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DEVELOPING INTRA-AFRICAN TRADE WITH A VIEW TO ACCELERATING THE INTEGRATION PROCESS OF THE CONTINENT

Resolution adopted by the 30th APU Conference

The African Parliamentary Union, meeting at its 30th Conference in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), on 29 and 30 November 2007,

Reaffirming that peace, security and stability in African countries are prerequisites for the development of intra-African trade;

Considering that democratization of the systems of governance is the indispensable condition for the promotion of stability and sustainable development of African countries;

Recalling the Treaty of Abuja establishing the African Economic Community (1991)

Considering that Africa has significant growth potential, in view of  its available resources;

Emphasizing  that regional integration is an essential way to ensure sustainable growth and poverty reduction on the continent;

Noting that intra-African trade is mainly characterized by the trade of basic goods and dominated by a limited number of countries; 

Considering the lack of true commitment on the part of the rich countries to liberalize trade with the least developed countries;

Emphasizing on the fact that much efforts still need to be made to achieve the trade and development goals of the regions of the continent;

Considering  that external debt service is an impediment to growth in the least developed countries;

Considering that trade duties applied to the continent contribute to hinder business among African countries, being higher than those applied in other regions of the world;

Considering, moreover, that tax and non-tax barriers seriously obstruct the development of intra-African trade

Noting the delay in the progressive dismantling of the tax barriers in the Regional Economic Communities (REC) of the African continent,

Aware that infrastructure remains the weak link in Africa’s development strategy and that adequate infrastructure helps to promote regional integration, facilitate intra-African trade just as global trade, 

Emphasizing that the low performance of intra-community and intra-African trade stems from various constraints, such as the inappropriate economic structure of the countries concerned, the inefficiency of the trade institutions, inadequate transport infrastructures, unsuitable finance policies and mechanisms, difficult implementation of regional cooperation agreements;

Noting that poor transport networks and more generally poor trade infrastructures in Africa are impediments to trade extension

Noting, moreover, that attaining the trade goals requires a reform of the production and trade structures that are scarcely favourable to intra-regional and intra-African trade and partly because of the intra-African regional integration mechanisms that have not yet cleared intra-regional trade obstacles.

Acknowledging the importance of the private and informal sectors of the African economies,

Recalling the following resolutions, particularly :
the resolution on « intra-African trade and the ways to develop it » (6th Conference, Libreville 1983),

  • the resolution on « the economic future of Africa in the face of the formation of large blocs: integration problem » (17th Conference, Praia 1994),
  • the resolution on « the role of African parliaments in the promotion of fair international trade » (27th  Conference, Algiers 2004),
  1. Calls on Governments to adopt open dialogue as one of the preferred means for resolving the conflicts they are faced with, with a view to laying the foundation for political and economic stability;
  1. Appeals to African countries to unceasingly ensure the promotion of democratic governance with a view to achieving sustainable development;
  1. Calls on Governments and Parliaments of the continent to honour the commitments made in regional and sub-regional treaties and agreements, and to implement policies aimed at promoting intra-community or trade within the sub-region;

 

  1. Recommends to  African States to adopt specialization and diversification policies for their productions so as to ensure the complementarity of their intra-African trade;
  1. Emphasizes the need to make simultaneous intensive efforts to resolve the issue of infrastructures and production, by increasing collaboration in the areas of transportation, communication, energy and production; 

Urges African Governments and Parliaments to set up consistent and transparent policy frameworks that will enable potential investors to operate in their countries;

