And debt relief

Download 117.39 Kb.
Size117.39 Kb.


12-SUM Currents: Int'l Trade L.J. 127

(Cite as: 12-SUM Currents: Int'l Trade L.J. 127)

Currents: International Trade Law Journal

Summer, 2003



Elizabeth Justice

Copyright Copr. 2003 by Currents: International Trade Law Journal; Elizabeth



American President Bill Clinton stated that everyone has to change if

interdependence is to be an asset for humanity; and this cannot be achieved if

the rich are led by those who feed short-term egoism and perpetuate the

illusion that we can forever claim for ourselves what we deny to others. [FN1]

News reports on instances of peace and stability on the African continent

are a rare event. The focus centers on some of the worst tragedies in history.

These tragedies, which have included the slave trade, colonialism, AIDS, and

inter-tribal warfare, prevented a peaceful environment from ensuing on the

African continent. Moreover, these events have also prevented independence and

the promotion of self-determination from developing in most African nations.

Rather, Africa has substantially digressed and is continually marginalized by

the international community. Various attempts intended to promote African

unity and achievement through the creation of regional entities, treaties, and

organizations, have proven unsuccessful in Africa's daunting task to implement

On March 2, 2001, in an attempt to allow Africa to become a more significant

and forceful entity in terms of promoting social, economic, and political

change throughout the African continent, the Organization of African Unity

(OAU) became the African Union (AU). [FN2] The African Union will aim to unify

the fifty-three African member states politically, socially, and economically.

[FN3] Many skeptics, however, continue to believe that both organizations are

two faces of the same coin, essentially calling the African Union worthless.

[FN4] In fact, this skepticism is prevalent throughout the continent, and the

global community, because of the continual problems plaguing the African

continent. Difficulties such as the spread of AIDS, dictatorial regimes,

corruption, siphoning off of donated foreign funds and foods, civil war, and

lack of infrastructure are just a few of the many problems Africa faces on a

daily basis. Given this, it is no wonder why the task of improving these

conditions has overwhelmed the individual African nations confronting these

Other foreign governments and entities have recognized this enormous burden

and have recommended changes or attempted to garner support throughout the

global community to improve African difficulties. In fact, recent visits by

foreign dignitaries, including President Clinton in 1998, to initiate trade

relations, and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill in 2002, as a Bush

administrative representative, show that the complex challenges facing Africa

have caught the attention of various Western dignitaries. [FN5] Other

influential people, including U2 pop star Bono, have toured and lived in

Africa to try and garner international support to help aid Africa's social and

economic crises. [FN6] Even a formidable think tank has manifested, through

the Jubilee 2000 program, that solely researches, supports, and develops

policy promoting debt relief on moral, political, and economical grounds.

However, foreign visitations and the mere formal recognition of the problems

plaguing the African continent do nothing to face these challenges. Many

African countries themselves are desperately trying to foster social and

economic growth within their own borders. The African Union is also trying to

rectify the current dilemmas as well, but it is still young, developing, and

largely unassisted in its effort. In turn, I contend that the African Union

may, in fact, be the best vehicle for delivering such growth and reform with

proper assistance and planning. In fact, if the African Union was equipped

with a comprehensive package, addressing a combination of debt and trade

relief, it could possibly become a serious agent for reform on the continent.

This reform, in turn, may enhance the African standard of living, thus

creating the efficient infrastructure needed in the region to spur further

development. By helping to build and create this socio-economic infrastructure

and trade policy, needed by Africa to become a competitive contender in the

global trade arena, this package could not only engender short-term economic

gains but foster long-term social, economic, and political growth for the

failing continent. With such growth, perhaps the complex challenges plaguing

the African continent can become a thing of the past, thereby allowing the

African Union to enjoy successes similar to those enjoyed by other prosperous

regional entities, such as the European Union.

To explore this contention, this note analyzes the African Union and its

vast possibilities. Part I discusses background information regarding the

African Union's inception by investigating the period before its official

inauguration. By examining its subsequent colonization and exploitation, and

post-World War II de-colonization or independence era, this part contains

relevant information explaining why Africa's current situation is so

undeniably bleak. Part II examines the current problems facing the African

continent. This part specifically examines the major social, cultural,

economic, and political dilemmas afflicting the area. It further examines how

Western governments and non-governmental organizations have reacted to African

debt, and why these efforts have failed. Part III explains the initial need

for, and subsequent failure of, the Organization of African Unity, thereby

necessitating its replacement. Part IV addresses current debt and trade relief

action exercised by the international community, IMF, and WTO. It also looks

at the different trade relationships African nations have between themselves

and the international arena. The section further examines current actions and

creations of the western world and African *128 trade and debt relief.

Particular attention will focus on the benefits and criticisms concerning the

Clinton administration's African trade policy, and also on current

international efforts. An examination of the European Union efforts will be

made to see how these efforts have assisted the African crisis. Part V

addresses how the African Union can become an efficient vehicle for reform,

through a combination of debt and trade relief supported by influential

governments and independent agencies. Because the majority of African nations

are some of the poorest countries in the world, debt relief is a necessary

requirement in allowing these countries to enter the competitive world

economic market. However, implementing only one type of reform, such as debt

relief, will not be enough and make the generation of future growth less

likely. Instead, the international community should focus on a combination of

debt and trade relief to generate African growth. This symbiotic relationship

will work for the developing nations, because it will allow for a political,

economic, and social foundation to form and allow these countries to enter,

and then remain, in the competitive global market economy. Finally, Part V

examines possible solutions, reviews why change for African political and

economic life is necessary, criticizes current international efforts, and

proposes the appropriate vehicle to be used for such reform. This part also

discusses possible critical rebuttals.



Africa's problems are embedded in its deep-rooted history. From apartheid to

slavery, Africa has experienced some of the worst human tragedies known to

man. Of these events, the two centuries of European colonialism, however, have

had the most monumental impact on African society. Colonialism's domination

and persistence in African history are one of the main reasons why Africa is

in the condition it is in today. In fact, the legacy of colonialism remains

steadfast, and continues to manifest itself in all facets of African society.

For example, the recent genocidal massacres in Rwanda involving the Hutu and

the Tutsi have been tied to Belgium's former colonial policies. [FN8]

With the arrival of colonialism, African society was gradually, sometimes

violently, brought under and subjected to an authoritarian form of government.

[FN9] At the Berlin Conference of 1884, the colonial powers separated Africa

into territorial units, arbitrarily dividing and uniting unrelated areas and

peoples. [FN10] The colonial boundaries were drawn up without regard to

ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural, economic, demographic or other social

bonds in the various regions of Africa. [FN11] Instead, new boundaries were

established to harmonize the various imperial powers' claims over the

continent, and to establish more prosperous economic entities. [FN12]

Economically, the colonial powers disrupted various African communities to

support and perpetuate a money economy dependent on a capitalist-driven

economic system. [FN13] These colonial economies were designed to expropriate

and expatriate surplus from colonies, back to homeland metropolitan centers.

[FN14] Politically, the new boundaries created a system that served as an

umbrella of sovereign states with overriding powers of political control

within their area of jurisdiction. [FN15] For centuries, the European colonial

powers flourished, without regard for, and at the expense of their African

"subjects." [FN16] As a result, this colonial subdivision of unstable states

prompted an environment that resulted in remarkable political strife and

economic demise in the post-colonial era.

