diffusion of agreed continental norms and objectives.

Third, with the anomaly of two candidates, one from a small country, Jean Ping of Gabon and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma from a big country, South Africa contesting the chairmanship of the AU commission, the summit should provide clear guidelines and principles around leadership of the Commission.

Conclusion

In conclusion, vague and ambitious declarations are less likely to create a more solid African Union as a pivot in Africa’s integration in the global economy. Much of what emerges out of Addis depends on how pragmatic and programmatic the vision of the AU is going forward. African leaders should leave the summit with clearly defined, but manageable outcomes, creating a new dynamic that would address Africa’s chronic challenges.

Tjiurimo HENGARI is the Head of the South African Foreign Poliy and African Drivers Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs, based at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

 

Source: SAIIA

By Tjiurimo Hengari

 

The 19th summit of the African Union (AU) from 9-16 July in Addis Ababa will in all likelihood not be ordinary, as it will mark a decade since the transformation of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) into the AU in 2002 in Durban, South Africa. Crucially, ten years on, the July summit theme ‘Boosting Intra-African Trade’ captures a new agenda and the importance of economic growth and trade integration as essential aspects in the continent’s integration in the global economy.

While the OAU manifestly fulfilled its role and historical mandate of decolonisation, the vision and mandate of the AU is largely premised on development, including economic and political integration of the African continent. In light of this developmental premise and emphasis in its Constitutive Act, which entered into force on May 26, 2002, the AU represents a major shift from the legal, political and institutional framework of its predecessor.

With the summit looming, it is fitting to debate and reflect how this organization has fared a decade on, both in light of its promise of new principles, new thinking, including new approaches to African challenges and governance. These principles and approaches seek to capture on a wide continuum, the nexus between democracy, good governance on the one hand, and on the other Africa’s economic development and integration in the global economy.

Looking back: Ten years since the foundation of the AU

Over the past decade, international relations have gone through profound change. The rise of emerging powers, including China and Brazil have led to a momentous shift, creating new opportunities and threats in Africa’s engagement in international affairs. The global economic contraction in Europe, which started with the global financial crisis in late 2007, has altered the traditional relationship Africa had with key western powers. It has opened Africa’s commodity economies to possible shocks, thus forcing African leaders to accelerate trade integration on the continent, while seeking new partnerships in the developing world.    

On governance, it should be mentioned that the majority of Africa’s 54 states are to varying degrees democratic. There have been slow but steady developments with regard to forms and shapes of democratic governance.

The African Union, for instance, has taken an explicit decision not to recognise countries in which civilian governments have been overthrown by a coup d’état. Also, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), flowing out of the New Economic Partnership for Development (NEPAD) has as its explicit rationale the strengthening of democracies and the accountability mechanisms within it. In Côte d’Ivoire, a democratically elected president finally assumed office in 2011 after a decade of political deadlock and civil strive. In one of Africa’s more or less stable democracies, Senegal, a head of state seeking a de facto third term lost an election early this year and accepted defeat graciously.

Significant progress has been made in creating the institutional infrastructure and processes that are necessary for a more efficient African Union. In addition to these, the African Union has been undertaking crucial peacekeeping missions in various parts of Africa, including Burundi, Sudan and Somalia. The modest successes of these missions can be attributed to good foreign policy collaboration and momentum between Africa’s driver countries, including Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria.

However, as the years wore on, this momentum, also visible in the conceptualisation of Nepad and the APRM seems to have been lost. Moreover, the absence of a coherent state-led, but widely accepted AU approach with regard to conflict resolution and management has created a vacuum in what the AU can do as an institution.  

From an institutional viewpoint, relationships and coordinating mechanisms across diverse issue-areas have been built with various international organisations, including the United Nations and the European Union. Moreover, through the African Union, various attempts had been made with regard to streamlining the activities of regional organisations and economic communities in line with the objectives of the African Union.

Even if modest in their successes, interventions and the legitimisation of the AU’s cross-cutting agenda have allowed Africa to focus on the key challenges of governance, education and economic growth. These have without doubt legitimised the AU as the principal interlocutor in African affairs, worth strengthening.

It deserves mention, however, that the AU is still a work in progress and the past decade of its existence did not mask contradictions between what the AU ambitiously purports to be on the one hand, and the structural and institutional impasse in which it finds itself when it comes to achieving Africa’s developmental aims on the other. A continental institution is a sum of its composite parts. Therefore, it can only be efficient if the constituting membership allows it to function in line with its charter – thereby assuming and building its own institutional dynamism and organisational efficiency.

In light of these challenges, the roadmap that emerges out of the upcoming summit in Addis ought to be transformational and should crucially define the aspirations of the African Union for the next ten years. It will be a missed opportunity if it turns out to be just another summit.

Three Areas for Attention

Three aspects ought to enjoy specific attention. First, in line with its theme the summit should put explicit emphasis on the translation of modest democratic governance into concrete developmental deliverables in African countries. Even if economic growth has been positive over the past decade in many countries, this has not put a dent on widespread poverty and underdevelopment. This does suggest new bridges to be built between African driver countries as a means to bring renewed impetus to Africa’s developmental agenda and coordinated engagement with international actors on economic, environmental and social developmental issues.

Second, more attention should be placed than what has been otherwise the case thus far on the strengthening of regional economic communities as essential anchors in matters of peace, security and development. The past ten years have shown that regional organisations are the best platforms to promote peace, security and development.

As a case in point, under difficult circumstances, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had undertaken commendable work in the promotion of peace in that troubled region. The AU should reinforce such successes by playing a facilitator role based on clearly defined values, norms and objectives. For this to happen, the institutional capacity of the African Union should be strengthened, with more powers devolved to the Commission. A strengthened Commission would allow the institution to develop a coercive soft-power role, while giving it a much more active character in the diffusion of agreed continental norms and objectives.

Third, with the anomaly of two candidates, one from a small country, Jean Ping of Gabon and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma from a big country, South Africa contesting the chairmanship of the AU commission, the summit should provide clear guidelines and principles around leadership of the Commission.

Conclusion

In conclusion, vague and ambitious declarations are less likely to create a more solid African Union as a pivot in Africa’s integration in the global economy. Much of what emerges out of Addis depends on how pragmatic and programmatic the vision of the AU is going forward. African leaders should leave the summit with clearly defined, but manageable outcomes, creating a new dynamic that would address Africa’s chronic challenges.

Tjiurimo HENGARI is the Head of the South African Foreign Poliy and African Drivers Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs, based at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

 

 

9th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum (10-14 August 2013, link
Lilongwe, Malawi)

Representatives of civil society organizations from across the Southern Africa Region, met under the auspices of the Fellowship of Christian Councils of Southern Africa (FOCCISA), Southern Africa Development Community – Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (SADC-­?CNGO) and the Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) between the 11th to the 14th of August 2013 at the 9th Southern Africa Civil Society Forum issue this statement to the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit scheduled for the 17th?18th August 2013.

Read the Declaration “SADC We want: acting together -­ ensuring accountability!

The themes covered in the Declaration include:

– GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY

* On Democratic Elections

* On Governance

* On Peace and Security

* On Countries

– TOWARDS AN INTEGRATED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK

* On Finance for Development

* On Trade and Decent Work

– TAKING FORWARD SADC WE WANT CAMPAIGN

– SOCIAL AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
* On Poverty & Development

* On Climate Change

* On Social Protection

* On HIV and AIDS

* On Land and Natural Resources

* On Gender

* On Indigenous Peoples

* On Water

* On child rights

Reclaiming SADC for people’s development

By Thomas Deve

Summary of Key note speech during SADC People’s Summit in Mozambique (August 2012)

In his Key note address, Thomas Deve delivered a brief but powerful keynote address to the audience gathered at the summit. He outlined the 2012 theme in the context of growing frustration from the citizens on their continued marginalization and exclusion from policymaking and ownership of the regions development agenda by policymakers. He outlined five points which the peoples of the regions would want their SADC to be. Deve highlighted that the envisaged SADC is one in which citizens are given meaningful role and recognition in the region’s decision making.

