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Stepping Up Air Transport Safety And Capacity In Sub Saharan Africa, by Chofor Che, published at Africanliberty.org, 18 March 2014


Sub Saharan African lags behind every other region in the world when it concerns airfreight volume. According to statistics from the African Development Bank, measured in kilometers travelled and metric tons the region can only boast of 1.5 per cent of the global industry, whereas the Pacific region and East Africa hosts 35.7 per cent of the air transport industry. Sub Saharan Africa counts only for about 1.5 per cent of the world’s passengers in both international and domestic flights compared to 28 per cent in North America.

On the continent the air transport industry is dominated by three major airlines which include South African Airlines, Kenyan Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. According to a 2013 IOSA study at least 200 African airlines are presently operating in Africa of which only 38 meet global safety standards.

Poor safety records remain the greatest challenge in this industry. According to a Mo Ibrahim Foundation report of late 2013, despite the fact that terminal capacity and runways are usually adequate, surveillance and air traffic control remain a bone of contention.

Another impediment plaguing the air transport industry in Sub Saharan Africa is the cost of fuel. On the world’s stage, fuel accounts for about 35 per cent of an airline’s operational cost. This ranges from 45 to 55 per cent in Africa, making fuel prices in some stations in Africa twice as expensive as what attains averagely in other parts of the world.

Airport taxes in Sub Saharan Africa are also exorbitant. In comparison to several airports outside Africa, passenger’s taxes in Sub Saharan Africa are very high. The ADB purports that passenger landing tax in Accra, Ghana is $ 75 and $137 in Ambouli, Djibouti compared to $14 in Paris, France and $6 in Mumbai, India.

In 2013 Airports Council International found out that air safety in Africa worsened in 2012 to 3.71 Western-built jet hull losses per million flights up from 3.27 in 2011. Sub Saharan Africa continues to have the poorest air safety record in the world despite the recent focus on the Malaysian air plane crash in March 2014 which has rocked the air waves. Most accidents in Sub Saharan Africa take place in two countries, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2013 the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan was put forth by African states and endorsed by the African Union. This plan is supposed to strengthen regulatory oversight and address safety deficiency on the continent. The idea is to have world class safety performance by the end of 2015.

Sub Saharan Africa needs to translate such action plans into concrete actions. African leaders have been holding meetings with endorsements from the African Union to no avail. It is important for African states to first of all revisit their air safety conditions. Infrastructure is very germane. Most airports on the continent need to meet international standards. The equipments used at most airports in Africa need to be state of the art. The personnel need to be well trained as colleagues in other parts of the world. Corruption at airports in Africa needs to be curbed. It is germane for governments to rectify these ills for better safety conditions and air transport financial gains for the continent.

– See more at: http://www.africanliberty.org/content/stepping-air-transport-safety-and-capacity-sub-saharan-africa-chofor-che#sthash.Wfgwdhg3.dpuf

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Africa Development, African Union

 

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A recap on the overall governance situation in the Central African region – Chofor Che – 27 December 2013


The Mo Ibrahim Foundation published its 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) in October 2013. Although this was the seventh year the IIAG has been published, it charts governance performance since 2000. This publication is timely especially as the continent celebrates 50 years of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU). It is important for organisations like the Mo Foundation to make an assessment of the governance situation on the continent, especially as we have just two years away from for the target date of the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) slated for 2015. This contribution therefore reads into the IIAG and gives an analysis of the governance situation in countries in the Central African region. First of all it is vital for a general overview of the governance situation on the continent and indicators used in the IIAG.

The findings of the 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance show that there have been some improvements across the African continent. 94 percent of people residing in Africa reside in a country that has made some improvements in governance since 2000. Eight states out of the continent’s fifty-two states performed well in the 2003 report. Nonetheless there are still humongous challenges to thrash especially in the allocation of financial and natural resources. In as much as there have been some improvement in indicators used by the IIAG such as Human Development; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; Participation and Human Rights, there has been a serious decline in an important indicator such as Safety and the Rule of law.