The colonial principles remained and continued to manifest themselves in

African society well after independence. Like the colonial governments that

preceded them, many African political systems became authoritarian,

undemocratic, and over-centralized after independence. [FN17] In turn, this

undemocratic rule led to corruption, nepotism, and the abuse of power, where

the new African presidents replaced the old colonial governor only in name

because the new rulers continued to implement the same regimes and the same

actions of the old colonial governors. [FN18] Because of the common colonial

rule shared among the different independent states of the continent, they

began to share some of the same characteristics. These independent states came

to be typically characterized by: 1) highly centralized systems of governance;

2) excessive state control coupled with limited capacity to govern; 3)

arbitrary policy-making and abusive executive power; 4) erosion of the

boundaries between the state and civil society; 5) weak institutions of both

state and civil society with few countervailing forces to the executive branch

of authority; 6) unaccountable bureaucracies; 7) widespread corruption; 8)

unjust legal systems lacking effective enforcement powers; 9) limited

participation in governance by the general citizenry; and 10) preferential

access to power and resources often determined by religious, ethnic, or

geographic considerations. [FN19] These combined characteristics resulted in

economic decline and mismanagement, in turn, causing excessive poverty, bleak

conditions, and unbelievable despair. Glances at political and economic

occurrences in Nigeria demonstrate how unstable African countries were during

the post-colonial era. In 1978, Nigeria earned approximately eighty million

dollars a day in its oil production and maintained three billion dollars in

reserves. [FN20] However, by 1983, the civilian government created a

twenty-two billion dollar debt for the country, making it one of the biggest

debtor African nations. [FN21] In addition, the Nigerian political arena,

represented by a long series of military regimes and coups, culminated in an

election where a democratically elected winner from 1993 was imprisoned

because the military government at that time refused to recognize the elected

winner. [FN22]



Africa continues to encounter many political, cultural, and socio-economic

*129 problems creating significant obstacles to its reform process.

Africa's economic problems pose significant challenges to its reform. As

mentioned in Part I, self-sustaining economies within African colonial markets

were not established because colonial powers encouraged dependency in order to

maintain a system in which the colony economically relied on the colonial

power for manufactured goods. [FN23] This remains true today for many African

nations, as many of them remain producers of only primary products, including

agricultural ones or minerals, like copper and petroleum. [FN24]
After independence, the legacy of colonialism remained instrumental in many

African leaders' economic decision-making. [FN25] Because the majority of

African leaders focused on attempting to create state-centric self-sufficient

economies as a sensitive response to colonial dependence, this eventually

hampered integration into the global economy. [FN26] As a result, this action

caused Africa to lag significantly behind in a world economy increasingly

fueled by globalization.
This lagging economy, in turn, has caused many African economies to become

dependent on borrowing capital from industrialized nations in order to sustain

themselves and their governments. In fact, borrowing was so extensive that 25

percent of Sub-Saharan Africa's export earnings constituted debt servicing.

[FN27] Overall, twenty-nine low-income countries in Africa are ranked by the

World Bank as "severely indebted," with twenty-three of those countries having

debt greater than their gross national product. [FN28] Moreover, the debt

burden has created major obstacles to investment and future growth. As a

proportion of exports and GDP, the external debt of Africa is the highest of

any developing region. [FN29] Not only does the growing debt, and reliance on

foreign financial assistance, hinder private investment, it also prevents

public investment in physical and human infrastructure, necessary for any

developing country's improvement. [FN30]
These problems have also created intense economic marginalization from the

international arena, causing trade and foreign investment in Africa to reach

lower levels than those experienced by other nations and regions in the

international market. [FN31] Despite rising levels of African domestic

production and trade volumes over the last several years of the 1990s, the

continent's share of global trade has continued to decline. [FN32] In

addition, many educated Africans do not return to their homeland after being

educated overseas, thereby causing a lack of professionals on the continent.

Thus, the low levels of professionals on the continent hinder economic growth,

forcing many foreign corporations to rely on their own professional employees

rather than local African professionals. [FN33]
Before the emergence of colonialism, traditional African culture was highly

organized, emphasizing obligation to family and kin, accompanied with a

feeling of moral obligation to use power, prestige, or wealth to benefit

family members, clients, or co-ethnics. [FN34] This cultural aspect, however,

worked against many African nations because a spoils system developed,

producing a weak infrastructure in many of them. [FN35] This development

eventually lead to debilitating nepotism, corruption, and mismanagement that

hindered development. [FN36] Corruption is one of the leading causes of the

economic debilitation on the African continent. In fact, the United Nations

Economic Commission for Africa has reported that an estimated $148 billion has

probably been siphoned away into secret foreign bank accounts from African

national budgets. [FN37]

Political obstacles have also hampered progress for the African continent.

Because the colonial powers revamped the African borders during their

exploitive dominance, the new borders mixed many ethnic groups that were

traditional enemies. [FN38] In addition, dictatorships resulted because of the

weak governmental infrastructure implanted in most African nations after

independence. [FN39] In Uganda, for example, dictatorships have dominated

politics. The vicious military dictatorships that were led by Idi Amin

throughout the 1970s, the civilian autocracy under Obote in the early to

mid-1980s, and the subsequent period of anarchy caused by the Uganda National

Liberation Army, demonstrate how dictatorships have infiltrated just one

prominent African country. [FN40]
Social obstacles have also hindered stability and development. The spread of

AIDS has been one of the most destructive epidemics throughout the world. The

debilitating disease is killing millions on the African continent and

spreading at an alarming rate. For example, the sub-Saharan country of

Botswana has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, with an adult

prevalence rate of 38.5%. [FN41] In Mozambique, the resulting life expectancy

is below the age of 40. [FN42] By 2005, South Africa is expected to have one

million orphans because of deaths caused by the AIDS epidemic within its

borders. [FN43] As a result of this population decrease and the debilitating

effects of the disease, development is idle. Farms are vacant and agricultural

jobs remain unfilled because disease has devoured the work force. [FN44] Whole

villages now consist of those that are either very old, or very young, because

AIDS is killing people in their most productive years. [FN45] Ignorance, low

preventative measures, and the high cost of medication to treat the disease

have further exacerbated the AIDS crisis. [FN46]
These social, economical, political, and cultural problems make it difficult

to acquire aid and to spur investment, because aid money is usually siphoned

off for personal use, and the work force that would attract capital needed to

fuel growth, is absent. In addition, many companies do not want to invest in a

region rife with civil war or controlled by tyrannical dictators. In fact,

Denmark recently approved a reduction in international donations from its

government's draft budget because it refused to continue assisting developing

countries that misused funds in order to prop up dictators. [FN47] Denmark's

Finance Minister specifically singled out and lambasted Zimbabwe's president,

Robert Mugabe, as an example of such corruption. [FN48]



In 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was formed in Addis Ababa,

Ethiopia in a hopeful and optimistic attempt to resolve the consequences of

colonialism and fulfill aspirations of African success. [FN49] After much

debate, the *130 OAU was created as a compromise between the point of view

that Africa could only survive as a single entity, and the idea that

independent African countries should build strong nation states. [FN50]

However, since its inception, the OAU Charter lost its edge, ultimately

supporting the status quo and doing little to effectuate change. [FN51] Though

the OAU did not succeed in the end, it did produce goals and ideas that

ultimately laid the foundation for the present African Union.

The OAU Charter objectives focused on a Pan-Africanist theme in an attempt

to create a formidable union against colonial subjugation and racism, working

together to improve the lives of African people. [FN52] These objectives

specifically included: the promotion of unity and solidarity of African

states; the coordination of cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life

for the peoples of Africa; the defense of African sovereignty, territorial

integrity and independence; the eradication of all forms of colonialism from

Africa; and, the promotion of international cooperation, having due regard to

the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights. [FN53] In other words, the primary function of the OAU was to

eradicate colonialism and establish independent African nations. [FN54]
The problems, however, plaguing the African continent during the OAU's

tenure, were extremely complex and numerous. Challenges such as civil wars,

cold-war pressures from dominant industrialized countries, internal conflicts

within the organization itself, failure to act or involve itself in the

internal conflicts of other African states, corruption, and

structural/functional weaknesses of the OAU charter, caused the organization

to be extremely weak in its capacity to improve conditions and serve as a

developmental vehicle. [FN55] As a result, the OAU failed to respond to

serious intra-African conflicts or to act as a united pan-African body against

foreign intervention. [FN56]

Various reasons for the OAU's failure emerged. Some critics attributed the

failure of the OAU to leaders who acted on their own behalf rather than

addressing the real African problems and challenges. [FN57] Others believed

the failure of the OAU resulted solely from Africa's colonial legacy of

artificial borders, and the nature of the colonial state that was inherited

after independence. [FN58] Some critics, however, argued that the structure of

the OAU Charter has encouraged ineffectiveness because the Charter stipulated

non-interference with internal affairs of other sovereign states. [FN59]

Regardless of the reasons for its failure, these problems continued for almost

four decades without much modification by the OAU.

