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Statement Delivered by Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the Opening Ceremony of the Second Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Mining Held at the African Unon Headquarters On 11th January, 2019

Statement Delivered by Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the Opening Ceremony of the Second Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Mining Held at the African Unon Headquarters On 11th January, 2019

January 11, 2019

CHAIRPERSON,
YOUR EXCELLENCIES;
DISTINGUISHED DELEGATES;
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

I WARMLY WELCOME EACH AND EVERY-ONE OF YOU TO THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE AFRICAN UNION, YOUR UNION.

I ALSO CONGRATULATE THE IN-COMING BUREAU, LED BY MY SISTER THE MINISTER FROM MOROCCO FOR BEING ELECTED TO GUIDE THE AFFAIRS OF THIS COMMITTEE. PLEASE REST ASSURED OF OUR FULL SUPPORT AS YOU DISCAHRGE YOUR IMPORTANT DUTIES.

THE OUT-GOING BUREAU, LED BY MY BROTHER THE MINISTER FROM NIGER DID A COMMENDABLE JOB TO BRING US WHERE WE ARE. I ALSO RECORD OUR DEEP APPRECIATION FOR THEIR IMMENSE CONTRIBUTION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AFRICAN UNION PROGRAMMES ON MATTERS OF TRADE, CUSTOMS COOPERATION, INDUSTRY AND MINING.

CHAIRPERSON,
YOU ARE MEETING JUST BEFORE THE START OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICAN UNION HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OR SUMMIT. YOUR REPORT WILL BE AMONG THE DOCUMENTS TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE UPCOMING SUMMIT.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DESIRABLE FOR THE SUMMIT TO APPREOVE FOR IMPLEMENTATION, ONE MORE FLAGSHIP PROJECT DOCUMENT OF AGENDA 2063. THIS IS THE AFRICAN UNION COMMODITY STRATEGY.
THE SENIOR OFFICIALS HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO RECOMMEND IT FOR YOUR CONVEYANCE TO THE SUMMIT ITS APPROVAL AS THEY FEEL SOME MORE WORK REQUIRES TO BE DONE ON IT. THIS IS IN ORDER, AS WE AIM AT ENSURING FULL OWNWERSHIP OF THE STRATEGY BY MEMBER STATES.

AS WE MOVE TO THE NEXT PHASE OF CONSULTATIONS ON THE DRAFT AFRICAN UNION COMMODITY STRATEGY, WE SHOULD ALSO REMEMBER THAT THE COMMODITY SECTOR IS BOTH THE DRIVER OF AFRICA’S CURRENT STATE OF UNDER-DEVELOPMENT AND FUTURE SOURCE OF HER DEVELOPMENT.
WE ARE UNDER-DEVELOPED BECAUSE WE DO NOT CONTROL COMMODITY MARKETS AND BECAUSE OF THAT, WE ARE ALWAYS VULNERABLE TO COMMODITY PRICE SHOCKS. WE ARE ALSO UNDER-DEVELOPED BECAUSE THE AFRICAN COMMODITIES SECTOR IS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS FROM OUR CONTINENT, FLOWS THAT ARE RISING AND GROWING FAR ABOVE OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FLOWS O AFRICA.

AT THE SAME TIME, THE AFRICAN COMMODITY SECTOR IS A SOURCE OF OUR FUTURE PROSPERITY IF WE EMBARK ON ADDITING VALUE TO OUR COMMODITIES. FOR EXAMPLE, AGRO-PROCESSING HAS THE POTENTIAL TO TRANSFORM AFRICA FROM A NET FOOD IMPORTER TO A NET FOOD EXPORTER IN ADDITION TO MAKING AFRICA FEED HERSELF. IN THE SAME VEIN, MANUFACTURING HAS THE POTENTIAL TO INCREASE THE LEVEL OF INTRA-AFRICAN TRADE AS WELL AS CONTRIBUTE TO OUR STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL VALUE AND SUPPLY CHAINS.