Deve highlighted the nature of the SADC the peoples of the region want as follows;

1. Respect for Human Rights – Deve stated that the SADC liberators of yesterday have become today’s oppressors. He called on the regional block to ensure that all countries fully respect democratic principles and the rule of law. He further called on the regional bloc to investigate human rights abuses in countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and DRC. Deve urged the SADC leaders to reinstate the original mandate of the SADC Tribunal. He stated that the SADC tribunal is an important institution for the protection and promotion of human rights, “To promote good governance and development, the SADC should protect people’s rights to gather and to speak their minds”

2. Free Movement of Persons in the SADC Region – Deve noted that the SADC we want must ensure the free movement of persons in the region. He highlighted that the right to free movement of persons entails the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality. The right to free movement of persons include: the right to enter the territory of a Partner State without a visa; the right to move freely within the territory of a Partner State; the right to stay in the territory of a Partner State; the right to exit without restrictions; and the right to full protection by the laws of a Partner State. He called on the SADC leaders who have not ratified the SADC Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons in the region to do so as free movement is a right not a privilege. Deve stated that the Free Movement of persons will be the true measure of commitment of SADC, as collective, to developing an integrated region.

3. Corrupt Governments and Civil Servants ????? the presenter highlighted that SADC governments are corrupt; he mentioned that the SADC Protocol Against Corruption must be fully enforced. The protocol notes that the serious magnitude of corruption in the region, its destabilizing effects particularly that it undermines good governance. Deve called for the full enforcement of the Protocol as it provides both preventive and enforcement mechanisms and demonstrates some form of political will in the region to combat corruption.

4. Land Grabbing and Resources Extraction in the Region – Deve noted with concern that the ongoing rush to Southern Africa Land calls for the SADC Governments to act quickly. He expressed the mounting concerns about the increasing enclosure of land to promote largescale investments that seriously affect the fundamental rights of the local population and compromise efforts to achieve food sovereignty. He demanded an immediate moratorium on all large?scale agricultural investments such as the Pro?Savanna project in Mozambique.

He stressed that land grabs are prominent; SADC‘s resources are plundered by northern and southern elites. Multi?nationals from the South are making their mark in the region, operating in the same exploitative manner as their northern counterparts.

5. Lack of Consultation by SADC leaders. ? The presenter stated that the SADC leaders are involved in doggy deals without the consultation of the ordinary people. He stated that agreements such as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAS) have been signed without the clear knowledge of the people. He also stated that SADC leaders are involved in signing borrowing agreements with countries such as China. The borrowing bowls which have been extended mainly to the East, has increased the debt for the already overburdened region.

Deve concluded his presentation by stating that: “A discourse on what SADC should look like must be hinged on how to rebuild states that can restore and uphold rights of citizens and communities to control and access natural resources and basic services. There should be objective proposals on how these states can stop corporatization and privatization of basic services such as health, education, welfare, electricity, housing, water and sanitation, and natural resources such as land, water, forests. SADC states must ensure that multilateral trade agreements are consistent with international human rights commitments and treaty obligations and should under no circumstances enter into bilateral or multilateral trade and investment agreements that grant local and foreign investors rights (including the right to sue the state at international tribunals) without any matching obligations. Enacting and enforcing laws on peoples’ right to information coupled with further expansion of critical political spaces for developing and demonstrating alternatives that restore and uphold rights of citizens and communities is essential.”

By Thomas Deve*, ampoule 9 September 2012

 

SADC heads of states who met in Maputo a few weeks ago were told in no uncertain terms by civil society and social movements that the citizens of region are not happy with the increased incidence of undemocratic governance and impunity of the corporate sector especially in the operations of the extractive industries in southern Africa.

The groups which met in Maputo just two days before most heads of states jetted in, health argued Sadc was no longer pushing for a people-centred development and all the achievements the Summit chronicled annually were just a myth to whitewash the realities of the region’s poor and socially excluded.

Evidence was provided in the form of testimonies from communities and research material that pointed to a region in crisis and urgently in need of salvation given challenges the groups had identified, like climate catastrophe, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, dominance of corporates in the energy sector, extensive land grabbing by corporates and governments collaborating actively with traditional leadership, the subsequent displacement of communities, increasing food insecurity and the irreparable damage to ecosystems.

Over the years, the same groups had been telling Sadc leaders of the dangers arising from growing inequalities, the negative impact of patriarchy, increasing violence against women and children, decline in health and education service provision and standards, deprivation of sustainable livelihoods, continued recolonisation through for example bilateral agreements like the Economic Partnership Agreements and shady deals with the Brics countries.

They added very important issues which the heads of states shy away from but are affecting the ordinary people negatively everyday.

These broadly fall under the continued violations of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, excessive dependency on export oriented economies and finally, the continued dominance of the free market dogma and ascendancy of neo-liberalism.

The more than 250 representatives of grassroots movements, community-based organisations, peasant and small farmers movements, faith-based organisations, women’s organisations, labour, student, youth, economic justice and human rights networks and other social movements who had earlier on gathered at the Mumemo centre, in the Maracuene district of Mozambique under the banner of a People’s Summit, were allowed to march into the capital city of Maputo under police escort to handover their demands to the Sadc executive secretary Tomas Salamao.

The banners they carried and sporadic speeches people made during the march were reminiscent of the anti-colonial struggles where the main actors passionately mobilised people on the basis of emotive issues, wretched conditions they found themselves directly attributed to colonialism and the need to organise against unjust systems.

This is one of the few demonstrations I came across in the region where it was being openly highlighted that Sadc leaders should not forget the values of the liberation movement and anti-colonial struggles which emphasized that a free people should enjoy fully their political, social, economic and cultural rights and an ethical state should guarantee the maximum conditions for this to be realised.

Far from just chronicling the failures of the region’s leadership, the groups spokespersons said Sadc states should deal decisively with systemic issues that have generated inequality and enclaves of progress leaving the majority of women, young people and children in particular to suffer disproportionately in environments where violence against them is becomes the norm rather than the exception.

“We will march all the way to reclaim our freedom and make sure that the majority of people in Sadc enjoy their rights” says Graca Samo of Forum Mulher based in Mozambique.

“If Sadc states are to be genuinely integrated and its communities are united, time has come for the Sadc leadership to go back to the people and be informed by their day to day realities as this is critical in identifying correctly the needs of the social excluded and the marginalised whose voices are not being heard by policy makers and politicians who head governments in Sadc” says Patricia Kasiamhuru from the Southern African People’s Solidarity Network.

Joy Mabenge from Zimbabwe reminded Sadc governments that the people will take over if their needs are not met as was the case when the oppressed in southern Africa committed themselves to the national liberation struggle.

“The people will take over if their human rights are not respected and their resources are continuously mismanaged,” he said.

Farmers from Maracuene and neighbouring rural areas of Maputo highlighted that they were working very hard to feed the nation, but were now perplexed by new developments where land was being given to multinational corporations who pursue profit and not food sovereignty for the people.

This type of land grab is being experienced in Sadc where a number of government policies are pushing for the aggressive expansion of cash crops at the expense of food crops.

“Cash crops divert water and key resources from sustainable development because this is where big corporations dominate sovereign states and agriculture through the provision of seeds and fertilizers,” it was noted.

Sadc leaders were being told in their face that they must listen to the voices of their people.

People did not mince when it came to condemning states that were not meeting people’s needs.

Laurinda Makuyane from the Rural Women’s Forum in Mozambique noted that mothers who strangle or dump their babies are put behind bars and the law is very clear on this, but no one takes similarly harsh steps when states fail and kill their people.

She called on the people to unite and defeat these oppressive governments that behave like monsters who devour their own children.

“Who is arresting these governments? Where is the justice? God is watching us!” she queried and cautioned.

The People’s Summit focussed on the impact of imperial domination in Sadc land rights, extractive industries, energy crisis, lack of access to clean water, quality health and education facilities, women’s rights, the landless, reclaiming people’s sovereignty over resources and finally building a people’s movement for a people’s Sadc.

*Thomas Deve is a dedicated pan Africanist and a renowned social and economic justice activist based in Zimbabwe. Send your comments to Thomasdeve@yahoo.co.uk

 

Source: Daily News Zimbawe

The 2012 SADC People's Summit Report

We the more than 250 representatives of grassroots movements, visit web community-based organizations, visit this peasant and small farmers movements, faith based organizations, women’s organizations, labour, student, youth, economic justice and human rights networks and other social movements met in Mumemo centre, Maracuene, Mozambique, from 15-16 August at the eighth People’s Summit incorporating the People’s Dialogue organized by the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), supported by the local host organizations UNAC, Forum Mulher, JA, Livaningo, Accord and Via Campesina to bring the SADC Community’s attention to challenges that affect our daily lives.