As early as 1979, the need existed to amend the OAU charter, in order to

streamline the organization to gear it for the challenges of a changing world.

[FN60] Substantive attempts to modify the OAU Charter failed. Instead, the OAU

approved changes that did not significantly affect the socio-economic crises

on the African continent. The OAU changes included the following: the

amendment of the Charter through ad hoc decisions of the Summit, such as the

Cairo Declaration Establishing the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention,

Management and Resolution; the need to integrate OAU political activities with

the economic and developmental issues as articulated in the Abuja Treaty; and,

a growing realization that the need for greater efficiency and effectiveness

of the OAU required urgent action. [FN61] As a result, the inadequacies of the

OAU necessitated the need for a replacement or radical modification to

initiate improvements on the African continent.
Therefore, the African Union (AU) became the OAU's replacement in 2001. The

"United States of Africa," proposed by Libya's Colonel Gaddafi, came into

being in September 2001 to institute a more effective institution for

increasing prosperity in Africa. [FN62] The AU's overall objective is to

harmonize the economic and political policies of all African nations, in order

to improve pan-African welfare, and provide Africans with a solid voice in

international affairs. [FN63] As a result, the AU provides more objectives and

principles that tailor to the political and economic development of the

African nations and peoples. The union also includes the power to create a

common African Parliament, a Central Bank, a common African currency, and an

International Court of Justice, similar to those included in the European

Union. [FN64]





Debt owed to foreign multinationals and industrialized countries by Africa

is probably one of the most complex problems Africa must confront. African

countries owe approximately $300 billion in external debt, or about 12% of

total debt owed by all developing countries. [FN65] Therefore, many in the

global community believe that the heavily indebted countries are forced to

spend more on servicing their debt than they do feeding or educating their

children, thereby necessitating the emergence of a new campaign urging lenders

to write off debt owed by poorer countries. [FN66] For example, Ethiopia's

debt of $10 billion ($179 a person) at the end of 1996 may not seem like much,

compared to the $11 billion Europe spent on ice cream in 1997, but it was

almost thirteen times the amount the country earned in exports in 1996. [FN67]

Ethopia used the equivalent of 45 percent of its $783 million in export

earnings on debt payments. [FN68] Therefore, considering the circumstances

surrounding the debt, even after such a devastating payment, Ethiopia's debt

continues to be intolerable.
As a result of the African debt crisis, the International Monetary Fund

recognized the need for assistance and stepped in to help alleviate the

problem. In 1996, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) was

created as the first comprehensive debt relief framework, whereby the

international community, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)

work together to combat the debt crisis. [FN69] The HIPC's objective is to

reduce the debt burden of poor countries to "sustainable levels," by requiring

the implementation of sound economic and social policy reforms. [FN70] To be

selected as an HIPC country, nations must meet three criteria. These criteria

include: (1) being eligible only for concessional loans from the International

Development Association *131 of the World Bank and the Enhanced Structural

Adjustment Facility (ESAF); (2) having a debt burden that is considered

"unsustainable"; and, (3) establishing a track record of economic reforms

under World Bank and IMF-sponsored programs. [FN71] Sustainable levels are

gauged to be a debt-to-export ratio between 200 and 250%, and a debt-service

to exports ratio between 20 to 25%. [FN72] This criteria demonstrates that a

country must be in dire straits and near desperation for it to be classified

under the HIPC category. Once HIPC status has been granted, the process is

divided into two phases, during which poorer countries are required to fulfill

certain conditions. The phases consist of a three-year period between the

"entry point" and the "decision point," during which a country follows an

adjustment program, and at the end of this program, a debt sustainability

analysis is conducted to determine whether, and to what degree, the country

requires debt relief. [FN73]

Under the HIPC Initiative, however, progress was extremely slow. In fact, by

September 1998, only eight countries, including five in Africa, had qualified

for debt relief packages which added up to about $6.5 billion. [FN74] Uganda

was the only African country that had actually reached the "completion point,"

receiving about $650 million in debt reduction. [FN75]
Moreover, harsh criticism regarding the qualifying criteria ensued because

many countries could not follow such strict requirements. [FN76] As a result,

the IMF initiated an Enhanced HIPC Initiative at the G-7 summit in Cologne in

1999. [FN77] Under this program, debt relief was to be made "broader, faster

and deeper," by linking it more closely and transparently with the goal of

poverty reduction. [FN78] In addition, the completion point was made

"floating," allowing countries that performed exceptionally well to waive the

required three years in the second phase of the Initiative, thereby allowing

the countries to reach the completion point quicker. [FN79] The IMF stated

that the debt relief was to be "deeper" because expanded assistance was to be

provided to these qualifying countries. [FN80]
The new HIPC Initiative aspired to reduce poverty by also requiring that all

HIPC governments produce a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). [FN81]

This condition requires countries, through a government-led national process,

and with the assistance of the World Bank and IMF to establish a comprehensive

poverty reduction strategy that will ensure consistency between a country's

macroeconomic, structural and social policies, and the goals of poverty

reduction and social development. [FN82] The country must adopt a PRSP through

a broad-based participatory process by the decision point, and make progress

in implementing this strategy for at least one year by the completion point.

[FN83] Under this new plan, twenty-two countries reached their decision points

by early 2001, including eighteen in Africa; but, only two African nations,

Uganda and Mozambique, finished the entire debt relief process and reached

their completion points. [FN84] Today, thirty-four African countries are

classified as HIPCs. [FN85] Progress continues and the program has shown some

small success. In fact, twenty-seven countries receive debt relief worth up to

$52 billion over the last two decades from their international creditors and

are currently receiving savings in debt service payments of over $1 billion

per year. [FN86] For the meantime, these results demonstrate that some debt

relief works. However, even though the IMF has altered its approach in dealing

with HIPC countries, poverty remains steadfast in many African nations.

As a result, international pressure has increased to support measures for

debt reduction of countries classified as HIPCs. Industrialized countries,

such as the United States and United Kingdom, have supported some aspects

embodied in the debt relief plan. A recent G8 meeting in the Canadian Rocky

Mountains promised an extra one billion dollars in debt relief for those

countries whose commodity exports have been hard hit, and earmarked six

billion dollars for Africa of the twelve billion dollars they promised all

poorer countries at a conference in Mexico recently. [FN87]

Multilateral and G8 nation support, however, is limited, requiring African

nations to follow strict policy rules and show results through economic

improvements. In addition, the HIPC Initiative is slow in acting and has

delivered economic results, according to some critics, too little, too late.