IT IS IN THIS SPIRIT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO URGE MEMBER STATES AND OURSELVES TO WORK EXPEDITIUOSLY TO DELIVER THE AFRICAN UNION COMMODITY STRATEGY FLAGSHIP PROJECT AND IN THE PROCESS, LAY A FIRM FOUNDATION FOR AFRICA’S STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION AND ACCELERATED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
CHAIRPERSON,
YOUR COMMITTEE IS MEETING UNDER THE THEME; “THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING THE AFCFTA AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION”
IF THE INTERPRETATION CAME OUR CORRECT, THE REPRESENTATIVE OF UNIDO SAID; AND I QUOTE: ‘IF THE AfCFTA WORKS’, END OF QUOTE. MY RESPONSE IS THAT WE SHALL MAKE THE AfCFTA WORK. WE HAVE THE PASSION. WE SHALL PERSERVERE. WE SHALL SUCCEED.
AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS WEEK, I SENT A BRIEF TO MEMBER STATES ON THE STATUS OF RATIFICATIONS OF THE AfCFTA AGREEMENT. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF RATIFICATIONS NOW STANDS AT SIXTEEN (16), WITH THE ADDITION OF ONE MORE SINCE TUESDAY THIS WEEK. WE NOW HAVE SIX MORE RATIFICATIONS REMAINING BEFORE WE REACH THE MAGIC NUMBER OF 22 RATIFICATIONS THAT ARE REQUIRED BEFORE THE AGREEMENT ENTERS INTO FORCE, A MONTH AFTER RECEIVING THE 22ND INSTRUMENT OF RATIFICATION.

THE SIXTEEN RATIFICATIONS ARE IN TWO CATEGORIES. IN THE FIRST CATEGORY, WE HAVE NINE (9) AFRICAN UNION MEMBER STATES THAT HAVE DEPOSITED INSTRUMENTS OF RATIFICATION OF THE AFCFTA AGREEMENT; NAMELY: KENYA, GHANA, RWANDA, NIGER, ESWATINI, CHAD, GUINEA, COTE D’IVOIRE; AND, UGANDA. IN THE SECOND CATEGORY, THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES OF SEVEN AFRICAN UNION MEMBER STATES HAVE APPROVED RATIFICATIONS OF THE AFCFTA AGREEMENT, NAMELY: SOUTH AFRICA, SIERRA LEONE, MALI, NAMIBIA, CONGO; TOGO AND MAURITANIA. THE DEPOSITS OF INSTRUMENTS OF RATIFICATION OF THESE SEVEN MEMBER STATES ARE EXPECTED BETWEEN NOW AND THE FEBRUARY 2019 ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICAN UNION HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT.
IN A NUMBER OF CASES, IT HAS BEEN COMMUNICATED TO US THAT THE RESPECTIVE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT WILL HAND OVER THE INSTRUMENTS OF RATIFICATION TO THE AFRICAN UNION CHAIRPERSON DURING THE UPCOMING SUMMIT.
TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, I WOULD LIKE TO URGE MEMBER STATES TO SEND US ADVANCE COPIES OF THE INSTRUMENTS OF RATIFICATION.
IF THE SIX REMAINING RATIFICATIONS ARE RECEIVED AND DEPOSITED BEFORE MARCH 21 OF THIS YEAR, THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST AFRICAN UNION LEGAL INSTRUMENT TO BE RATIFIED WITHIN A YEAR. SUCH A DEVELOPMENT WOULD BE A HISTORIC AND SIGNIFICANT ATTAINMENT, BRINGING US CLOSER TO THE TRANSFORMATION INTO REALITY OF THE VISION OF THE AFRICAN UNION AND AGENDA 2063.
THREE SIGNATURES ARE EXPECTED AT THE SUMMIT AND THIS WILL LEAVE US WITH ONLY THREE YET TO SIGN OUT OF 55 MEMBER STATES OF THE AFRICAN UNION. WE URGE THE REMAINING THREE TO ALSO COME ON BOARD SO THAT ALL AFRICAN UNION MEMBER STATES BECOME FOUNDING STATE PARTIES TO THE AfCFTA.
CHAIRPERSON,
TRADE FACILITATION IS A CLUSTER OF THE ACTION PLAN ON BOOSTING INTRA-AFRICAN TRADE. THE SENIOR OFFICIALS HAVE NOT RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR APPROVAL, THE DRAFT TRADE FACILITATION STRATEGY. WE NEED TO FINALIZE WORK ON. THE TRADE FACILITATION STRTAGEY WILL GREATLY CONTRIBUTE TO AFRICA’S IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION TRADE FACILITATION AGREEMENT AND IN THE PROCESS, INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY AND COMPETITVENESS OF TRADING WITHIN AFRICA AND TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. WITH THE ATTENDANT REDUCTION IN THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN TRADE AS A RESULT OF EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TRADE FACILITATION STRATEGY WHEN IT IS ADOPTED BY THE SUMMIT, AFRICANS WILL TRADE MORE AMONG THEMSELVES AND THE REST OF THE WORLD AND IN THE PROCESS, PROMOTE FASTER ECONOMIC GROWTH AND POVERTY REDUCTION.
THE DIRECOR-GENERALS CUSTOMS ARE REPRESENTED IN THIS MEETING AND WILL PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AFRICAN UNION TRADE FACILITATION STRATEGY WHEN IT IS ADOPTED.
CHAIRPERSON,
IT IS ALSO NOTEWORTHY TO POINT OUT THAT THE SENIOR OFFICIALS WILL ALSO BE RECOMMENDING FOR YOUR APPROVAL, THE DRAFT SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE STRATEGY. ITS IMPLEMEMNTAION, WHEN APPROVED BY THE SUMMIT WILL GREATLY CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND EMPLOYMENT ACROSS AFRICA. ALREADY, WE HAVE, WORKING WITH THE AFRO-CHAMPIONS INITIATIVE, WE ARE DEVELOPING THE AFRICAN FASHION VALUE CHAIN-PRESIDENTIAL INITIATIVE.