It is thus important to give an assessment of the overall governance situation in the Central African region according to indicators outlined in the IIAG. While states such as Mauritius, Botswana and Cape Verde are ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively, states in the Central African region ranked amongst the states on the continent with the poorest governance record. Gabon is ranked 24th, Cameroon is ranked 35th Congo Brazzaville is ranked 43rd, Equatorial Guinea is ranked 45th, Chad is ranked 48th, the Central African Republic is ranked 49th and the Democratic Republic of Congo is 51st. This is a clear indication that states in the Central African region continue to perform poorly with respect to Safety and the Rule of Law; Participation and human rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development.

Many pessimists may question the indicators utilized in the IIAG report, but if the same trends keep on repeating in other reports especially like the African Economic Outlook and the Doing Business Reports then there is a serious problem which African leaders need to address. Addressing the issue of governance needs a holistic approach which should include fighting corruption, improving on infrastructure, creating employment conditions for women and children by adequately revamping the private sector and speeding up the continent’s industrialisation process. Serious importance has to also be given to the deteriorating situation of Safety and the Rule of Law especially in the Central African region. States like the Central African Republic are plunged into a serious armed conflict and apparently this conflict is spilling over into neighboring states like Cameroon. If the deteriorating situation in the Central African region is not turned around especially in the Central African Republic by the African Union, the United Nations and other regional and international organisations, then this could signal an era where we shall see an increase spilling over not only in the Central African region but in Africa.

– See more at: http://africanliberty.org/content/recap-overall-governance-situation-central-african-region-chofor-che#sthash.IAsclYV7.dpuf

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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The African Union’s role in enhancing constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa – by Chofor Che, published at Africanliberty.org, 28 Nov 2013


I was invited to a High Level Consultation, convened at the King Fahd Palace Hotel in Dakar from the 25 to the 27 of November 2013 by the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union (AU) in collaboration with the host country, Senegal, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Governance Institute (AGI). Before this High Level Consultation holding in Senegal for the second time, the Youth Programme of the African Union had also organized at the same venue, a High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy on Africa. These Consultations coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU) and offered a unique opportunity to review the progress made in the area of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law among Member States during this period. There was equally a need to reflect upon emerging challenges and prospects. It was hoped that the Consultations would also provide the AU and its strategic partners the opportunity to consider ways in which the AU could enhance Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law thereby improving its role on governance and democracy on the continent.

Constitutionalism is considered as the respect for the fundamental law empowering and limiting government. It is premised on well-defined concepts such as the need for an independent judiciary, the need for human rights, as well as the need for separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary and the legislative branches of government. On the other hand, the rule of law focuses on the need of the legal system to function effectively and efficiently, thus ensuring equality of all persons before the law.

Participants taking part in these consultations were expected to examine the socio political dynamics of constitution making and reforms processes in Africa, to share comparable experiences on reinforcing constitutional order and safeguarding the rule of law among African Member States. They were also expected to address the emerging phenomenon of popular uprisings and protests and their political and legal consequences on the principles of constitutionalism and rule of law in Africa. They were equally expected to assess the emerging trends, challenges and opportunities to strengthen constitutional order and rule of law in Africa and develop an agenda for promoting constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa.

Two breakout sessions took place on the 26 of November 2013 during the African Union’s High Consultation on enhancing constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa. The first breakout session focused on how African member states would accept and come to terms with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. The second breakout session was on furnishing a roadmap for an African 2063 agenda in the area of strengthening constitutional order and rule of law as a key ingredient of continental integration and development. After these breakout sessions, I realized that in as much as the African Union had good intentions on enhancing constitutionalism and the rule in Africa, there was actually no concrete modus operandi on how this regional institution was going to achieve these dreams. I also realized that there was actually little harmony with the African Union’s agenda and the agenda of member states when it comes to enhancing constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa.

Member states especially in the Central African region remain the most corrupt and undemocratic states in the World, despite the AU’s efforts in enhancing constitutionalism and the rule of law on the continent. States like the Central African Republic and part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are still plagued by armed conflict. During the Dakar encounter several participants purported that most of the public and economic policy of Francophone Africa is still decided by France, reason why there has been no integration between these states, let alone Africa’s integration.

It is obvious that the AU has not adequately enhanced constitutionalism and the rule of law on the continent. How can the AU try to set an agenda for 2063 when immediate concerns like conflict in Central African Republic and the DRC have not been adequately addressed? How can the AU be trying to set an agenda for 2063 when member states especially in the Central African region have not domesticated the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance?

