Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pan Africa (United States of Africa)

Pan African movement joins Union Government debate
Addressing the media yesterday in Accra, Kyeretwie Poku, Spokesman for the Assembly said they are advocating for a fast track approach towards a union of all African states with citizenship, common economic planning, common defence policy, and common foreign policy.

The theme for the conference is "African Union Government; This is the Time."

The Pan African People’s Assembly is a coalition of organisations with a shared political vision of an Africa that is politically and economically integrated as well as politically independent which has an assertive and respected voice in the international arena.



This is some welcome news from at least myself. Just as the European Union was formed to facilitate trade within members by lowering and then eliminating tariffs and other barriers to trade it can also facilitate trade between inside the union and outside by unifying the regulatory process of trade flows. It can also help in transferring capital to where it is most needed as well as labor-again what is happening in the EU.

If you want to see what really happens in the formation of a Monetary Union:FE102Question 7, and also cross posted at The European Monetary Union (EMU)|some brief notes.

Going back to the article:
But in a recent forum at GNAT Hall, the two schools of thought, Gradualists and Instantists, clashed over the time frame to be used in forming the proposed Union Government.

Well seeing how most systems that try 'Instantist' policies tend to be very disruptive to the lives of ordinary people, then I would have to be on the side of Gradualism. Just like the EU took nearly 50 years, I imagine this will take some time. And the EU experienced more than one hiccup along the way as my posts pointed out.
Contributing, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, a member of the Assembly and Managing Editor of The Insight, attributed Africa’s underdevelopment to the western world dictating the prices of the continent’s major export.

He reiterated that it is imperative the Union Government is formed so that at least the continent’s resources could be protected.

When people talk about protecting resources, I just don't get it. How does resources in the ground helps anyone? But more than those evil Westerners, it has a lot more to do with property rights and freedoms for the people. Thus I think a Union of States sounds like a good idea to encourage development of the human capital of Africa.

Most of the time they refer to protecting what they perceive to be a fair trade. So a union could provide a stable export market that would actually help the West and China especially. I am sure there are unscrupulous people that want to exploit, but most corporations want stability and not instability over the long run.

Pan-Africa Commodities proposes Africa-wide exchange
London is still the trading centre for most metals, in a legacy of the colonial era, but Africa's exports are increasingly shipped to China.

Grains futures are already traded in South Africa, and Egypt's stock exchanges have proposed a bourse to trade wheat, rice and possibly cotton. The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange is gaining greater prominence in the region.

There is a lot of talk now days about "bourses" and since the electronic age there is no longer have to be defined as in close proximity to where the actual bill of laden is performed. But markets work best when volume is sufficient, so it still may be that market clearing prices may still reside in London or other industrialized countries. So I don't see it as "legacy of colonial era" but as economies of scale that dictate where the trading tends to happen.

"We see most of the trade volume coming from intra-Africa traders, with some international participation," he said.

Excellent point, that this is one of the reasons for a Union that starts with a monetary union. In Africa there is already the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa and West African Economic and Monetary Union. Which indicates that there already is some integration going on now, but also that it is not likely to be one Union but a couple or a few, especially consider the religious divide that goes through Africa.

With a will there’s a way to solve Africa’s problems
For several years it has remained a topic discussed in the corridors of the forum, not slotting into the broad themes of the annual event. In fact, the “Zimbabwe issue” has become a topic that generally ends up spoken about in corridors rather than in public forums, not least of all at African meetings that involve heads of state.

In Africa, a hush has settled over the issue, with people reluctant to challenge the Zimbabwean president’s propaganda about what is causing the problems in his country.

But no amount of propaganda can disguise the fact that the problems in Zimbabwe affect the image of the whole continent.

I personally do not see those affecting my image of the whole continent but when the 14 got together and refused to condemn what is happening in Zimbabwe then yes that does reflect on the whole continent.
In an unrelated session at the forum, President Thabo Mbeki concurred with a view put forward by another speaker that in the minds of many in the international community, the mention of Africa brings to mind just two issues, Darfur and Zimbabwe, which overshadow the continent’s many success stories.

Africa tended to be seen as one big place marked by its trouble spots rather than a range of countries each with their own problems, histories and challenges, he asserted.

Yes, I see this reaction from not only the right but the left. You would think that when I present positive news about Africa that some would be interested instead it is like comparing them in their development process to the US or even Japan.
These institutions also have a patchy record of dealing with problem states such as Zimbabwe, undermined in their effectiveness by the very concept of African unity that underpins them.

At the WEF, Mbeki also argued for countries to break down barriers to trade and investment, disagreeing that this was in conflict with his disaggregation theory. In short, Africa needs critical mass economically but not necessarily politically.

But despite their enthusiasm for the “one government for Africa” on a political level, many politicians seem to be a lot less eager to break down their trade walls, despite stating publicly that it is a good idea. The thorny issue of sovereignty continues to undermine many regional initiatives.

Yes it is not easy to give up some autonomy for a better good. At least I hope this leads to more integration of African countries. There has been enough Balkanization of Africa for a lifetime. I hope it now goes in the opposite direction. And this is not because of some imperialist notions but that with these moves a brighter future in Africa will emerge.

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2 Comments:

Blogger morrisonbonpasse said...

Yes, monetary union is a very important part of the road to monetary stability and economic growth. Even more important than African monetary union will be the Single Global Currency.
There are many benefits to a Single Global Currency, and it can be implemented without a world government. All we need is a Global Central Bank within a Global Monetary Union, just like the European Central Bank within the European Monetary Union, or the Eastern Caribbean Central bank, etc.
The benefits of a Single Global Currency will be substantial:
- Annual transaction costs of $400 billion will be eliminated.
- Worldwide asset values will increase by about $36 trillion.
- Worldwide GDP will increase by about $9 trillion.
- Global currency imbalances will be eliminated.
- All Balance of Payments problems will be eliminated.
- Currency crises will be prevented.
- Currency speculation will be eliminated.
- The need for foreign exchange reserves, now over $4 trillion, will be eliminated and these funds can be used for more productive purposes than maintaining an inefficient foreign exchange system.
If a monetary union in Europe works for 13 countries, soon to be 22, then why not plan for monetary union for 192 countries?
For more information, please visit the website of the Single Global Currency Assn. at home (http://www.singleglobalcurrency.org). Our goal is implementation by 2024. I've written the book, "The Single Global Currency - Common Cents for the World" and invite comments, suggestions and criticisms.

6/19/2007 4:55 PM  
Blogger hank_F_M said...

Ronald


Excellent points.

6/19/2007 5:22 PM  

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