Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									        AFRICAN UNION                                                UNION AFRICAINE

                                                                     UNIÃO AFRICANA
Telephone: 251 11 551 0595   Fax: 251 11 551 0249   P. O. Box 3243     Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA

   23 JUNE 2006


1.        The African Private Forum was convened by the African Union Commission in
Banjul, The Gambia, to discuss the theme “Regional Integration and Rationalization of
Regional Economic Communities”, which was also the theme for the Summit scheduled for
Banjul, The Gambia. The Forum was attended by African private sector representatives from
Gabon, The Gambia, Egypt, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Representatives of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), namely, CEN-SAD,
Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), East African Community (EAC)
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Southern African Development
Community (SADC) also attended the Forum. The following organizations also participated in
the Forum, the Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Liaison Office to the
African Union and the Organization of African Trade Union Unity. A list of the participants is
attached as Annex I.

2.        It was noted that some invited African private sector participants indicated that they
could not finance their travel to Banjul and would have wanted the Commission to sponsor
them. The issue of sponsorship needs to be considered in future.


3.         The African Private Sector Forum was officially opened by Honourable Alieu NGum,
Secretary of State for Trade, Industry & Employment. The Secretary of State welcomed all
participants to The Gambia and wished them a good stay in Banjul. He indicated that the
theme of the Forum was key as it sought to bring the private sector into the debate on regional
integration, which is not an option for African development but a must. He stressed that the
role of the private sector as the prime mover in economic growth as well as in the formulation
of reform policies had become more compelling than ever before, more so in the face of
globalization. He underscored the fact that Governments view the private sector as the
dynamic force that produces goods and services, income and creates decent employment
which makes it imperative for it to participate in the reform process of the African economies.

4.         The Secretary of State for Trade, Industry and Employment highlighted the need to
create a large market in Africa as individual countries did not constitute a viable competitive
market. He noted that regional integration has the capacity to increase investments in the
productive sector of the economy. He also emphasized the need to add value to most of the
African products. Finally he declared the Forum officially opened. The speech is attached as
Annex II to the report

5.         Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, the African Union Commissioner for Economic
Affairs also addressed the opening session of the Forum. The Commissioner thanked all
participants for having devoted their time to attend the Forum. He emphasized the role the
private is playing in making new investments, creating wealth and decent employment and in
social development. He called upon the meeting to critically examine how the private sector
can contribute even more effectively to accelerating and enhancing continental integration in

Africa. He also paid tribute to Regional Economic Communities for the excellent work they
were doing to integrate the African market. However, he pointed out that the overlapping and
multiple memberships to RECs continue to undermine that progress. He wished the Forum
successful deliberations. The speech is attached as Annex III to the report.

6.       Mr. Bai Matarr Drammeh, the President of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and
Industry, addressed the opening session of the Forum. He welcomed the initiative of
consulting the private sector on key development issues so that appropriate inputs can be
made by the people who are affected by the policies. He stressed the importance of
harnessing all the African talents and working in synergy towards the continental integration
objective. He highlighted the role of the private sector in the fight against poverty through
investment, employment creation and contributing to social development. He emphasized the
need for good governance both in the public and private sector as this will make it easy to
enter into stronger partnerships. He called for support to be extended to young entrepreneurs
for them to contribute to a vibrant Africa.


7.     The Forum worked according to the following agenda:

       1.    Opening Ceremony (Statements by Government Representative, AU
             Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Private Sector Representative of the host

       2.    Role of the Private Sector in Regional Integration and Development Process and
             the Rationalization of Regional Economic Communities.

                   An Overview of the Integration Process in Africa (Opportunities and
                   Challenges for the Private Sector) by Mr. Joseph Atta-Mensah, Senior
                   Economic Affairs Officer, UNECA).

       3.    Engaging the Private Sector in the Creation of a Competitive and Integrated
             African Market.

                   Private Sector Perspective on an Integrated African Market Opportunities
                   and Challenges by Dr. Amany Asfour President of African Alliance for
                   Women Empowerment and President of Egyptian Business Women
                   Association (EBWA)

       4.    Creating Effective Public-Private Sector Partnerships in the Development of
             Infrastructure and Promoting Connectivity in Africa.