  1. Calls on African states to honour their commitments in terms of trade liberalization as provided in the Treaty of Abuja, namely through the following actions:
  • Reduce and remove tax and non-tax barriers,
  • Apply the initial rules to define which goods can benefit from the free-trade scheme,
  • Promote trade between member states and diversify the markets for the goods produced within the Regional Economic Communities,
  • Ensure the free movement of people,
  • Establish free-trade zones in the Regional Economic Communities, this will favour the emergence of customs unions; in this respect, it is necessary to set up or accelerate the implementation of the programmes aimed at stabilizing or gradually removing tax and non-tax barriers, harmonizing macroeconomic policies and promoting the free movement of all the factors of production
  1. Urges African states, within the framework of their community or bilateral policies, to take measures aimed at removing tax and non tax barriers such as:
  • gradually eliminating the taxes,
  • implementing an external common tariff in the trade relations with other countries,
  • simplifying and standardizing customs clearance administrative procedures,
  • facilitating transit of goods by road towards landlocked countries, especially in terms of roadblocks,
  • The use of information and communication technologies and improvement of information dissemination and the control of goods passing through the transit corridors in the sub-region.  
  • adopting common trade instruments
  • standardizing the trade norms on goods
  • a greater liberalization of the trade through the elimination of quotas and prohibitions ;
  1. Also urges African states to adopt measures aimed at promoting trade and accelerating the integration of the continent, namely:
    • Harmonize the institutional framework for investments,
    • Favour a political and economic climate conducive to private investment,
    • Promote the participation of the private sector in the process of integration
    • Ensure that the informal sector participates effectively in the development of trade with a view to promoting true economic integration; 
    • Establish an appropriate network of transport and communication facilities to interlink the countries,
    • Diversify the structures of production and exportation by promoting the production of competitive export goods in the regional or international markets,
    • Create trade opportunities by including specialized products that have comparative advantages over the other countries of the sub-region or the continent.
    • Improve the payment systems and mechanisms in the intra-African trade and use more efficient payment instruments,
    • Implement efficient compensation mechanisms of the customs receipts,
    • Speed up the process to establish a common currency, first within some of the regional economic communities and then on an Africa-wide basis;
    • Create efficient insurance mechanisms and facilitate administrative and financial procedures;
  1. Exhorts governments to take measures to facilitate trade by reducing red tape at the borders in order to increase the intra-African trade and integrate Africa in the world economy;
  1. Requests the governments of the continent to promote unified transport policies that would facilitate cross-border movement of goods in order to favour an increase in intra-African trade ;
  1. Encourages companies to use efficient high performing technologies in their process of production in order to reduce the costs of production and therefore enable the development of intra-African trade and with the rest of the world;
  1. Encourages African countries to get involved resolutely in a process of developing transport and communication infrastructures as well as the necessary human skills to promote sub-regional, regional and global trade ;
  • Requests the states to integrate the development of infrastructures in the national policies and programmes, including national budgets;
  • Urges African countries to make an objective assessment of their relations with the international financial institutions, particularly, with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as well as with the World Trade Organization, so as to protect the purchasing power of the people;  
  • Consequently calls on African countries to firmly get involved in the implementation at the national level of regional infrastructure programmes, and to build the capacities of the Regional Economic Communities (REC), in the implementation of the NEPAD infrastructure programme.  To this end, the  following measures have to be taken:
  • Focus on investments in the area of infrastructure, owing to their economic and social impact;
  • Provide African countries with appropriate funding and technical capacities to meet infrastructure requirements;  
  • Make use of innovative approaches to finance the development of infrastructures on the continent, especially those requiring private sector  involvement;
  • Mobilize and increase local resources through better exploitation of the economic potential of African countries;
  • Build the capacities of the public sector to negotiate and manage public-private partnership (PPP), to foster infrastructural development. 
  • Calls on parliaments to support the Digital Solidarity Fund proposed by NEPAD and adopted by the African in July 2004, to contribute to the development of trade among African countries;
  • Calls on  international financial institutions, the donors community and particularly the African Development Bank to give more importance to the development of the infrastructure in Africa and the achievement of the goals of the NEPAD  in this area;
  1. Urges African States to give more support to the development of manufacturing industries by adopting tax policies that allow the reduction of the costs of key inputs of the labour intensive clothing and textile industries, areas where Africa has competitive advantages on the level of production and exportation ;
  1. Recommends to developed countries and international financial institutions to service the external debt of the least developed countries once and for all, and support the efforts of African countries aimed to build the capacities needed for the implementation of modern trade techniques that would lead to a reduction in transaction  costs;
  1. Calls on developed countries to ease their policies, by removing obstacles that still remain trade talks on agricultural subsidies and access of agriculture produce to markets, so that WTO and Doha Round negotiations lead to positive outcomes for the  development of trade in Africa and the world;
  1. Particularly calls upon African ACP member countries not to hasten into negotiations with the European Union on Economic Partnership Agreements, in order preserve the interest of African countries and develop intra-African trade;
  1. Calls on African National Parliaments to facilitate the implementation of this resolution, by helping to form African Parliamentary lobbies with international and regional institutions.
  1. Requests the Bureau of the APU Executive Committee and the General Secretariat to brainstorm on the setting up of a permanent monitoring and evaluating mechanism on recommendations of this resolution. 