FURTHERMORE, WE ARE WORKING WITH A MEMBER OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA COMMISSIONED A CONTINENTAL PLATFORM ON E-COMMERCE TO FACILIATE DEVELOPMENT OF DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND EVENTUALLY, THE DIGITAL COMPONENT OF THE AFRICAN INTERNAL MARKET THAT WILL BE ESTABLISHED IN ACCODANCE WITH THE ABUJA TREATY. WHAT IS ALSO STRATEGIC ABOUT THIS PROJECT IS THAT AFRICA WILL HAVE SOVEREGNITY OVER HER DIGITAL DATA.

THAT AFRICA IS COMMITTED TO DIGITALIZATION IS VERY CLEAR. BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL PLATFORM ON E-COMMERCE, WE ARE ALSO WORKING ON DIGITAL IDENTIFICATION WHICH THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE UNITED COMMISSION FOR AFRICA HAS COMPREHENSIVELY TALKED ABOUT AND I WILL NOT ADD MUCH, EXCEPT TO STATE THAT YOU AS MINISTERS ARE CALLED UPON BY SENIOR OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS A CONTINENTAL APPROACH ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DIGITAL IDENTIFICATION PLATFORM AND RECOMMEND AN APPROPRIATE DECISION FOR THE SUMMIT.
WORK IS ALSO UNDERWAY TO DRAFT A COMPREHENSIVE DIGITAL STRATEGY FOR AFRICA IN A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT WITH THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION. THE STRATEGY, WHEN ADOPTED WILL FACILITATE AFRICA’S TRANSFORMATION AND EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WORK PROGRAMME OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA.
AS EARLIER STATED BY THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN EXPORT IMPORT BANK, WE ARE BEING SUPPORTED BY THEM IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A DIGITAL PAN-AFRICAN PAYMENTS AND SETTLEMENT PLATFORM TO FACILITATE TIMELY AND RISK FREE FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS IN THE AfCFTA.