In as much as the AU has been considered weak in enhancing constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa, it will be suicidal if we only criticize this institution without suggesting ways by which we can all improve constitutionalism and the rule of law on the continent. In this regard, it is thus germane for African youth both at home and in the diaspora, women, university professors, research institutions, think tanks, religious and civil society organisations to all play a role in enhancing constitutionalism and the rule of law on the continent. It is also important for central governments on the continent to consider the regional and local tiers of government as important actors in enhancing constitutionalism and the rule of law on the continent for better service delivery. Of course central governments must welcome these actors as equal partners in the quest for meaningful constitutionalism and the rule of law in Africa.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Embracing territorial coaching for effective decentralisation and local economic development in Africa, by Chofor Che, 1 November 2013


Decentralisation has progressively gained importance in Africa since the 1990s. Whether by own choice or as a result of external pressures especially from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a great majority of third world countries including the Republic of Cameroon are currently involved in some form of decentralisation, with varying degrees of commitment and success. Despite the commitment by states to the decentralisation process, several states have not yet embraced territorial coaching as part of the decentralisation drive. The much talked about principle of subsidiarity which warrants that a lower tier of government is allowed to carry out services at the grassroots autonomously, still remains an illusion in several African states. With a multitude of actors working to hasten the decentralisation process and improve local economic development like the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the African Union, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), the All Ministerial Conference on Decentralisation and Local Development, the decentralisation process remains slow in Africa. Central governments and international actors seem to be focusing more on signing conventions and creating institutions rather than ensuring that the decentralisation process attains effective realisation. All the same, some African states especially states like Morocco are now ensuring that rural and/or urban actors work together to improve the living conditions of populations and provide solutions through development projects supported by the central government, associations, cooperatives, municipalities, agencies and non governmental organisations (NGOs).

Ownership and empowerment of regional and local government actors in the realisation of development projects has an impact on the development and performance of any territory. To meet this challenge, an innovative approach to intervention at regional and local government is essential through a process called territorial coaching. Apart from countries like Morocco and South Africa that have embraced the territorial coaching approach to local economic development, there is still a concern if other states in Africa are ready for territorial coaching.

Territorial coaching is an intervention process for the identification, support and enhancement of human potential of local actors by giving them ownership of local economic projects and empowering them so that they play an important role in local economic development. UCLG Africa initiated a program of coaching and support to the local authorities and their associations in the implementation of the decentralisation process in Morocco. This initiative has created collaborative ties among local authorities, representatives of the central government, civil society organisations, and private sector actors. The regional and local government areas in Morocco involved in this initiative are the city of Salé, the Commune of Beni Meskine (Settat), the Municipality of Wazzan, the Region of Meknes -Tafilalet Oasis and the South East (Bouanane). The Ministry of Interior of Morocco works with UCLG and some local associations by giving assistance and support to these communities via training, capacity building, skills development and the promotion of networking.

Judging from other country experiences in Africa, territorial coaching has not yet gained grounds. The decentralisation process in states like Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic and Chad is still very top down driven. Central government actors still impose decisions on regional and local government actors rather than embracing the territorial coaching approach. Local and regional government actors in these states are not sufficiently empowered and they do not have true ownership of their projects.

It is thus vital for the UCLG in partnership with other regional organisations like the World Bank and the African Union to ensure that territorial coaching is embraced by more states in Africa. Although much still has to be done, the experience in Morocco is producing some good local economic development results. Other African states need to emulate the example of Morocco by ensuring that they embrace territorial coaching as an option in accelerating the decentralisation process in Africa. Local and regional actors need to be empowered so that they have true ownership of their development priorities. It is thus suggested that territorial coaching should be incorporated in management modules in training institutions which focus on training both elected and appointed municipal staff. It is also important that regions create a pool of territorial coaches which should include experts in public and local governance. These experts should be able to reach out and train municipal staff in time of need. These territorial coaches as well as elected and appointed staff of municipalities should equally be trained especially by centres of excellence like the envisaged African Academy for Local Authorities in Rabat Morocco which should begin operating in 2014. Empowerment also means ensuring that municipalities and regions have adequate finances to carry out their development projects. In ensuring that the decentralisation process in Africa is hastened, bringing out the best managerial potentials in local actors via territorial coaching, is germane, than signing declarations and agreements.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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African bureaucrats to blame for the Lampedusa tragedy – Chofor Che , Published at AfricanLiberty.org, 18 October 2013


