12-SUM CURNTS 127
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
*127 THE AFRICAN UNION: BUILDING A DREAM TO FACILITATE TRADE, DEVELOPMENT,
AND DEBT RELIEF
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.
II. BACKGROUND AFRICAN HISTORY THE SOURCE OF AFRICA'S PROBLEMS: COLONIZATION &
ITS SUBSEQUENT DEMISE
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
III. CURRENT PROBLEMS PLAGUING THE AFRICAN CONTINENT: CHALLENGES TO GROWTH AND
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]
IV. THE EVOLUTION OF THE AFRICAN UNION (AU) FROM THE ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN
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
V. CURRENT ACTIONS AND SOLUTIONS TO AFRICA'S ECONOMIC PROBLEMS CURRENT DEBT
CURRENT DEBT STATUS AND RELIEF
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
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]
CURRENT SUB-SAHARAN INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND TRADE RELIEF
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
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
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
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
VI. CRITICISMS AND PROPOSED SOLUTIONS
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
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
COMPLETE DEBT ERADICATION
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
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
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.
HOW THE AFRICAN UNION MIGHT FACILITATE FINANCIAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
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
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.
[FN19]. Id. at 78.
[FN20]. Dore, supra note 8, at 1310.
[FN23]. Steven Metz, Refining American Strategy in Africa, 14, 1-72 (2000).
[FN25]. Id. at 15.
[FN27]. David Rieff, In Defense of Afro-Pessimism, World Policy Journal, at
[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.
[FN33]. Metz, supra note 23, at 16.
[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 http://www.udayton.edu/~rwanda/articles/uganda.html (1997).
[FN41]. The Economist, AIDS in Southern Africa, Fighting Back (May 5, 2002),
[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),
[FN49]. International Labour Organization, Organization of African Unity
(2003), at http://www.itcilo.it/english/actrav/telearn/global/ilo/law/oau.htm.
[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.
[FN55]. Rukare, supra note 52, at 366-69.
[FN56]. Id. at 366.
[FN57]. Id. at 367-68.
[FN58]. Munya, supra note 51, at 539.
[FN60]. South African Department of Foreign Affairs, Organization of African
Unity (OAU) / African Union (AU) (May 30, 2001), at
[FN62]. Natalie Steinberg, Background Paper on African Union (October 24,
2001), at http://www.worldfederalist.org/ACTION/africanunion1001.html; BBC
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[FN64]. Id.; The Economist, A Step in the Right Direction (Jul. 8, 2002), at
[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 http://www.africaaction.org/docs99/dbt9903b.htm [hereinafter
Debt Background Paper].
[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://
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[FN74]. Africa Policy Information Center, Debt Background Paper, supra note
67, at 3.
[FN76]. Africa Policy Information Center, Position Paper, supra note 70, at 3.
[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.
[FN90]. Barbara Kalima, The Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative,
African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (March 13, 2003), at http://
[FN92]. Jubilee Research, supra note 65, at 3.
[FN93]. Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, Africa Establishes Union, Solidifies
NEPAD (July 2002), at http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/02-07-10.
[FN94]. Jubilee Research, supra note 65, at 3.
[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.
[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://
[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://
[FN119]. Mutume, supra note 105, at 4.
[FN120]. Europa, Bilateral Trade Relations, ACP Countries, (Aug. 2002), at
[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://
www.africaaction.org/featdocs/adf3a.htm [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.
[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://
[FN139]. Mutume, supra note 105, at 6.
[FN140]. Stratfor Analysis, Sea Change in IMF's African Aid Program (May 8,
2002), at http://www.stratfor.biz/Story.neo?storyId=204391.
[FN143]. See generally Africa Policy Information Center, Position Paper, supra
[FN148]. Africa Policy Information Center, Debt Background Paper, supra note
67, at 1.
[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
[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:// www.worldpress.org/Africa/
[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).
END OF DOCUMENT
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