CHAIPERSON,
YOUR COMMITTEE ALSO DEALS WITH THE IMPORTANT SECTOR OF MINING. AFRICA IS A MINING CONTINENT AND IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT MINING IS ALSO A KEY COMPONENT OF THE DRAFT COMMODITY STRATEGY.
THE AFRICA MINING VISION (AMV), ADOPTED IN 2009 BY AFRICAN HEADS OF STATES REMAINS THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTINENTAL INITIATIVE ON MINING WHICH REPRESENTS A PARADIGM SHIFT, AWAY FROM COMMODITY EXPORT DEPENDENCY TOWARDS ENHANCING AFRICA’S INDUSTRIAL BASE THROUGH GREATER LOCAL BENEFICIATION AND VALUE ADDITION OF MINERALS. THE AMV REMAINS A TIMELY RESPONSE TO ADDRESSING THE RESOURCE CURSE PARADOX THAT CONTINUES TO NEGATIVELY FRAME MINERALS-LED DEVELOPMENT IN THE CONTINENT BY ESTABLISHING HOW MINERALS CAN BETTER CONTRIBUTE TO LOCAL, NATIONAL AND REGIONAL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION AS WELL AS INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, SPURRED BY THE DEMAND FOR NEW MINERALS AND METALS USED IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS SMARTPHONES, LAPTOPS, AND BATTERY STORAGE FACILITIES INCLUDING THOSE USED FOR ELECTRIC CARS, HAS CREATED NEW DYNAMICS IN THE GLOBAL COMMODITIES ARENA, WHOSE IMPLICATIONS FOR AFRICAN COUNTRIES AND THEIR OPTIONS TOWARDS NEW MODELS OF ENGAGEMENT WILL NEED TO BE EXPLORED THOROUGHLY. THIS CALLS FOR ATTENTION TO SKILLS DEVELOPMENT, INVESTMENT IN R&D AS WELL AS FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR MINERAL ENDOWMENTS TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE ENTIRE MINING VALUE CHAIN AND FOR A GOVERNANCE SYSTEM THAT INVOLVES ALL STAKEHOLDERS.
IT IS AGAINST THIS BACKGROUND THAT FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION HAS INTENSIFIED EFFORTS TO PROMOTE OPTIMAL RESOURCE GOVERNANCE AND STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIPS THROUGH DIFFERENT FORA SUCH AS INVESTING IN MINING INDABA HELD ANNUALLY IN CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA IN ADDITION TO OTHER INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL CONFERENCES INVOLVING GOVERNMENTS, BUSINESSES, CIVIL SOCIETY, COMMUNITIES, WITH EACH SEGMENT ASSUMING THEIR RESPECTIVE ROLES.

WE HAVE SOME OF THE KEY ACHIEVEMENTS, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING:
FIRST, INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF THE AFRICAN MINERALS DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (AMDC). THE DECISION OF ASSEMBLY OF THE HEADS OF STATE MEETING IN NOUAKCHOTT, MAURITANIA IN JULY 2018 APPROVED THAT THE AMDC SECRETARIAT WILL BE HOSTED BY THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA AS A SPECIALIZED AGENCY OF THE AFRICAN UNION.
SECOND, DRAFTING OF AN AU GEOLOGICAL AND MINERAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GMIS) STRATEGY WITH AN AIM OF ENSURING THAT AFRICA AS A CONTINENT HAS BEEN MAPPED UP AND THAT MEMBER STATES HAVE AND OWN GEOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE AND DATA ON THE MINERAL WEALTH ENDOWMENTS.
THIRD, DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN MINERAL GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK (AMGF) WHICH WILL SERVE AS A HOME-GROWN SOLUTION FOR MONITORING THE IMPLEMENTATION AND DOMESTICATION OF THE AFRICA MINING VISION BY MEMBER STATES AND TO ENSURE MUTUAL TRANSPARENCY AND MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY BY BOTH THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS. THIS WILL REDUCE ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS OUT OF AFRICA LOSES THAT I ERALIER TALKED ABOUT. FOURTH, BROADENING PARTNERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND OTHER NON-STATE ACTORS ALONG THE VALUE CHAIN FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AFRICA MINING VISION THROUGH THE PRIVATE SECTOR COMPACT AND THE RESULTANT FORMATION OF THE ASSOCIATION OF CHAMBER OF MINES AND OTHER MINING ASSOCIATIONS (ACMMAA) AND THE AFRICAN WOMEN IN MINING ASSOCIATION AS WELL AS A PLATFORM FOR AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY; AND,.
FIFTH, PROGRESS HAS ALSO BEEN MADE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF A MINERALS MODEL LAW, THE DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN MINERALS AND ENERGY RESOURCES CLASSIFICATION FRAMEWORK, THE PAN AFRICAN REPORTING CODE (AMREC-PARC) AND THE ARTISANAL AND SMALL SCALE MINING STRATEGY.

