What is the significant of this summit? Dec. 5, 2007
African Union leaders are gearing up for the forth coming summit with their European counterparts (European Union) in Lisbon Portugal on 8-9 Dec.2007. This is not the first time summit has been held between Europeans and Africans. Now and then summits were held for Africa even in their absence. Berlin conference of 1884 was a prime example of a summit on Africa in which Africans were not invited, its ramification has not been totally addressed. This December summit is billed as a mutual advantage conference, where leaders with mutual interests will sit down and exchange ideas and views on advancing the interests of both parties. Well, this is good thing for all the parties involved.
Cost of time and money What is the significant of this summit? How will it make Africa better? What does it mean to an average African? These are important questions that African leaders must ask, before the commencement of this meeting. When answers are affirmative, they can strategies and formulate the requisite methodology to accomplish their targeted goals. Scare resources and time must expended for this summit, African leaders have to pay their ways to Lisbon for the meeting. European Unions are calling the meeting, they should underwrite the travel expenses of the African leaders because they have more resources and the meeting is more important to them. After all, the African soil contain all the resources including oil, forestry, precious metals and minerals they are scrambling for their industries. EU must remember that America, China, India and many others are jockeying for a piece of action in Africa – to power their burgeoning cities and manufacturing sectors.
African leaders could utilize this summit to convey to an average African, they are serious about Africa. Yes, the average African, is one person everybody talks about but nobody really wants to help. The average African lives in the remote part of the continent, surviving with less than $2 a day. He and his family are without social amenities – no good drinking water, poor health facilities and without electric power supply. Most of all, no jobs and no opportunities to improve his livelihood.
Beyond diplomatic niceties
Arican leaders have to be straight forward with their European counterparts, if possible shun the diplomatic shenanigans and tell them precisely what they want without beating around the bush. Being undiplomatic might be what can help the average African when their leaders speak up boldly on their behalf.
More broken promises This summit cannot offer basket of pledges to Africans in the pretense that they are aiding them.
Africans are tired of promises that never come to fruition. The former Prime minister of Britain lunched African Commission and the commission came up with a 469 page Report on how to solve Africa unending problems. One thing is for sure, the average African have not witnessed any change in his life or environment since then. The statics of human suffering index in the continent has not changed.
* Six thousand deaths of AIDS daily
* 300 millions lacking safe drinking water
* 3000 deaths daily from malaria for children under 5 years
Then comes the NEPAD – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) which was supposed to be the VISION and STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR AFRICA’s RENEWAL .
Europeans endorsed NEPAD and on paper it looks promising but in reality, no significant result has been noticed in the lives of the average African.
Agenda for the meeting The summit must tackle problems that are pressing to Africans including: African Migrants in Europe. The migrant labor must be treated in decent and respectful manner. African Union leaders and their European Union counterparts must come together and strongly dialogue on this perilous issue. The brain drain in Africa due to exodus of the educated class and the immigration issues must be broaden to connote the Human Rights and Economic Rights of the illegal and the undocumented migrants in Europe. Spain and Europe are right to protect their borders, but at same token, the illegal migrants have rights too and must be treated in a civilized manner with decency and decorum. There must be a balance and respect on both sides.
Removing agricultural subsidies For African farmers to have fair chance of competing in the global market, EU must remove the subsidies given to their farmers. If not, they should devise the means to compensate African farmers directly. The short term trade deals must be out rightly rejected and shunned by African leaders. The so-called ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS (EPAs) must be replaced with long term and comprehensive trade negotiations. A negotiation devoid of coercion and intimidation must be the bedrock of the summit.
Total cancellation of African debts African governments have to be relieve of all the foreign debts. The endless payments have to cease, so is to the perpetual bondage associated with the debts. The borrowed principal of the loans have already been paid by African states, yet the interest continues to accrue at a whopping rate. The repatriation of ill-gotten wealth and the corrupt-tainted funds in European banks and the stolen artifacts that belong to Africa must be returned.In practical terms, African leaders have to negotiate from strength. Their strengths will emanate from good governance, respect for human rights, transparency and probity in their financial dealings and undertakings. These leaders must demonstrate to their fellow Africans and EU counterparts that they are ready to stand up for Africa in Lisbon or anywhere for that matter.