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31 Oct 2014 00:00
Mo-Woza cross-border traders. Regional groups have focused attention on easing cross-border activities
Is the “Africa Rising” narrative still a realisable and achievable reality, as it promised
when it emerged a few years ago, when Africa’s growth averaged 6 to
7% a year?
key questions today regarding the narrative, especially if one considers that
poverty remains endemic and inequality seems to be increasing every year.
released Mo Ibrahim Index shows modest improvements in most categories, but
also reveals deep cracks in human development, safety and rule of law, among
And with the Ebola outbreak in the Mano River Basin, further weaknesses
have been revealed, especially in health systems and their responsiveness to
emergencies and complicated medical problems, and the lack of investment in
in Africa’s achievements due to the outbreak include the poor economic performance
of the affected countries; stigmatisation and social exclusion and discrimination
and xenophobia in some of the more developed economies, which have also adopted
and subsequent responses have had a significant impact on regional integration
to end poverty eradication. Instead of promoting free movement of people, goods
and services, thus boosting intra-African trade, there is retrogression in this
are closing in and implementing stringent frameworks that hinder rather than
promote regional integration. This is a travesty given that more than 80% of
Africa’s trade is with Europe, China and
North America, and less than 20% is within.
trend and the subsequent reactions to Ebola continue, coupled with the lack of
industrialisation base, poor technology, bureaucratic bottlenecks, poor
governance and leadership, the “Africa Rising” narrative will evaporate fast.
and in particular Southern Africa, possesses the fundamentals for a collective
regional industrialisation strategies, entrance into global value chains and
good management of natural resources, the potential exists for Africa to leapfrog
into an advanced, integrated industrial base, and a
globally competitive market.
development rests squarely on integration and combined resources. This is
integral to how pan-Africanism emerged and its subsequent achievements, such as
the struggle against colonialism, which
was premised on unity, solidarity and self-reliance.
This was also
at the core of the formation of the integration process in Africa, which in the
Lagos Plan of Action outlined the various stages of economic integration, such
as customs unions, free trade areas, monetary unions and other such processes.
This is the
case in the regional groupings such as the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), which in 2008 established the Free Trade Area and jointly
with the East Africa Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (Comesa), within the tripartite framework, have focused attention on
easing cross-border activities through one-stop border posts.
collective voice is also instrumental in international political and economic
negotiations, as well as in properly positioning the continent and its various
regions as investment destinations.
however, cannot be complete without the involvement of Africa’s entrepreneurs,
the private sector, youth, women, children and civil society formations. Thus,
Africa’s development horizons can be expanded with the involvement of all
social, economic, political and cultural forces. This is only possible if
synergies are promoted, unity enhanced and solidarity cultivated among the
different sectors that make up the whole of Africa.
Investing in the Future and Drivers of Change Awards are a special occasion for
the Southern Africa Trust and the Mail
& Guardian and their related partners. This year’s awards are dedicated
to showcasing individuals, businesses, civil society and governments that are
engaged innovatively in regional integration and poverty reduction.
industrialisation becoming a sine qua non
in the region, this year there is a particular focus on sectors that are
essential for Africa’s leap-frogging potential. These are, among others, science,
technology, engineering and mathematics.
however, need to be combined with the essential roles played by advocacy,
policy-oriented and capacity enhancement actors, most of whom are always
celebrated in the awards.
In order to
promote regional integration, industrialisation and good management of the region’s
resources, we invited the executive secretary of the SADC to be the keynote speaker at the awards.
In many ways, we are hoping to take the SADC back to the people of the region, especially the women, the youth and
a big section that who feel marginalised,
and don’t think that the SADC means anything to them.
Bhekinkosi Moyo is executive director of the
Southern Africa Trust and a member of the judging panel of the awards
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