Rise of Western na­tion­al­ism push­ing African states to co-op­er­ate

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

ADDIS ABABA: African lead­ers have been told that re­mov­ing trade bar­ri­ers and al­low­ing the free move­ment of goods and peo­ple were a “mat­ter of life and death” for the con­ti­nent.

An­thony Mothae Marup­ing, the AU com­mis­sioner for eco­nomic af­fairs, said events in other parts of the world had left Africa’s 54 coun­tries with no al­ter­na­tive but to in­te­grate to at­tract in­vest­ment.

Marup­ing said the free move­ment of goods and peo­ple on the con­ti­nent had be­come an in­te­gral part of its sur­vival, which was in line with the AU ob­jec­tives in its Agenda 2063 de­vel­op­ment.

He said the 50-year plan was full­steam ahead and at least 32 coun­tries had al­ready lo­calised it and were par­tic­i­pat­ing in its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

The de­vel­op­ment was part of ef­forts by the AU to counter neg­a­tive ef­fects of ris­ing na­tion­al­ism among de­vel­oped coun­tries.

Marup­ing ex­plained the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would likely see US poli­cies shift to­wards na­tion­al­ism with an in­ward fo­cus. Na­tion­al­ism was also ris­ing in Europe – leav­ing lit­tle scope for as­sis­tance for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

“The in­ter­face with the de­vel­oped world will change,” he said. Be­cause of these de­vel­op­ments, Africa “must trans­form or drown”.

Africa needed to re-en­gi­neer the economies of in­di­vid­ual coun­tries to form an in­te­grated mar­ket, Marup­ing said.

“To achieve this, it is nec­es­sary to strengthen pro­duc­tive ca­pac­i­ties and en­sure raised pro­duc­tiv­ity. Com­pet­i­tive­ness has to be im­proved to elicit sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased in­vest­ment. Di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in all sec­tors and value ad­di­tion and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion will need to be in­ten­si­fied,” he added.

Marup­ing said that to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063, all hu­man re­sources at the dis­posal of so­ci­ety would have to be fully in­volved in pro­duc­tion.

“Women em­pow­er­ment has to be ac­cel­er­ated, en­gage­ment of youth in eco­nomic and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties has to be in­sured. In­clu­sion of peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties has to be ex­pe­dited,” he said.

Africa has a pop­u­la­tion of more than one bil­lion and has one sixth of the world’s arable land.

The AU com­mis­sioner for trade and in­dus­try, Fa­tima Haram Acyl, said the con­ti­nent needed to set its agenda and take responsibility for its own de­vel­op­ment.

She said the mind-set needed to change from think­ing as in­di­vid­ual coun­tries to that of “Pan African”. – ANA

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