[FN88] As of today, twenty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with more than

half of the region's people, are poorer now than in 1990 and twenty-three

countries are poorer than in 1975. [FN89] Therefore, it is evident that the

HIPC Initiative has been slow to infiltrate the African continent and improve

poverty throughout, but some relief exists.
In fact, most African governments still spend up to three times more on debt

repayments than on health care and education combined. [FN90] Moreover, one

child in five dies before reaching age 5 in Uganda, yet the government spends

$3 per person on health and $17 per person on debt repayments. [FN91]

To alleviate HIPC stagnation, African states have proactively initiated a

different pledge, from "our own homegrown idea for development," via a new

plan called the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). [FN92]

Developed by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo,

Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, this plan hopes to

improve the well-being of the African continent through better fiscal

discipline and "good governance." [FN93] NEPAD is a proposed partnership

between Africa and the developed world, whereby industrialized nations would

consider easing access for African goods to western markets and provide more

aid and investment into African countries. [FN94] This aid would be targeted

at infrastructure projects, debt relief, and education. [FN95] In return,

Africa would agree to principles of good governance and a degree of

self-policing. [FN96]
NEPAD specifically proposes that the long-term objective of the New

Partnership for Africa's Development is to link debt relief with poverty

reduction outcomes. [FN97] In the interim, debt service ceilings should be

fixed as a proportion of fiscal revenue with different ceilings for IDA and

non-IDA only countries. [FN98] In other words, NEPAD calls for debt relief

based on a short term approach, in which debt service payments should be

limited to a certain proportion of fiscal revenues, and a long term approach

in which Northern and Southern NGOs *132 support debt relief linked to costed

poverty reduction outcomes. [FN99]
These goals and ideas, however, have yet to be realized by African

officials, and the international community has done little to see their

implementation. First, some observers speculate that the relationship between

NEPAD and the AU remains uncertain because NEPAD established its own

secretariat and operates very much as an independent organization, despite the

AU's adoption last year of the NEPAD as a program. [FN100] In addition, as

mentioned previously, the HIPC initiative is slow to act and has delivered too

little, too late. Even though the G8 countries at the recent 2002 meeting in

Canada agreed to some fiscal expenditures for the African continent, the

proposed amount does not reflect the sums needed for NEPAD implementation.

[FN101] Instead, the G8 forces agreed to $6 billion, whereas NEPAD is seeking

$64 billion over a period of several years. [FN102] In response, campaigners

for Africa stated that the aid was not enough and described the aid as

"peanuts" to what really needed to be done. [FN103]


Trade within the Sub-Saharan region of Africa is meager, unable to develop,

and hampered by foreign market obstacles, thereby causing substantial

stagnation and eventual decline. Currently, Africa predominately trades

primary products, has economies burdened by exchange rate fluctuations that

have profound effects on the developing countries' trade flows, and continues

to experience difficulties in foreign competitive markets because of

industrialized countries' influential trade policies. [FN104] In fact,

industrialized countries' continue to enforce high tariffs against African

exports, causing Africa extreme difficulties in tapping industrialized

markets. [FN105] These problems, combined with others enumerated in this note,

demonstrate why African nations continue to maintain such high external debt

levels and have difficulty penetrating and remaining competitive in foreign

Africa maintains several regional organizations designed to facilitate trade

and integrate the community in the financial arena. Africa currently has

fourteen Regional Economic Communities (RECs), which are distinguished by

their conception, extent, and objectives. [FN106] Seven of the RECs dominate

the integration scene, and include the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), Common Market

for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community of Central

African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),

Southern African Development Community (SADC), Inter-Governmental Authority on

Drought and Development (IGAD), and Economic Community of Sahel-Saharan State

(SIN-SAD). [FN107]
Overall, substantial hardship and historical dilemmas have hampered REC

integration in the world market and have curbed trade among African countries.

Low levels of intra-community trade are prevalent throughout the African

continent because African economies continue to depend on the same products

they relied upon twenty or thirty years ago. [FN108] As such, most African

countries maintain a non-diversified products base because many nations cannot

afford to convert their raw materials to manufactured goods. [FN109] In other

words, the harsh system of colonialism continues to manifest itself in these

African economies. As an example, COMESA occupies third place in terms of

exports (9.3% of the total is between Community members) and imports (12.8%),

which are modest results given the number of measures aimed at promoting trade

adopted by the twenty member strong regional organization in Southern,

Eastern, and Northern Africa. [FN110] Moreover, there are too many regional

institutions on the African continent, and cooperation bodies need to be

rationalized, but there is too little willingness on the part of African

governments to entertain notions of supranational powers, even on a limited

scale. [FN111] As a result, trade within the African continent remains

modestly meek, at best, and any integration among the African nations

progresses slowly.
Several solutions have been suggested in order to counter these overwhelming

obstacles. One of the most prominently discussed solutions involves the

concept of a preferential trade status known as the Generalized System of

Preferences (GSP). The GSP concept supports the idea that industrialized

countries should grant developing countries preferential access to their

markets, because these are the only markets large enough to provide the

desired growth stimulus. [FN112] In other words, this system promotes

preferential treatment and discrimination towards African trade in order to

strengthen and improve African economies. [FN113]
Efforts on behalf of the American government to create a preferential trade

arrangement for Sub-Saharan Africa include the American Growth and Opportunity

Act (AGOA) implemented in 2000 to eligible African countries. [FN114]

Objectives of this policy include encouraging increased trade and investment

between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa, strengthening and expanding

the private sector in these countries, and encouraging political and

economical reform. [FN115] The AGOA has opened the doors for eligible African

countries, encouraging trade between Africa and the United States. The trade

benefits include the offering of duty-free and quota-free market access for

all products through the program, the elimination of all existing quotas on

textiles and apparel products from Kenya and Mauritius, the extension of

duty-free and quota-free treatment for other categories of apparel, and the

creation of a forum whereby African countries and the United States discuss

the current trade arrangement. [FN116]

The AGOA provisions have improved trade conditions between some African

countries and the United States. In fact, U.S. imports from Africa under AGOA

have increased by nearly 62 percent. [FN117] In addition, during 2001, when

U.S. imports from other regions fell as a result of the economic downturn,

imports of textiles and apparel increased by more than 25 percent. [FN118]
Other trade preferential initiatives in force include the European Union's

Cotonou Agreement, which covers cooperation in areas like market access,

financial aid, and technical assistance between the European Union and

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP). [FN119] Today's relations with

the European Union are governed by the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in

Cotonou on June 23, 1999 and concluded *133 for a period of twenty years.

[FN120] This trading relationship enhances development through economic

integration agreements, or Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). EPAs are

intended to consolidate regional integration initiatives within the ACP, and

to provide an open, transparent and predictable framework for goods and

services to circulate freely, thus increasing competitiveness of the ACP and

ultimately facilitating the transition toward their full participation in a

liberalizing world economy. [FN121] There are four foundations to the EPAs.

These bases include: (1) the fact that the EPAs serve as partnerships, that

imply rights and obligations for both sides; (2) the EPAs serve to foster

regional integration into the world economy; (3) the EPAs foster development

for these poverty stricken countries; and, (4) the EPAs provide a link to the

WTO, facilitating integration of the ACP countries into the world economy,

thereby building on the WTO rules and defining the framework for the rules so

that closer integration between the EU and ACP results. [FN122]

In 2001, trade with the ACP countries totaled over 58 billion Euros, with

the EU importing some 31 billion Euros and exporting some 27 billion Euros

worth. [FN123] For almost all African ACP countries, the European community is

considered the main trading party. In fact, in 2000, trade with the EU

represented 29% of total ACP exports (33% of total African ACP exports) and

29% of total ACP imports (38% of total African ACP imports). [FN124]

Presently, however, trade between the ACP and the EU has remained extremely

significant as far as the viability of the ACPs, but marginal for the EU.

