Foundation for Democracy In Africa
THE AFRICAN UNION
Report on the First Africa Union Western Diaspora Forum
December 17 -19, 2002
The Foundation for Democracy in Africa
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Several hundred years ago, many of Africa's strongest, healthiest children were sold into slavery and taken across the Atlantic Ocean by force. It is unlikely that either the slave sellers or the slave buyers considered the impact these transactions would have on the world. The millions of slaves who survived the so-called Middle Passage enabled European nations and countries in the Americas to advance from agrarian societies to today's era of hand-held computers, space travel and virtual reality. Meanwhile, the mighty kingdoms of Africa were slowly picked apart, as tribe was set against tribe until almost all were lost to colonial domination. Only Ethiopia and Liberia were left to govern themselves, as the powers of Europe divided the continent among them.
In the New World, Africa's children toiled and died in bondage until the shame of slavery finally led their captors to free them from the yoke, yet maintain them in a perpetual state of second-class citizenship. In the Caribbean, black nations rose and provided hope for a time. In the United States, black citizens struggled for years to grudgingly gain political and economic power, and this struggle also proved to give sustenance to Africans pressing for independence. Canada long provided a haven for blacks seeking freedom from oppression in the Western Hemisphere, but black Canadians still lack political and economic power. Elsewhere in the Americas, blacks comprise an unknown percentage of the population in nations such as Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia and even Cuba and Brazil, and thus have not realized their political or economic potential.
Efforts to reunite the black world, such as those of Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association, raised hopes for a time, and while these efforts did not achieve their ultimate goal then, they kept the spark of freedom burning in the hearts of Africa's children.
This spark helped lead to the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. While the OAU helped speed the independence of African nations, it did not reach out to the African Diaspora in a meaningful way. Despite the longings of Africa descendants on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and the Diaspora didn't unite partly because of the impact of the Cold War and the preoccupation on the continent with aligning with various foreign power blocs. African leaders too often acted in their own interests and in the interest of their sponsors rather than in the interest of Africans or people in the Diaspora. Once the Cold War ended, democracy and good governance emerged as leading imperatives, much like Nelson Mandela emerged from prison to lead South Africa into a leadership role on the continent.
Inspired by Mandela and other new leaders in Africa, the Foundation for Democracy in Africa was established in 1994 with the mandate of helping to prepare Africa's new leaders for the global economy. In 2001, the African Union (AU) was inaugurated to replace the OAU, and it has begun the long-awaited outreach to the African Diaspora. Thus, the AU's new mission coincided with the Foundation's mission, resulting in collaboration on the December 17-19, 2002, First African Union Western Hemisphere Diaspora Forum. The next step will be consolidation of the Western Hemisphere Diaspora Network.
Once the Diaspora has been consulted and linkages to the African Union have been firmly established, it will be possible that the dreams of so many who sought collaboration among the descendants of Africa will finally come to pass.
Shortly before the AU Diaspora forum was convened, a U.S. diplomat gave a speech that highlighted the importance of reestablishing linkages between the continent and the African Diaspora. However, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Howard Jeter warned of the lesson of Liberia, in which members of the Diaspora returned home only to treat the very people with whom they were reunited as they had been treated during slavery in the United States. Jeter told the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs that there must be a new paradigm for Diaspora-Africa interactions that benefits both parties.
"Africa must develop a collective strategy for engaging the Diaspora.
There is a wealth of financial, technical and intellectual expertise in
the Diaspora," Jeter explained. "Africa needs to exploit these
human and material resources to help tackle the challenges of development,
environmental degradation, food security, energy supply, HIV/AIDS, and
equitable economic growth."
As Ambassador Jeter described it in his speech, the Diaspora is composed of those who came across the Atlantic unwillingly and those who came willingly much later. Both elements of the Diaspora have much to offer. At this point in time, realizing the potential of the renewed relationship to be as mutually beneficial as it promises is within the hands of those now involved with the process we have begun.
After World War II, support for Pan-Africanism, defined as the movement for the unity of African descendants on the continent and throughout the African Diaspora, ran high throughout Africa. In 1957, the British colony of the Gold Coast became the independent nation of Ghana, and its President, Kwame Nkrumah, convened the first Conference of Independent African States, and attended by eight countries, the following year in Accra.
The question of an African union versus an African association raised in Accra was taken up again at the second Conference of Independent African States in 1960. The divide was primarily between leaders such as Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania on the one hand and leaders such as Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Cote d'Ivoire and William Tubman of Liberia on the other. This division was further heightened in 1961, through separate meetings of African power blocs. Nkrumah and other leaders convened a meeting of independent African nations meeting in Casablanca, Morocco, to discuss a union of African nations. Those who did not respond to the call to discuss this Union, spearheaded by Houphouet-Boigny and Tubman, convened a subsequent meeting to discuss a looser association of African nations in Monrovia, Liberia.
In 1963, a compromise was reached between the Casablanca and Monrovia groups with the creation of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Early on, the OAU took the lead in promoting the end of colonialism in Africa, especially by opposing the continued rule of the Portuguese over their five colonies and white minority rule in South Africa. The OAU also mediated several African disputes. However, the non-intervention clause in the OAU charter, along with the opposition to full democracy by some African leaders prevented the OAU from playing a mediator role in upcoming African crises. Moreover, no progress had been made in the effort to promote economic and political union on the continent.
By the late 1990s, it had become clear than a new paradigm was in order if the continental African organization was to remain relevant at a time when the Europe, Asia and the Americans were forming economic blocs with an eye toward political union. When African leaders again raised the issue of a "United States of Africa" in 1999, the time was ripe for action.
At the African Heads of State Extraordinary OAU Summit in Sirte, Libya, on March 2, 2001, the African Union was declared established based on the unanimous will of the member states. When the required 36th OAU member (two-thirds of the membership) ratified the constitutive act on April 26, 2001, the African Union became a legal reality. Over the next year, assets and liabilities were devolved to the new organization, and at the next OAU Heads of States and Governments Summit in Durban, South Africa, on July 10, 2002; the African Union was officially inaugurated with one year to complete its structure.
The African Union is the regional organization for economic and political coordination for the continent's 53 nations. The AU formal structure, which is still being put in place, will consist of the following organs:
· The Assembly: This will consist of the heads of state of all member countries and is the highest decision-making body of the African Union
· The Executive Council: This body will consist of the ministers of foreign affairs of member states and will make decisions on foreign trade, social security, food, agriculture and communications.
· The Permanent Representatives Committee: Composed of ambassadors to the African Union, this body is responsible for preparing the work for the Executive Council.
· The Commission: This body forms the secretariat of the African Union and consists of a chair, a deputy chair and eight other commissioners, and it deals with administrative issues and implements the decisions of the African Union.
· Specialized Technical Committees: These committees handle monetary and financial issues, the rural economy, trade, immigration, industry and science and technology and implement projects and programs of the African Union.
· The Pan-African Parliament: The parliament will consist of elected representatives nominated from the five regions of Africa (North, East, West Central and South) and will ensure civil society participation in the African Union process.
· The Court of Justice: The court will rule on human rights abuses in Africa using a common legal framework.
· The Economic, Social and Cultural Council: This council performs an advisory function and is composed of professional and civic representatives.
· Financial Institutions: Three financial institutions will be established under the auspices of the African Union - the African Central Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Investment Bank.
· The Peace and Security Council: This body will have 15 members responsible for monitoring and intervening in conflicts, using an early warning system regarding threats on the continent. The council will include a peace fund, will be advised by a council of elders and will have an African military force at its disposal.
As part of the transition process, the African Union has adopted two important programs to address the key challenges confronting the continent and speed up the attainment of its objectives in various fields. These are the Conference on Stability, Security, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
The CSSDCA is a policy development forum, a framework for forging and sustaining common values as well as a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for ensuring the actual implementation of collective decisions taken by the Union with a view to promoting performance efficiency. It is a civil society initiative that was adopted by the Union. Thus, the program has, as one of its main functions, the responsibility for linking with and bringing civil society into the mainstream of decision-making in the Union.
NEPAD, in turn, embodies a plan of action for the political and economic renaissance of the continent that is designed to give a new momentum to development efforts on the continent, within the framework of a partnership between governments and the economic operators on the one hand and between Africa and the International Community, particularly developed countries on the other.
Both CSSDCA and NEPAD are programs of the Union, deriving legislative
authority from the Union and are expected to reside in the Union. The
programs are interlinked and the Head of State Implementation Committee
of NEPAD (HSIC) and the entire leadership of the Union have continually
stressed their alignment as added value for the processes of economic
and political transformation on the continent.
Your Excellency Amara Essy, the Chairperson of the African Union Interim Commission, Your Excellencies, members of the diplomatic corps. Ambassador Shinkaiye, Nigeria permanent representative to the African Union, Ambassador Mamabolo, Special Adviser to the President of South Africa, Ambassador Ouedraogo, Chief of Cabinet of the African Union Interim Commission, Ambassador Horace Dawson of Howard University, leaders of the civil society groups from the Western Hemisphere present here today, Mora Mclean of the Africa America Institute, Bill Fletcher from the Trans Africa Forum, Leonard Robinson from The African Society of the National Summit on Africa, Khafra Kambon from the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago, and other leader of civil society groups here this afternoon, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, and our special guests from the African Union, we welcome you to this Western Hemisphere town hall meeting here at Howard University. In addition to the dignitaries we have with us today, we also have representatives of civil society organizations from as far as Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Canada. Please join us in welcoming them to today's town hall meeting.
For those of you not familiar with our organization, the Foundation for Democracy in Africa is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping prepare Africa's new leaders for the challenges of the 21st century. Most of the capacity building activities we have undertaken have been on the ground in Africa. Nevertheless, at our Institute for Democracy in Africa in Miami, Florida, we have been training a variety of African elected officials and managers - from local government representatives to journalists to freight forwarders. We are now preparing to expand our classes to the Washington, D.C., and area as well as to multiple locations in Africa. Moreover, we are planning to begin sometime soon virtual classes using the latest technologies available.
We have for you this afternoon several dignitaries who will help update you on the development of the Organization for African Unity into the African Union. This is a process that is ongoing, and it is clear that it is little understood in this country. It is for this reason that His Excellency Amara Essy; Chair of the Interim African Union Commission and his staff has come to address you today. But they are here also to listen to your questions and concerns as well. So in a very real sense, this is a dialogue and not a monologue.
You may have noticed that I said the "Interim African Union Commission." This body will be considered interim until next July when Africa's heads of states and governments meet and ratify the plans for the new African Union. This means your input today could well help shape the decisions leading up to the final ratification of the AU structure. This is the first time that Africa's regional organization has reached out to Africa's sons and daughters and her friends on this side of the Atlantic in this way.
If you are like me, your interest in Africa leads you to read or watch news accounts about the continent. If you have read accounts in such on-line news sources as allAfrica.com or AfricaOnline you are aware of the many successful efforts underway on the continent to address the challenges faced by African nations. Lasting democracies and stronger economies are beginning to multiply in Africa, and we at the Foundation for Democracy in Africa believe the African Union is a vital part of the new hope for the continent's future.
Over the past several months, the Foundation has been one of the civil society organizations asked by the AU to help in the outreach to civil society in Africa, in Europe and here in the Americas. The AU intends to do things differently than the OAU, and we are ready to accept the offer of cooperation and inclusion. We hope those of you who have come here today will accept their offer as well.
Again, I welcome you to the 1st African Union Western Hemisphere Diaspora Town Hall meeting, and thank you for your participation. May God Bless Africa
I am here to speak on behalf of Mr. Patrick Swygert who sends his regrets for not being able to be here to personally welcome you all to Howard University as well as to participate in the discussions. Africans in the Diaspora have followed the development of Africa with much interest, with the hope that its efforts would succeed. While some did succeed, many did not.
At the recent swearing-in of Joseph Higgins, the new US Ambassador to Botswana, Secretary of State Colin Powell called Botswana a model of democracy in Africa. Unfortunately the country is now overwhelmed by a new crisis, HIV/AIDS, which afflicts about 40% of the country's population, and has reduced life expectancy to 30 years.
This meeting is of overriding importance, and the Diaspora is challenged to make significant contribution to the African Union's success in terms of expertise, and other resources. Howard University will play its role in this process. Already, the University has many approaches for partnership from countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and even Papua, New Guinea.
Institutes such as Howard University await the outcome of the Forum to see specific recommendations on how they can contribute. Daunting challenges require daunting responses.
Julius Coles, AFRICARE
Although I have been president of AFRICARE for only the six months, I have watched the African Union's development with great interest for a long time.
The African Union has two main challenges. It should put greater emphasis on sustainable development, and should search for peace in the countries and regions where disturbances prevail. If Africa had worked together more, much life loss and displacement could have been avoided. The African Union should afford its people a greater role in determining their fate and, together with NEPAD, play a more powerful role in shaping a brighter future for Africa.
The Africa Union is coming to the US to search for suggestions on how the Diaspora can play a role in this process. It is good that the African Union has recognized the important role of Civil Society. At a recent meeting on the civil society in Africa, South Africans presented statistics showing that there are 94,000 civil society organizations in South Africa alone. Imagine how many such organizations there are in all of Africa. But then, what role are they being given in shaping Africa's future?
At the last UN Sustainable Development Conference in Johannesburg, civil
society organizations were accommodated in facilities very far from the
center of activity, which showed how little regard the organizers had
for us. It must be remembered that the first transnational civil society
organization was convened to deal with the issue of slavery. The role
of contemporary Diaspora civil society must be to work on establishing
meaningful roles to play in Africa's development.
The Africa Society of National Summit on Africa is honored to be one of the sponsors of the Town Hall Meeting. We have been involved in past pan-African meetings, and I commend Fred Oladeinde and his Excellency, Amara Essy for their vision.
Africa must move quickly and definitively or it will be left further behind. The creation of the African Union represents a significant sign of Africa's growing political maturity. In the US, this Forum is the logical next step following the National Summit on Africa. There is a tremendous reservoir of goodwill for Africa in the Diaspora, and the Africa Union needs to build on this.