We deliberated on the theme “Reclaiming SADC for People’s Development – A People’ SADC: Myth or Reality?”

Concerned with undemocratic governance, impunity of corporates in Extractive industries, global climate catasrophe, exploitation of natural resources, dominance of corporates in the energy sector, patriarchy, increasing violence against women and children, displacement of communities by corporates with active collaboration of SADC governments, increasing food insecurity, damage to ecosystems, growing inequalities, decline in health and education service provision and standards, deprivation of sustainable livelihoods, extensive land grabbing by corporates and governments collaborating actively with traditional leadership, continued recolonisation through for example bilateral agreements like the Economic Partnership Agreements and shady deals with the BRICS countries; the continued violations of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, excessive dependency on export oriented economies and finally the continued dominance of the free market dogma and ascendancy of neo-liberalism.

Recognising our efforts in the resolution of crisis in the hotspots of the region

We resolve to:

Strengthen campaigns against Free Trade Agreements, privatisation, GMOs, dictatorship, land grabbing, gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination.

And show solidarity with the struggling people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Swaziland

We call on SADC heads of states

  • Urgently dismantle patriarchal systems that aid and abate the discrimination of people using arguments rooted in backward culture and traditions
  • Be Transparent and accountable to the people of SADC in agreements for extractive industries and stop the land deals
  • Develop and enforce policies that protect the rights of women and children
  • Stop the pursuit of neoliberal social and economic policies.
  • Stop the land grabbing and utilise the land and natural resources for the development of the poor and marginalised.
  • Stop the deployment and use of violence to suppress people’s democratic rights
  • To adopt and aggressively implement lasting solutions to the political hot spots and crisis areas of the region without procrastination.
  • Make vigorous efforts to stop the pillaging of the environment
  • Uphold the principle of democratic, free and fair elections in Swaziland
  • Guarantee food sovereignty through agrarian reform and the establishment of indigenous seed banks
  • Be transparent and accountable in investment agreements
  • Embark on a wealth redistribution and transformative agenda through for example the removal of investment incentives and tax holidays for corporations
  • Enhance their capacity to collect taxes from errant corporations whose techniques for tax avoidance are now well documented.
  • Meet people’s needs such access to clean water, health services, education, food and energy rather than investing in mining, fossil fuel based energy and the mega projects that benefit corporations and elites.
  • To reorient infrastructure development for the promotion of regional integration and not designed to ship resources out of SADC to serve the local people
  • Stop the reliance on export-driven extractivism of our natural resources.
  • Promote and support agro-ecological farming.
  • Implement the protocol on the free movement of people in SADC
  • Ensure that SADC national focal points function effectively and serve the people.
  • Mobilise domestic resources and undertake innovative financing to meet budget requirements to meet the Abuja and Maputo declarations respectively
  • Ensure that leaders of nations that have benefitted, or continue to benefit, from a development path based on high greenhouse gas emissions, need to acknowledge and repay ecological debt owed to vulnerable communities and the planet.

THE 2012 SADC PEOPLE’S SUMMIT REPORT
“Reclaiming SADC for People’s Development – A People’s SADC Myth or Reality?”

Table of Contents
About SAPSN
Contextualization
1. Introduction
2. Opening and Introductory Remarks
3. Key Note Addresses: A People’s SADC Myth or Reality
3.1 From Liberation Struggles to the Building of Social Movements in SADC Countries
4. Democracy and Human Rights – Pre Conditions for Credible, Free and Fair Elections
5. Contemporary Politics and Power in Swaziland
6. Trade and Investment – Investment Agreements in SADC as a Vehicle to Facilitate Tax Avoidance
7. Climate Justice Post COP 17 Workshop
8.0 Reflections on the Role of Civil Society in COP 17: Mixed Reactions and Contradictions
9.0 Land Grabs in the SADC Region
9.1 Impact of the Establishment of the Ethanol Plant in Chisumbanje
9.2 Outcomes – Actions for Opposing Land Grabbing
10.  Extractive Industries and Mineral Rights in Southern Africa
10.1 Coal Mining in Mpumalanga – South Africa
10.2 Diamond Mining in Chiadzwa – Zimbabwe
10 .3 Coal Mining in Moatize Tete Province – Mozambique
10.4 Outcomes and Recommendations
11. SADC Focal Points – People’s Perspectives on the Role of SADC National Focal Points
11.1 Historical Analysis of SADC
11.2 CSOs Engagement with SADC
11.3 Role of SADC National Focal Points
12. Summit Declaration
13. Conclusion and Closing Remarks
14. Together We March

 

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT

A People’s SADC Myth or Reality

By Thomas Deve

Summary of Key note speech during SADC People’s Summit in Mozambique (August 2012)

In his Key note address, Thomas Deve delivered a brief but powerful keynote address to the audience gathered at the summit. He outlined the 2012 theme in the context of growing frustration from the citizens on their continued marginalization and exclusion from policymaking and ownership of the regions development agenda by policymakers. He outlined five points which the peoples of the regions would want their SADC to be. Deve highlighted that the envisaged SADC is one in which citizens are given meaningful role and recognition in the region’s decision making.

Deve highlighted the nature of the SADC the peoples of the region want as follows;

1. Respect for Human Rights – Deve stated that the SADC liberators of yesterday have become today’s oppressors. He called on the regional block to ensure that all countries fully respect democratic principles and the rule of law. He further called on the regional bloc to investigate human rights abuses in countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and DRC. Deve urged the SADC leaders to reinstate the original mandate of the SADC Tribunal. He stated that the SADC tribunal is an important institution for the protection and promotion of human rights, “To promote good governance and development, the SADC should protect people’s rights to gather and to speak their minds”

2. Free Movement of Persons in the SADC Region – Deve noted that the SADC we want must ensure the free movement of persons in the region. He highlighted that the right to free movement of persons entails the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality. The right to free movement of persons include: the right to enter the territory of a Partner State without a visa; the right to move freely within the territory of a Partner State; the right to stay in the territory of a Partner State; the right to exit without restrictions; and the right to full protection by the laws of a Partner State. He called on the SADC leaders who have not ratified the SADC Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons in the region to do so as free movement is a right not a privilege. Deve stated that the Free Movement of persons will be the true measure of commitment of SADC, as collective, to developing an integrated region.

3. Corrupt Governments and Civil Servants ????? the presenter highlighted that SADC governments are corrupt; he mentioned that the SADC Protocol Against Corruption must be fully enforced. The protocol notes that the serious magnitude of corruption in the region, its destabilizing effects particularly that it undermines good governance. Deve called for the full enforcement of the Protocol as it provides both preventive and enforcement mechanisms and demonstrates some form of political will in the region to combat corruption.

4. Land Grabbing and Resources Extraction in the Region – Deve noted with concern that the ongoing rush to Southern Africa Land calls for the SADC Governments to act quickly. He expressed the mounting concerns about the increasing enclosure of land to promote largescale investments that seriously affect the fundamental rights of the local population and compromise efforts to achieve food sovereignty. He demanded an immediate moratorium on all large?scale agricultural investments such as the Pro?Savanna project in Mozambique.

He stressed that land grabs are prominent; SADC‘s resources are plundered by northern and southern elites. Multi?nationals from the South are making their mark in the region, operating in the same exploitative manner as their northern counterparts.

5. Lack of Consultation by SADC leaders. ? The presenter stated that the SADC leaders are involved in doggy deals without the consultation of the ordinary people. He stated that agreements such as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAS) have been signed without the clear knowledge of the people. He also stated that SADC leaders are involved in signing borrowing agreements with countries such as China. The borrowing bowls which have been extended mainly to the East, has increased the debt for the already overburdened region.

Deve concluded his presentation by stating that: “A discourse on what SADC should look like must be hinged on how to rebuild states that can restore and uphold rights of citizens and communities to control and access natural resources and basic services. There should be objective proposals on how these states can stop corporatization and privatization of basic services such as health, education, welfare, electricity, housing, water and sanitation, and natural resources such as land, water, forests. SADC states must ensure that multilateral trade agreements are consistent with international human rights commitments and treaty obligations and should under no circumstances enter into bilateral or multilateral trade and investment agreements that grant local and foreign investors rights (including the right to sue the state at international tribunals) without any matching obligations. Enacting and enforcing laws on peoples’ right to information coupled with further expansion of critical political spaces for developing and demonstrating alternatives that restore and uphold rights of citizens and communities is essential.”

