Rise of Western nationalism pushing African states to co-operate
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