The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa is focused on educating the US about Africa, from primary school to university. Its aim is to create economic, political, cultural, social, financial, and ancestral cohesion. There is strength in numbers, something that the Jews, in their support for Israel have demonstrated so well. We look forward to being an integral part of the Africa Union.
The world is on the verge of catastrophe. The US's aggression is a great threat to the sovereignty of other countries, and in this context, the Diaspora's involvement in shaping Africa's future is critical. The Africa Union represents an opportunity for Africa to define its own agenda, and an advocacy platform for the Diaspora.
The African Union is a dream-come-true for all in the Diaspora.
The Africa Union is a bold vision for the continent, and one of the most important components of it is NEPAD. It has two features that represent a sea of change. These are: ending conflicts, and the Peer Review Process. The peer review process will provide opportunities for leaders to call each other to book.
Our plea to the African Union is as follows:
Introduction of the African Ambassadors with
responsibility for the African Union
Ms Rice read a Proclamation for Ambassador Amara Essy, from the Council Members of the District of Columbia Government.
The Africa Law Initiative works with African governments to extend international law support initiatives. All programs are initiated on the basis of request from governments, and such support has been given to several countries, and we look forward to working with the Africa Union in this respect.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our ancestors are calling us back home. The concept of African Unity was initiated as early as the 18th century by a brother from Haiti. Africa's major challenge is to become part of the global economy. Africa should not be so dependent on handouts from the west. Africa has sufficient resources that are wasted due to corruption.
Corruption is a cancer that we must eradicate in Africa. It affects Africa's
security, stability and development. Let us make a commitment to eradicate
this cancer. Thank you.
Distinguished members of the diplomatic community, Howard University students, ladies and gentlemen,
I am Clarence Davis, Secretary of the District of Columbia; and am here on behalf of Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who regrets he is unable to be here today. But has asked that I provide each and everyone "warmest greetings" from the Office of the Mayor and from the residents of the District of Columbia.
We are delighted that the Town Hall meeting is being hosted at the historic site of Howard University, which has a legacy of its own in educating both Africans and descendents of Africa and sending forth leaders into the world.
Over the past several months, Mayor Williams has reached out to all segments of the diplomatic community to establish closer ties and friendship with the residents of the District of Columbia, who comprise well over 60 percent of people of African descent.
In April, Mayor Williams addressed some 47 distinguished ambassadors of the African Diplomatic Corps at Africare House and shared his desire to strengthen our ties and partnership with the African continent.
Similarly, The Mayor recently addressed 14 ambassadors of the Caribbean Diplomatic Corps on the importance of establishing closer ties with our communities in the United States. On both occasions, he noted that "our countries and people are inextricably intertwined with people of Africa and other communities elsewhere in our global environment." Therefore, we look forward to the productive dialogue that will come from this Town Hall meeting as you move forward with your mission.
So, on behalf of the Mayor, we wish you well as you convene today's Town Hall meeting to discuss both issues that divide and bond nations of Africa with their African descendants on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. We trust that this two-day forum will accomplish the goal of creating ongoing linkage between African nations and people of African descent.
The National Council of Negro Women fully supports the creation of the
Africa Union, and its efforts to reach out to the Diaspora. We strongly
urge the Africa Union to incorporate three very important considerations
as it moves forward. These are:
As a person from the Caribbean, I am honored to be here, because of the role that Africans in the Caribbean have played in the quest for African Unity.
In 1900, Henry Sylvester Williams convened the first Pan Africanist Conference. Other key Africanists have been from the Caribbean. These include Marcus Garvey, C. L. R. James, George Padmore and Kwame Toure, formerly known as Stokely Carmichael.
In supporting the African Union, we need however, to be careful of what we are offering Africa. For example, when it comes to democracy, which form of democracy are we proposing? Because the western concept of democracy has not been very fair to us Africans in the Diaspora.
Fred Oladeinde made special recognition of Ms Ndioro Ndiaye, Deputy Director General, International Organization for Migration, and Dr. Babatunde Thomas, representative of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
With the exception of Ethiopia and Liberia, pre-20th century Africa was under the yoke of colonialism and slavery. Now, in the 21st century, all of Africa is free, but the vision is not fully realized yet. We need to take stock of what went right, and build on it. All initiatives must serve an agenda that fosters the development of Africa and Africans worldwide.
Through our experiences under slavery, colonialism, and racism, we know the feeling of being less than what we can be, and this must be at the core of our thinking as we articulate a collective vision.
We are pleased that Brazil was remembered for this historical encounter. This is an important step towards breaking the political and economic isolation that exists for the African descendants in Brazil. With 85 million people, African descendants in Brazil are the second largest African community after Nigeria, but this community does not have contact with their brothers and sisters of the African Diaspora.
African descendants in Brazil also do not enjoy the economic benefits of a country whose economy is the eighth largest in the world. Africans struggle daily for land, education, social services, and economic prosperity. However, because of the economic and political importance of Brazil, we are certain that the Afro-Brazilians have a role to play in the economic and political liberation of all Africans in the Diaspora and the continent.
The success of the African Union is key to the liberation of Africans in Brazil and the whole Diaspora. A stronger Africa will provide a solid platform for issues relating to Africans in the Diaspora to be addressed.
His Excellency, Mr. Amara Essy, other invited members of the diplomatic core from the continent, my brothers and sisters of the Diaspora, ladies and gentlemen. As Executive Director of the Institute for Democracy in Africa, the think tank body of the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, it is indeed a unique, humbling, and honorable opportunity to be a participant in this historic event. All of us assembled literally have an opportunity to make our contributions to the shaping of a new, vibrant and dynamic Africa, via the recently established vehicle of the African Union.
The Institute, along with the FDA, has already established a track record of devoting its energy towards establishing infrastructure, training, and mobilization of resources to address areas we deem critical and essential for the development and emancipation of Africa and its peoples. The Institute, located in South Florida, has a critical role to play in establishing the Diaspora linkages between the African continent, the United States, South America and the Caribbean. We recognize that Miami's Airport and Seaport represent geographically, the closest link to the Continent. We recognize that the flora and fauna of Miami is similar to that which is seen in many of the African countries, and thus South Florida represents a strategic location from which African related activities can emanate.
The Institute recognizes that not only is it important for it to assist in the training of individuals in the various sectors of governance, civil society, rule of law, health, science and technology, but also to provide a framework to expose our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora about Africa so that their contributions to the continent would evolve as priorities. To this end, our Institute has been responsible for training African legislators, journalists, women entrepreneurs, freight workers, and custom officers to name a few. We, in partnership with the Miami- Dade County School Board, have embarked on a sister school exchange program where we will ultimately have teachers and students representing the elementary, middle, and high school, become directly exposed to the African culture and academic experience through travel, teleconferencing, and curriculum emphasis, and in return African teachers and students in sister schools on the continent be the recipients of a reciprocal experience. We are currently establishing a working relationship with the Historically Black College, Florida Memorial College, to establish the African initiative on that campus, which will strive to assist among other activities, in the generation of new teachers for the continent; teacher education being one of the strengths of this institution. The other is to instill an African mindset in the students of this college such that they will look forward to working in Africa.
One of the major initiatives of the Institute has been in the pioneering recognition of establishing an approach to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. After giving the matter deep consideration, we felt that our efforts should be placed in areas where the return on our investment and the procurement of human lives would be greatest. This led us to the area of prevention of the transmission of the virus from mother to child. I must say that when we first proposed this strategy, it fell on "deaf ears". But now, it is recognized in most circles that the prevention of mother to child transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus represents one of the most effective interventions of this disease.
The Institute has also recognized that mere resource and mere talent are not enough. Discipline, well functioning, well-managed organizational schemes must be in place. Administrative and managerial skills are paramount to achieving tangible and viable outcomes on a timely and efficient basis. We also recognize that as we set out to help with the growth and sustainable development of Africa, we must not fall prey to quick fixes and band-aid approaches. We have to develop sound infrastructures. The eventual infrastructure might not be manifested for years later while the raw building blocks are being laid. It is for this reason that the Institute recognizes the importance of educating and training the youth of the Continent and the Diaspora at a time when new mindsets can be shaped, and in the process produce the new African- one who is now imbued with the drive, determination and willingness to sacrifice endlessly for the growth and development of his/her continent, and in the end allowing him/her and his/her continent to successfully compete with anyone, any country and any continent in the world.
The Institute further recognizes that if future growth and empowerment is to occur, the leaders in the Diaspora and the African Union must develop the "scientific culture". This must be a priority and it must start at the cradles of our society. When this happens, we will have no fear because our children's minds, our high school student's minds, our college student's minds, will be prepared to develop the new drug for AIDS, the new drug for Malaria, appropriate energy sources, new crops that are resistant to diseases etc.
Finally, it is the Institute's position in keeping with the philosophy of the African Union and of the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Corporation in Africa that we must strive to work collectively to maximize the potential of our institutions and brain power. I propose, therefore, that the African Union establish a Continental Science Council, which will ultimately oversee all of the science and technologically related activities of the continent. This body will establish an inventory of the best minds on the continent. In the spirit of cooperation, regional centers of scientific excellence should be established. These bodies should be given all of the resources that are necessary, which will allow for maximal expression of the African scientific talent. For it is out of this framework that many of the problems that Africa faces will ultimately be solved.
The Institute and its parent organization, the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, again welcome the opportunity to make a contribution to this lifelong initiative. It should be a priority of every individual of the Diaspora; to see the eventual emancipation of our Mother environment, the Continent of Africa. Thank You.
Good evening. I want to first thank Fred Oladeinde and the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, and Ambassador Horace Dawson and Howard University, for anticipating the need for this gathering and for making it happen. My assignment is twofold: I've been asked to tell you a bit about the Africa-America Institute and its role in relation to the African Union and the goals of this conference, and I also have the privilege of introducing our most distinguished speaker this evening. I'll save the best for last.
Almost 50 years ago in 1953 - right here in Washington, D.C. - a small group of African-American businessmen, intellectuals and educators volunteered their time and expertise to fund scholarships and to form a supportive network for African graduate students in the United States. Leading this effort were two visionaries: Horace Mann bond, then president of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania; and Leo Hansberry, the acclaimed and sometimes controversial Howard University professor and scholar who today is credited with being "the intellectual wellspring" behind the field of African studies. Bond, Hansberry and their colleagues founded the Institute for African American Relations, which has been renamed the Africa-America Institute, or AAI. And this is the organization I am proud to represent.
Our mission is to promote enlightened engagement between Africa and America through education, training, and dialogue. Over the past five decades AAI has quietly but effectively built a growing presence as perhaps the most effective organization of its kind, working with Africans countries to generate educated and effective leaders, prepare a highly skilled workforce, build healthy economies and compete in the global marketplace. AAI programs over the last 50 years have given us a unique group of talented African alumni and unsurpassed access on the African continent. Our alumni - many of whom are here tonight - number over 25,000 and include leaders who are among the vanguard in democratization, human rights, economic reform, and other progressive movements in Africa. Our commitment to the progressive pan-Africanist agenda of the African Union and our connections to its historical origins run deep.
In the 1960's, when OAU was established, AAI launched the African Graduate Fellowship Program to provide USAID-funded graduate level scholarships for African students. The recipients of those scholarships successfully completed their academic programs with top honors and returned to their home countries. These individuals were among the faculty and leadership of African universities that had the potential to be world class, among the architects and ranks of capable and dedicated civil service systems in many African countries, and among the champions of the long and successful struggle to end oppressive white regimes in Southern Africa.
In the 70's General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria's former Head of State and
then Chairman of the OAU presided at the official opening of AAI's headquarters
in New York. And during that same decade AAI worked closely with the OAU
as it administered the Southern African Refugee Program for ANC exiles
and other victims of apartheid. Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's AAI
continued its work of expanding educational opportunities for Africans
and of building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Africans
and Americans. In addition to its training programs, AAI hosted conferences
throughout Africa that afforded unique opportunities for American and
African opinion leaders to interact and that informed American viewpoints-including
those of American mainstream media-on U.S. policies toward Africa. Thousands
of African Americans, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus
and their staffers, got their first Africa experience through AAI study
tour and exchange programs.
In the spirit of family and friendship we in the Diaspora have an obligation to rise to the level of our constructive self-criticism and to be candid with each other: We have an entire generation of young Africans whose experience oppression, of the degradation of the African continent has been made real, not by colonial oppressors but, rather, has been made real by black African oppressors who have been responsible for several decades of misrule. The OAU began on a bright path, leading and then winning the struggle to end apartheid rule in Southern Africa. But it is no accident that, when the time came, no one mourned the end of the OAU. So even as we celebrate the formation and new resolve of the African Union, let us also resolve to do all that we can collectively to prevent it from following the same unfortunate path.
Now, allow me to introduce the person responsible for overseeing the implementation of the AU's ambitious, forward looking and critical agenda.
His Excellency Amara Essy was elected Interim Chair of the African Union Commission at the organization's Heads of States and Governments Summit on 10 July 2001. Mr. Essy has had an extensive diplomatic career. He served as a First Counselor at the Embassy of Côte d'Ivoire in Brazil from 1971 to 1973, and from 1973 to 1975, Mr. Essy was a Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Côte d'Ivoire to the United Nations in New York. He had become the Chief of the Division of Economic Relations at the Central Department of the foreign ministry of Côte d'Ivoire in 1970.
From 1978 to 1981, Mr. Essy was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Côte d'Ivoire to the Swiss Confederation at Berne, and prior to that, he served as the Permanent Representative of Cote d'Ivoire to the United Nations Office in Geneva and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, positions to which he was appointed in 1978. He served as his country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 7 August 1981 to November 1990, functioning concurrently as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Côte d'Ivoire in Argentina and Cuba with residence in New York. As Côte d'Ivoire's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Essy served as Vice-President of the forty-third session of the UN General Assembly from September 1988 to September 1989 and as President of the UN Security Council in January 1990. He was also Chairman of the "Group of 77" of developing nations in Geneva from January 1977 to January 1978.