Addis Ababa, November 30th, 2007

 
   

R. 119/29/06





R.120/30/07

The role of parliaments in the protection of environment and the achievement of sustainable development

Resolution adopted by the 30th APU Conference

 

The African Parliamentary Union, meeting at its 30th Conference in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on 29 and 30 November 2007,

Concerned about the degradation of the environment and ecosystem of the African continent;

Noting that the environmental issues of Africa are a major concern to African countries;

Convinced that the appropriate measures should be taken to combat the effects of climate change on the environment in Africa, in order to protect the ecosystems;

Reaffirming the urgency for African countries to take appropriate measures to  ensure sustainable development;

Convinced that an efficient central government is key to ensuring good governance capable of addressing issues relating to environmental protection;

Aware, indeed, that faced with the degradation of the environment, particularly the depletion of natural resources such as water and firewood, women have been struggling to meet the subsistence needs of their families; 

Concerned by the issues relating to the quality of drinking water, desertification and deforestation,

Underlining the contribution of parliaments to the promotion of sustainable development through, legislative and budgetary measures consistent with international commitments, as well as, through initiatives to oversee government action or arouse public opinion;

Deeply concerned about the excessive exploitation of natural water, land, soil, forest and fishery resources;

Aware of the potential role ofcivil society organizations in environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development,

Aware of the importance of biological diversity for sustainable development and the survival of the earth and existing species,

Considering that the forests in Africa contribute to preserving the biodiversity as well as maintaining greenhouse gas emissions mainly produced by industrialized countries,

Noting that globalization, if not controlled, may lead to further environmental degradation and thus jeopardize the development of African countries,

Emphasizing the need to protect the environment in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

Reaffirming the need to achieve the objective of 0.7% of the GNP by developed countries to contribute to official development assistance,

Recalling :

  • UN Convention on the law of the sea (1982);
  • The convention on banning the dumping of toxic waste in Africa and controlling cross border movements and the management of toxic waste in Africa (1991),
  • The Rio Declaration on the environment and development and the plan of Action 21 adopted by the United Nations Conference on environment and development (1992);
  • The convention on biological diversity (1992) and the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety (2000);
  • The World Pact on environment agreed under the aegis of the United Nations  (2000);
  • The Convention on the fight against desertification (1994);
  • The UN Framework Convention on climate change (1992) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997);
  • The Johannesburg Declaration on sustainable development and the implementation programme adopted by the World Summit on sustainable development (2002);
  • The Monterrey Consensus adopted by the International Conference on funding development (2002);
  • The African convention on preservation of  nature and natural resources (2003, revised);
  • The Plan of action of the NEPAD Environment Initiative;
  • The Final Document of the World Summit 2005;
  • The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (2000);

Recalling also, notably :

  • The resolution on “desertification control in Africa” (9th Conference, Cotonou, 1986);
  • and the resolution on “Environment and the transfer of technology” (18th Conference, Ouagadougou, 1995) ;

      As well as the resolutions of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, titled :

  • “Ten years after Rio: global degradation of the environment and parliamentary support to the Kyoto protocol” (107th Conference, Marrakech, 2002);
  • “The role of parliament in preserving biodiversity” (111th Inter-parliamentary Assembly, Geneva, 2004),

 

  1. Calls on governments and parliaments to take the necessary measures to ensure implementation of international and regional instruments on the environment;

  2. Calls on the industrialized countries to implement the preventive measures against global warming as contained in the Kyoto Protocol and provide more support to African countries in their efforts to achieve development and environmental protection;