[FN125] Moreover, considerable protest resulted with the World Trade

Organization's (WTO) approval of this European and ACP commitment, because

many other regions of the world, including Latin America and Southeast Asia,

objected to this venture as it hampers their access on their own exports to

Europe. [FN126]
NEPAD also serves as a trade vehicle in Africa. Even though this program is

relatively new, the basis of NEPAD is a commitment by African governments to

put in place the good governance preconditions for economic growth, including

strengthening democracy and the rule of law, achieving peace and security, and

reducing corruption. [FN127] NEPAD also serves as another vehicle for trade

relief and reform by fostering trade, investment, economic growth, and

sustainable development. [FN128] Specifically, the NEPAD program works by

requiring industrialized nations to consider easing access for African goods

to western markets and providing more aid and investment into African

countries. [FN129] European leaders and G8 members agree that NEPAD sets out

the right goals, but continues only to cooperate through the existing

contractual instruments (Contonou, Doha/WTO process, etc.). [FN130] As a

result, no change in the European community's treatment toward the NEPAD

proposal has occurred. Rather, strong praise, welcome, and recognition have

surfaced from UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Chirac, who

have promised strong bilateral commitment, but have not dramatically altered

their economic policies. [FN131] Nevertheless, at a NEPAD meeting in Dakar in

February 2002, led by Tony Blair and Abdoulaye Wade, leaders of the British

and Senegalese governments respectively, affirmed NEPAD's role as "the main

vehicle for Africa's development." [FN132] As a result, even though its

tenants offer a glimpse of possible economic and trade progression, time will

tell the future of this new and innovative program.

Today, controversy continues to surround African improvement where

compromises at WTO trade talks garner some support and improvement, but again

do too little, too late to accomplish improvement and change. The most recent

WTO talks occurred in Doha, Qatar where global leaders met and discussed

specific topics of international trade. [FN133] These topics included trade

tariff barriers; public health purposes overriding intellectual property

rights to assist in the fight against debilitating epidemics; and, the removal

of agricultural subsidies that allow the exportation of cheap food from

industrialized nations to the developing countries to the detriment of African

farmers. [FN134] Even though some trade relief occurred, developing countries'

emphasis on "implementation issues," such as access for their agricultural and

textile goods to industrialized country markets was not resolved, but rather

was saved for future discussions at a new round of talks. [FN135] Talks from

the Nadi Convention, held in July 2002, also urged the EU to develop an

improved and simplified system of rules of origin for trade, and to ensure

that the rules contribute to regional integration, to the preservation of

preference margins, and improvement of market access for ACP countries.

[FN136] There, the NEPAD creator and South African President Thabo Mbeki

stated, "[we have to] overcome ACP imbalances through solidarity and the use

of combined strength to make voices heard." [FN137] Tonga's Prime Minister,

Prince Ulukalakala Lavak Atai declared that there was a need to strike a

balance to preserve the interests of the whole ACP group while recognizing the

needs of individual nations because "ACP countries are not intending to

negotiate mere trade agreements--the EPAs must be development agreements."

[FN138] In other words, ACP-EU trade relations have shown some improvement,

but require more to establish long-term development and growth.

Therefore, international trade on the African continent can best be

characterized as marginal and inadequate to spur economic growth. The present

trade benefits are limited and only available to those countries that comply

with eligibility requirements or conditions. In addition, some of the trade

arrangements focus on a relationship that is solely between another region and

Africa, or a specified country and Africa, such as the American and specific

African country trade relationship outlined in the AGOA. As a result, these

arrangements are not unified and are not controlled by one entity. Moreover,

considerable controversy surrounds the concept of the GSP because it advocates

preferential treatment to one country or region, leaving others to fend for

themselves against the powerful industrialized nations that control the global

competitive market. In addition, it is hard to believe that the global

community will accept programs, like NEPAD, which aim to broaden the scope of

trade preferential allowances in the global community, because these same

players uphold trade tariff barriers against countries in Africa. Also, more

challenges exist for African countries because negotiators from developing

countries are either underrepresented, or not represented at all, during the

WTO *134 meetings and are against the armies of officials, lawyers, and

lobbyists from the European Union, Japan, and the United States. [FN139] With

so much influence and economic disadvantage against African nations, how can

these nations survive, grow, and improve their status with such odds against




On a recent visit to Africa between April and May 2002, IMF director Horst

Koehler declared intentions to limit the fund's exposure throughout Africa,

advocating a policy that breaks with the traditional IMF doctrine requiring

economic stability to receive funds. [FN140] Instead of requiring a poorer

country to implement macroeconomic goals of fiscal discipline and austere

budgetary policy, the IMF director advocated the implementation of

micro-finance programs aimed at developing local skills and boosting

small-scale commerce. [FN141] As a result, the IMF hopes to engender a sense

of economic independence and build a crop of local entrepreneurs, whereby

multilateral lenders may set up local banks that specialize only in

micro-financing. [FN142]
On the one hand, this action shows the IMF abandoning old policy and

advocating new policy to enhance African commerce. On the other hand, it

demonstrates the growing frustration foreign countries and multilateral

organizations feel towards Africa because of its lack of improvement.

Moreover, the example also shows that relief in regards to debt is not a

viable alternative the IMF and industrialized community is willing to

consider. Rather, the example establishes the continual desire to keep the

current IMF system in place, but change the necessary means of acquiring the

debt repayment. The latter action is probably the most significant indicator

of what the world's sentiments are about the African economic situation. As a

result, something needs to be done quickly that facilitates change and

improvement before the international arena completely gives up on the dire

situation in Africa. What current solutions are available that will bring

about change and spur growth on a continent ravaged by AIDS, civil war, and

corrupt dictators, that has not already been introduced or tried?
Current debt and trade relief has benefited African nations in some

respects, but the fact remains that the existing programs alone are not enough

and are grossly insufficient. Even though each solution serves as part of a

broader strategy to reduce poverty and improve the lives of millions of

Africans, more action on behalf of the international community and Africa

needs to be done differently in order to ensure change. What exactly needs to

be done to implement change and initiate growth and improvement?
The actions of NEPAD are a move in the right direction, however I believe

more needs to be done in order to achieve long-term improvement. I contend

that a comprehensive plan implementing a progressive and extensive debt relief

and trade relief program, manned and controlled by the African Union, can

bring about necessary changes reducing poverty and bringing about change on

the African continent. A comprehensive plan that completely eliminates the

debt of African nations via a gradual process combined with trade relief, will

allow African countries to emerge as viable competitors and remain in the

global market. By relieving debt and then permitting more generous access to

the trading arena, Africa can build its near non-existent infrastructure,

commit debt monies to social and economic programs, and slowly inch its way to

socio-economic reform.


Current debt relief works on a broader scale than that implemented in the

1990s, but does not discuss the termination of lending and complete

eradication of debt in African countries. If it is for purposes of

self-interest or others, it is obvious that industrialized nations

intentionally want to keep Africa in its current state. [FN143] However, from

a humanistic perspective, human life outweighs concerns that such relief might

be seen as a reward for countries that can't control their own finances.

[FN144] Even if this moral argument fails to persuade western entities, it

nevertheless proves the ethnocentric belief that Africa cannot take care of

itself. It acknowledges the idea that creditors and western nations are

supreme and should control Africa's problems. [FN145] In other words, because

Africa cannot adequately manage itself, despite the fact that western actions

are partly why Africa has been placed in this desperate position, Western

ideology still controls.
Moreover, the current debt structure promotes and perpetuates the colonial

system and ideology established by European powers. It has already been

established that African nations require financial and monetary assistance

because of their current economic status. Yet, European and industrialized

nations, who purposefully exploited African countries and caused these

countries to spiral into economic despair, have "generously" allowed these

nations to borrow monies to improve their financial status. [FN146] In

essence, industrialized nations are further exploiting Africa because they

continue to perpetuate an economic system where Africa remains economically

controlled by the "developed" community. Instead, the global North owes Africa

an historical debt because they have continually exploited the continent's

resources and now manipulate Africa's global finances. [FN147] This circular

reasoning proves that, once again, Africa continues to remain a pawn of the

industrialized West.

In addition, the current HIPC Initiatives do not accurately reflect the

current status of the respective nation the initiative is attempting to help.