Ten years of a contrasted union: The African Union at the crossroads or business as usual?

Author: Ilene Grabel
Working Paper, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, malady
June 2012

Abstract:

The current crisis is proving to be productive of institutional experimentation in the realm of financial architecture(s) in the developing world. The drive toward experimentation arose out of the East Asian financial crisis of 1997?98, which provoked some developing countries to take steps to insulate themselves from future turbulence, IMF sanctions, and intrusions into policy space. I argue that there are diverse, unambiguous indications that the global financial architecture is now evolving in ways that contribute to a new institutional heterogeneity. In some policy and institutional innovations we see the emergence of financial architecture that is far less US- and IMF?centric than has been the norm over the past several decades. Moreover, the growing economic might, self? confidence and assertiveness on the part of policymakers in some developing countries (and, at the same time, the attendant uncertainties surrounding the economies of the USA and Europe) is disrupting the traditional modes of financial governance and dispersing power across the global financial system.

In making these arguments it is important not to overstate the case. It is far too early to be certain that lasting, radical changes in the global financial architecture are afoot, or that the developments now underway are secure. Nor am I arguing that all regions of the developing world either enjoy the opportunity and/or have the means to participate in the process of reshaping the global financial architecture. Rather, my goal is more modest. I show here that today there are numerous opportunities for policy and institutional experimentation, and there are clear signs that these opportunities are being exploited in a variety of distinct ways. As compared to any other moment over the last several decades, we see clear signs of fissures, realignments and institutional changes in the structures of financial governance across the global South. I have elsewhere characterized this current state of affairs as one of “productive incoherence.” I use this term to capture the proliferation of institutional innovations and policy responses that have been given impetus by the crisis, and the ways in which the current crisis has started to erode the stifling neo?liberal consensus that has secured and deepened neo?liberalism across the developing world over the past several decades.

The productive incoherence of the current crisis is apparent in the emergence of a denser, multi-layered and more heterogeneous Southern financial architecture. The current crisis has induced a broadening of the mission and reach of some existing regional, sub?regional, bilateral, and national financial institutions and arrangements, and has stimulated discussions of entirely new arrangements. In some limited cases these institutions and arrangements substitute for the Bretton Woods institutions. This substitution is most pronounced in cases when the Bretton Woods institutions have failed or have been slow to respond to calls for support, or when they have responded to such requests with conditionality that has been overly constraining of national policy space. But in most cases, the institutions and arrangements that I discuss here complement the global financial architecture. I will argue in what follows that recent changes in the Southern financial landscape increase its potential to promote financial stability and resilience, support the development of long-run productive capacities, advance aims consistent with human development, and expand national policy space. Moreover, the emergence of a vibrant Southern financial architecture is not simply additive. Rather it may prove transformative, insofar as the Bretton Woods institutions are pushed to respond to long?standing concerns regarding their legitimacy, governance, and conditionalities.

 

 

Download full report

By Tjiurimo Hengari

 

The 19th summit of the African Union (AU) from 9-16 July in Addis Ababa will in all likelihood not be ordinary, purchase as it will mark a decade since the transformation of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) into the AU in 2002 in Durban, online South Africa. Crucially, ten years on, the July summit theme ‘Boosting Intra-African Trade’ captures a new agenda and the importance of economic growth and trade integration as essential aspects in the continent’s integration in the global economy.

While the OAU manifestly fulfilled its role and historical mandate of decolonisation, the vision and mandate of the AU is largely premised on development, including economic and political integration of the African continent. In light of this developmental premise and emphasis in its Constitutive Act, which entered into force on May 26, 2002, the AU represents a major shift from the legal, political and institutional framework of its predecessor.

With the summit looming, it is fitting to debate and reflect how this organization has fared a decade on, both in light of its promise of new principles, new thinking, including new approaches to African challenges and governance. These principles and approaches seek to capture on a wide continuum, the nexus between democracy, good governance on the one hand, and on the other Africa’s economic development and integration in the global economy.

Looking back: Ten years since the foundation of the AU

Over the past decade, international relations have gone through profound change. The rise of emerging powers, including China and Brazil have led to a momentous shift, creating new opportunities and threats in Africa’s engagement in international affairs. The global economic contraction in Europe, which started with the global financial crisis in late 2007, has altered the traditional relationship Africa had with key western powers. It has opened Africa’s commodity economies to possible shocks, thus forcing African leaders to accelerate trade integration on the continent, while seeking new partnerships in the developing world.    

On governance, it should be mentioned that the majority of Africa’s 54 states are to varying degrees democratic. There have been slow but steady developments with regard to forms and shapes of democratic governance.

The African Union, for instance, has taken an explicit decision not to recognise countries in which civilian governments have been overthrown by a coup d’état. Also, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), flowing out of the New Economic Partnership for Development (NEPAD) has as its explicit rationale the strengthening of democracies and the accountability mechanisms within it. In Côte d’Ivoire, a democratically elected president finally assumed office in 2011 after a decade of political deadlock and civil strive. In one of Africa’s more or less stable democracies, Senegal, a head of state seeking a de facto third term lost an election early this year and accepted defeat graciously.

Significant progress has been made in creating the institutional infrastructure and processes that are necessary for a more efficient African Union. In addition to these, the African Union has been undertaking crucial peacekeeping missions in various parts of Africa, including Burundi, Sudan and Somalia. The modest successes of these missions can be attributed to good foreign policy collaboration and momentum between Africa’s driver countries, including Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria.

However, as the years wore on, this momentum, also visible in the conceptualisation of Nepad and the APRM seems to have been lost. Moreover, the absence of a coherent state-led, but widely accepted AU approach with regard to conflict resolution and management has created a vacuum in what the AU can do as an institution.  

From an institutional viewpoint, relationships and coordinating mechanisms across diverse issue-areas have been built with various international organisations, including the United Nations and the European Union. Moreover, through the African Union, various attempts had been made with regard to streamlining the activities of regional organisations and economic communities in line with the objectives of the African Union.

Even if modest in their successes, interventions and the legitimisation of the AU’s cross-cutting agenda have allowed Africa to focus on the key challenges of governance, education and economic growth. These have without doubt legitimised the AU as the principal interlocutor in African affairs, worth strengthening.

It deserves mention, however, that the AU is still a work in progress and the past decade of its existence did not mask contradictions between what the AU ambitiously purports to be on the one hand, and the structural and institutional impasse in which it finds itself when it comes to achieving Africa’s developmental aims on the other. A continental institution is a sum of its composite parts. Therefore, it can only be efficient if the constituting membership allows it to function in line with its charter – thereby assuming and building its own institutional dynamism and organisational efficiency.

In light of these challenges, the roadmap that emerges out of the upcoming summit in Addis ought to be transformational and should crucially define the aspirations of the African Union for the next ten years. It will be a missed opportunity if it turns out to be just another summit.

Three Areas for Attention

Three aspects ought to enjoy specific attention. First, in line with its theme the summit should put explicit emphasis on the translation of modest democratic governance into concrete developmental deliverables in African countries. Even if economic growth has been positive over the past decade in many countries, this has not put a dent on widespread poverty and underdevelopment. This does suggest new bridges to be built between African driver countries as a means to bring renewed impetus to Africa’s developmental agenda and coordinated engagement with international actors on economic, environmental and social developmental issues.

Second, more attention should be placed than what has been otherwise the case thus far on the strengthening of regional economic communities as essential anchors in matters of peace, security and development. The past ten years have shown that regional organisations are the best platforms to promote peace, security and development.

As a case in point, under difficult circumstances, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had undertaken commendable work in the promotion of peace in that troubled region. The AU should reinforce such successes by playing a facilitator role based on clearly defined values, norms and objectives. For this to happen, the institutional capacity of the African Union should be strengthened, with more powers devolved to the Commission. A strengthened Commission would allow the institution to develop a coercive soft-power role, while giving it a much more active character in the diffusion of agreed continental norms and objectives.

Third, with the anomaly of two candidates, one from a small country, Jean Ping of Gabon and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma from a big country, South Africa contesting the chairmanship of the AU commission, the summit should provide clear guidelines and principles around leadership of the Commission.

