The future of Africa - ambitious projects and free trade axis of the Niger Summit Politics and Economy -

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Sustainable development for Africa is the plan of the African Union, whose leaders are holding a summit in Niamey, Niger. On the agenda of this summit is the 2063 Agenda, Africa's Master Plan for Accelerating the Development and Economic Growth of the Continent. The agenda includes 14 initiatives in the fields of infrastructure, education, science and technology, culture and peacekeeping under the slogan "Africa we want." But for a long time things have not been going as planned.

For example, Initiative No. 5, of a full ceasefire in Africa. The African Union has set this target for 2020, next year. We are almost in 2020, and weapons are still there, "said Desou Marissa, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Addis Ababa. But the ceasefire in Africa is part of the agenda. "It was therefore difficult to identify individual successes on the 2063 agenda. The failure of a project can automatically affect the success of other projects."

"If a large part of the continent is submerged, the successful implementation of the agenda will be difficult," Togo's political expert Desiree Asogpavi said in an interview with -.

Angola Soldat (Getty Images / AFP / P. Guyot)

A full ceasefire in Africa is part of the 2063 agenda

The FTA requires freedom of movement

But is the AU going ahead with its projects? Such as the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) project, which aims to promote intra-African trade and thereby improve the continent's economic situation in the global market. The Convention entered into force on 30 May 2019 for the 24 States that have ratified it. If all African countries join, AFCFTA could become the largest free trade area in the world, with total economic output exceeding $ 3 trillion and over 1.5 billion consumers. But this project is still on paper.

"This meeting is about the entry into force of the African Free Trade Agreement (FTA)," said Desiree Asogabavi of the upcoming AU summit in Niamey. "It is a big step in the agenda of the African Union, and if it is fully implemented, it can change the continent's destiny," he said. Indeed, projects can get support at the end of the week. The reason for this is that, after much hesitation, Nigeria, Africa's largest economy, has announced its accession to the FTA. But other projects can be overlooked during the meeting, says Desso Marissa, who does not believe that "the issue of free movement of people in Africa will be discussed." This has a significant impact on the implementation of the FTA project. "For the FTA to succeed, people must be able to travel from one place to another and from one country to another in Africa," Marissa said.

Afrikanischer Reisepass (picture-alliance / Godong)

A unified passport for Africans to facilitate movement

Aviation traffic must be supported and developed

The Free People's Movement initiative is an ambitious initiative. In the future, all Africans must be able to travel, work and live freely on their continent. A uniform passport must be included for Africans, but Marissa considers it a secondary matter at this time: "It is enough to travel through a national passport, without a visa or other requirements." At a special summit in March of 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, 27 out of the 55 member States of the African Union signed the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons. But since then there has been no development. At present, there seems to be a lack of mutual trust among African countries.

Initiatives to expand infrastructure within Africa are also progressing slowly, and better transport routes are essential for expanding trade and passenger transport among African countries. For example, "many of the current routes continue to pass through countries of the former colonial powers, and to fly across Africa, I personally have to fly over Europe," says political expert Asogpapi. For this reason it is important to develop and support African airlines.

In early 2018, 23 African countries signed a treaty allowing airlines in member states free access to airports of other member states in the future. But nothing has happened since then! "He is dissatisfied with the situation.

Ththiopian Airlines (picture-alliance / AP Photo / M. Ayene)

The African Union seeks to promote air transport in the continent

44 years and 14 projects

The situation is similar in the rail transport sector. A high-speed rail network is planned to connect national railways in 54 African countries and all capitals. At least 12,000 kilometers of new roads will be built for this purpose. But Desso Marissa does not think it will be implemented in the near future. "That is why member states must first update their infrastructure at the national level," he says.

The progress in the implementation of African ambitions is not exhaustive, according to Desiree Asogbaffi, "until now, I see only a development in the FTAA, it is not enough for States to ratify and then not to implement the proposals." "The funding of projects such as the railway network is needed, and this investment will not happen overnight," he said.

There are still 14 projects to be implemented in 44 years. Is this enough time? Deso Marisa must be "not all projects can be implemented until 2063". But Desiree Asogpavi seems more optimistic and sees that Agenda 2063 is "a goal, and other continents have been able to achieve." For him, the success of the 2063 agenda is linked to governments. "If we have strong governments, we can put plans and projects into action, but if we do not solve the problem of the governments we have now, the 2063 agenda will forever remain a dead letter."

Celia Katrina Frolich / EM

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