The criteria only takes into account what is practical in terms of paying back

the loans, rather than what is needed in terms of development. [FN148] If the

emphasis on development was adopted by the IMF, then countries desperately in

need of capital to invest in their human and physical resources would not have

to spend one-third of their income, or even more, in paying back debt. [FN149]

Therefore, even though the IMF believes that the debt relief will help poorer

countries by creating a strict framework of payback measures and respective

implementation procedures, in reality, the structured program hampers

development because importance stresses payback, rather than development and

growth. [FN150] In fact, the United Nations Conference on Trade and

development (UNCTAD) recently predicted that if *135 current growth trends

continue, only 1 out of the 43 Least Developed Countries will have graduated

out of that category by 2015, and only 8 will graduate in the next 50 years.

[FN151] It is obvious that the inadequacies of the HIPC Initiative make it

unable to sufficiently assist African countries and that the current program

obstructs further development.

This argument, however, fosters the idea that such debt forgiveness would

encourage countries to take more and suffer no consequences for their actions.

[FN152] In other words, creditors believe that more financial irresponsibility

by debtors would continue and perpetuate the debt crisis. However, the

conditions of debt cancellation should be determined with the participation of

civil society and elected governments in the affected states, rather than

imposed unilaterally by the lenders. [FN153] After all, current debt relief

actions again perpetuate a system in which industrialized nations control the

African continent.
Seemingly, the only viable solution to Africa's financial dilemma is

complete debt eradication. The actions of the HIPC are insufficient and

perpetuate the colonial ideology that caused Africa to spiral into despair. If

western entities forgive Africa's debt, then Africa will have a better

opportunity in building its infrastructure, creating social and economical

programs, and slowly make its way toward reform.


As previously mentioned, the combination of debt eradication and serious

trade relief will give Africa the means to enter the global market, allowing

African nations to emerge as viable competitors in the global market. For this

to occur, debt eradication must be one of the first measures completed to

allow infrastructure to develop, in order to facilitate trade movements and

progression. As a result, the world needs to first acknowledge that the

current dilemma in Africa is a global issue. Africa is the second largest

continent in the world and is a diverse entity that includes many cultural

groups, religions, languages, and peoples. The continent has much to offer the

global arena, but maintains virtually no presence in global trade. As a

result, it is no wonder that African trade levels remain stagnant and meager.

With the debt crises a thing of the past, and the subsequent development of

a more advanced rechnological society, Africa should be able to diversify its

products, thereby allowing viable trade partnerships to form. This

diversification, in turn, might not only allow African nations to become more

independent, in that they will not only be producing primary products, it

might also decrease competitive pressure among African regional entities. As a

result, further regional integration among intra-African countries should

ensue and lead to headway in the international trading community.

However, this idealistic dream is possible, but will take an extensive

period of time to mature. As such, western and multinational entities need to

recognize this potential and continue to give GSP status to African countries.

Further preferential treatment, in the form of free trade and elimination of

trade restrictions and barriers in the form of tariffs, will also contribute

to Africa becoming a realistic contender in the world market. No time

restrictions on this status should be initiated against African nations

because the current state of most countries would not be able to show

improvement within a five or ten year period. Instead, focus should remain on

development and improvement, rather than money lost. In essence, African

nations are only recouping losses sustained from prior exploitation and should

be given some leeway in its development. [FN154]

The AGOA and ACP-EU agreements are a step in the right direction. They

establish contractual relationships with African nations and ensure the flow

of goods between Africa and some of the most powerful nations in the world.

More of these types of agreements should be initiated between the various RECs

and international communities. Instead of grouping the ACP countries into one

agreement, however, perhaps more agreements between individual African

communities should emerge. This action would support an organization that

makes individual agreements between African countries or trading unions

instead of an organization that clusters all poor nations into one category

for bilateral trade with only one industrialized trading partner, the EU. As

such, the action would encourage development in African nations because the

single action would likely foster pride with each country because they will

not be crowded into one complex organization. Rather, individual attention

with each nation would occur with a single trade agreement. Therefore, this

action, might, in turn, prevent additional competition and pressure among

poorer countries that produce the same primary products because individual

trade agreements will be made with the respective nation.
To further enhance trade goals and progression, a consortium designed to

research and investigate trade-relevant areas should be initiated in order to

determine key issues necessary for the enhancement of trade on the African

continent. This team would benefit African society because it would develop

appropriate trade policy that would, in turn, advance African infrastructure

and socio-economic reform.


With debt eradication and trade relief, the possibility of Africa becoming a

viable financial entity in the international arena is plausible. This

comprehensive package would politically, economically, and socially transform

and reform the African continent. However, how the international community

chooses to implement the comprehensive package is almost as instrumental as

the package is itself. The idea that Africans created, controlled, and managed

their own problems will foster pride and ownership in the proposed solutions,

if a plan is created with the assistance of the African Union leaders. The

solutions to Africa's problems do not only lie in foreign countries,

governments, or multinational institutions. They also lie within Africa and

change should be made internally to sustain results. [FN155] Furthermore, the

new AU embodies a more efficient system that could handle finances and various

plans at different levels, and foster change.

The African Union's structure includes a common African Parliament, a

Central Bank, a common African currency and an International Court of Justice.

In fact, the African Union is modeled on the successful European Union's

structure. [FN156] As a result, *136 the AU bureaucracy and structure allows

for rule of law and a checks and balance system to solve problems and

efficiently run a governmental body for the greater good of the continent.

Instead of receiving monies that benefit the corrupt African governments as

before, the AU can serve as a vehicle whereby aid will reach the African

people and be spent for reforms rather than squandered.
Many critics speculate that the AU will not work because no unity among

African nations exists and there are too many African countries on the

continent, making it difficult for progress to occur. [FN157] The historical

record of the EU shows similar difficulties, but has triumphed in the end. In

fact, the European Union initially began as a coal-and-steel trading body, but

now boasts the largest common market with 370 million consumers. [FN158]

Despite the fact that Africa has more complex problems and devastation to

contend with, the formation of the AU is an innovative idea, and with the

correct tools and support could be one of the most successful ventures on the

continent. After all, the EU's structure, policies, and persistence have been

successful. The AU follows the EU model. Since other efforts have proven

fruitless on the African continent, emulating the EU's successful actions

could not hurt, and could possibly push the African nations in the right

direction, encouraging unity, financial success, and trade development.

Moreover, the union is an historically unprecedented approach in that it

incorporates all the states on the continent at one time, rather than basing

its regionalism on a core or hegemonic state or states. [FN159] Instead of

dealing with the chaos and inefficiencies of various RECs, the AU promotes

bureaucratic organization, allowing progress to ensue in one organization

where all African nations may come together and promote economic integration.

The new structure, and its tenets, further allow consequences for illegal

actions and poor decision-making, and also fosters change because the new

infrastructure caters more to the problems Africa has sustained. Because this

is a homegrown establishment, Africa can address its problems with ease,

because who better to pinpoint and establish priority to each concern, than

those who have endured them. However, the AU is an entity controlled by

various groups and peoples serving different purposes rather than just for the

economic improvement of the Africa. Though each group exists to serve its own

interest and a proper infrastructure exists that allows, and somewhat makes up

for, consequences of poor decision-making and illegal actions, corruption and

stagnation might lessen. Only time and acceptance will tell.


Africa is a continent plagued with various complex problems. Many of its

problems are the result of policies instituted during European colonial

domination. It is no surprise that Africa's current problems remain undeniably

bleak considering its prior exploitation by many European powers. As a result,

the social, cultural, economic, and political dilemmas afflicting Africa have

caused tremendous poverty and financial difficulty. Economically, most African

nations maintain an outrageous debt load, produce mostly primary products, and

have extreme levels of poverty. Economic marginalization is prevalent

throughout the continent. In the political arena, governments are plagued with

corruption and instability. Many social obstacles, such as AIDS, poor

education, and non-existent technology are widespread.
The Organization of African Unity (OAU) emerged during the period of

post-colonial independence to counter colonial subjugation, racism, and

promote African unity. However, the OAU failed because of corruption,

inefficiency, and the presence of a poor infrastructure for handling the

problems Africa endured at that time. Therefore, the combination of colonial

suppression and the political and economic aftermath created tremendous debt.