Conclusion

In conclusion, vague and ambitious declarations are less likely to create a more solid African Union as a pivot in Africa’s integration in the global economy. Much of what emerges out of Addis depends on how pragmatic and programmatic the vision of the AU is going forward. African leaders should leave the summit with clearly defined, but manageable outcomes, creating a new dynamic that would address Africa’s chronic challenges.

Tjiurimo HENGARI is the Head of the South African Foreign Poliy and African Drivers Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs, based at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

 

Source: SAIIA

A Case for Closer Integration between South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland?

The Asean Civil Society Conference (ACSC) and ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) provide an annual platform – in paralell to ASEAN Heads of State Summit – for civil society groups  from different political, economic and socio-cultural backgrounds to come together to consolidate CSO’s positions on major regional issues and agenda. The first ACSC was organised in 2005 during Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN and has since been held in the Philippines in 2006, sickness Singapore in 2007, Thailand in 2009, Vietnam in 2010, Indonesia in 2011 and Cambodia 2012. Since 2009, it is organised in conjunction with the ASEAN People’s Forum. The next summits in 2013 will be held in Brunei and in 2014 in Myanmar.

Easch Summit released a Statement presenting CSOs positions on a variety of issues of regional concern: 2005 ACSC1 Statement; 2006 ACSC2 Statement; 2007 ACSC3 Statement2009 ACSC4/APF1 Statement, 2009 ACSC5/APF2 Statement;
2010 ACSC6/APF3 Statement; 2011 ACSC7/APF5 Statement2012 ACSC8/APF6 Statement

 

sapa

The Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA) was formally established in 2006. SAPA Membership is on an organisational basis. SAPA Working Group on ASEAN is a loose network of about 80 civil society organizations in Southeast Asia who have been actively engaging ASEAN to influence its public policy and make the regional bloc accountable to the peoples in the region. In 2006, SAPA Working Group on ASEAN made three submissions with recommendations on the ASEAN Charter.

 

The South East Asian Committee for Advocacy is a programme that focuses on advocacy capacity building of civil society organizations (CSOs) in South East Asia. Eight countries in South East Asia are represented in SEACA—Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. SEACA counts among its partners some regional NGO networks based in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Read more at http://seaca.net/

FINAL STATEMENT

OF THE ASEAN PEOPLE’S FORUM VI

We, there more than 700 delegates representing people’s organizations from ASEAN countries gathered together at the 6th ASEAN People’s Forum in Hanoi, shop Vietnam, ed from 24?26 September 2010 under the theme “Solidarity and Action for a People?Oriented ASEAN” have discussed and concluded the following:

We reaffirm the fundamental principles of people?centered sustainable development, democratic governance, human rights, sovereignty of peoples, dignity and the best interests of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the pursuit of economic, social, gender and ecological justice so as to bring peace and prosperity to the Southeast Asian region.

We support the specific objective laid out in the ASEAN Charter of building a people-oriented ASEAN Community. We believe that this process should include:

* Political Security ? ASEAN and its member countries should work collectively to promote effective mechanisms and agreements to maintain peace and security for conflict prevention and the non?violent settlement of disputes. ASEAN and its member countries should also work towards further democratization including free and fair elections, and the promotion and protection of human rights based on international humanitarian and human rights laws and standards and the enhancement of people’s collective rights and participation.

* Economic Development ? ASEAN’s economic integration and cooperation should focus on enhancing mutual assistance, and complementary growth based on the principles of solidarity, equity and environmental sustainability. The ASEAN and its member countries should move away from the flawed neo?liberal economic paradigm and promote and advance alternative democratic economic models to provide equitable, socially and ecologically sustainable development to benefit all its peoples, narrow the gaps of development within and among member countries and ensure economic sovereignty and the interests of the working people and marginalized communities. At the same time, the ASEAN and its member countries must recognize already existing practices of self?sufficiency and sustainable resource management of local communities,

effectively protect environment and address the problem of global climate change and its impacts in the region.

* Environment ? The ASEAN region face urgent multiple environmental crises, including climate change, in large part due to the large?scale “development” projects within the region and the plunder, abuse and destruction of ecological resources that are associated with unsustainable and inequitable economic systems and policies. The ASEAN and its member governments should work together to comprehensively address these environmental crises and ensure that the sustainable use of ecological resources be integral to all economic policies. The ASEAN and its member governments should

actively contribute to global solutions including ensuring that those primarily responsible – governments, corporations and institutions – are held accountable and fulfill their obligations for the restoration of environmental integrity and reparations to those who suffer the consequences of environmental crises.

* Social Protection and Culture ? Everyone in the ASEAN region should be protected and benefit equally and fairly from development and economic growth, especially children, women, migrants, youth, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, religious communities, workers, peasants, fisher folk, refugees, stateless persons and internally displaced peoples, the elderly, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ (lesbians, bisexuals, gay, transgender, intra?sexual and queer), people living with HIV/AIDS and other impoverished, disadvantaged and marginalized communities. The ASEAN and its member countries must focus on poverty elimination, ensuring decent work, the development of public services including quality health care, housing, and education for all with consideration for gender perspectives. ASEAN must also foster the development

of a healthy, empowering, non?discriminatory and humane culture. Social and cultural development must promote equality and people’s participation at every level.

* People’s Participation ? People’s participation is central to democracy and a basic right. While appreciating the lofty goals set out in the ASEAN Charter around building a people?oriented community, we are disappointed and concerned that until date ASEAN has not made significant progress in ensuring increased transparency and access to information and meaningful participation in ASEAN affairs. People’s organizations and civil society organizations and including those of children must be part of the discussion around economic models, social protection, respect for cultures, human rights, the

environment and peace and conflict resolution. We call on the ASEAN to develop mechanisms for the meaningful  engagement of people’s organizations in all ASEAN processes.

We resolve to work together through plans of joint action to:

o Overcome social and cultural barriers, inequalities and differences in order to promote better understanding, friendship, cooperation and people’s integration in the spirit of solidarity and culture of peace among peoples in ASEAN,

o Learn from each other’s experiences and advance common struggles for peace, equitable and sustainable development, for people?centered democracy and human rights and for social justice and progress to actively contribute to the building of a

people?oriented community of ASEAN, 

o Promote our shared principles.

We urge the governments of ASEAN to:

– Give primacy to the protection and full realization of the rights of children, women, migrants, youth, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, religious communities, workers, peasants, fisher folk, refugees, stateless persons and internally  displaced peoples, the elderly, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ (lesbians, bisexuals, gay, transgender, intra?sexual and queer), people living with HIV/AIDS, victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin and other impoverished, disadvantaged and marginalized communities as a key goal of the ASEAN integration process.

– Adopt and implement a Fourth Strategic Pillar on the Environment in order to effectively address all environmental  problems especially those caused by transboundary policies and projects, and urgently respond to the climate crisis

– Heed the recommendations of the People’s Forum and promote concrete policies and programs designed to advance human rights, economic and environmental justice and social security, and to do so through mechanisms promoting for people’s participation in the process of building ASEAN into a multi?dimensional community;

–  Form, at the soonest, an effective mechanism for dialogue, coordination and cooperation between people’s organizations and official channels in the region, including through ASEAN Secretariat itself.

– Accelerate the implementation of the functions of the newly?established AICHR and ACWC to operate effectively and in a way that is responsive to the needs of people in the region; and 

– Support the ASEAN people’s programs of action, measures aimed at developing communication, interaction and cooperation among ASEAN people’s organizations.

We call upon ASEAN and its member governments to undertake the following:

1. Poverty is a serious problem in Southeast Asia. It is the result of decades of war, structural inequalities, inappropriate and ineffective programs, and trade and development policies that benefit elites rather than the needs of poor communities. The ASEAN and its member governments should undertake basic economic and social reforms and cease liberalization,

budget austerity measures and other policies that contribute to impoverishment. ASEAN member governments should also learn from countries in the region that have followed diverse models and made significant steps to eliminate poverty

2. Agriculture is way of life for the majority of people in the region. We call on the ASEAN and member governments to invest in a new model of sustainable agriculture that should include support for agrarian reform, small farmers, women, recognition of the traditional occupations of indigenous peoples and respect for the environment. Given the diverse

nature of farmers in the region, ASEAN governments should promote and prioritize an investment model that includes financing for cooperatives, fair trade and scaling up best practices from the community level. We call on the ASEAN to establish a regional agriculture policy in line with the above,

3. Economic integration based on Free Trade Agreements has had serious effects on livelihoods of different sectors of the society including farmers, workers and women. The ASEAN and its member governments should promote alternative investment, trade, finance and development policies that put people first and strengthen domestic economies. The

review of all free trade agreements that have disproportionately benefited the rich and multi?national companies at the expense of poor and marginalized communities is an important step towards a new economic model based on people’s basic rights and interests.