Mr. Essy has extensive background in conflict resolution, including conflict negotiations in Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. He also served as the personal emissary of the late Côte d'Ivoire President Houphouet Boigny to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, as ell as in negotiations with South African authorities on the questions of Namibian independence and the elimination of apartheid in South Africa. In recognition of his distinguished diplomatic service, Mr. Essy has been awarded numerous decorations, including the National Order of Côte d'Ivoire, the Grand Cross of the Lion (Senegal), the Grand Cross of Rio Branco (Brazil) and the National Order of San Carlos (Columbia).
Among his non-diplomatic activities, Mr. Essy has served as President of the African Group of the coastal states in the negotiations on the treaty of the law of the sea, member of the Executive Board of the Lycée Français de New York and Honorary Professor of the New England Center for International Studies at the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut).
Mr. Essy holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in public law
and a diploma from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Switzerland.
He was born on 20 December 1944 in Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire. He is married
and has six children.
Welcome Address: His Excellency, Mr. Amara Essy, Interim Chairperson, African Union Commission
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am honored to be in your midst this morning. I should like to begin by thanking you most sincerely for giving me this opportunity to discuss with you the prospects and vision of the new African Union. I will try to be brief because I perceive this more as a forum for exchange of views, to intimate you with what we are doing and to solicit your views on how we can work together to make our vision of the new African Union a success.
The African Union is our successor organization to the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Its vision and goals are informed by the experiences of the OAU and the latter has served as a crucible for its birth. However, just as a child is different from its mother, I will like to emphasize that the new African Union is not the OAU. It was conceived to be different and certainly will be different.
The African Union was created because the leaders and peoples of Africa came to the conclusion that the OAU, as it were, was ill equipped to confront the challenges of development and democracy confronting the continent in the new millennium. The world had changed, the continent had changed but the organizational vehicle at the regional level remained pretty much the same, with prisms and methods that could not cope with emerging challenges. The commitment to change this situation fostered the birth of the African Union.
I invite Friends of Africa and our brothers in spirit to look closely at the provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union. It commits itself to creating an entirely different and more inclusive organization than the OAU, one that is "guided by the need to build new partnerships between Governments and all segments of the civil society, including women, youth and the private sector, in order to strengthen the solidarity and cohesion among our peoples."
As a measure of this commitment, the AU, primarily through the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA), itself a civil society initiative that has become a central pillar of the new Union, has been reaching out to civil society groups and incorporating them into the mainstream of decision making processes.
We held two major civil society conferences as a prelude to the Durban Summit and through them solicited the views of the civil society on the processes of transition and the structures of the Union. The Civil Society groups elected a Provisional Working Group to work with the CSSDCA Process on these matters on a continuous basis in between the larger assemblies, which are to be held on an annual or bi-annual basis. The same meeting reviewed the CSSDCA Processes and Memorandum of Understanding and made adjustments, which were submitted to and ratified by African leaders at the Durban Summit in preference to the document that was concluded by Member States. This marked the beginning of a process of direct involvement of the Civil Society in the decision making process of the African Union.
We are very proud of this achievement because it is a clear signal of our determination to do things in a new way. We are also building on it. The First AU-Civil Society Provisional Working Group meeting was held under the auspices of the CSSDCA in Accra, Ghana, in October 2002 and it produced a draft procedure for accreditation to the new Economic, Social and Cultural Council, an advisory body of the new Union, which comprises civil society, social and professional groupings and a draft Code of Conduct drawn by civil society groups themselves to ensure that they meet the highest standards as they embrace the challenges of new continental responsibilities. The two documents are the product of civil society deliberations and they are being refined with a view towards finalization at a follow-up meeting scheduled to be held in Cairo, Egypt, in March 2003.
The new Union is also gender sensitive. We have established a Gender Directorate to mainstream women in the decision-making process. Similarly, the historic Durban Summit of July 2002 at which the Union was inaugurated took the important Decision that half the Commissioners of the new Union must be women.
We are also in the process of evolving new structures such as the Pan African Parliament, the Economic, Social and Cultural Council, the Peace and Security Council, the Council of the Wise Men, the Pan African Court of Justice etc. Of course, we will require adequate resources to fund these institutions so we are designing an appropriate funding strategy for the Union. We have also new and vibrant programmes designed to sustain and consolidate our objectives such as the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA) which I have spoken much about this morning and the New Partnership for Development in Africa (NEPAD) that you have heard much about. The objectives of the two programmes are to create synergies in the affairs of the Union, to promote higher performance efficiency and to provide a blueprint for socio-economic development that takes account of the interests and desires of our partners in the international community.
The African Union recognizes the challenge of building democratic developmental states as building blocks for its commonwealth. To this end we have embarked on an active work programme to eliminate the scourge of conflicts on the continent. The AU has thus adopted a more proactive approach to conflict resolution. We are "seizing the bull by the horns" and getting insurgent factions to sit down and work with governments to secure an end to raging conflicts that have brought much hardship to our people, with the promise of support and encouragement in case of compliance and hostile regional environment for those who want to continue in the old way. The policy is yielding very positive results as evident in the recent ceasefire in Burundi.
Part of our problem so far is that we have not succeeded in conveying our new spirit, our new message and our new method and determination to change things to the rest of the international community so that they can support us in this enterprise. Thus people look at the African Union and impose their view of the old OAU on it. The reasons for this are two-fold. One is the challenge of establishing the framework of a new institution that embraces the aspiration of 54 countries and about 800 million people in a dynamic and rapidly changing world. Two, is the need to effectively communicate our desires, objectives and methods to our friends in the international community, whose support and cooperation is required to complement our efforts because whatever we do we cannot do in isolation. We require the commitment and support of the international community.
I would also like to note that, as is the case with all endeavors, mistakes may have occurred even on the present road. Some of our actions and measures have been the object of criticisms. However, we are resolved to strive for perfection and we are engaged in a process of constantly evaluating such situations with a view to improving on our performance.
Our approach to correcting such errors of perception, action or inaction is to establish a framework of standards that can bring coherence to our activities and provide a logical explanation for our reactions, a roadmap for the Union and its Friends. We are doing this by evolving the new guidelines on election observation and monitoring, establishing a framework for monitoring and assessing the implementation of decisions though the CSSDCA Process and for evaluating governance structures through both the CSSDCA and the NEPAD Peer Review Mechanism.
I will like to invite all of you to be our partners on this journey and to work with us to realize our vision of a democratic and prosperous Africa under the aegis of the African Union so that Africa will be integrated effectively into the global economic and political framework and contribute meaningfully to the processes of development. I thank you.
Briefing on the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA): Dr. Jinmi Adisa, Interim Senior Coordinator and Head of the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA), African Union Commission.
The idea of the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA), can be traced to 1990 when the Africa Leadership Forum, in collaboration with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), convened a high-level experts' meeting in Paris, France, to deliberate on the implications of the end of the cold war for the African continent. The meeting concluded that the continent must respond by seeking solutions to the interrelated problems of security, stability, development and cooperation confronting it through its own means and engaging the rest of the world within a holistic framework, that is designed, managed and led by Africans.
The meeting was inspired by the example of Europe and its Helsinki process on the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and thus recommended that Africa should pursue a similar process in its own way. Following this, the African Leadership Forum led by the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was then out of power, convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), a meeting of prominent African personalities, drawn from the private sector, government and non-governmental organizations, and intellectual circles to deliberate on appropriate framework for advancing this agenda. That meeting established a Steering Committee to further guide its activities and this Committee proceeded by holding a series a consultation with African NGOs, governments and the private sector in Africa to prepare for a continental gathering on this matter.
This continental gathering was subsequently held in Addis Ababa under the auspices of President Yoweri Museveni, who was then the Chairman of the OAU in April 1991. About 500 African notables attended this meeting from all walks of life including representatives of the private sector, intergovernmental and non-governmental associations, and political leaders from different ideological persuasions, scholars, students, peasants and presidents.
The historic meeting adopted the Kampala Document that set out a vision of a free and prosperous Africa based on accountable government, implementation of democratic reforms and a thriving civil society as a road map for post Cold War Africa. The Document was presented to the OAU Summits in Abuja, Nigeria in June 1991, the Dakar Summit of 1992 and the Cairo Summit of 1993, without any practical action being taken to follow up on the initiative.
However, following the return of Nigeria to democracy in 1998 and the return of President Obasanjo to power in Nigeria, the idea was resurrected and President Obasanjo obtained the support of his fellow leaders for its introduction into the work programme of the Organization for African Unity. The OAU Council of Ministers was mandated to work on this and subsequently in June 2000, the Assembly of Heads of States and Government meeting in Lome, Togo, adopted the CSSDCA Solemn Declaration, which effectively brought the CSSDCA Process into the mainstream of the continental organization. Significantly, the revival of the CSSDCA Process coincided with the transition of the OAU into the African Union. The CSSDCA was reintroduced at the same Summit in which the Sirte Declaration that motivated the Union was launched. Thus the processes were intertwined in a manner that gave the CSSDCA a pride of place in the continent's bid to articulate a new direction and a more positive vision of development based on democratic reforms and the growth of civil society.
The Role of the Conference (CSSDCA) in the African Union
The Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation (CSSDCA), or the Conference as some like to describe it, has been assigned four significant roles in the new African Union as follows;
1. First, as a policy development forum and a framework for forging and sustaining common values that would enable the Union to articulate and implement a model of democratic reform and development that goes beyond the factor of geography.
2. Second is as an interface mechanism for the Union. The Kampala document stresses the need for a holistic and composite framework for responding to the interrelated challenges in the spheres of security, stability, cooperation and development. The demand here is two-fold. One is to analyze and focus upon this interrelationship in any undertaking and second is to weave this understanding into patterns of responses. The failures of the OAU in the sphere of economic development can be attributed, among others, to the absence of this framework and the concern of the African Union is to stress this relationship in the performance of its various institutions. The CSSDCA has the responsibility to serve as the vehicle inspector for this process. It is expected to act as a catalyst for the activities of the various organs of the African Union and to promote the necessary linkages in all spheres of endeavor.
3. Third, the Conference has as one of its main functions, the responsibility for linking and bringing civil society into the mainstream of decision-making in the Union.
4. Fourth, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government meeting in its First Standing Conference on the CSSDCA in July 2002, at the historic Durban Summit that launched the African Union, resolved that the Conference would serve as the monitoring and evaluation mechanism for ensuring the actual implementation of the decisions taken by the Union, with a view to promoting performance efficiency.
It is important to observe that the various functions are interlinked and the CSSDCA is conceived as a process rather than just another institutional organ of the African Union. The vision of democratic reform and development requires a policy development forum that promotes a new way of thinking and performance rooted in a sense of common values instead of geography. The model of responding to challenges inherent in this new framework has to be holistic and comprehensive and the work of the various institutional organs must be therefore be related to each other. However, no progress would be made if task of building vibrant healthy democratic society were left to governments. Thus active civil society involvement is a condition for change and renewal.
The requirement of enlisting civil society demands that they should be integrated as effective partners in a Process instead of being accommodated as simply another institutional component of the Union. The new Union also has a responsibility to show rapid improvement in performance on the record of the OAU and it can only do this through a process of accountability, whereby the vision and agenda of the organization in the areas of security and development can be translated into concrete, measurable and achievable results. The active participation of civil society in this process would enable transparency.
The 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the Solemn Declaration on the CSSDCA in Lome, Togo, on 11 July 2000. The main features of the Solemn Declaration include: A Declaration of Principles, A Plan of Action and an Implementation Mechanism. The Implementation Mechanism provides for the establishment of a Standing Conference, which should meet every two years during the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Head of States and Government. It was also agreed to convene Review Meetings of Plenipotentiaries and Senior Officials to monitor the implementation of CSSDCA decisions in-between sessions of the Standing Conference. Additionally, the Secretary-General was requested to initiate administrative arrangements for designating, within the Secretariat, a Unit to coordinate CSSDCA activities.
The Summit acknowledged the fact that the CSSDCA initiative should provide an invaluable working tool for the pursuit of the agenda of the OAU/AU in the new millennium with particular reference to the issues of Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa. It urged Member States to provide the requisite resources and extend the necessary cooperation to realize all aspects of the Implementation Mechanism. Furthermore, the Declaration requested the Secretary-General to take necessary measures to ensure detailed discussions are undertaken on the various calabashes in order to implement the CSSDCA Process and to coordinate such consultations with a view to convening meetings on the Calabashes. The Secretary-General was also requested to initiate arrangements for designating, within the OAU, a Unit to coordinate activities of the CSSDCA.
The Journey So Far
Under the leadership of His Excellency, Mr. Amara Essy, the development of the CSSDCA Process was a top priority as evidenced by the record noted below.
Policy Development Forum
The first task of the Process was to undertake the detailed discussion of the four calabashes of the CSSDCA as required by the Lome Summit. This process was designed to initiate one the key cardinal functions of the CSSDCA to serve as a policy development forum. The work began in earnest. Two Experts meetings were convened.
The First experts' meeting on the Development and Cooperation Calabashes that met in South Africa from 10-17 December 2001 focused on the development component of the Process, while the second one which met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from May 10-14 2002, on the Security and Stability Calabashes addressed the peace dimension. The two conferences underscored the linkage between the two dimensions. They stressed that there can be no development without peace or durable peace without development.
Each conference was preceded by preparation of Expert papers on each calabash. The presentation on security for example began with an assessment of the state of security on the continent, the reasons why the continent is facing this situation, the problems and challenges inherent in it and strategies for seeking solution and how it interacts with demands in the other calabashes. This provided a framework for the detailed discussions that produced a Memorandum of Understanding that set out core values and commitments that must guide undertakings in this sphere and key performance indicators for evaluating compliance with the commitments as well as a framework for implementation and monitoring performance. The Memorandum of Understanding in the four areas was then consolidated into a single Memorandum that was subsequently approved by the Summit of African leaders in Durban in July 2002 on the eve of the launching of the African Union.
As part of the process of preparing for the detailed discussion, the Process was compelled to undertake an assessment of the work programme of the Secretariat and in setting out the key performance indicators, the Process assigned responsibility to the different organs of the Union to work with the CSSDCA to achieve certain concrete targets within the framework of the Memorandum and within specific time limits.