In addition, international trade is low and non-diversified because of the

present turbulent environment. Much is being done in the realm of debt and

trade relief, but more action on behalf of the international community,

multinational entities, and the African continent needs to be done in order to

spur and achieve growth and change. The dominant method employed by the

international community to assist the debt crisis is by the IMF through the

HIPC Initiative. This attempt has shown marginal results and African countries

continue to use the majority of their income toward interest payments and

payback installments. However, these relationships still produce insufficient

results. The OAU's tenure spanned approximately thirty years. The continent

recognized the need for change. As a result, the African Union emerged to

replace the insufficient system of the past.

The AU became the OAU's replacement in 2001. The AU is similar to the EU

because the AU includes the power to create an African Parliament, a Central

Bank, a common African currency, and an International Court of Justice. The

organization has expanded its presence and power on the continent and has new

leadership. However, the world community has not accepted the AU's presence

because of Africa's historical past. Nevertheless, African countries are

taking the initiative to change the current circumstances plaguing their

continent. These actions, however, are not enough because more initiatives on

behalf of the international community must be done. Current debt relief for

most qualifying countries, including those in Africa, includes an Enhanced

HIPC Initiative, whereby countries must comply with strict, strategic rules

targeted at poverty reduction and social development. In turn, the countries

receive some assistance, but are required to continue repayment of their

debts. Because many countries must use the majority of their income to payback

monies acquired for their extreme debts, and at the same time, implement

strict economic reforms, HIPC Initiative programs have established mediocre

results. Moreover, multilateral and G8 nations have agreed to help but have

failed to garner the necessary monetary support requested by African nations.

Therefore, African nations created the NEPAD program to counter the debt

problem experienced throughout each country. This program, however, has

received mediocre support because critics believe that it conflicts with the

AU and contend it will fail because African programs of the past did not

Trade among African countries and in the global market continues to be based

upon *137 primary products. The African regional trade organizations

facilitate trade, but maintain low levels of commerce. As a result, trade

within Africa is meager, unable to develop, because of the dependency on

Western manufactured goods, which causes substantial stagnation and eventual

decline on the African continent. Moreover, many industrialized nations

enforce high tariffs against African exports, preventing Africa from tapping

into Western markets. Preferential trading alliances have been created among

industrialized nations, through the AGOA and the EU's ACP partnership, but the

AGOA is relatively new and the EU's ACP partnership includes an array of

countries throughout the world, each nation fiercely competing against one

another, vying for trade. NEPAD also serves as a trade facilitator, but again,

is a new innovation that has received Western support but is too young to

determine whether economic and trade progression can imminently occur.

As a result, Africa's history and current socio-economic circumstances

demand a change. It is obvious that current debt and trade relief are

insufficient. Therefore, I proposed that debt eradication is the only viable

solution to allow Africa to develop its infrastructure and enhance its

position in the global market. The debt eradication, in turn, will result in

the growth of trade movement and progression, thereby promoting

diversification and independence. More preferential trade agreements between

industrialized entities and African countries will likely also enhance African

trade. Trade agreements that are more specific, particularized, and favored

will foster pride and prevent formidable competition among poorer nations in

the world. To achieve trade and debt goals, appropriate research and

investigative actions need to be examined to develop appropriate trade and

economic policy that would, in turn, advance African infrastructure and

socio-economic reform.

Instead, themes reminiscent of colonialism continue to perpetuate because

industrialized countries maintain economic control of the African countries

via debt, and Africa's products of trade are primary in exchange for

industrialized manufactured goods. Moreover, the HIPC Initiatives have shown

little progress for socio-economic development.
Critics of radical relief, as mentioned in this note, believe that total

debt elimination will only serve to reward countries that have mismanaged

their monies. The problems plaguing Africa far exceed mere economic

considerations. Arguments for debt relief include a moral notion, where

forgiveness recognizes the kinship of human spirit because a bond exists

between the various nations, overriding material differences and inequalities.

[FN160] Even though this paper focuses on political and economic

justifications to enhance the progress and stimulate further growth on the

African continent, this argument should really be about the moral implications

surrounding the failure to act.

The above problems are serious. Past vehicles of reform, such as the OAU,

have failed. The AU, however, shows positive promise and with global support

can become an internationally recognized and respected entity. Because it

retains the power to create various bureaucratic structures within its

organization and is modeled on the EU's structure, the AU can become an

efficient governmental body that can facilitate change. Moreover, corruption

will likely be an activity that is no longer tolerated because the AU's

leadership is comprised of different heads of state interested in reform and

appropriate consequences of poor decision-making exist. Finally, the

international community must recognize that this organization is a homegrown

establishment. Because of this characteristic, immense efforts and pride

emerge, that will in turn, likely foster change and growth on the African

continent. In general, when people create, control, and manage their own

destinies, pride and ownership in solving their own problems will foster

change and create further incentive to improve the current circumstances

plaguing the African continent.

This proposed plan places immense trust in the peoples of Africa. Even

though its tenants offer a glimpse of possible political and socio-economic

reform, time will tell the future of such an idea and whether or not any of

these proposed plans are acceptable to the international community.

[FN1]. Yves Ekoue Amaizo, Financing development without interference: Towards

a global conference, The Courier ACP-EU (Mar.-Apr. 2002), at http://

[FN2]. South African Department of Foreign Affairs, Background on the African

Union and the New African Initiative (July 19, 2001), at http://

[FN3]. BBC News, Farewell to the OAU (July 9, 2001), at http://

[FN4]. BBC News, African Union: Can it do better than the OAU? (Jun. 4, 2001),


[FN5]. BBC News, O'Neill sees brighter future for Africa (May 28, 2002), at

[FN6]. BBC News, Bonojoins US Africa trip, (May 14, 2002), at http://

[FN7]. Jubilee Research, About Us (2003), available at http://

[FN8]. Isaak I. Dore, Constitutionalism and the Post-Colonial State in Africa:

A Rawlsian Approach, 41 ST. LOUIS U.L.J. 1301, 1303 (1997).

[FN9]. Id. at 1302.
[FN10]. Muna Ndulo, The Democratic State in Africa: The Challenges for

Institution Building, 16 NAT'L BLACK L.J. 70, 75 (1998-99).

[FN11]. Dore, supra note 8, at 1303.
[FN12]. Ndulo, supra note 10, at 75.
[FN13]. Id. at 76.
[FN14]. Ruth Gordon, Growing Constitutions, 1 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 528, 555

[FN15]. Ndulo, supra note 10, at 76.

[FN16]. Dore, supra note 8, at 1302.
[FN17]. Ndulo, supra note 10, at 77.
[FN18]. Id.
[FN19]. Id. at 78.
[FN20]. Dore, supra note 8, at 1310.
[FN21]. Id.
[FN22]. Id.
[FN23]. Steven Metz, Refining American Strategy in Africa, 14, 1-72 (2000).
[FN24]. Id.
[FN25]. Id. at 15.
[FN26]. Id.
[FN27]. David Rieff, In Defense of Afro-Pessimism, World Policy Journal, at (1998-99).

[FN28]. Metz, supra note 23, at 15.
[FN29]. Irving Williamson and Stephen D' Allessandro, New Prospects For

Private Sector Led Trade, Investment, and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan

Africa, 30 LAW & POL'Y INT'L BUS. 637, 642 (1999).
[FN30]. Id. at 643.
[FN31]. Id.
[FN32]. Id.
[FN33]. Metz, supra note 23, at 16.
[FN34]. Id.
[FN35]. Id.
[FN36]. Id.
[FN37]. Ernest Harsch, African taking action on corruption, Africa Recovery

(July 1997), at
[FN38]. Dore, supra note 8, at 1303.
[FN39]. Metz, supra note 23, at 19-20.
[FN40]. J. Oloka-Onyango, Uganda's "Benevolent" Dictatorship, University of

Dayton, at (1997).