On the 3rd of October 2013, the BBC reported that many African migrants died and many more were missing after a boat carrying them to Europe sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. Over 200 bodies were recovered and more were found inside the wreck. According to the BBC, passengers reportedly threw themselves into the sea when a fire broke out on board. Most of those on board were from Libya, Eritrea and Somalia, reported the United Nations (UN). This shocking and painful incident has generated a lot of debates as to who is to blame. Many argue that Europe is to blame for this calamity, while others are of the view that African leaders are to blame for this tragedy.

There has been a lot of controversy about immigration for a longtime. I am one who advocates that individuals should be allowed to migrate in search of greener pastures. Many Europeans or Americans would not agree with me, especially if immigration is carried out ‘illegally.’ According to these Europeans and Americans, Western states cannot be coming out of a recession and Africans are instead heading there to make things worse. That notwithstanding the European Union reacted with shock to the death of these Africans in the Mediterranean Sea. But will the tragedy lead to a change in the European Union’s migration and refugee policy?

“There is no miraculous solution to the migrant exodus issue,” said Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino according to the 3rd October BBC report. “If there were we would have found it and put it into action.” This view point by Italian Foreign Minister, warrants a lot of reminiscing. For long we have tackled issues of immigration without much reflection, the reason why millions of innocent victims in search for a better life and good economic conditions continue to die.

In as much as many point a finger at Europe or the international community for the deaths in Lampedusa, much of the blame goes to African leaders, and especially the African Union. The governance systems in African states, inherited from colonial masters, remain repressive. Despite the much talk about African renaissance, a great majority of Africans remain desperate and poor. According to Ventures Africa, Africa has more millionaires than we can imagine. What a paradox to have a continent with a lot of millionaires and a lot of poor people. It is evident that several African leaders have not met promises made to their populace during electoral campaigns. Farm to market roads remain deplorable, small and medium size enterprises have no hope of growth, the taxes remain exorbitant and ownership of property remains an illusion. In addition to these ills, conflict and political tension is still the order of the day in states like Somalia and Libya. With such a hopeless situation why would Africans not flee in their numbers for peace and a freer environment for economic development?

There is a solution to this mêlée, though not a miraculous one as rightly put by Italian Foreign Minister. The solution to this problem lies in the hands of African bureaucrats and technocrats who have decided to amass wealth and power at the detriment of their populace. African leaders in collaboration with the UN and the African Union need to open up the markets in Africa. Some credit goes to the governments of Rwanda and Botswana who have made long strides in ensuring that the private sector flourishes in these countries. Many African countries still need to make their economies conducive so that Africans will not think of utilising very unsafe and risky means in a bid to getting greener pastures abroad. In as much as I am an advocate of immigration especially as most Europeans and North Americans are immigrants themselves, African bureaucrats should curb some of these barriers which make their citizens flee. If some of these suggestions are reflected upon and taken into consideration, we will stop mourning over loss of life like in the Lampedusa tragedy.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Creating employment for young people in Africa – By Chofor Che, 19 September 2013


A Declaration of Intent was signed at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in early September 2013, between the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

In an article published on the 14th of September 2013 by BizTechAfrica, a social network specialised in African affairs especially in the ICT sector, the signing ceremony commenced with a word from the AU Commissioner of Social Affairs Dr. Mustapha S. Kaloko who stressed on the importance of this accord in furnishing a united platform via which youth employment in Africa can be enhanced.

The declaration imputes on each of the above international organisations to create employment opportunities for boosting youth development and empowerment in Africa. According to BizTechAfrica, the Joint Youth Employment Initiative for Africa (JYEIA) necessitates that the above mentioned four international organisations should focus on knowledge production, policy-level intervention and direct intervention.