To enable this, the CSSDCA Unit has commenced work as an interface mechanism to prod the different Departments to achieve desired goals within specified time limits. For example, it is working with the Directorate of Political Affairs to set up an Electoral Unit and draw up detailed guidelines for election monitoring and observation as demanded by the CSSDCA Memorandum and the Summit in Durban in July 2002. The CSSDCSA has similar programmes with other Directorates such as the Peace and Security Directorate, the Directorate of Social Affairs, Trade and Industry etc.
It is important to note that through its Memorandum, the CSSDCA set the pace for identifying requirements in various aspects of the Work Programme of the different Departments and laid the basis for subsequent resolutions or decisions of the Summit.
Link with Civil Society
The requirement of mainstreaming civil society in the process of decision-making in the Union was accorded topmost priority. We held two major civil society conferences as a prelude to the Durban Summit and through them solicited the views of the civil society on the processes of transition and the structures of the Union. The Civil Society groups elected a Provisional Working Group to work with the CSSDCA Process on these matters on a continuous basis in between the larger assemblies, which are to be held on an annual or bi-annual basis. The same meeting reviewed the CSSDCA Processes and Memorandum of Understanding and made adjustments, which was submitted to and ratified by African leaders at the Durban Summit in preference to the document that was concluded by Member States. This marked the beginning of a process of direct involvement of the Civil Society in the decision making process at the continental level.
Furthermore, the First AU-Civil Society Provisional Working Group meeting was held under the auspices of the CSSDCA in Accra, Ghana, in October 2002 and it produced a draft procedure for accreditation to the new Economic and Social Council, an advisory body of the new Union comprising civil society, social and professional groupings and other organs of the Union and a Code of Conduct drawn by civil society groups themselves to ensure that they meet the highest standards as they embrace the challenges of new continental responsibilities. The two documents are the product of civil society deliberations and they are being refined with a view towards finalization at a second meeting scheduled to be held in Cairo in March 2003.
The CSSDCA interpreted its mandate on mainstreaming civil society as intended to harness the collective energy of all Africans within and outside the continent to realize the goals and objectives of the African Union. This is the thinking behind the Diaspora Forum in the Western Hemisphere that is being launched in this town hall today. His Excellency has provided a detailed outline of its course and development in his various speeches since his arrival in Washington on 15 December. There is nothing to add. The value of the project speaks for itself and the undertaking reinforces the determination of the African to chart a different path from the OAU.
Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism
A major shortcoming of Africa's undertaking has been the lack of an autonomous evaluation mechanism. Such a situation has led to the lengthening of the period of implementation of major programmes such as the Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community.
The CSSDCA Process was designed inter-alias to fill this lacuna. Accordingly, it has adopted a Memorandum of Understanding that sets forth core values, key commitments and benchmarks or performance indicators in the key areas of peace, security, stability, development and cooperation, based on decisions and resolutions adopted by the continental organizations since its establishment in 1963. This Memorandum of Understanding that was adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, provides a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the African Union to assess progress over any period of time in the implementation of decisions and commitments undertaken by Member States and to collectively translate into concrete, achievable and measurable results, the vision of the organization in the area of peace, security, development and integration
It is significant that the process provides for input by parliamentarians, research bodies, international organizations and most significantly, the private sector and civil society, a clear indication of the inclusive character of the African Union. It also reinforces civil society participation as fundamental to the CSSDCA Process. The Commission of the African Union is now working to establish an administrative infrastructure to support this monitoring process, with appropriate focal points at the level of governmental, regional and civil society levels. The Process draws input from the different sources and the task of the CSSDCA Unit is simply to collate and coordinate inputs for presentation to the Review and Standing Conference.
Questions and Answers
Members of the audience asked questions, to which H.E. Mr. Amara Essy
and Ambassadors Shinkaiye and Mamabolo responded.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 18, 2002: PLENARY SESSION
Good morning. The Foundation for Democracy in Africa welcomes you to this historic meeting between the African Union and civil society organizations from the Western Hemisphere. This outreach is unprecedented in the history of Africa's regional organization.
For the first time, the leaders of Africa's governments have committed themselves to involve civil society in Africa and the Diaspora in decision-making in matters that affect Africa's development. As such, the African Union has adopted an inclusive form of governance. This has emanated from an increasing recognition by African governments of the role of Diaspora civil society can play in meeting Africa's pressing challenges. As a matter of fact, the relationship between Africa and the African Diaspora in the Americas date as far back as several hundred years. Although in a relatively unorganized manner, the African descendants on this side of the Atlantic have been participating in solving African problems at various levels. The pool of Africans in the Diaspora, their education, talent, skills, businesses and resources, need not be overemphasized.
There has been a vision for an effective dialogue between the African Union and Civil Society. Today's conference is a step forward in making that vision a reality for those of us living on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. The African Union, in its effort to create a permanent new structure, is asking civil society in Africa and throughout the Diaspora to help create a permanent linkage between civil society and the regional organization representing African governments. There will be an economic and social council much like the United Nations has, but the AU version will allow civil society more input into decision-making. The final decisions, of course, will still lie with the leaders of Africa's governments. However, we are told that civil society will have more of a voice than ever before.
This plan for a continuing linkage process is one of three goals of this meeting. The second goal is to suggest joint programs that civil society organizations in the Americas can work on cooperatively with the African Union. Some of us have technical expertise and tangible access to technology/investment that can be used to complement what the African Union can leverage in the development of Africa. Our forefathers, including Marcus Garvey, envisioned this blending of our resources many years ago, but we now have the opportunity to make those dreams real.
The third goal is to empanel a steering committee to continue our linkage with the African Union beyond this meeting. The plan we present will be an important consideration in AU leadership meetings in February 2003 and July 2003 next year and should help create, for the first time, a mechanism for Africa's people to influence policy at the continent's regional organization. Similarly, the plans we present for joint action, offer an opportunity for genuine progress toward solving Africa's challenges.
However, it is important to emphasize that the steering committee will have the ultimate responsibility of making this a concrete development. Therefore, the organizations requested to play this role will maintain this process from merely being a positive meeting of African Diaspora but rather, the beginning of a useful process of joint action by people of African decent around the world, especially at a time when Diaspora meetings in Europe will yielding results similar to what we are being demanded to do.
I am sure that our ancestors are happily looking at us, working together to meet the various challenges facing Africa today and the future. We have to create an accelerated sustainable system that will help us caught-up for the lost time. We must broaden our approach to solving Africa's problem by including our youths (boys and girls) and most importantly the women. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. We have to close the gap between expectation and reality. We have to borrow the template that works and use it to eliminate/reduce poverty, eliminate corruption, which has been known to be responsible for the level of poverty, instability in government, and the lack of security and development present today in Africa.
I am also sure that these strategies, as out lined in the working group's documents, will secure the blessing of all of our Great Ancestors- the provider of original molecular substrate to humanity. Thank You.
Opening Address of His Excellency Mr. Amara Essy Interim Chairman of the African Union: Delivered by Dr. Jinmi Adisa, Interim Senior Coordinator and Head of the Conference on Security, Stability Development, and Cooperation in Africa
Mr. Chairperson, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. It gives me great pleasure to address this distinguished gathering of my brothers and sisters in Diaspora. I should like at this outset to thank the Foundation for Democracy in Africa and its President, Mr. Fred Oladeinde, for collaborating with the African Union to organize this Forum. The collaboration itself is a practical demonstration of the kind of responsibility that the new African Union assigns to civil society and our willingness and commitment to ensure that the new Union is distinct from the Organization of African Unity. Primarily through the Conference on Stability, Security, Development and Cooperation (CSSDCA), one of our key programmes, the AU has made the task of reaching out to civil society one of the cornerstones of its very essence and foundation.
We are determined to ensure that the Union is guided by the need to build a partnership between the Governments and all segments of civil society, including women, youth and the private sector, in order to strengthen the solidarity and cohesion among our peoples as instructed by the Constitutive Act. It is this strong desire to foster solidarity that has brought us here to mainstream our brothers in the Diaspora into the African Union. If Africa is to claim the twenty first century as its own, and our people demand no less, then all hands must be on deck. We are here to demand that you join us in serving the motherland and we are rest assured that you will do so because we know that you are part of us.
The Reason Why
Why Africa does need its sons and daughters in Diaspora? The reasons are very obvious. Progress in any household demands a sense of family commitment that breeds loyalty and responsibility. Unity and solidarity command respect and invite cooperation and partnership from others. The African Union we are building is of great importance to all of us, continental Africans, Africans in Diaspora and Friends of Africa, who are Africans in spirit. The challenges are immense and it requires our collective commitment to make it work.
The African Diaspora has always had a role to play in the development and political emancipation of the African continent. Part of the spiritual inspiration for the independence struggle came from the Diaspora. The founding fathers of the African continent - Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Nnamdi Azikwe, and Jomo Kenyatta, Ben Bella etc- openly acknowledge their debt in this respect. African institutions such as Howard University have played an illustrious role in this regard. Moreover, the African struggle for social and political emancipation in various parts of the world has tended to reinforce each other.
Indeed a noted American diplomat observed in Lagos very recently, the Civil rights Movement and the Independence Movement in Africa "served to reinforce each other. Africans supported the African-American quest for civil right while the African- Americans canvassed for the independence of African States". In spite of territorial separation we had the same kind of problems and the same kind of reasons for wishing to overcome them. We appealed to the same universal values of freedom and the imperatives of the human conscience. We are identical twins.
The AU-Diaspora Forum
The challenge of the African Union is to transform this spiritual bond into a sense of political purpose through institutional linkages that would make our territorial separation an instrument of advantage. This Western Hemisphere-AU Diaspora meeting represents the first step in this direction. It is expected to be followed by another AU-Europe Diaspora Forum that would converge into a broad based Diaspora Forum.
The purpose of this meeting is to provide a forum in which African Diaspora Groups and organizations as well as international development agencies can gain greater knowledge about the African Union. More significantly, the meeting is designed to establish the foundations for a process whereby Africans in Diaspora can be associated with the AU and contribute effectively to the realization of its goals and objectives. I should like to observe that we are emphasizing the word "process" in a fundamental sense because the relationship that we are seeking to establish is sustained and reciprocal. Thus our collaboration is not expected to be a one-way activity, in which we take from the Diaspora and offer nothing in return. Continental Africans and Africans in Diaspora must collaborate so that we can support each other. The African Union would endeavor to find out from you what you expect from us and what we can do promote the interests and well being of Africans in Diaspora. This meeting is first and foremost a learning process.
The African Union's interest in the Diaspora is not accidental nor is it a sporadic effort to extend its constituency further ashore beyond the African continent. Rather it is an explicit recognition that this constituency is already extended by history, cultural and emotional ties and that the destiny and fate of Africa and its Diaspora constituency is inextricably aligned. The social and political challenges we face are similar and the impact of the activities of continental Africans and Africans in Diaspora continue to affect each other.
Historical Bonds and Challenges
Our history is a common reference point. We are both minimized by the episode of slavery and continuing racial discrimination. We both exult in the triumphs and failures of our kinsmen all over the earth. African accomplishments in sport, music, sciences and the arts are collectively shared just as we are mutually shamed by the incidences of conflict and turmoil on the continent as well as the negative effects associated with the use of some of our countries as transits points for the trade in narcotics and the ravages of the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Indeed one bitter consequence of the deterioration of the political and economic situation in Africa in recent years has been the constant migration for employment within and outside the continent particularly to the developing and industrialized world. The bulk of the migrants are the educated and professional groups whom the continent can least afford to lose, a phenomenon that is popularly referred to as the brain drain. The phenomenon contributes towards retardation in social and economic development and technological backwardness and at the same time exacerbates Africa's dependence in the industrialized world. These problems are at the core of the new socio-economic orientation of the African Union.
The Council of Ministers at its Seventy-Fourth Ordinary Session in July 2001 took note of this problem and adopted a framework for a policy of Migration in Africa that recognized the need to effectively address the interplay between migration and issues of security, stability, development and cooperation in Africa. The resolution noted with concern the issue of brain drain and called on the International Organization of Migration to encourage and facilitate the return of their qualified expatriates and promote the initiated programme of Migration for Development of Africa. I am happy to observe that the IOM is with us here today and I will like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the IOM for its efforts and for the measures taking so far to sustain the processes of collaboration with the African Union on the basis of our Cooperation Agreement of 1998.
The scope of the African Union's efforts in this regard is nonetheless more comprehensive. We must embrace a common vision for the African Union and collectively work to implement it.
The Task Ahead
Just as we are were preparing for this meeting, I was encouraged to read a bout a lecture delivered at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Nigeria by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Howard Jeter, highlighting this particular objective. I thought to myself, now we are even thinking alike and in the same specific\ direction. So the tragedy of history and territorial separation notwithstanding our umbilical cords are pulling us in the same direction and at the same specific moment. I realized that this could be taken as an omen that our enterprise here is bound to succeed We would develop a collective strategy for engaging with ourselves and exploit our mutual strengths and even weaknesses to ensure a unified strategy that will enable us to tackle the challenges of HIV/AIDS, food security, environmental degradation, energy supply etc., as Ambassador Jeter pleads, by evolving an appropriate framework for institutional cooperation.
Beyond this is the challenge of ensuring technological development and the need for investments. Part of the difficulty that we have in this respect has to do with the pervasive incidence of conflicts on the continent. The African Union fully acknowledges this problem and since I assumed office in 2001, priority has been assigned to the issue of conflict resolution. I have appointed Special Envoys to work with the Conflict Mechanism of the African Union to follow up on various conflicts on a day-to-day basis. I have also been actively involved in the process of mediation, conflict management and resolution.
The new African Union has in consequence developed a very active profile in this regard. We played a significant role in securing the recent ceasefire in Burundi and currently involved in the efforts to secure peace in Cote D'Ivoire, the Sudan and everywhere in the continent where conflict rages. The days in which the continental organization remains silent on certain conflict situations such as the Sudan are gone and gone forever. We are determined to secure a peaceful environment that can attract the necessary investment.