DESPITE, THE SUCCESS STORIES, A LOT STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR INSTANCE FAST- TRACKING THE RATIFICATION OF THE STATUTES ESTABLISHING THE AMDC, RAISING RESOURCES DOMESTICALLY TO ENSURE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE AMDC AS WELL DOMESTICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SOME OF THE AMV INSTRUMENTS, ESTABLISHMENT OF MECHANISMS TO MONITOR AND CORRECT SOME OF THE CHALLENGES IN THE SECTOR INCLUDING ILLICIT FFINANCIAL FLOWS OUT OF AFRICA AS WELL AS ESTABLISHMENT OF MINERAL LED VALUE CHAINS. IN THIS REGARDS, THE COMMISSION PROPOSES ESTABLISHMENT OF A MINERAL RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT FUND THAT CAN BE CAPITALIZED BY BOTH THE PRIVATE SECTOR AS WELL AS MEMBER STATES AS WELL AS DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS.
I AM HAPPY TO NOTE THAT THESE INSTRUMENTS WERE WELL RECOMMRENDATED BY THE SENIOR OFFICIALS FOR YOUR CONVEYANCE TO THE SUMMIT FOR ADOPTION.

CHAIRPERSON,
I WOULD LIKE TO CONCLUDE MY STATEMENT ON THE IMPORTANT ISSUE OF TRADE RELATED INFRASTRUCTURE, WHICH IS ALSO A CLUSTER UNDER THE ACTION PLAN ON BOOSTING INTRA-AFRICAN TRADE. ALTHOUGH AFRICA CAN INCREASE HER LEVEL ON INTRA-AFRICAN TRADE WITH THE EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE, THERE IS IMPERATIVE NEED TO DEVELOP TRADE RELATED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR OUR TRADE TO CONTINUE EXPANDING.
IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT ONE OF THE FLAGSHIP PROJECTS OF AGENDA 2063 IS THE INTEGRATED HIGH SPEED TRAIN NETWORK TO BE DEVELOPED ACROSS AFRICA. WITH INNOVATIVE PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIPS, WE CAN DELIVER THIS FLAGSHIP PROJECT. IN THIS CONNECTION, I RECOMMEND THAT YOUR MEETING MAKES A RECOMMENDATION TO THE UPCOMING SUMMIT ON DEVELOPING A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE AFRICAN UNION AND THE AFRICAN PRIVATE SECTOR TO DEVELOP THIS FLAGSHIP PROJECT.

WITH INFRASRTUCTURE CONNECTING AFRICA, WE SHALL DEEPEN OUR ECONOMIC INTEGRATION AND POLITICAL UNITY. IN THE PROCESS, OUR DOMESTIC STRENGTH WILL GROW, AND WITH THAT, OUR VOICE ABROAD.

I WILL END HERE AND LOOK FORWARD TO A SUCCESFUL OUTCOME OF THIS MEETING.

I THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION.