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African Continental Free Trade Agreement

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Time Zone: EST (New York, Toronto)
Messenger: Nesta1 Sent: 5/3/2019 7:45:31 AM

AfCFTA is a significant step, by an overwhelming coalition of African nations, towards achieving Africa's potential as a global economic powerhouse. Keep your eyes & ears open, and watch carefully to see if the West, and America the Babylon in particular, follows its well-established pattern of undermining the potential success of independent economic development on the African continent by attempting to monkey-wrench this agreement and sabotage it efficacy. The dynamics are intriguing as China's economic development partnerships on the continent have put the West between a rock and a hard place: that is, continue to work to attempt to stifle economic development of both African nations and their Chinese partners OR join in genuine efforts aimed at improving African economic development in order to compete with Chinese "soft power" influence. I imagine that the former will continue, but with more lip service being paid and more well-publicized (yet half-hearted) efforts being made toward the latter.


CGTN Africa
By Jerry Omondi -April 30, 2019

The African Continental Free Trade Area will officially enter into force during the next Extra-Ordinary Heads of State and Government summit slated for 7th July 2019 in Niamey, Niger.

Africa Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat confirmed that he had received two more ratifications from member states, bringing the total number of countries to 22. The continental body requires 22 member states to deposit their instruments in order for the AfCFTA to take effect.

“With the required 22 ratifications in record time, the world’s largest trading bloc is now expected to enter in force by July this year,” Mahamat said via his official Twitter handle.

The AfCFTA aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Continental Customs Union and the African customs union.

The AfCFTA agreement is expected to create a market for over one billion people, with a GDP of approximately US$2.6 trillion.

The decision to establish the AfCFTA was initially arrived at in the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2012, with a tentative launch date of 2017.

Worth noting however, Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy – has not ratified the agreement. Last year, the presidency said it needed to engage in more domestic consultation before committing to such a deal.

Other large economies like South Africa and Egypt have however ratified the deal.

The African Ministers of Trade are scheduled to meet in Kampala, Uganda in the first week of June to review work on the supporting instruments ahead of the Extra Ordinary Summit on the AfCFTA.

Mahamat paid tribute to the Champion of the AfCFTA, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, for his advocacy to have all AU member states sign and ratify the AfCFTA Agreement.

Messenger: Nesta1 Sent: 5/7/2019 6:49:55 AM


By Frederic Musisi Timberlake in Kampala
Published on 05/03/2019

Adam Kidega, 45, recalls returning to the lake shore after a night fishing with his boat full of fish. In his younger years, he says: “It was always a bonanza.”

Today it is a different story. One can spend long nights on the lake and return empty handed.

If “very” lucky, Kidega says, he returns to Dunga fishing village with a handful of fish – two or three – and if unlucky, none at all. “That is how bad things have become.”

This part of Lake Victoria, near Kisumu in western Kenya, is choked with water hyacinth, putrid algae and other invasive plants. They flourish in the organic waste that drains in from cities and farms, creating poor conditions for fish to breed.

It is the “deadest part of the lake,” according to executive secretary of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Ally Said Matano, who blames the population density of the catchment. “The higher the number of people you have in a catchment area the more the pollution and the more problems you get.”

LVBC is an inter-government body of the five East African countries sharing the Lake Victoria basin, home to 40 million people.
The world’s largest tropical lake, Victoria is an important source of water and hydropower, a reservoir of biodiversity and a medium for transport across three main basin countries: Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Christine Kaaya, the programmes coordinator for Uganda’s parliamentary forum on climate change, says each of the major rivers, streams and wetlands feeding the lake is under some level of threat.
“Degradation of the catchment area is the main problem across the board, and with time the effects will catch up with the lake,” says Kaaya. “Already we have been warned about the ecosystem being badly damaged.”

A 2018 study by the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that freshwater ecosystems in the lake were inadequately protected.

“Freshwater biodiversity in the Lake Victoria Basin is in decline and the risk of species extinctions is increasing, with the major drivers of threat identified as: pollution; biological resource use, primarily overfishing; agriculture; and invasive species, particularly Nile Perch and water hyacinth,” the study says.

The biggest initiative to tackle the problem has been the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project, first approved in 1996. Last year, the World Bank approved a $240m loan for the third phase of the project.

Results from the Kenyan part of phase one were judged “unsatisfactory” in a 2006 evaluation. The entire government team responsible was dismissed in 2002 “due to heightened dissatisfaction with observed performance”.

An NGO source, who asked not to be identified because he relied on government funding, gives the example of public flushing toilets. Several were installed, as an alternative to people defecating on riverbanks. But they were quickly vandalised and raw sewage continued to pollute the lake.

Uganda and Tanzania fared slightly better, with “moderately satisfactory” outcomes.

A spokesperson for the World Bank in Uganda declined to comment on specific criticisms, deferring to the government.

Alfred Okot Okidi, a top official at Uganda’s ministry of water and environment, said the next phase would learn from previous efforts. It involves regenerating “badly degraded” swamps and riverbanks in southwestern Uganda.

“What we want to do is to restore the catchment area, including through pulling people out of the swamps and give them alternative livelihoods,” Okidi says.

Other interventions include planting trees and containing sewerage from urban hotspots like Ugandan capital Kampala.

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Haile Selassie I