Conference of Ministers for Integration
The third conference of African Ministers for Integration will be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire between May 19-23, 2008.
The AU Aide Memoire reads:
1.1. It will be recalled that the First Conference of African Ministers in Charge Integration (COMAI I) held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from the 30th to the 31st March 2006, on the Rationalization of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the Second Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Integration (COMAI II), held in Kigali, Rwanda from the 26th to the 27th July 2007. The two conferences mentioned above recognized the important role-played by regional economic communities (RECs) as central pillars for achieving continental integration. In addition, these conferences underscored the need to rationalize and harmonize the activities and programmes of RECs, with a view to accelerating African integration process.
1.2 Assembly Decisions (Assembly/AU/DEC.112 (VII) and Assembly/AU/Dec.113 (VII) of the Seventh Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held in Banjul, The Gambia, from the 1st to the 2nd July 2006, among other things, recommended a moratorium on the recognition of RECs.
1.3 A number of recommendations were made during COMAI I and II. These recommendations focused on the following major elements:
• Need to review the Abuja Treaty, taking into account, the Sirte Declaration of 9.9.99;
• Need to elaborate a Minimum Integration Programme (MIP) for RECs;
• Need for the African Union Commission to coordinate the activities of RECs;
• Need to put in place, a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the recommendations of COMAI I and II;
• Need to harmonize the policies and programmes among RECs, as a key strategy to enhance rationalization process; and
• Need to encourage and promote free movement of persons, goods capital and services among and across all RECs, in order bring about accelerated continental integration
1.4 It should be recalled that since the institutionalization of these Conferences, a number of achievements can be outlined, in the area of accelerating African integration process, in line with the provisions of the Sirte Declaration of 9.9.99. These achievements, include among others:
• Holding of regional consultations is Accra and Lusaka in 2006;
• Development of a roadmap for the rationalization process;
• Finalization of a study on the review of the Abuja Treaty and elaboration of a Minimum Integration Programme;
• Establishment of African premier financial institutions, namely: the African Monetary Fund (AMF); African Investment Bank (AIB) and African Central Bank (ACB);
• Signing, on 27 January 2008, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, of a Protocol on Relations between the AU and the REC, during the 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union;
• Study on quantification of scenarios for the rationalization process, to be commenced in mid-2008.
1.5 It is in accordance with the Decisions and recommendations mentioned above, that the Third Conference African Ministers of Integration (i COMAI III) will be held in May 2008 and is scheduled to take place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, at the invitation of the Government of Cote d’Ivoire.
II. OBJECTIVE (S) AND THEME (S) OF COMAI III
In general, issues pertaining to Africa’s integration process will be discussed. Specific themes to be discussed at both the Experts’ Meeting and Ministerial Conference will be ‘How to successfully integrate Africa’
III. TENTATIVE OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAMME
Proposed topics to be discussed are as follows:
Expert Meetings: 19-21 May 2008
The following is a tentative outline of the Programme:
• Implementation matrix of recommendations derived from Ouagadougou and Kigali meetings (COMA I and II);
• Consideration of conclusions from the sectoral meeting on free movement (of persons, goods, services and capital) and Common Market for Agricultural Products;
• Report on the status of African integration;
• Five Presentations on the area of integration by Expert persons;
i. Financing Community Infrastructure and Regional Integration (ADB);
ii. The role of the Private Sector in the Regional Integration Process ( AUC);
iii. Industrial Policies and Regional Integration (by Prof. Ake Gilbert, University of Abidjan );
iv. Investment, Trade and Integration (by Prof Mbaye, University of Dakar);
v. Economic Partnership Agreements, Rationalisation of RECs and Integration in Africa (ECA);
• An informative sectoral presentation by the Department of Food and Agriculture
Ministerial Conference: 22-23 May 2008
The following is a tentative outline of the Programme:
• Consideration of the Experts Report;
• Presentations by three Ministers
i. Advocacy for Regional and Continental Integration (By M. Amadou Kone, Minister of Integration, Cote d’Ivoire);
ii. Governance, Sovereignty and Regional Integration (Northern Africa);
iii. External Debt and Integration (Southern Africa);
• Discussions of presentations by the Conference participants
Experts will be expected to send the AU their documents one month before the conference. These documents should be focused on the summary of the issue presented and the key recommendations proposed. These will be translated accordingly into the AU working languages.
IV. INVITED PARTICIPANTS
Member States; Regional Economic Communities: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); East African Community (EAC); Southern African Development Community (SADC); Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD); Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); Arab Maghreb Union (AMU);
Key partners of the AU Commission partners will also be invited to participate. These include United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); the African Development Bank (AfDB); and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); European Union (EU) and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP);
Invitations will be sent at the beginning of March. The agenda, programme, and the related documents will follow later.
V. PROPOSED VENUE AND DATES
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 19 – 23, May 2008.
Commission of African Union
Mr. Charles Awitor
Mr. Fliss Liwaaddine
Mr. Islam Swaleh
Ms Victoria Forster-Jones