As part of this process, we are also engaged in the task of institution building. We have carefully examined the lessons learned from the experience of the Conflict Management Mechanism established by my illustrious predecessor, my good friend, Dr Salim Salim, who has played a prominent role in the service of our continent. The Mechanism has served us well but we are still determined to improve on it as part of the process of building a new and improved continental organization. We are thus in the process of establishing a new institution, the Peace and Security Council based on lessons learnt from the past. The Protocol for the Peace and Security Council is already in place and I would like to assure all of you that I am confident that it operations will go a long way in rescuing the continent from the scourge of conflicts.
In sum, we are doing our best to create conditions in the continent that would make Africans, Friends of Africa and Africans in Diaspora proud. But we cannot do this alone. We require that you join us in this noble and arduous enterprise. The road ahead is difficult but as the popular song goes "We Shall Overcome" as long as each and every one of us puts in our best.
I therefore, invite all participants at this conference to embrace the challenge as pioneers of the African spirit. You are now embanking on a groundbreaking path of immense significance for African development and you require total commitment, resilience enduring strength to succeed. No one should leave this room without asserting the scope of his or her responsibility and the manner in which he or she will contribute towards ensuring the success of our mutual endeavour.
I wish you success in your efforts and deliberations.
Humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. As the leading
international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in
the international community to:
Migration: The African Case
Africa's Main Challenges
Despite all its potential and its efforts, Africa's development is a
difficult and slow process. The continent is and will be confronted with
a variety of challenges. Compared to population growth, GDP growth in
Sub-Saharan Africa is insufficient to ensure development.
Sanitary Situation and Health
Health indicators are alarming and the high death rate caused by illness erases the progress achieved towards sustainable development.
Life expectancy at birth by region, 2000
Africa's development is inhibited by its political instability and bad governance. Africa has to cope with several violent conflicts affecting nearly 1/4 of the continent (Algeria, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Angola, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo, Sudan, Eritrea, Liberia, Tanzania). Their consequences aggravate the social situation
Difficult living conditions: Unemployment and inefficient economic and social systems.
Lack of Human Resources
For these and more reasons, Africa is losing a significant number of its skills to more developed and high-income countries: More than 20,000 well educated Africans leave the continent every year to settle in the developed countries. The result is a lack of qualified workers and poor use of competencies.
Each year, Africa looses several billion US dollars due to the departure of its highly skilled workers who form a significant knowledge pool in their host countries.
The African Diaspora Statistics
Dealing with the Brain Drain at the International Level
The international community has known about the adverse effects of the brain drain for a long time. In December 1968, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution # 2417 on the outflow of trained professional and technical personnel at all levels from developing to developed countries, its causes, its consequences and practical remedies. It reads:
· Noting with concern that highly trained personnel from the developing countries continue to emigrate at an increasing rate to certain developed countries, which in some cases may hinder the process of economic and social development in the developing countries
· Draws the attention of the developing countries to the need to plan for ensuring the proper utilisation of the expertise and skills of their trained personnel
· Recommends that developed countries should co-operate in taking appropriate measures with a view to reducing the adverse effects of the outflow of trained personnel from the developing countries
Conference on Brain Drain and Capacity Building in Africa: Joint regional conference, Addis Ababa, February 22 - 24, 2000
Sponsored by IOM, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
· Creating knowledge blocks in Africa (IDRC)
Efforts by the OAU: Decision 614: Lusaka, July 2001
· Proposed to member states that they develop strategies for utilising the scientific and technological know-how and skills of Africans in the Diaspora for the development of Africa,
· Noting great concern over how the brain drain has affected the continent,
invited the IOM to continue helping African countries in their development
Mobilization of the Diaspora
· Transferring skilled human resources (specialists, technical experts,
Return of Qualified African Nationals (RQAN)
Since 1983, more than 2,000 qualified African Nationals returned to their countries of origin and have been reintegrated
IOM developed the capacity building program
Its main purpose is to turn the Brain Drain to a Brain Gain for Africa
by the transfer of relevant skills and resources of the Diaspora for use
in development programs. Members of the Diaspora can contribute to the
development of their home country without losing their legal status in
their host country.
IOM recognizes the skills of the African Diaspora and is developing an efficient strategy to mobilize them with assistance of African governments and Diaspora associations
An innovative approach:
· Strengthening the institutional and technical capacities of developing
countries by filling key jobs in the public and the private sector with
Contribution of the Diaspora
· Identify skills needed in the target countries which could best be
met through the knowledge, skills, financial and other resources of the
· Creation of a specialized data base on qualified members of the Diaspora
interested in the program,
MIDA - Organizational framework
MIDA programs either target a certain geographical region or one of the priority sectors. Key sectors are: Education, Health, and Private Sector
African States Participation
Inscription of MIDA in the National Indicative Program (NIP):
Countries that have taken formal steeps towards inclusion:
Countries that have expressed interest:
PILOT REGIONAL PROGRAMS
Great Lakes: MIDA Great Lakes (Implemented: November 2001)
262 experts from the Diaspora selected; 47 persons are or have been working in Burundi, Rwanda and DRC to teach, work in enterprises, and conduct research. Their stays vary between 3 weeks and 3 months.
The MIDA Great Lakes candidates contribute to local capacity-building, mainly in the educational sector. Beneficiary institutions save money and profit from highly skilled individuals.
10 skilled Rwandan doctors from the Diaspora are working in Rwamagana Hospital in East-Kigali and other health institutions in the country.
· To organize a minimum of three 3-day training workshops in the health
sector and to improve the technical capacities of at least 100 medical
MIDA Mano River Program
As part of the MIDA framework, this project offers migrated women the chance to contribute to peace building and economic and social reconstruction in their home countries Guinea and Sierra Leone. By mobilizing 2 Guinean and 2 Sierra Leonean women from the Diaspora, MIDA Mano River profits from well-educated individuals with a special knowledge of the targeted countries.
The chosen women have expertise in micro-enterprise creation and management-training. Each trains 5 female trainers in each country. These trainers ensure the training of 50 targeted women per country in micro-enterprises creation
After the training, the creation of micro-enterprises will be financed through micro-credits to improve the living conditions of the targeted women.
Pilot Sector Projects: MIDA Health & Private Sector
Priority Needs for Qualified Professionals in African Countries
Following a questionnaire handed out to the African countries at the
Libreville workshop in 2001, the sect oral needs of the participating
countries are as follows:
The Health and Education sectors have strongly been mentioned as priorities.
The African Health System
Number of doctors per 100,000 people, 1990-1999
The WHO target for developing countries for 2000 was I doctor per 5,000 persons and 1 nurse per 1,000 persons (Source: Human Development Report , UNDP, 2001)
Africa suffers from an acute shortage of medical personnel. One reason for the lack of qualified human resources is the brain drain. Estimating that the training of a non-specialised doctor in a developing country costs about 60,000 USD and the training of paramedical personnel about 12,000 USD per person, it can be concluded that the developing countries "subsidise" North America, Western Europe and South Asia with US$500 million annually.
Furthermore, an important part of the training of medical personnel is financed by official development aid.
MIDA Health Ghana Netherlands
"Options for a Ghanaian Diaspora involvement from the Netherlands in mitigating Brain Drain in the health sector in Ghana" Time frame: 6 month (November 2002 - April 2003)
Financed by :
A 6-month project to investigate the potential among the Ghanaian migrant community to develop concrete project proposals that fit in the Ghana HRD Health policy. Networking with Dutch health-related foundations, academic institutions and Ghanaian migrant organizations. The financing of this project from May 2003 onwards was proposed to Italy.
The World Health Organization 52nd Regional Conference: October 12, 2002 Harare, Zimbabwe
Cognizant of the brain drain and African's need for health professionals, the 46 Ministers of Health mandated WHO and IOM to:
· Identify the competencies of the African Diaspora.
WHO and IOM agreed to:
· Set up a database that provides the Ministers of Health with the necessary
information to mobilize their health Diaspora,
MIDA Health Database
In addition to information about professional qualifications, candidates were also asked for reasons that they left their country, their future availability, and desired forms of contribution to the development of their home country.
Virtual Job Fair Ethiopia, December 2002
IOM and the local private employment agency "Talent Search" organize the first Virtual Job Fair Ethiopia, an internet-based project to give Ethiopian companies the possibility to advertise vacancies on the Internet and provide job seekers, in Ethiopia and the Diaspora, the necessary information about the companies and the vacancies they can apply for. The Virtual Job Fair is a Public Private Initiative at No Cost!
Through this event, IOM will:
· Assess the available skills of the Diaspora
The project will run from 1st to 31st December 2002. Afterwards a year long Virtual Job Fair will be considered.
Human Resources Development in Africa
Facing Future Challenges of Population Mobility
The Brain Drain has a very negative impact on the development of the African continent. At the same time, developed countries have a strong demand for highly skilled migrants to compensate for their own skills shortages. The loss of human capital in Africa can be at least partially offset by facilitating the circulation of skilled workers between the North and the South.
The MIDA approach takes this into account and therefore fits into the basic policy of the African Union that recognizes this problem and is taking steps towards its solution.
Summit of the African Union July 9-10 2002, Durban, South Africa
Heads of State and Government of Member States,
· RECOGNISING the vital importance of Capacity Building for our countries
· ANXIOUS to preserve our attachment to the development and utilisation of the continent's human resources for the general well-being of our peoples in all areas of human endeavour
· PROCLAIM the decade 2002-2011 as "Years of Capacity Building in Africa", and, 2004 as "The Year for Development of Human Resources in Africa"
Migration to developed countries is an inevitable trend. Skilled people move in response to different opportunities abroad. Developed countries attract foreign professionals in order to compensate their lack of human resources in some sectors. The foreseen aging of the population in these countries will even increase this need. This Brain Drain is a handicap for sustainable development in Africa especially if emigration affects the provision of basic socio-economic services (e.g. health, education) MIDA supports the circulation of migrants and offers a flexible approach to mobilize skills existing in the Diaspora and needed in developing countries. Mobility of competencies, mutually managed, can be a way to initialize a Brain Gain and reverse the negative impacts of the Brain Drain. In that case, migration works for the benefit of host and home country.
I am pleased to be of service as Coordinator for the working sessions of this important meeting. As the first African-Union Diaspora Forum, I do believe people need to gain greater understanding of the vision and goals of our new continental organization, obviously, your presence here today is a strong mark of your commitment and enthusiasm to be partners with the new African Union. We are very grateful for that and we believe that the expertise, resources, ideas and goodwill that you bring to the African Union will significantly strengthen efforts towards effectively resolving the many challenges of good governance and sustainable development that Africa faces today.
Without attempting to limit the experiences, expertise or ideas that you are looking at tabling during this meeting, we felt it would be helpful to give you some key indicators of what I could refer to as target on milestones on the path that is being charted towards the full operationalisation of the Commission and the organs of the African Union. That way you might want to put some order or sequencing in the proposals, ideas and experiences, that you bring to this meeting. However, please we would still tide you to bear in mind that we welcome all suggestions and ideas as will be.
That said, some of the challenges for the AU in the immediate and long term will include;
· Popularization of the AU
· Policy integration and implementation at state and region levels
· Capacity building and resource mobilization
2. Operational Mechanism
· Steering Committee (sectoral and geographical coverage)
Good morning again, my brothers and sisters from the Western Hemisphere. As has been said before, what we do here today will transform this event into a process. Insofar as our group work is concerned, we will work first in plenary and then in working groups.
To achieve our first objective, we need to consider how we feel our organizations can create an ongoing link with the African Union. That will entail some detail on the mechanism we suggest to them for ratification over the next few months. Second, we will divide into working group to discuss both suggestions for what we feel the African Union should do to address the existing issues faced in these areas, but also how the Diaspora and its organizations may help create and implement solutions to problems.
We have proposed working groups in the following areas:
Democracy and Governance: I've just come from observing the presidential election in Equatorial Guinea. The mechanical process of preparing for and conducting voting and counting went fine, but there was something missing that makes a process democratic in the broadest sense. Democracy is about more than elections, and governance is about more than bureaucratic efficiency.
Rule of Law: The respect for human and civil rights, the access to swift and fair judicial treatment and the general understanding by governments that the law, not people should determine how we live together. These all are apart of this concept.
Peace and Security: In so many African nations, there are civil wars, ethnic and religious tensions that flare up and cross-border conflicts. The innocent, mostly women and children, suffer as victims of violence and displacement.
Science, Research and Technology: I read some time ago that there were fewer telephone lines in the continent of Africa than in the city of Tokyo. Surely those of you who have traveled to Africa or worked there have noticed that access to technology is limited, and problems brought under control in the developed countries still trouble Africa - largely because the technology transfers and basic research have not kept pace with the advances seen elsewhere in the world.
Education: In ancient times, people from Greece and elsewhere made their way to Africa to learn the basic theories on which our world is still based. Even in more recent times, African universities attracted even Western students due to the caliber of studies. In a time in which so many children in Africa are unable to finish their formal studies, and university level students flock to the West to study, something must be done to reverse this trend.
Health and Environment: We have all heard of how the pandemic of HIV-AIDS is destroying African societies. What has drawn less notice is how health care systems have deteriorated to such an extent that even when offered free medicines, it is difficult to administer such treatments in a medically sound environment.
Trade and Economic Development: Africans were the world's initial international traders. However, colonialism and economic manipulation have reduced the African role in commerce to a miniscule corner. In the era of global economy, Africa's role in commerce cannot continue to be marginalized if African people are to enjoy the progress others do in the 21st century.
Media: The image in Africa has suffered in the media due to a relentlessly negative portrait being painted over and over again. The bad is constantly promoted, while the good is ignored or distorted.
Arts and Culture: The artistic expressions of Africa and the culture brought to the New World by slaves have sustained our link to Africa over several centuries. Our cultural expressions are seen not only in the work or Africans and Africa's descendants, but also in what is known as popular culture.
Knowing that some of our organizations do not have a single area of concentration, we have not tried to select your working group for you. We ask you to consider on which one you would like to serve and sign on to that one. We will meet in assigned breakout rooms to discuss these issues beginning this morning. Once you are gathered in these rooms, we ask you to select a chair for your group to coordinate the sessions.