Such a process should be transparent and inclusive, involve the active participation of all stakeholders, especially poor and marginalized communities. It should take place at the national and regional levels.

4. The ASEAN and member governments should mobilize finance to eliminate poverty without exacerbating the debt burden and implement economic policies that build the domestic financial capacity of member countries. ASEAN member states should implement official audit of public debt. Debts found to be illegitimate should be repudiated to free up

fiscal space for much needed social and development infrastructure. The Member states should refuse the attachment of conditions to loans and grants – including those imposed by the IMF, World Bank, ADB and other international financial institutions. ASEAN countries should implement macro?economic policies that will promote sustainable growth and

people?centered development through open, transparent and participatory decision?making processes. The ASEAN should set up a mechanism to help member countries eliminate their debt burdens.

5. Natural resources are public goods. The ASEAN and its member governments should ensure:

– That ecological resources of the region remain under the control of and be used for the equitable benefit of the peoples of Southeast Asia. 

– The extraction and the use of natural resources should be carried out in a transparent, accountable, ecologically sustainable and gender?fair manner, should genuinely contribute to poverty elimination, should not violate human rights nor harm lives and livelihoods 

– The protection of the rich biodiversity in the region without compromising the traditional livelihoods of local communities.

The ASEAN and its member states should recognize the human right to water and that water is a part of the commons. It should ensure that all citizens have adequate and clean water needed to sustain life and that water services remain in public hands. ASEAN and its member states should promote safe, clean and sustainable energy and address the challenges associated with the climate crisis.

6. The climate crisis is a grave threat to the ASEAN region. ASEAN countries should act as a bloc to demand that Annex 1 countries drastically reduce carbon emissions and provide condition?free non?debt creating financing for adaptation and sustainable development as part of reparations for climate debt owed to the Global South. Countries should also prepare

for the ecological effects of climate change and ensure the participation of vulnerable communities in this project. Mitigation and adaptation strategies should not exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and inequalities.

7. ASEAN governments should guarantee the right to formal and informal education for all including early childhood education and bilingual education, especially for the disadvantaged people such as indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities women and girls, persons with disabilities and those coming from remote and distant areas. In order to deliver on this commitment principle, governments must spend 6% of GNP on the improvement of access to quality and relevant education, stop the privatization of education and other policies that risk rationing educational services based on who can afford

to pay. Without delay, ASEAN must implement its 10 point Agenda to Reach the Unreached. 

8. ASEAN governments should ensure universal access to health services, including the fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health needs and addressing sexually?transmitted diseases. Member countries of the ASEAN must respond to health problems, which are otherwise preventable but are still causing alarming mortality rates especially among impoverished and vulnerable populations. For example, more effective means must be undertaken to accelerate reduction in the maternal mortality ratio. For more effective health?related interventions, the ASEAN should encourage member states to adopt clear, adequately funded, non?discriminatory and equitable policies and programs of implementation. Necessarily, the governments would have to ensure inputs especially from high?risk communities and be guided by data disaggregated for sex, ethnicity, age and other relevant parameters.

9. The ASEAN should promote cooperation among member states to urgently address the issue of HIV/AIDS in the region. Different interventions are needed to respond to different country situations, but there is agreement on the need for prevention. Since HIV/AIDS recognizes no boundaries, action must be taken across countries to immediately start

and/or sustain preventive and curative actions including providing access to affordable and quality medicines. ASEAN must also urge all member states to enact laws that will eliminate all forms of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

10. As articulated in the Charter, respect for human rights and democracy should be a key part of the ASEAN community. All countries should have national human rights institutions to independently monitor and improve the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The AICHR, ACWC and ACMW should be part of this process. In this regard the ACWC must be convened at the soonest possible time and towards this we urge the Philippine government to immediately select a representative through a transparent and inclusive process. Countries should also be encouraged to move towards systems of government that include checks and balances as well as free and fair elections to prevent abuses of power and human rights violations. The ASEAN should urge all member states to ratify and implement and enforce all international human rights treaties and agreements.

The ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights must undergo consultations with the peoples of the ASEAN, conform with international human rights standards and be adopted by the ASEAN Ministerial meeting.

11. Children and young people make up the majority of the population of Southeast Asia. The ASEAN governments should fulfill their obligations under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and other human rights for all children within and across their borders regardless of national and legal status. We urge the governments of the ASEAN to coordinate efforts at national and regional levels top address cross?border issues such as trafficking, migration, emergencies, violence and armed conflicts and ensure the inclusion of children, especially marginalized children in processes that affect them.

12. ASEAN member states must allocate resources to ensure promotion and protection of all human rights of women in Southeast Asia, especially the marginalized groups, and end discriminatory practices, policies and laws to advance substantive equality in Southeast Asia. Trafficking of persons and especially of women and children must be stopped in the

ASEAN by adopting a legally binding instrument through a rights?based and victim?centered approach. The region must ensure meaningful and substantive participation and representation of women in all its processes and structures.

13. The ASEAN and its member governments should ensure protection, promotion, and the realization of the rights of all workers including migrant workers. Towards these, all ASEAN member countries should:

– Adopt the ASEAN Social Charter and implement the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the rights of migrant workers (ADMW).

– Amend labor laws regulating recruiting agencies.

– Harmonize their labor laws in line with the ILO Fundamental principles and rights at work (C.87 and 98 the right to organize), the ADMW, and relevant ILO conventions 97 and 143, on Temporary Work, Home Workers Convention and other related Conventions.

– Push for the Convention on Domestic Workers.

– Ensure that ASEAN Instruments on the protection and promotion of the rights of all migrant workers are legally binding, and hold accountable those in both private and public sectors who violate these laws; adopt a policy to liberalize labor migration so that ASEAN nationals can move with dignity, especially migrant workers.

– Give adequate protection, fair wages and access to decent living and working conditions to all workers, including migrant workers, and workers in informal sectors

14. Artisanal and traditional fishers play a key role in managing coastal and inland ter resources and provide a substantial portion of food in the ASEAN region, but their specific needs, concerns and rights are often ignored. The ASEAN must protect fisher people from unsustainable forms of commercial fishing, and the impact of large development projects

such as the construction of the hydropower dams in the Mekong river and coastal industrialization projects. The ASEAN must play a role in peacefully resolving border and trans?boundary conflicts in coastal zones, as referred to in the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.

15. The ASEAN must recognize, respect and ensure the full realization of the collective rights of the indigenous peoples and marginalized ethnic minorities over their land territories and resources which include the implementation of the safeguard provision for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of affected communities in all projects and programs. The ASEAN

should establish an independent working group and monitoring mechanism within AICHR promoting and ensuring the protection of Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities rights, with their effective participation.

16. The rights of people with disabilities including the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin and unexploded ordinance and other marginalized communities should be prioritized and mainstreamed in the ASEAN community. The ASEAN and its members should ratify and/or implement all related UN treaties and protocols and instruments. Mechanisms should be put

in place at the local, national and regional levels to ensure that their voices are heard, that their rights are recognized and protected across the region, that decisions are made with their active participation.

17. All ASEAN states should be encouraged to sign, ratify and implement the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. This would include implementing domestic legislation and policies such as respecting the principle of non?refoulement (no

forcible repatriation), giving all refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons the same rights as citizens, and ensuring that they be provided with employment, universal birth registration, health care and education. The ASEAN should create a regional mechanism to support the rights of refugees and stateless people. The rights of refugees and stateless persons should be explicitly included in the mandate of the AICHR and safeguarded in the proposed ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights.

We welcome and appreciate the participation of ASEAN Secretariat in the Forum and express our sincere thanks to the Vietnamese organizing committee, the host government, and the Vietnamese people for the extended hospitality and facilitation of this ASEAN People’s Forum. We congratulate Hanoi on the celebration of its Millennium Anniversary.

By Glenn Ashton

South Africa looms large in the affairs of the Kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho, the local geo-political giant. Economically, view each receives disproportionate amounts of their annual GDP directly from South Africa. Each is profoundly reliant on their powerful neighbour for the supply of food, help fuel, goods and services and linking infrastructure to the world.