According to the declaration, the African Union is obliged to ‘advocate, promote, and monitor the implementation of the Declaration on Employment Promotion and Poverty Alleviation, which was enacted during the Extraordinary Summit of African Heads of State and Government in Burkina Faso in September 2004.

This again is another feeble declaration which adds to numerous failed declarations signed by international organisations. Instead of boosting markets and small and medium size industries on the continent, international organisations like the ADB and the UN have decided to continue signing declarations of no consequences. Such declarations make no sense if African central governments do not adhere to them. In fact, holding meetings and signing such declarations is a waste of time and tax payers’ money.

Africa needs more than declarations. The human capital base of Africans, especially the youths, needs to be orientated towards production and not consumption especially of products from the West. African youths need to be introduced to business initiatives which project more of South-South cooperation. Entrepreneurial skills need to be inculcated in African youths.

The private sector in Africa remains porous. Instead of signing such accords and giving financial aid to African states, which eventually ends up in foreign bank accounts, it is germane for such organisations like the ADB, the ILO and the UN to rethink their strategy of ensuring that the African youth are part and parcel of Africa’s renaissance. Creating business and trade partnerships between youths in Africa and those in the diaspora could be a way to go. Encouraging youth to be involved in local government is another avenue which has not been exploited. This brings to question the collaborative role of the state in Africa in ensuring that such declarations geared towards youth employment reach fruition. African states need to see their youth as the future and work collaboratively with them in ensuring that Africa attains full potential. The educational system embraced from colonial masters need to be quashed completely and an educational system founded on entrepreneurial development and growth adopted. These are ways which if well thought through and implemented, may be beneficial to Africa’s youth.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Call for an African Union resolution on the use of drones in Africa


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Call for an African Union resolution on the use of drones in Africa.

 

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Can Cameroon’s adherence to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme help in fighting poverty in the country? By Chofor Che, 19 July 2013


Africa is very wealthy with vast amounts of territory for agricultural produce. Despite such wealth, the continent continues to lag behind in the agricultural sector. Countries in Central Africa like Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Chad still face difficulties in feeding their ever growing populations. As a result of this mêlée, African Heads of State have amplified upon measures to ensure that the continent benefits commendably from the agricultural sector.

The Prime Minister of Cameroon, Philemon Yang officially signed documents on the 17 of July 2013 confirming Cameroon’s adherence to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). African Heads of State established the CAADP as part of the New Partnership Agreement for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in July 2003, during a reunion in Maputo, Mozambique with aim of improving and promoting agriculture across the African continent. They agreed to apportion 10 per cent of their budget to the improvement of agriculture in Africa.

Following a report in Cameroon Tribune dated the 18 of July 2013, Prime Minister Philemon Yang, after signing the CAADP agreement, called on government officials to partner with the private sector to ensure that Cameroon’s agricultural sector is a success. On the 13 October 2011, Prime Minister Yang had addressed an administrative correspondence to NEPAD’s Executive Secretary, assuring him of Cameroon’s adherence to the CAADP initiative.

Cameroon’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Essimi Menye in an interview with the local press, was optimistic that the CAADP initiative will assist government create the National Programme for Investment in Agriculture. He added that the government of Cameroon will ensure that by December 2013, the National Programme for Investment in Agriculture is tabled before the Head of State for his approval. The National Programme for Investment in Agriculture is supposed to boost agricultural production from the current 4 per cent to 10 per cent by 2020, added Minister Essimi Menye.

Other parties of the private sector who signed the CAADP agreement expressed their commitment to collaborate with government to ensure that Cameroon benefits from its agricultural sector. The representative of the African Union (AU) and NEPAD, Mariam Sow Soumare assured the Prime Minister that the AU was going to give Cameroon all its support to ensure a success of this initiative. Mr. Tchoungi Roger, Deputy Secretary General of the Economic Community of Central Africa States, ECCAS, added that ECCAS was also going to assist the government of Cameroon in this initiative.

The CAADP initiative in a laudable initiative and would be instrumental in the alleviation of poverty in Cameroon. The only fear is that similar situated programmes in the past have not yielded any fruit. Some of the past initiatives have either been hijacked by corrupt government officials and the money squandered or siphoned without any account. Poor farmers, who are supposed to benefit from such programmes have not benefitted much. They continue to benefit less from their produce, while corrupt officials embezzle funds destined for them.