Our rapporteurs will record your recommendations today, and we will reproduce
them for your approval tomorrow by noon. For those who want to provide
comment to groups other than the one you selected, this will offer the
opportunity to add your contributions. So without further delay, let's
discuss how the African Diaspora here in the Western Hemisphere can become
linked to the African Union.
Mr. Slater's address underscored the importance of the Forum to Africa/Diaspora relations, and commended the Foundation for Democracy in Africa for its role in initiating re-engagement. He complemented participants for giving their best contributions during deliberations, and urged them to ensure that recommendations coming out of the Forum will help improve the conditions in Africa and the relationship between the AU and the African Diaspora.
The Chairpersons of each Working Group presented reports from their groups as follows:
Selwyn R. Cudjoe (Chairperson)
We, the participants of the above-named Working Group, move that the
African Diaspora establishes itself for full regional representation at
the African Union.
1. Nature of the representation of the members of the Diaspora
· How to structure representation so that all regions and levels of Diaspora
The question of how to structure Diaspora representation was discussed, and it was agreed that the Western Hemisphere regions would be represented as follows:
i. Latin America (including Mexico and Central America)
The question of citizenship was discussed extensively, and the following non-exclusive models were proposed:
i. Each Member-State legislate the right of citizenship to members of
2. Balance of Power
· Decentralization of government
i. We acknowledge the fact that the Continent has already moved towards the elaboration and the ratification of laws and policies promoting the decentralization of government and gender parity within and among member-states. We acknowledge that the bulk of the involvement from the Diaspora must lie in helping implement these laws and policies.
ii. We support the necessity of a Balance of Power between the central government and the member-states.
iii. We Support the Position that Women's Interests have been neglected where those with the most stake in that outcome, women, have been underrepresented within the Bodies designed to generate and enforce the Instruments that have been agreed by the various states.
iv. We support the position that the African union bodies and Diaspora regional units move towards a numerical representation strictly proportional to the number of women constituents in the Continent and the Diaspora (or 50%), at all decision-making levels and staffing, with a mandate for implementation policies promoting women's issues.
v. We also support close cooperation between civil society of the Diaspora and the African Union, in the implementation of policies towards gender parity.
3. Enforcement and Accountability
i. Which common values must African Union members adhere to?
ii. In light of the African Union format, under which members could not be expelled but could chose to leave voluntarily, conditions should be given to establishing means through which member-states can be disqualified.
iii. As far as possible, the African Union should seek to establish common values and norms to which member-states could abide.
iv. The participants believe that a careful balance must be kept between
sovereignty of states and the Principle of Non Intervention.
4. Information dissemination/Public Education: how to educate the Diaspora in particular, so that it becomes more vested in the AFRICAN UNION.
i. We in the Diaspora believe that the promotion of effective information dissemination and public education at all levels, including through radio, Television, The Internet, and all other means, are the most important challenges in creating a successful union. It is important that members of the Diaspora buy into this concept to claim ownership of the African Union. This can only be done through the massive dissemination of information and public education at all levels on all initiatives.
ii. We Support the Position that the Immigration Policies of the Different Member-States of the African Union be conducted in such a manner it does not disadvantage African nationals, and that its promotes easier movement of goods and people across the Continent.
5. Reconvening within Six Months.
We believe that to effectively organize the Diaspora, we need to reconvene within six months to continue discussion on Democracy, Governance and the Rule of Law. The groups invited should be comprised of key members of civil societies of the Diaspora of the Western Hemisphere, for a More Thorough and Targeted input into the development of the Diaspora dimension of the African Union. Needless to say, this intervention should be undertaken by the African Union.
Dr. Gershwin Blyden (Chairperson)
The Group began the meeting with outlining the agenda items for discussion. This was followed by an identification of possible windows of opportunity for the African Diaspora in the Americas can play in solving African health problems.
The agenda items and issues for discussion were:
· Standards of Health Care
1. Standards of Health Care
In North America, medical associations and the relevant government authority determine standards. The main issue is whether or not you can apply these standards in African context. The focus has to be on attaining an optimal level of standards of health care given such viability. With the re-education and training of health personnel, Africa can adapt certain standards to its local circumstances. The group felt that the following are potential areas of intervention for improving the standards of health care in Africa:
i. Patient Rights for respect, information and education in light of
Patient Bill of Rights.
2. Public Health/Environment
This topic was discussed in two separate but inter linked aspects:
i. Environment: Waste disposal, sanitation and latrine systems and models,
availability of potable water.
iii. Institutions of health care: Serious lack of a network of institutions and facilities of basic health services is a critical problem in Africa. There is a crucial role to be played by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mapping expertise to conduct an inventory of health care as a function of population density, say within 5 km of major population centers. Health facilities and health care centers should be such as to enable to stabilize the patient in terms of first aid provision at the very least. Blood testing and other essential diagnostic techniques to accommodate the commonly encountered diseases and emergencies can be potentially provided to African health care centers.
iv. Nutrition: "You are what you eat." Good nutrition is essential if the maximum development of the brain power is to occur. As we evolve in to an ever increasing competitive world it is vital that our children be given every opportunity to compete. Deficiencies of micro-nutrients are prevalent in Africa. Basic nutritional ingredients have to be identified. This requires a better understanding of the culture. It is critical that re-examinations of ways of producing foodstuffs particularly in the context of local capabilities must be done. Therefore, food self sufficiency and food security strategies and efforts should take into account an evaluation of nutritional values.
3. Health Research
The main point raised was the planning and implementation of research in the field of health. This requires an assessment of inventory with a focus on modes of transmission of the major's diseases. The Africa Union should establish a policy for establishing global health statistics and a database. A well-coordinated public health monitoring system to pick up the events and trends early is very important.
Research on Health Policy was identified as a priority in setting the framework for effective health sector program planning and implementation. This process should encourage the private sector to investigate and inquire on health topics.
The group recommended that the African Union to have a continental health research council. This can help avoid fragmentation of the scientific debate on health issue. Under this council there should be an ethics board. Overall, the council will be mandated to:
i. Enable the Africa Union to establish a system of Awards for research
done by the Diaspora Health professionals
4. Tertiary Care
Establishing and strengthening centers of maximum medical excellence was discussed. However, issues of cost and equity were noted.
5. Health Education
While encouraging training of health personnel continental-wide, standardization and accreditation of the education and training is critical. Doctor per patient ratio may be a misleading indicator of the development of health related capabilities because the role of the non-doctoral health personnel such as nurses and health assistants in the provision of health care is very crucial. There should also be provision for the inclusion of non-classically trained individuals to help in selected areas of health care deliveries. The role of Tele medicine in training and health care delivery was also discussed.
6. Health Insurance - Monumental Task
Taking South Africa's, Kenya's and Zimbabwe's experience, the group discussed introducing and instituting health insurance in addressing health problems in Africa. There are companies in northern countries which want to sell insurance in the south including Africa. Recent trends in HIV/AIDS epidemics have however hampered the role of insurance companies from operating in Africa. A possibility still exists to introduce insurance schemes for civil servants as well as for family insurance on limited basis. Single payer system or minimum package system can be instituted as feasible. Pregnant women or children health insurance can be experimented. Government of Kenya has for example been subsidizing the insurance for civil servants although there are issues of sustainability. In this connection, such schemes can partly be funded through taxes from industries and companies which create pollution and health hazards. The Diaspora can begin investigating the matter as to which kind of model or scheme can be feasible in African context.
It seems that there would have to be some form of Global/Continental Fund generated by continental taxation schemes to allow for the eventual attainment of global insurance for all.
7. Priority Areas
There was a consensus on the main priority areas for the Africa Union and the African Diaspora in the Diaspora to a focus on. These are:
The gravity of these conditions dictates that there should be units established at the AU level to address these areas.
8. The Role of the African Diaspora in the Americas
The group identified the following specific windows of opportunity for the African Diaspora in the Americas involvement in and contribution to the solution of African health problems and issues. These are:
a. Develop and establish a Committee with a broad-based representation from the various regions of the Americas as well as the different health professional associations. Most of the mandates of this committee would be coordination of activities and identification and tracing of profession expertise in health fields. I will also identify health administrators and managers. It will establish with all national medical associations. Finally, it would facilitate in resource mobilization for supporting African efforts.
b. Provide health care facilities, GIS computer-based monitoring technologies, and establish problem solving teams of health experts. It would also identify and recommend appropriate and feasible models of health care delivery.
c. Mobilize engineering expertise and intermediate technologies such as water engineering, smokeless solar energy, and facilities for disabilities.
d. Identification of micro-nutrient deficiency related diseases such as anemia, breast feeding schemes, and expertise in GEM and impact analysis.
e. African Union to sponsor scientific societies to get together once a year by organizing symposia and to ask the Diaspora to contribute therein. This medical conference can be used to market the relevance to the Diaspora. Developing research teams and identifying problems and establishing a research fund without dictating the agenda are part and parcel of this recommendation. Website development of annual health meetings in Africa. Other contributions include:
· Creating and encouraging a research culture
f. Arrange for bringing high level health professionals for strengthening of centers of excellence through short and long term secondments of these health professionals. AU should establish partnerships with health care institutions that can contribute to the continental health initiatives. These institutions should be selected based on the availability and direct participation of the Diaspora in the leadership and decision making process of these institutions. Members of the Diaspora should strive to adopt institutions in the continent. They would act in ambassador fashion and strive to recruit other members of the Diaspora to contribute to the development of selected institutions. These would improve infrastructure and allow for the creation of better working environment which would ultimately increase the appeal for those wanting to serve in the continent.
g. Solicit the direct involvement and contribution of women in the various aspects of the health sector in the Diaspora. It must be recognized that in the Diaspora the women demonstrated more capabilities than men.
h. Mobilize resources to make use of satellite radio and website radio for distance learning.
i. Try to use Fulbright and Peace Corps Teachers from the Diaspora.
j. Encourage teacher and student exchange programs through out the Diaspora.
k. Committee to set up an exploration of exchanges of health education materials.
l. Diaspora Groups to sponsor activities in health education
m. Utilize the potentials of HBCU in Tele medicine.
n. Adopt a philosophy to develop the infrastructure for developing manufacturing essential drugs.
o. Endorse a systematic approach to investigating traditional remedies.
p. Create units within the Africa Union to address the most devastating diseases.
q. Support local training capacity in national health systems.
r. Increase recognition of sustainability of any assistance from the African Diaspora in health. Aid must be provided in the context of the country's development plan.
s. AU must encourage the development of the necessary capabilities to meet the demands of drugs and supplies for the continent on the continent. It must be prepared to join the bio-technology revolution.
t. Establish organizational framework to oversee all the health related activities on the continent.
Lauri Fitz-Pegado (Chairperson)
The Trade and Economic Development Committee proposes the following framework for recommendations as prerequisites to effective and meaningful participation in African trade and development by Africans in the western hemisphere Diaspora:
1. Fundamental Recommendation
a. The African Union should ensure that Africans select African Business
owners in the Diaspora as suppliers of goods and services, and not depend
only on traditional mechanisms. African governments must establish official
programs to identify and qualify Diaspora businesses.
The African Growth & Opportunity Act
a. Encourage duty free entry to US market for other products beyond the
general system preference list.
Capital Market Development
The AU should:
a. Remove the institutional constraints that prevent the development
of efficient capital markets in Africa.
Commodity Markets and Commodity Pricing
The AU should:
a. Assure that Africa gets parity in considerations that enable price
competition so country producers are not at price disadvantage.
Reparation [Definition varies]
The AU should:
a. Include in its agenda the 'crime against humanity' concept and work
with Diaspora organizations to suggest a process for reparations.
The AU should:
a. Continue to develop and enforce rules and regulations, which increase
and strengthen women's rights in business and career development.
What the Diaspora Should Do
a. Establish a Western Hemisphere Diaspora Trade and Economic Development
Committee to coordinate and facilitate the follow-up process to these
recommendations with the AU.
Without peace and security, there will be no development for the African Continent. There is much that can be achieved between the AU and the African Diaspora, with regard to peace and security, the following recommendations are just a sampling of what that union can make happen.
Causes of instability and the lack of peace and security:
Recommendations to the AU:
1. The AU, working with member states and civil society organizations (CSO), should facilitate the development of sound judiciary systems as well as a continental judiciary body.
What Can the Diaspora Do?
2. The AU, working with member states and sub-regional organizations, should help facilitate the development of effective detection and prevention systems to help address the problems of small arms, light weapons proliferation and terrorist attacks, that cause Africans to be victims.
What Can the Diaspora Do?
3. The AU working with member states and CSO needs to encourage the effective development of prevention (early warning systems) and conflict resolution mechanisms.
What Can the Diaspora Do?
4. The AU, working with member states and CSO, to address the issues of poverty and the need for real debt cancellation and or relief.
What Can the Diaspora Do?
5. The AU working with its member states and CSO to ensure the effective integration and inclusion of women and youth in every aspect of analysis and policy formation as related to all aspects of peace security and stability. Additionally, the AU should develop a global monitoring mechanism to raise awareness of the rights of women and youth of Africa and the Diaspora, especially in situations of conflict and instability.
What Can the Diaspora Do?
The working group concluded that there is an intrinsic link between stability, peace, security and development.
Lumas Kendrick, Jr. (Chairperson)
Mindful of the considerable work that has been going on in the short life of the AU and by its partners in the development of Science Research and Technology professional capabilities and institutional capacities in African countries, the following priority areas were identified by the Working Group for policy and program interventions by African Diaspora:
· Information and Communication Technology
It is the considered opinion of the working group that the decision of the AU member states, to accord high priority to the private sector and women, should be strengthened in program development and implementation activities.
Policy and Program Recommendations
1. Infrastructure: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Energy, and Transportation
For high level, capacity intensive projects and programs undertaken on the African continent, efforts should be made to conceptualize and execute these projects and programs within a regional or sub-regional framework in order to facilitate entry points for Diaspora contribution.
In addition to standard joint venture agreements, on all AU projects, preference should be given to bids containing a minimum of 20% contractual participation from the African Diaspora.
Develop an ongoing inventory of existing expertise in the African Diaspora in the areas of ICT, Energy, and Transportation.