Given the vision of an African Union and increasing rapprochement between the members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) it is perhaps a good time to consider the closer integration of two smallest regional nations with their dominant neighbour.

Swaziland and Lesotho each have proud histories, initially for their wily opposition to both Boer and Brit. They managed to play one foe off against the other in order to survive as later bulwarks against apartheid. They each paid heavily for assisting the struggle against the racist South African regime.

Ironically the apartheid government was legally obliged to continue supporting them financially through the historical 1910 Southern African Customs Union (SACU) agreement. This obliges South Africa to pay the smaller, landlocked states a disproportionate amount of the total income earned through collection of customs and excise revenue.

Around 95% of that amount originates from South Africa but under the terms of the SACU agreement, it retains less than 50% after distribution to the SACU partners; Lesotho and Swaziland as well as Botswana and Namibia. In this way the funds from SACU provide around 60% of total revenue of both Lesotho and Swaziland, indicating how critical this income is to their economic viability.

The relationships between Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa were close enough to consider dissolving borders in the past – the primary stumbling block was the racist nature of South Africa’s government. Because of this, Britain, the colonial power, along with the leadership of those nations, was leery of integration. Accordingly they gained full independence.

It is notable that neither Lesotho nor Swaziland contain the entire population of either the amaSwati or abaSotho nations. This is particularly so in the case of Lesotho, with baSotho people surrounding Lesotho, from the borderlands of the Eastern Cape, through the Orange Free State and up into Gauteng. The political borders remain colonial era artefacts, influenced more by geography and historical pragmatism than by the locations of clan, culture and tribe.

The linguistic boundaries are far more indicative of cultural affiliations. SeSotho is estimated to be spoken by 3.5 million South Africans, against around 2 million speakers inside Lesotho. SiSwati is spoken by over a million South Africans, slightly fewer in Swaziland. These numbers illustrated the extensive overlaps of cultural roots across national boundaries.

It is equally notable that Swaziland and Lesotho collectively account for more than 35% of South African tourism numbers. It is absurd to presume that these two nations provide more than a third of what are conventionally considered to be tourists. Lesotho provides around 2.5 million visits per year, from a total population of 2.2 million. Swaziland provides 1.2 million visits from 1.2 million residents.

This is clearly not tourism but something else entirely. Lesotho, with a per capita GDP of just over R8000, is not so much providing 2.5 tourists but rather visitors who travel to trade, visit family and clans, to work and yes, occasionally to just visit. How many residents of Maseru pop across the border to shop in Ladybrand on a Saturday morning? Can we consider these to be tourists? The situation in Swaziland is similar.

The only reason that there are any borders separating Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa is to tally the value of trans-border trade, itself a vain hope. But because these figures are directly relevant to estimating income distribution from within the SACU pool, the borders remain. Without the SACU income, Lesotho and Swaziland would rapidly tend toward failed states. Neither is independently economically viable.

Another commonality is that Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa – as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia – share a common legal history, founded on Roman-Dutch Law, influenced by English and indigenous African law. Judge Schreiner of the Lesotho High Court once referred to these countries as ‘The Southern African Law Association’, given the practice of referring to cross-border case law and the potential for future legal harmonisation. This places this region in a better position than even the EU, which has struggled to harmonise far more diverse legal systems than those of Southern Africa.

While Lesotho is deeply reliant on South Africa, the reverse is increasingly so. The implementation and construction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) over the past 25 years has seen a mutual agreement to utilise Lesotho’s water resources to supply the sub-continent’s economic engine room, the water-stressed Gauteng region.

The LHWP is one of the world’s largest inter-basin water transfer schemes and has the potential to expand for several more decades. Lesotho is also considering the potential of building pumped storage hydro-electric schemes, to sell green power to the economic giant on its doorstep. This could also be used to store off peak, excess renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

Given the intimacy of the relationship between South Africa and its two smallest neighbours, it appears sensible to explore closer rapprochement between the three nations. While the grand schemes of the African Union are fine and well, imminent resolution to the complexities inherent in creating such a union appear unlikely.

Surely it is far more sensible to start small and build on that, rather than start big and work down? If we can, for instance, demonstrate that it is possible to build a working model of, say a Southern African Union, starting with South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, then it may be more feasible to build on the successes and broaden the concept to other neighbours.

One way to kick off the process would be to permit the free movement of people between these nations. The only complication is that the eastern border of Swaziland, which abuts Mozambique, could be leaky. Yet reduced demands on border policing elsewhere would enable sufficient resources to be re-allocated.
Given that there is already an almost unregulated movement of people between these nations, in the guise of tourism, it appears illogical to not normalise this reality. This could echo the free movement ordained by the EU Schengen agreement.

The movement of goods is equally easily managed – most goods are transported by truck. Again, reallocating resources by formalising open borders would facilitate this shift of priorities, which could in time be scaled down. The present costs of administering this complex border control are unjustifiable and simple cross-subsidisation agreements could readily replace the complex SACU formulas. Closer economic integration would reduce these high administrative costs and liberate resources better employed elsewhere.

The most prickly aspects will certainly relate to the facets of nationalism and self-government.  Swaziland probably presents the greater challenge, given the oppressive control of conservative monarchism there. However the uncomfortable reality is that this faction is rapidly shifting Swaziland toward classification as an economic basket case. Sooner or later South Africa will have to bail out this politically backward monarchy. Swaziland has already burned its bridges with pretty much any other lender of note. It is running out of options and space to negotiate.

Opening up Swaziland to broader economic inclusion within new political and economic alliances is an obvious and overdue solution. Perhaps diplomats are already thinking along these lines. It is difficult to imagine another coherent reason for South Africa’s continued generosity toward the monarchy.

Lesotho has always exhibited a more politically and economically pragmatic stance, primarily through recognition of its peculiar circumstances. It closely co-operated with the apartheid government and international agencies to develop the LHWP. It re-negotiated the SACU agreement and has maintained co-operation with the Southern African common monetary area. While Lesotho has never been nominally colonised – it was only a protectorate – the reality is that it remains intimately interdependent with its regional superpower neighbour.

While a gradual political assimilation of Swaziland and Lesotho may not be immediately possible, it would be unwise not to explore a closer rapprochement and relationship than presently exists. Surely it makes far more sense to build an African Union from the bottom up, rather than from the top down?

The real question is whether the present South African government is either able or adept enough to manage such delicate negotiations. Given the internecine rivalry within the ruling ANC on the one hand, and the singular lack of vision of its nominally leftist partners on the other, a broader, strategic inertia seems to paralyse national leadership. Little or nothing is going to happen before the inevitable machiavellian Mangaung manoeuvres. Our government certainly does not seem about to suddenly project visionary or decisive regional or pan-African leadership.

In this regard, the present ANC leadership almost makes one miss Thabo Mbeki. Despite his shortcomings, Mbeki certainly projected a broader Africanist vision, while the present leadership has remained fixated on political succession and intrigue. It may even be sensible to pull Mbeki out of the shadows and appoint him to manage the closer integration of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Any regional integration cannot be built in the image of South Africa as the regional bully, seeking to usurp the crown from its two neighbouring kingdoms. Rather South Africa should build on its strong, existing relationships with these nation states, recognising the strength of each. Surely this is an overdue dialogue?

Ashton is a writer and researcher working in civil society. Some of his work can be viewed at www.ekogaia.org.

 

Source: The South African Civil Society Information Service


Video Documentary "Global Crises, Regional Solutions"

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

Gonzalo Berrón.

Haga click aqui para ver la entrevista realizada por el Centro de Investigaciones para el desarrollo (CID) con Gonzalo Berrón, remedy investigador del FES, pills y al profesor Carlos Martínez, try investigador en economía de la UN, para hablar sobre integración regional en America Latina.

 

Haga click aqui para ver la entrevista realizada por el Centro de Investigaciones para el desarrollo (CID) con Gonzalo Berrón, try investigador del FES, and y al profesor Carlos Martínez, investigador en economía de la UN, para hablar sobre integración regional en America Latina.

 

Can regional integration offer a way out of the current economic, patient climate, food and energy crises? In this video documentary, activists from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe* argue that regional integration is the only viable response to these crises.