It is imperative for NEPAD and ECCAS to ensure that the CAADP initiative does not remain entirely under central government control. There is need to ensure that the private sector also has a say especially in the financial management of this project. For sure a lot of foreign assistance shall be pumped into this initiative and if care is not taken, this money will be embezzled as before. If the government of Cameroon is serious about attaining some of the Millennium Development Goals, if not all, by 2015, then it is germane for a change of policy and state practice. Without this change of strategy which is of utmost importance to agricultural development in Cameroon, then the CAADP initiative will remain futile.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Africa Development

 

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Africa’s renaissance necessitates a permanent seat on the United Nation’s Security Council, by Chofor Che, 11 June 2013


There has been much talk about the reform of the United Nations (UN), particularly its Security Council. There has also been a lot of advocacy on Africa’s demand for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Most of the advocacy has focused on the jostling for permanent seats on the UN Security Council by a plethora of states, with Africa’s demand portrayed as an afterthought. Africa has demanded time and again a permanent seat on the UN Security Council to enable it to effectively contribute to the peacekeeping and conflict resolutions of the UN Security Council, whose agenda is dominated by African issues.

Reform of the United Nations Security Council includes five major issues: regional representation, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, categories of membership, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship.

The reform of the UN Security Council necessitates the agreement of at least two-thirds of UN member states and that of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council enjoying the veto right. Even though the geopolitical realities have changed drastically since 1945, when the set-up of the current Council was decided, the Security Council has changed very little during this long period. The winners of Second World War shaped the UN Charter in their national interests, dividing the veto-power amongst themselves. The imbalance between the number of seats on the UN Security Council and the total number of member States became evident and the only significant reform of the Security Council took place in 1965 after the ratification of two thirds of the membership, including the five permanent members of the Security Council. The reform included an increase of the non-permanent membership from six to 10 members. In all of these reforms, Africa was not given a major say in affairs of the UN Security Council, nor a permanent seat.

Out of the 193 members of the UN, Africa has 54 states, making it the continent with the greatest number of UN member states. Presently the UN Security Council is made up of five permanent members; the United States of America, France, China, Russia and the United Kingdom. The UN Security Council is also composed of 10 non-permanent members, including Togo, South Africa and Morocco from Africa. The non-permanent seats are on a two-year regional rotation basis.

The UN Charter therefore has impartial criteria for the selection of UN Security Council permanent members. The processes that Africa should undertake to secure permanent membership on the UN Security Council and the criteria to be used in selecting its permanent representatives in the UN Security Council, remains wanting.

In September 2012, President Michael Sata of Zambia, addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, urged Africans to put more pressure for a permanent seat on the UN. In May 2013, another African President, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe also said it was high time Africa had a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

President Sata’s statement was in line with the Committee of 10 (C10). The C10 is an African Union (AU) creation advocating for Africa to have two permanent seats on the UN Security Council with veto powers and additionally, two non-permanent seats to look into the historical injustices that Africa suffered and to keep abreast with the geo-political realities of the modern times.

Most of the UN’s peacekeeping activities in the world are concentrated on the continent, which warrants the continent to have a firm say on how peace keeping operations are carried out on the continent. A lot of African countries like South Africa, Nigeria and Tunisia qualify to seat on the UN Security Council. South Africa for instance is the economic giant of Africa. Nigeria is also an economic giant and attracts major oil companies, despite the much talk about conflict and insecurity.

The continent should not only be a hub for land grabbing and economic exploitation. There is need to equally give Africa the chance to decide on major global issues especially affecting their well being. Africa’s renaissance is a reality, there is no turning back. To solidify and hasten this renaissance, it is germane for Africa to have a say in the making of major international decisions. Africa should be able to decide on major missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rather than allow certain UN Security members, who may have certain economic interests in this country, decide on the lives of Africans. There is need to give Africa a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and the time is now.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in United Nations

 

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Africa’s Aviation Industry: Challenges and Opportunities, By African Development Bank Group, 20 November 2012


The performance of the African aviation industry is still lagging behind those of the rest of the world. Nonetheless, demand for air transport has increased steadily over the past years with passenger numbers and freight traffic growing by 45% and 80%, respectively. Over the period 2010-2015, Africa will be the third fastest growing region in the world in terms of international traffic with an average growth rate of 6.1% compared to the global average of 5.8%, and 7.9% and 6.9% for the Middle East and Asia Pacific, respectively, while Europe, Latin America and North America are projected to record lower international passenger growth of 5.0%, 5.8% and 4.9%, respectively.