· The Diaspora will be responsible for mobilizing all funding to implement the development of the inventory database.
· The AU will be responsible for designating the organization charged with implementing the inventory database.
2. Biotechnology and Scientific Research
AU should promote a policy of utilizing institutions and individuals in the African Diaspora to enhance joint research between African research institutions and their counterparts in the African Diaspora.
· Develop an electronic inventory of institutions and individuals in the African Diaspora with expertise in the areas of biotechnology and intellectual property rights.
· Contribute to ongoing work on mapping of bio-diversity endowments in African countries.
· Develop a repository of expired patents.
· AU will designate/nominate the institution in the Diaspora to manage the repository.
Dr. Niara Sudarkasa - (Chairperson)
We see the Diaspora cooperating in Africa's efforts in education for self-reliance and sustainable development. We note that this education must take place in the Diaspora as well as on this continent. We have identified the following needs as we perceive them and made relevant recommendations:
1. Increase Literacy in African Language as well as the European Languages used as Official Languages on the Continent
With respect to the role of the Diaspora, we note that there are successful models for promoting literacy (such as found in Cuba, Nicaragua and the U.S. for example) that could be adapted for use in Africa. We want to emphasis self-help programs such as "each one teach one", allowing youth to use their weekends creatively to help others become literate. The Diaspora could be instrumental in the development of a compendium of such models that could be used on the continent. Teachers in Africa might also come to the Diaspora to see the communities where these models have been implemented.
2. Curriculum Development
i. The Africanization of the curriculum
ii. The Establishment of an African Curriculum Council
iii. Gender equity in the curriculum
iv. Internationalization of the curriculum
v. Emphasis on multi-lingual education
3. Technology Exchange and Capacity Building
We call upon the Africans in the Diaspora to utilize their organizations and institutions to facilitate the transfer of books, computers and other resources that the continent would need for technical and vocational training for development.
4. The Expansion of Educational Opportunities
i. We call upon the AU to open doors to professionals from Diaspora that wish to serve in Africa. We note that the IOM and other organizations are already addressing this issue and we call upon the AU and national governments to support these efforts to build and sustain the databases and programs for Diaspora professionals to participate in the expansion of education in Africa. We call attention to the importance of ensuring gender equality by reaching out to women professionals.
ii. Establishment of Centres of Excellence - We call upon the AU to establish Centers of Excellence for graduate and professional education on the continent to stem the brain drain and promote inter-African cooperation. In this regard, we call upon the AU to support and expand the work of the Association of African Universities in establishing these Centers. We envisage a special role for the Diaspora as resource persons and students.
iii. Distance Learning - We call upon Diaspora institutions with access to technology resources to undertake distance learning programs in collaborations with African partners.
iv. In the area of basic education, we recommend the establishment of Adopt-A-School Programs building on the idea of twin cities whereby schools in the Diaspora will partner with schools in Africa.
v. Adult and Continuing Education - We recognize adult and continuing
education as a high priority for the African continent. It is an important
mechanism for community education and empowerment in which the Diaspora
can play a vital role.
Recognizing the need to promote closer ties between African higher education institutions and those in the Diaspora, we call upon the Association of African Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States (the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education), the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research Institutes (UNICA) and other institutions of higher education in the Diaspora to come together to develop modalities for cooperation. High on the agenda, we recommend that we address the need for teacher education and training in response to teacher shortages.
i. In implementing all these recommendations, we recognize the need for funding over and above that which governments can provide.
ii. The establishment of a Diaspora Endowment Fund for African Education to be financed by the contribution of one dollar or its equivalent from every adult in the Diaspora;
iii. That African government demand corporate responsibility and accountability from the multi-national corporations doing business in Africa by requiring them to contribute to a Fund for Educational Development. We recommend that the AU manages, as Trustees, an Endowed Fund both the contributions from the Diaspora and the corporations.
In response to the long history of brain drain, we see these educational
initiatives as addressing the need to repatriate Africa's intellectual
Kay Hixson (Chairperson)
Media is a critical component of a comprehensive strategic communications, information exchange, and marketing program. We feel that 'Media' is limiting as it is only a segment of the communications spectrum, and propose that media working group be changed to the "Communications, Information Exchange and Marketing (CIEM) Work Group." CIEM should be viewed as a strategic process for all AU programmatic and policy activities. To be successful, CIEM must be an integral part of the processes.
i. A Strategic Approach
To ensure consistency and effectiveness, the AU should develop and fund a strategic communications plan. The resulting CIEM program should include:
· Developing and executing imaging, branding and positioning strategies
CIEM must be interactive, ensuring continuous dialogue and an active interchange of ideas between the AU and the Diaspora. The foundation of AU-civil society communications must be "talking with" each other, not "talking at" each other. Real listening must occur on both sides.
iii. Effective use of Communications Media
The AU and its CIEM component should develop and execute a targeted, educational campaign in Africa and the Diaspora that would use all available communications tools. This process involves taking advantage of all channels of communications, including appropriate technology, traditional and nontraditional media, and formal and informal avenues. Specific attention should be paid to:
· Maintaining a current and dynamic website,
The AU should promote continental and Diaspora linkages through AU participation in:
· Themed events
Specific attention should be paid to encouraging the celebration of Africa Day throughout the Diaspora.
v. Promoting African Culture
Each AU event should include culturally recognizable symbols and rituals of the past to reclaim our lost or fading identity, and regenerate pride in being African (For example, opening libations, drumming, etc.).
vi. Empowering Diaspora Communications Professionals
When implementing these recommendations, the AU should make every effort to use the skills, talents and firms of people of African descent. The AU should also encourage collaboration between continental and Diaspora people of African descent.
vii. Empowering the Media
The African Union should encourage and support the development, maintenance and civil society ownership and control of dynamic local media, including electronic (radio and television broadcast), print, satellite, internet and other.
The Africa Union should also encourage a constructive relationship with the media, and support the development of professional associations to build capacity and maintain an active journalist community with high professional standards.
What Can the Diaspora Do?
Actively seek and engage in partnerships with our counterpart organizations on the continent to participate in the implementation of the recommendations we put forth:
· Provide training,
This list of CIEM recommendations represents a wish list, and further
work is required. The recommendations need to be contextualized and articulated
in the light of aspirations in the Diaspora for AU and the specific parameters
of the AU MOU.
Pearl Eintou Springer (Chairperson)
Art and Culture are central to the life of all Africans. It was therefore, with alarm that we observed that there had been no outlet for the artistic expression of our people here at this Conference; not a drum, not a dance, not a poem. We must remember that there was a time when we had no academics, no intellectuals recognized by the Eurocentric systems under which we lived; when we could not operate at this level; when our artists and our spiritual leaders were our culture bearers, our activists; for the very act of African retention in the Diaspora was done at the risk of the loss of life.
In this context we wish to make the adjunctive statement that our spirituality is integral to our people; and in fact, our cultural expressions have devolved directly from our spiritual practices. We note consequently, that there has also been no pouring of libation, no prayer, no invitation to the presence of our ancestors. As we seek to establish this African Union, even the very fabric of our discourse must reflect the essence and images of an African world-view.
As Africans we have created a wealth of cultural art forms. However,
this has not rebounded to either a sense of our own self-worth or to our
economic well-being. This is why we consider education as a critical component
in the conscientisation, the resocialisation of our people. The committee
registers its deep concern and a need for urgent action in eliminating
the culture of violence in African societies.
The term culture must not be confused with the artistic emanations of culture. Culture is pervasive, manifesting in every facet of our lives. This is why the question of culture relates to every topic being debated here today. We suggest that either someone perceived to be a culture bearer should serve on each of those committees, or that each committee should interact closely with the Art and Culture Committee.
The African Union in conjunction with cultural activists in the Diaspora should:
i. Establish a cultural foundation which straddles the Continent and
v. Address the question of Haiti. Recognition must be given to Haiti's history of commitment to the vision of a united African nation. Tangible financial support and reparation are also to be addressed.
vi. Support the Reparations Movement by the establishment of an International Day of Expiation where all cultural expressions of our peoples, as well as the struggles of our ancestors, will be celebrated. We suggest that a representative from everywhere that there had been enslavement, be officially welcomed by a special committee comprising Diaspora and African Union leadership to enter in triumph and respect, the Door of No Return. Part of that day of expiation should also include the setting up of a monument and a museum in honor of our enslaved ancestors. This monument will become a place of pilgrimage for our people.
vii. Seek to establish more direct routes, affordable fares, and group travel to facilitate interaction between the Continent and the Diaspora. This should be particularly applicable to our youth.
viii. Should recognize a commitment to help artistes in the protection of their intellectual property by making every effort to ensure that their home countries are signatories to all international conventions on copyright and trademarks. We also need to protect other aspects of our heritage, e.g. traditional medicines, plant life, and genetic material.
ix. Should recognize the importance of technology in the service of promoting, propagating, and the sharing of information. We must recognize that no dichotomy exists between tradition and modernity. The establishment of an information-rich global African nation is a prerequisite for development and cultural cohesion.
x. Should deliberately promote a culture of healthy life style in which we live in harmony with nature as is our tradition.
xi. Language is a critical element of culture. All attempts should be made to assist Diaspora Africans in the Diaspora in learning one of the major African languages.
xii. The experience of the first peoples with the Human Genome Project of the early 90s is instructive in this regard.
The African Union in conjunction with the Diaspora should:
i. Recognize that the sourcing and funding for African Art and Culture
is an important facet of our responsibility.
The African Union in conjunction with the Diaspora should recognize:
i. That we should be united in spirituality rather than divided by religion.
In the African worldview, there is no separation between the secular and the spiritual.
Role of Women
The African Union in conjunction with the Diaspora should:
i. Promote respect for the image and essence of woman.
The African Union in conjunction with the Diaspora should:
i. Work toward the creation of a data base of documentation on Africans
everywhere in different languages and formats. This work can be done in
conjunction with libraries and heritage information centers worldwide.
Many of these already have linked data bases. We need to become part of
N.B. There is an international conference on Information Technology in Tunis, North Africa in 2003. Every effort should be made to interject an African Union Commission position at this very important forum.
The African Union in conjunction with the Diaspora should:
i. Promote a political culture of responsibility and accountability to
community of all our political leaders.
The issue of culture is so completely pervasive that this statement cannot hope to be exhaustive. Grave responsibility devolves onto those, who, in the African Union have the responsibility for the cultural agenda. In partnership with the culture bearers and cultural activists, the task requires continual evaluation, deep sensitivity, and alertness; and above all openness of mind and commitment to our people everywhere.
The committee on Art and Culture
Ladies and Gentlemen. On behalf of His Excellency, Mr. Amara Essy, the Chairperson of the Interim Commission of the African Union, I would like to thank you most sincerely for your support and cooperation. We have observed with keen appreciation the enthusiasm and commitment that each and every one of you has brought to our common enterprise. It serves as a clear indication of your devotion to our common cause of ensuring that the new African Union realizes the goal and aspirations of the African people both on the continent and in the Diaspora.
The events of the last few days open a new chapter in the history of the development of the African continent. It underscores the determination of all Africans, wherever they may be, to work together to ensure a better life for themselves. We are not here to simply rehash our experiences and moan about the slave trade. Our objective is to build upon that experience to move Africa and Africans in a progressive direction that would enable us to claim the twenty-first century as our own.
We are determined to convert our humiliation and tragic experience into a source of strength. In this enterprise, we are committed to working with the rest of the international community within a framework of partnership that underlines our sense of identity but which also reaffirms our dignity. We remain convinced that the collective efforts of continental Africans and Africans in Diaspora are sufficient to cope with the challenges of this century and beyond.
The deliberations that have taken place here so far reassert our confidence in this enterprise. We made provisions for about fifty representatives but had about one hundred. More significantly, we had clear evidence that those who could not come to Washington to confer with us have been following the deliberations with keen interest and are committed to implement its resolutions. I thank them for this support.
I thank you also for the report of the proceedings that you have just submitted. The report clearly establishes a road map for our venture and we are satisfied that if we remain true to this road map, the plight of African and the Africans would be substantially improved and that the African Union would thrive on a solid foundation. However, we can only do this if we transform this road map into an effective plan of action.
The continent of Africa has for long been a venue for pious resolutions and grand purposes. The purpose of the African Union in establishing the Conference of Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation (CSSDCA) programme is to change this trend by providing a new vision of a prosperous and democratic Africa built on an inclusive framework aimed at harnessing the energy of the civil society and our brothers and sisters in Diaspora. We are therefore, here as a testimony to that commitment.
As part of this process, we must emphasize that the test of any commitment is the follow-up process. The spirit of this room that represents the spirit of our forefathers and the African Diaspora must take essential steps to follow up on the commitments that we have agreed upon and to expand its scope and responsibilities. Chairman Essy has already made it clear that the AU would convene another Diaspora forum in Europe early next year to converge into a broad-based forum. The MOVEMENT that has been established here must give leadership to others elsewhere in various spheres.
It should place itself at the vanguard of efforts to spread the message of the African Union, mobilize support behind it and its programmes, including in particular the CSSDCA Process, and defend its interests. But it must also constantly scrutinize it and seek for its improvement. It should also demand from it. Relationship develops in a constructive manner when there is taking and giving. The first step is to take this message home and to spread it.
While I was going around during this conference, I heard one of the lady participants expressing some doubts about our determination to provide political space for the Diaspora. I listened and smiled. Acts of pessimism imply respect for the possibilities of civilization. We are here and we mean business. But if we are going to succeed we must "never say never". We did not come here just to see Washington. It is a great town but we could instead have taken vacations and gone to see Disneyland.
We will take all your resolutions and recommendations to Chairman Essy and the Commission of the Union in Addis Ababa and through them to the Summit of the Union and while we may not be able to implement all of them immediately, you can be rest assured that they will eventually be reflected in the purposes, goals and programmes of the Union.
I can again assure you that we in the African Union want this movement to go from strength to strength and to have strong impact on AU policies and programmes. The Network or Working Group that you have just established has a strong role to play here but the Movement that embodies its hope and aspirations is more important. It is the collective emphasis and energy of the Movement that would take us to our goal. We envisage the election of a Steering Committee to guide its activities.