 CHAPTERS
1 – Why are the regions relevant in a context of global crises?
* No country can face the crises on its own
* Regional Integration: Breaking the dependence from global markets
* Alternative Regional integration: towards a different development model
* People-Centred regional integration: much more than economic cooperation
2 – What issues are best dealt with at regional level?
3 –Reclaiming the regions: the role of social actors


 To be able to jump from chapter to chapter and to follow interactive transcript (), watch the video in youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvB7c7X5qUc

 

Video Documentary | 26 minutes | April 2012

Produced by: Transnational Institute, in cooperation with Focus on the Global South and Hemispheric Social Alliance. This video is part of the Initiative People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR)

Interviews and Script: Cecilia Olivet

Video editing and animations: Ricardo Santos

 

If you liked the video, please share with others! 

If you would like to order a free copy or copies, contact ceciliaolivet@tni.org


* LIST OF ACTIVISTS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE VIDEO

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, The Netherlands), Charles Santiago (Member of Parliament, Malaysia), Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal), Dot Keet (South Africa), Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay), Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia), Francisca Rodríguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile), Gonzalo Berron (Confederación Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil), Graciela Rodríguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil), Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, México), Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper/TNI, UK), Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina), Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe), Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina), Marika Frangakis (Nicos Poulantzas Institute and EuroMemo Group, Greece), Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India), Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil), Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay), Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay), Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable, Argentina), Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia), Ranga Machemedze (SEATINI, Zimbawe), Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay), Tetteh Hormeku  (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana), Thomas Wallgren (Philosopher/Social Activist, Finland), Walden Bello (Member of Parliament, Philippines), Yap Swee Seng (FORUM-ASIA, Thailand)

Book: Civil Society and International Governance

The Role of Non-State Actors in the EU, health Africa, Asia and Middle East
Edited by David Armstrong, Valeria Bello, Julie Gilson, Debora Spini
Published 29th October 2010 by Routledge – 224 pages

Series: Routledge/GARNET series

Civil Society and International Governance critically analyses the increasing impact of nongovernmental organisations and civil society on global and regional governance. Written from the standpoint of advocates of civil society and addressing the role of civil society in relation to the UN, the IMF, the G8 and the WTO, this volume assess the role of various non-state actors from three perspectives: theoretical aspects, civil society interaction with the European Union and civil society and regional governance outside Europe, specifically Africa, East Asia and the Middle East. It demonstrates that civil society’s role has been more complex than one defined in terms, essentially, of resistance and includes actual participation in governance as well as multi-facetted contributions to legitimising and democratising global and regional governance.


CONTENT:

1. Introduction David Armstrong and Julie Gilson

Part 1: Theory

2. Civil Society and the Democratisation of Global Public Space Debora Spini

3. Collective and Social Identity: A Theoretical Analysis of the Role of Civil Society in the Construction of Supra-National Societies Valeria Bello

4. Organized Civil Society and Political Representation in the EU Arena Carlo Ruzza

Part 2: The European Union

5. Europeanization of Non-State Actors: Towards a Framework for Analysis Karolina Boro?ska-Hryniewiecka

6. Between Localisation and Europeanisation: Non-Governmental Organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina Erica Panighello

7. European Integration, Cross-Border Cooperation and Third-Sector Mobilizations in the Basque Country Xabier Itçaina

Part 3: Civil Society Outside Europe

8. Governance and Non-Governmental Organisations in East Asia: Building Region-Wide Coalitions Julie Gilson

9. Civil Society and Regional Governance in Eastern and Southern Africa Andréas Godsäter and Frederik Söderbaum

10. The Role of Civil Society in Regional Governance in the Middle East Michael Shulz

11. Transnational Labour Mobilization in the Americas Marcelo Saguier


Reclaim Control over EPA Talks

By Servaas van den Bosch

WINDHOEK, sovaldi sale Mar 29, click 2010 (IPS) – Southern African governments must regain control over the negotiations on the trade deals known as economic partnership agreements (EPAs). Issues earmarked as deal-breakers should be resolved before talks to a full EPA are continued. These include limiting the EPA to a goods-only agreement and the EU dropping its demand for reciprocity.

These demands emanate from a public meeting of the Southern Africa People?s Solidarity Network (SASPN) and the Southern African Christian Intiative (SACHI) held on Mar 24 and 25 in the Namibian capital.

SACHI is a non-denominational Christian non-governmental organisation (NGO) that strives towards “empowering leaders to become vibrant and transparent citizens, buy promotes Christian moral values and its obligations, and actively engages in the democratic process in Southern African region”.

SASPN was started in 1999 by civil society groups that believe the struggle for economic, environmental, social and political justice, including for people?s participation in decision-making, continues after the fall of apartheid. In this vein activists from nine African countries, representing three EPA negotiating blocs, adopted a statement against the EPAs at the meeting.

“If we open up the services sectors like the EU wants, European companies with a huge competitive advantage have unlimited access to our water, electricity or telecommunications sectors while we have no regulations in place,” said Rangarirai Machemedze, deputy director of the Harare-based Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), a member of SAPSN.

African countries should diversify their trade options; and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Customs Union should advance much more decisively with regional economic integration, declared Dot Keet, trade activist and research associate at the Alternative Information and Development Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, another SAPSN member.

Part of this, according to Machemedze, is the development of domestic regulatory frameworks before embarking on trade deals that require opening of markets.

“The EPAs in their current form will not in any way help develop the economies of Africa,” Machemedze argued.

“While the developed world sees trade as an end in itself, for us trade is a means to an end. This end is development. Currently maybe five African countries are able to produce goods, add value to products and sell these internationally. Other countries are unable to do this, because of poor infrastructure, limited production capacity and a lack of investment in research and development.

“So how can Africa effectively compete with the EU on a basis of supposed equality?” Machemedze asked.

Dakarayi Matanga, SAPSN secretary general, added that, “reciprocity in trade in this case actually means ?the winner takes all?. The countries that dominated global trade in the past will continue to do so. But Africa deserves the opportunity to protect its markets. No country has been able to develop its economy without protection.”

The principle of reciprocity in the EPA ? insisted on by the EU – is laughable, according to Keet. “One of the biggest myths in the EPA negotiations is that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) demands reciprocity in the EPA. The Europeans give non-reciprocal access to their markets all the time, most recently to the Balkan states, without this leading to a challenge at the WTO.

Brussels? insistence on reciprocity and on the controversial most favoured nation-clause that automatically extends preferential trade agreements with third countries to the EU are, in her opinion, driven by a desperate need of the Europeans to access new markets.

“It is a complete inversion of reality that the EPAs would be in our interests. The Euro-global strategy set out by Brussels is directly aimed at ensuring market access for European producers who are under immense pressure from emerging countries (such as China, India and Brazil).

“This is why it is important for Europe to re-assert its dominance over Africa. The European Commission deliberately exploits existing tensions and encourages particular interests, such as those of the cut flower industry in Kenya.”

EPA critics in SAPSN point out that the interests of Kenyan flower producers gave the decisive push for the East African Community (EAC) to sign the controversial trade agreement. “But obviously there are many more interests in that region that should have been taken into account,” Keet pointed out.

“How does it help your food security if you stop growing crops and start growing flowers for export?” added Matanga.

The EU is playing a game of stick and carrot, according to the civil society groups? analysis. “They refuse to discuss the wider economic context, such as Europe?s own agricultural subsidies that are very hard to compete with,” Matanga commented.

Poor countries are being blocked through WTO rules to pay subsidies to their farmers and, even if they were allowed, they would not be able to spend 365 billion dollars on such subsidies, as rich countries did in 2007.

Matanga further argued that the EU uses development aid as a “sweetener” to open up markets.

Said Keet, “we understand the desperation of countries like Mozambique that are almost fully dependent on aid. Zimbabwe just signed the EPA, basically giving away its infant industry protection simply as a public relations exercise with the EU. Still, there are countries like Namibia, Malawi and Zambia that have taken a stance and said they will not sign unless some conditions are met.”

Meanwhile the EPAs hinder the project of regional economic integration in SADC by dividing the region into separate EPA negotiating blocs. “Zambia and Zimbabwe have been swayed to negotiate under the East and Southern African (ESA) EPA configuration,” explained Machemedze. “This is an obscure grouping that doesn?t even exist in terms of current regional structures.”

Matanga added: “We are being balkanised. Through the EPAs the EU promotes a neoliberal agenda that divides us. Instead of talking about real fair trade, the fast-track opening of markets threatens the livelihoods of small producers and farmers in Southern Africa.” (END)

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50820