This trend is expected to continue in the coming years due to a number of factors, notably robust economic growth, demographic boom, increasing urbanization, and emergence of the middle class. Air transportation plays a vital role in the country’s growth process by accelerating convergence of goods and persons. The contribution of air transport far exceeds that of road transportation sevenfold. Growth in air transportation has directly maps into economic growth due to spillover effects through creation of direct and indirect jobs in the industry and other auxiliary sectors such as tourism and other service sectors. Expansion in air transportation creates market opportunities for local entrepreneurs by creating regional and global economic centers. In 2010, the aviation industry in Africa supported about 7 million jobs (including 257,000 direct jobs) through the impact on travel and tourism which translated into USD67.8 billion of the continent’s GDP. Forecasts indicate that the aviation industry’s impact on African economies is set to grow. Over the next 20 years, implied job creation by the industry is projected at 879,000.

Africa can maintain the growth of its aviation industry if more and more people can afford to pay for the cost of air travel. Currently, only 10% of Africans travel by air but given the current rate of economic growth and emergence of the middle class, there be high demand for services linked to air transportation. In recent years, growing alliances with counterparts in other regions of the world have played an important role in the development of the African aviation industry. These alliances have permitted African companies to gain access to new long haul routes resulting in higher economies of scale and skills exchange.

Challenges to the African aviation industry

The rapid expansion in Africa’s aviation industry is hampered by a number of factors. Poor record of safety and security, lack of adequate resources and infrastructure, distance and limited connectivity, lack of regulation and government actions are among the main constraints the industry is facing. These constraints add to competition and high operating costs resulting from surging oil prices. Addressing these challenges could significantly unlock the industry’s potential for future growth.

Safety and security challenges: Safety is the most pressing challenge facing the aviation industry in Africa. In 2011, the average number of air traffic accidents was nine times higher than the global average. The frequency of accidents stems largely from inconsistency in the implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted safety standards and practices. Increasing the level of safety should be a key priority for the development of the African aviation industry. The African authorities have endorsed an African Union backed plan aimed at addressing deficiencies related to aviation safety and security and strengthening the regulatory framework. Accordingly, the International Air Transport Association jointly with the International Civil Aviation Organization and other organizations have committed to supporting the Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan of the African Union. The plan encourages African governments to foster regulatory oversight through the adoption of globally accepted safety and security standards.

Inadequate infrastructure: The air transport industry faces various challenges including poor airport infrastructures, lack of physical and human resources, limited connectivity, and lack of transit facilities. Although substantial progress has been made during the past decade, Africa still lags behind other regions in terms of “soft” and “hard” infrastructure. It is therefore critical that African countries invest in the soft as well as hard infrastructure to support the industry.

Lack of regulation and government actions: Despite the growing awareness of the role that the aviation industry could play in the development of the continent, the industry is still not the top priority of African governments. More, despite increased liberalization of the African aviation industry and the growing presence of foreign companies, some African governments are still reluctant to open their skies fearing foreign competition could undercut national airlines, some of which are short of commercial viability besides being just symbols of sovereignty. These challenges require governments to enhance regulation of aerospace management, consumer protection and safety of airlines. Lack of aviation experts and skills, high airport taxes and fees, the weak connectivity and restrictions on transit visas and facilities add to the menu of impediments affecting Africa’s aviation industry.

Opportunities to the African aviation industry

Air travel is essential to the prosperity of Africa as it opens up opportunities that did not exist before. Fostering the African aviation industry may be one of the driving forces of regional integration on the continent. Better connected African countries and regions through a viable air transport industry could be the catalyst that can boost intra-African business, trade, tourism as well as cultural exchange. Developing the aviation industry may also represent an opportunity to mitigate chronic transport problems faced by the 16 landlocked African countries.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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