I should like, to acknowledge the support of the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, its President, Mr. Fred Oladeinde, and the Host Committee and to thank them for their assistance in organizing this forum. I should also like to thank the African Diplomatic Corps and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana in particular for their kind reception. I must also express our gratitude to the Representatives of the South African and Nigerian governments, Ambassador John Shinkaiye and Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, for their active participation. The Governments of South Africa and Nigeria have shown and continues to show support for the CSSDCA Process. As Head of the CSSDCA Process, I would like to openly acknowledge our debt to them.
I must also thank the International Organization for Migration for their presence and support. I should like in particular, to thank the Deputy Director-General Mrs. Ndioro Ndiaye, for taking time off her busy schedule to come here. Her presentation was extremely useful. In addition, I would also like to recognize support given by the officials of the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the United Nations in New York, including the Permanent Observer, Ambassador Ahmadu Kebe and Mr. Abdoulaye Maiga. I should like especially, to acknowledge the support of Ms Shereen Bailey, the Political Officer at the Observer Mission.
I would be remiss if I did not recognize the special contributions of His Excellency, Mr. Amara Essy, whose remarkable vision of African renaissance has directed the development of the CSSDCA Process and the African Union.
I should also like to acknowledge the role of Ambassador Said Djinnit, the Interim Commissioner for Peace, Security and Political Affairs and the Director of Bureau of the Interim Chairman, Ambassador Gaetan Ouedraogo, for his commitment and direction.
Last but not the least; I would like to thank the staff of the CSSDCA Unit for their total devotion to the cause. I should like to acknowledge my Civil Society Officer, Mrs. Alice Mungwa and the invaluable contributions of the administrative staff especially, Ms Rahel Akalewold, who is here with us today and Ms Yodit Rustom in Addis Ababa. I must also thank Mr. Abou Ahmed, our Finance Officer and Mrs. Yetunde Teriba of the Gender Directorate. I should also like to thank the American policy-makers and people for giving us the opportunity to meet and push our agenda forward.
Finally, I thank our brothers and sisters in Diaspora for responding in a positive manner to our clarion call. What we have seen here reinforces our strength and determination and assures us that together we can do anything and we will.
A LUTA CONTINUA
I thank you all.
We are now at the end of this historic three-day program. We have met one another and interacted to produce what we believe is a very substantial and worthwhile report.
Any process in which you bring people from different countries and organizations with different missions, there is bound to be a period of adjustment before you can produce a successful working relationship. I think we worked together well in a short period of time.
As we said repeatedly at the beginning of this process, we consider this a beginning and not an end in and of itself. Having met together, we should continue to interact with one another. We have discussed the linkage mechanism to the African Union to maintain an ongoing relationship. Our initial idea was that there should be a steering committee to conduct this ongoing work of liaison. However, the Foundation and our African Union colleagues have been so impressed by the widespread talent represented here, as well as the talent that was unable to make it to Washington to be with us, we would like to alter this concept.
As suggested by the Trade and Economic Development Working Group, we suggest that the group that has met here be constituted as the Western Hemisphere Diaspora Working Group and that this group has a web page and e-mail addresses to maintain our ongoing contacts.
We believe we should continue to follow our suggestions to the African Union and work together to pursue mutual projects. As for a next meeting, this should be an immediate consideration to be discussed. There were several suggestions for funding mechanisms for joint projects, and these must be explored so that we can have concrete plans for how we will proceed.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff and members of the Foundation
for Democracy in Africa, I thank you again for joining us here at this
forum, and we look forward to working with you on this project.
Wyndham City Center Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The Meeting recommended that an office of the AU be established in Washington DC.
The meeting also recommended that the Foundation for Democracy in Africa
serve as the coordinating body and be given the specific mandate to follow-up
on the recommendations of the 1st AU-Western Hemisphere Diaspora Conference
and work with the CSSDCA, enhancing the work of other African Diaspora
NGOs internationally and in consultation with the AU Office in New York,
within the next 18 months.
Accepted unanimously by the meeting of the AU-Western Hemisphere Diaspora
Conference, Wyndham City Center Hotel, Washington D.C.,
Excellency Amara Essy,
Interim Chairman, African Union Commission
Union, P.O. Box 3243, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, TEL: 251 1 513822; FAX: 251
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17950, Haile Selassie Road, P.O. Box 1520, Gaborone, Botswana, TEL.: 267-585578,
FAX: 267-71300744, EMAIL:email@example.com
KAREN (KAY) HIXSON, Karen
Hixson Associates, P. O. Box 70076, Washington, DC 20024, TEL: 202-646-1238;
FAX: 202-646-1249, EMAIL: kay@KHAsolutions.com
J. A. George Irish,
Professor, Executive Director, Caribbean Research Center, Medgar Evers
College, (CUNY) 1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225, Tel: 718-270-6079: Fax:
718-270-6917, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinator, General Secretariat, Sudan Democratic Forum, 1718 M Street,
NW, Suite 344, Washington, DC 20036, TEL: 703-608-0808, 703-961-1812,
Executive Director The National Association of Negro Business & Professional
Women's Clubs, Inc., 1806 New Hampshire Ave, NW Washington, DC 20009,
TEL: 202-483-4206; FAX: 202-462-7253; EMAIL: email@example.com
Consultant/ Women, Gender & Development, Protocols of African Development,
1219 Queen Street, NE, Washington, DC
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External Relations/Project Development, International Organization for
Migration, TEL: 202-862-1826; FAX: 202-862-1879; EMAIL: email@example.com
Chair, World Bank - IMF Africa Club, 1818 H Street (J6-127) Washington,
DC 20433 USA, TEL; 202-473-5006,
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2 Flint Place, Elmont, NY, 11003, Tel:
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Kabamba, The Foundation for Democracy in Africa, 600 Brickell
Avenue, Suite 700, Miami, FL 33131, TEL: 305-416-9201; FAX: 305-416-9203
Consultant/Development of Projects, The foundation for Democracy in Africa,
12340 SW 109 Terrace, Miami, Florida
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Technical Trainer/Safety Manager, COMCAST Cable Communications, Inc.
Michigan Avenue, NE,, Washington, DC 20017, TEL: 202-635-5545, 202-636-4310,
Chairman, Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad & Tobago, 5B
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868-633-9235, E-mail: email@example.com
President/CEO, Kendrick Technology Associates, 4309 Rowalt Drive #202,
College Park, MD, 20740-3156, TEL; 301-699-5429, FAX: 301-779-6417, E-MAIL:
Harambee Africa, Baltimore, Maryland, TEL.:703-329-6836, EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Professor of Economics, Florida Memorial College, 15311 Loch
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305-623-4286, Fax: 305-626-3161,
Lee, Jr., First Vice Grand Basilieus, Omega PSI Phi Fraternity,
3951 Snapfinger Parkway, Decatur, GA 30035 Tel:
404-284-5533, Fax: 404-284-0333,
Africa Business Roundtable/KTA Global Partners, LLC, 5915 Parkridge Lane,
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Bureau Chief Rainbow/Push Coalition, 1311 8th street, Washington,
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Letren, Executive Director, Harambee, Inc., 11358 S.W. 167
Street, Miami, FL, 38157, Tel:
305-251-3218, Fax: 305-919-5267,
International Trade Center Association, 301 G Street, SW, Suite 518, Washington,
DC 20024, TEL: 202-448-9286, E-MAIL: email@example.com
President, Malian Association of Greater Washington Tel: 703-385-0467
Chairman, Southern Sudanese Community, 1109 North 8th Street,
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M'Bow, International Program Coordinator, Broward County
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President, The Africa-America Institute, 380 Lexington Avenue, Suite 4200,
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Webmaster, Cyber ADAl Press/Organization Eritrean American
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African Union, P.O. Box 3243, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, TEL: 251 1 513822,
FAX: 251 1 519321, E-MAIL: email@example.com
Dr. MARTIN MUNGWA,
Senior Researcher, Wood Science and Technology Institute, Inc.,
6300 SW Reservoir Avenue, Corvallis, Oregon 97333, TEL: 541-929-9784;
FAX: 541-929-3694, EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
President, Perseid Communications Inc., 41 Franklin Street, Tenafly, NJ
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Fax: 201-227-0568, E-mail:
NDIAYE, Deputy Director General, International Organization
for Migration, GENEVA TEL: 41 22 717 93 87, FAX: 41 22 798 61 50, EMAIL:
President, Organization of African Professionals & Associates in Diaspora,
Inc.14404 Basingstoke Lane, silver Spring, MD 20905, TEL.: 301-879-7232,301-384-5288,
President, African Reformers & Developers Org., 5851 Riverdale Plaza
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Director, Institute on Black Life, University of South Florida, 4202 East
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813-974-5042, EMAIL: Okogbaa@IBL.USF.EDU
The Foundation for Democracy in Africa, 600 Brinkell Avenue, Suite 700,
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DR. BRIMMY A.U. OLAGHERE,
Executive President & Chairman, Supreme Council, New Africa's World
Nation, 3307 Gainesville Street, S.E. Washington, DC 20020-1433, TEL:
202-583-3074; FAX: 202-583-3076; EMAIL: email@example.com
PHD, International Association of Nigerian Studies and Development, P.O.
Box 44873, Fort Washington, Maryland
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Senior Business Development Representative Pepco Holdings, Inc., 701 Ninth
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Ministerial Advisor to African Liberation Ministry Ebenezer African Methodist
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Office of District of Columbia Councilman David Catania, 202-724-4549
Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC 20036, TEL: 202-232-3862, FAX:202-232-3870, EMAIL:email@example.com
Bakri Osman Saeed,
Medical Consultant/Professor, The Whittington Hospital - University of
London, Highgate Hill, London, N19 5NF, UK, Tel:
011 44 207 288 5042; Fax:
011 44 207 288 3485; E-mail:
Public Affairs Advisor, Worldspace Corporation,
2400 N street, NW, Washington, DC 20037, TEL: 202-276-2728; FAX:
202-969-6005, E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Assistant, Institute on Black Life, University of South Florida,
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813-974-5042, Email: email@example.com
President, Miguel Sandoval Company, 1701 16th Street, NW, #601,
Washington, DC 20009, TEL:
Head of Office, International Organization of Migration, UNECA Building
(L2) P.O. Box 3005, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, TEL: 251 1 511 673; FAX: 251
1 514 900, EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
MOHAMED I. SHOUSH,
Professor, University of Alberta, 10023-110 St Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
IJ5, TEL: 780-433-0582; FAX: 780-432-7773, EMAIL: email@example.com
Vice President, The Foundation for Democracy in Africa, 1900 L Street,
Suite 414, Washington, DC 20036, TEL: 202-331-1333; FAX: 202-331-8547,
Rodney E. Slater, Patton and Boggs, LLP, Attorneys
at Law, 2550 m Street, NW, Washington, DC
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Pearl Eintou Springer,
Emancipation Support Committee, Council of Orisa Elders, Trinidad &
Tobago, 6 Newallo Ville, San Juan, Trinidad, TEL: 868-627-5244, EMAIL:
Niara sudarkasa, Scholar-in-Residence, African American Research
Library & Cultural Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311, Tel: 954-741-4549; Fax:
954-741-4569, Email: email@example.com
President, Freedom and International Justice, 900 N. Stafford Street,
Suite 2325, Arlington, VA 22203,
Secretary Political, Embassy of South Africa, 3051 Massachusetts Avenue,
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Research & Communications Officer in Women, Gender, and Development
Directorate, African Union, P. O. Box 200055, Addis Ababa, TEL: 251-1-517-720,
MOBILE, 251-1-210-831,email: yetundeteriba @hotmail.com
Evangelist of Empowerment, 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Sixth Floor,
Washington, DC 20004, TEL.:
202-756-2261, FAX: 202-326-9171, EMAIL: email@example.com
A. Babatunde Thomas, Professor, Policy Advisor/Chairman,
EconoDynamics, P.O. Box 747, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10017,
Tel: 234-803-315-5207, 917-306-1066;
Fax: 212-252-0544, E-mail:
Director, USA for Africa, 5670 Wilshire Boulevard, #14, Los Angeles, CA
90036, Tel: 323-954-3124,
Fax: 323-854-0048, E-mail:
Torres, Artistic Director/Choreographer, IFE-ILE, Inc.,
4545 NW 7 Street, Site 13, Miami, FL, 33126, Tel:
305-476-0388, Fax: 305-476-0388,
JEANNE MADDOX TOUNGARA, Associate Professor, College of Arts & Sciences,
Department of History, 2441 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC
20059, TEL:202-806-6815, FAX:202-806-4471, EMAIL:firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor, Co-chair, Rutgers University, Association of Concerned African
Scholars, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, Tel:
732-932-4101 ext 681: Fax:
732-932-0934, E-mail: Turshen@rci.rutgers.edu
Director, International Dev. Center, National Council of Negro Women,
Inc., 633 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004, TEL: 202-383-9148;
FAX: 202-737-0476; EMAIL: email@example.com
Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Namibia, 1605 New
Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009, TEL:
202-986-0540; Fax: 202-986-0443,
C. VAN HORN, M.D.,
Medical Director/Physician, 4650 Livingston Road, SE, Washington, DC
20032, TEL:202-563-0300; FAX: 202-563-7442
President, Global African Diaspora Union & IMSCO, 4 Park Avenue, New
York, NY 10016, Tel: 212-532-5449;
Fax: 212-532-4680, E-MAIL:
226 W. 87th Street, Los Angeles, California, 90003
U.S. African Trade & Aid Link Corp., 380 Maple Avenue W,. Suite 205,
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Executive Director, Omega PSI Phi Fraternity, Decatur, GA Tel:
404-284-0333, E-mail: email@example.com
Chairman, Liberian Leadership Conference C/O 596 Greenwich Court, East
Windsor, NJ 08520, TEL: 609-448-7905; FAX: 609-448-3893, EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Director, Anti-Defamation League, 1100 Connecticut Ave NW #1020
Washington, DC 20026, TEL: 202-261-4617; E-MAIL: email@example.com
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