The Africa-South America Summit (ASA)
The Africa-South America Summit (ASA) is relatively new and gradually gaining momentum. The first ASA Summit was held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 30 November 2006 while the second one took place in Isla de Margarita, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on 27 September 2009. The third summit was to be held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, from 15-16 May, 2012.
Not much has been achieved so far in this partnership as attempts are currently being made to put in place the necessary mechanisms that would ensure the effective implementation of the process. The partnership is inclined towards political solidarity, perhaps because of the shared historical background of the two sides. However, concrete projects could be realized and Africa needs to define its core interests and propel the partnership towards economic sustainability.
The ASA partnership faces some challenges. These include the need to clarify outstanding issues such as the role and functions of the Strategic Presidential Committee, the Permanent Secretariat and its Executive Secretary as set up in Isla de Margarita, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and their working relationships with existing ASA structures. There is also need to identify the financing mechanism of the projects/programmes of the partnership in order to achieve concrete deliverables. In this respect, a financing mechanism has been proposed by the African side and a Working Group of both sides has been mandated to study it and submit a Report to the third ASA Summit. Some progress has been made in tackling some of these problems with the ASA Ministerial meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in November 2011 having adopted the Regulations which will guide the operations of both the Strategic Presidential Committee and the Executive Secretariat. The Regulations will come into force once adopted by the Summit.