  3. Requests that all the appropriate measures should be taken against industrial countries which export toxic waste that are harmful to the environment of African countries;

  4. Requests African Parliaments to harmonize among themselves national legalisations aimed at preserving environment;

  5. Requests Parliaments to ensure that the new international and regional agreements concluded by the Executive are representative of and similar to the national priorities, and can be translated into the national laws;

  6. Calls on governments and parliaments to promote, within the framework of the NEPAD environmental initiative, the action of the Regional Economic Communities in the protection of the environment and the sustainable management of the natural resources;

  7. Recommends that governments and parliaments pay more attention to pollution caused by insecticides and pesticides and actively seek the use alternative environmentally friendly input products;

  8. Urges governments to institute national environmental and sustainable development plans;

  9. Urges governments and parliaments to take responsibility for creating awareness among African people about environmental degradation, ensure access by citizens to information on the state of the environment in their countries and facilitate NGO participation in mobilizing people to engage in environmental issues;

  10. Recommends that governments and parliaments facilitate the emergence of a dynamic civil society on specific environmental issues;

  11. Calls on Africanparliaments and governments to study the problems caused by climatic changes and their impact on environment, and to take action at the national, regional and international levels to mitigate their effects;

  12. Urges Africanparliaments to promote education of environment in order to achieve sustainable development and adopt programmes targeting communities to strengthen their role in the management of natural resources;

  13. Requests governments to introduce in the school syllabuses, the teaching of environmental issues and using the relevant practical work;

  14. Calls on parliaments to take part in regional and international activities relating to the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources;
  15. Urges African parliamentarians to make sure that governments comply with the international commitments with regard to sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);

  16. Encourages governments to develop rational use of forestry resources, while preserving the biodiversity and the functionality of forest ecosystems;

  17. Further calls on the governments of developed countries and the international financial institutions to promote in African countries, the research, development and use of renewable sources of energy, capacity building and technology transfer, adapted to the region, and earnestly requests them to strengthen their policies aimed at further reducing the debt of African countries which often obliges them to overexploit their natural resources to meet the debt services;

  18. Calls on countries that pollute environment to agree to pay, in form of a carbon tax as applied in Brazil, a financial compensation to countries that have forests in order that they do not resort to the destruction of their forests;  

  19. Encourages government and parliaments of the continent to promote good governance and establish an enabling environment for the mobilization of national resources, international private investments and better use of the official development aid;


  20. Invites Parliaments, when considering budget allocations, to provide themselves with the resources necessary to enable them to carry out more efficiently their monitoring and oversight roles with respect to the protection of the environment and sustainable development;
  21. Calls on donor governments to honour their commitments regarding official development aid (ODA);

  22. Encourages African countries to take urgent measures toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, in the area of water and related issues, in strategies for reducing poverty and implementing sustainable development;

  23. Calls on the African countries and the international community to continue and intensify drought and desertification control by:


    • Promoting cross-border cooperation and partnership, to establish land development programmes and create green zones to avoid the soil degradation;
    • Drawing up common sub-regional programmes on management and prevention of specific environmental problems;
    • Developing new and renewable energy sources;
    • Establishing a legal and legislative framework to support sustainable agriculture;
    • Developing afforestation and re-afforestation programmes;
    • Harvesting of runoff water in arid and semi-arid zones.
  24. Recommends the setting up of parliamentary committees or parliamentary groups on the environment;

  25. Calls on the African Union to integrate in its structures the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCE) and promote in partnership with NEPAD coherent environmental governance, through stronger cooperation and harmonization among the Regional Economic Communities (REC).


  26. Calls on the Bureau of the APU Executive Committee and the General Secretariat to brainstorm on the setting up of a permanent monitoring and evaluating mechanisms on environmental issues, with the support of partners, and submit the findings to it. 

Addis Ababa, November 30th, 2007


 

 
   









 
Contact: African Parliamentary Union P.O. Box V 314 Abidjan - Cote d'Ivoire Tel.: (225) 20 30 39 70 to 74 (225) 20 30 39 79