[FN41]. The Economist, AIDS in Southern Africa, Fighting Back (May 5, 2002),


[FN42]. Id.
[FN43]. Id.
[FN44]. Metz, supra note 23, at 21.
[FN45]. Id. at 22.
[FN46]. The Economist, supra note 41, at 1.
[FN47]. Stratfor Analysis, Africa Faces Higher Aid Standards (Feb. 2, 2002),


[FN48]. Id.
[FN49]. International Labour Organization, Organization of African Unity

(2003), at

[FN50]. BBC News, Q & A: African Union (July 9, 2001), at http://

[FN51]. P. Mweti Munya, The Organization of African Unity and Its Role in

Regional conflict Resolution and Dispute Settlement: A Critical Eraluation, 19

B.C. THIRD WORLD L.J. 537, 542 (1999).
[FN52]. Donald Rukare and Corrinne A. Packer, The New African Union and its

Constitutive Act, 96 ALL J. INT'L. 365, 366 (2002).

[FN53]. International Labour Organization, supra note 49, at 1.
[FN54]. Id.
[FN55]. Rukare, supra note 52, at 366-69.
[FN56]. Id. at 366.
[FN57]. Id. at 367-68.
[FN58]. Munya, supra note 51, at 539.
[FN59]. Id.
[FN60]. South African Department of Foreign Affairs, Organization of African

Unity (OAU) / African Union (AU) (May 30, 2001), at
[FN61]. Id.
[FN62]. Natalie Steinberg, Background Paper on African Union (October 24,

2001), at; BBC

News, supra note 3.
[FN63]. Id.
[FN64]. Id.; The Economist, A Step in the Right Direction (Jul. 8, 2002), at, http://
[FN65]. Jubilee Research, Debt Relief (Sept. 2002), at http://

[FN66]. BBC News, Q&A: the Pros and Cons of Debt Relief, (Jun. 21, 2002), at

[FN67]. Africa Policy Information Center, Africa: Debt Background Paper (Mar.

15, 1999), at [hereinafter

Debt Background Paper].
[FN68]. Id.
[FN69]. World Bank Group, Debt Relief (Aug. 2003), at http://



[FN70]. Africa Policy Information Center, Africa's Debt -- Africa Action

Position Paper (July 2001), available at http:// [hereinafter Position Paper].
[FN71]. Id.
[FN72]. Id.
[FN73]. Id.
[FN74]. Africa Policy Information Center, Debt Background Paper, supra note

67, at 3.

[FN75]. Id.
[FN76]. Africa Policy Information Center, Position Paper, supra note 70, at 3.
[FN77]. Id.
[FN78]. Id.
[FN79]. Id.
[FN80]. Id.
[FN81]. Id.
[FN82]. Id.
[FN83]. International Monetary Fund, Debt Relief under the Heavily Indebted

Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, A Fact Sheet, (Aug. 2002), at http://
[FN84]. Africa Policy Information Center, Position Paper, supra note 70, at 5.
[FN85]. International Monetary Fund, supra note 83, at 3.
[FN86]. World Bank Group, Debt Relief, supra note 69, at 1.
[FN87]. BBC News, G8 Analysis: Peanuts or Progress? (Jun. 28, 2002), at

[FN88]. Jubilee Research, supra note 65, at 3.
[FN89]. Id.
[FN90]. Barbara Kalima, The Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative,

African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (March 13, 2003), at http://
[FN91]. Id.
[FN92]. Jubilee Research, supra note 65, at 3.
[FN93]. Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, Africa Establishes Union, Solidifies

NEPAD (July 2002), at

[FN94]. Jubilee Research, supra note 65, at 3.
[FN95]. Id.
[FN96]. Id.
[FN97]. Id.
[FN98]. Id. at 4.
[FN99]. Id. at 8.
[FN100]. Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, supra note 93, at 1.
[FN101]. BBC News, supra note 87, at 2.
[FN102]. Id.
[FN103]. Id.
[FN104]. J.M. Migai Akech, The African Growth and Opportunity Act:

Implications for Kenya's Trade and Development, 33 N.Y.U. J. INT'L L. & POL.

651, 656-57 (2001).
[FN105]. Gumisai Mutume, What Doha Means for Africa, Compromises at WTO trade

talks bring some gains, but at an uncertain cost, Africa Recovery (Dec. 2001),

[FN106]. Augusta Conchiglia, Regiona/Integration Now More Than Ever On the

Agenda, The Courier ACP-EU (Jun.-Nov. 2002), at http://
[FN107]. Id.
[FN108]. Id.
[FN109]. Id.
[FN110]. Id.
[FN111]. Id.
[FN112]. Akech, supra note 104, at 658.
[FN113]. Id. at 658-59.
[FN114]. Id. at 662-63.
[FN115]. Id. at 664.
[FN116]. Id. at 670-71, 678.
[FN117]. U.S. House of Representatives Press Release, COMESA's Presentation to

U.S. House Committee on Implementation of AGOA (Oct. 9, 2002), at http://
[FN118]. Id.
[FN119]. Mutume, supra note 105, at 4.
[FN120]. Europa, Bilateral Trade Relations, ACP Countries, (Aug. 2002), at

[FN121]. Id.
[FN122]. Id.
[FN123]. Id.
[FN124]. Id.
[FN125]. Id.
[FN126]. Mutume, supra note 105, at 4.
[FN127]. Africa Policy Information Center, African Development Forum III:

Defining Priorities for Regional Integration (Feb. 19, 2002), at http:// [hereinafter African Development

[FN128]. Francisco Granell, The European Union and the New Partnership for

Africa's Development (NEPAD), The Courier ACP-EU (Sept.-Oct. 2002), at http://

[FN129]. Jubilee Research, supra note 65, at 3.
[FN130]. Granell, supra note 128, at 29.
[FN131]. Id.
[FN132]. Richard Joseph, Smart Partnerships for African Development, A New

Strategic Framework (May 15, 2002), at http://
[FN133]. Mutume, supra note 105, at 1.
[FN134]. Id. at 2.
[FN135]. Id. at 3.
[FN136]. Debbie Singh, ACP Solidarity in a Globalised World, The Courier

ACP-EU (Sept.-Oct. 2002), at http://
[FN137]. Id.
[FN138]. Id.
[FN139]. Mutume, supra note 105, at 6.
[FN140]. Stratfor Analysis, Sea Change in IMF's African Aid Program (May 8,

2002), at

[FN141]. Id.
[FN142]. Id.
[FN143]. See generally Africa Policy Information Center, Position Paper, supra

note 70.
[FN144]. Id.

[FN145]. Id.
[FN146]. Id.
[FN147]. Id.
[FN148]. Africa Policy Information Center, Debt Background Paper, supra note

67, at 1.

[FN149]. Id.
[FN150]. Id.
[FN151]. Africa Policy Information Center, Position Paper, supra note 70, at

[FN152]. See generally World Bank, supra note 69.

[FN153]. Africa Policy Information Center, Debt Background Paper, supra note

67, at 4.

[FN154]. See generally Africa Policy Information Center, Position Paper, supra

note 70.
[FN155]. George B. Ayittey, The Role of Multi-Lateral Institutions in African

Development, 30 LAW & POL'Y INT'L BUS. 697, 712 (1999).
[FN156]. World Press Review, Building on the European Model: Challenges for

the African Union, (July 24, 2002), at http://

[FN157]. Id.
[FN158]. Id.
[FN159]. Africa Policy Information Center, African Development Paper, supra

note 127, at 4.

[FN160]. Chantal Thomas, International Debt Forgiveness and Global Poverty

Reduction, 27 FORDHAM URB. L.J. 1711, 1713 (2000).


Download 117.39 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page