                      Pan-African Commodity Exchange as a public private partnership
                     Integrative Tool in Africa by Mr. Antony Adendorff, CEO, Pan African
                     Commodities Platform.

       5.     Closing of Forum.


      7.        A Representative of the ECA introduced the subject matter for this session. He
                highlighted the importance of integration in Africa and the provisions in the treaty
                establishing the African Economic Community. He noted that for a long time,
                integration had been Governments driven and that it has been recognized that
                the private sector has a critical role to play in the integration process. He
                stressed the need to facilitate free movement of business persons, goods and
                services in Africa as a way of promoting cross border investment and intra-
                African trade.

      8.        During discussion, the Forum noted the need for all integration processes to be
                people centred. The Forum made the following recommendations:

           a)      African Governments should:

                    Ensure that the people are the beneficiaries of the integration process;
                    Abolish visas for Africans traveling within Africa and facilitate residence;
                    Expedite the process of dismantling all non-physical and non-tariff
                     barriers to intra-Africa trade;
                    Eliminate distortions, enlarge markets and enhance the credibility of
                     economic and political reforms;
                    Improve infrastructure including ICT, transport, and energy to facilitate
                     intra-Africa trade and development;
                    Expedite the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Agreement;
                    Engage the Private Sector in all policies formulation and development
                     activities to ensure easy implementation;
                    Harmonize investment codes and improve the macroeconomic
                     environment to facilitate cross border investment and FDI; and
                    Introduce innovative policies and measures to increase financial
                     resources for Private Sector development.

           b)      African Private Sector should:

                    Mobilize resources in collaboration with public sector for infrastructure
                    Create partnerships between large companies and small and medium
                     enterprises through training, sub-contracting and out sourcing;

                  Create mutually beneficial partnerships with African Private sector in the
                   Diaspora particularly in relation to capacity building, skills development,
                   investment and technology transfer;
                  Invest in value addition processing or manufacturing industry; and
                  Create decent employment as a way of poverty reduction.


9.     The President of African Alliance for Women Empowerment and President of Egyptian
Business Women Association (EBWA) made a presentation on this subject. She pointed out
that there was need for creating large competitive markets for African products and the
removal of all barriers to trade. She also emphasized that the African private sector should be
economically empowered and particularly women, who form the largest proportion of the small
to medium enterprises. She further stressed that African producers should strive to produce
high quality goods that meet international standards and that there was need to brand African
products by adopting a slogan of MADE IN AFRICA. He also indicated that it was important
for governments to assist in entrepreneurial capacity building development and to invest in
research, science and technology.

10.     The Forum welcomed the presentation and after extensive discussion, the Forum made
the following recommendations:

      a)     African Governments should:

                  Develop policies to empower African Private Sector through the creation
                   of an enabling environment and giving contracts;
                  Review and harmonize business laws to reduce the cost of doing
                   business in Africa;
                  Support promotion and development of SMEs through capacity building
                   and facilitate financing as well as concessionary credit facilities;
                  Encourage and support diversification into non-traditional high growth
                   sectors such as services, pharmaceutical and ICT;
                  Facilitate the creation of an African Investment Guarantee Agency to
                   mitigate risks for African investments.
                  Support the promotion and marketing of MADE IN AFRICA brands of
                  Initiate policies for economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs;
                  Create or strengthen institutions that would ensure African-made products
                   comply with international standards and certification; and

                  Support micro-finance institutions/Networks to enable them to play their
                   role in financing SMEs and micro enterprises.

      b)     African Private Sector should:

                  Promote and market MADE IN AFRICA brands of products;
                  Produce products that meet international quality standards; and
                  Invest in Africa.


11.    The Chief Executive Officer of the Pan African Commodities Platform, presented an
example of a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative on Pan African Commodity and
Derivatives Exchange as an integrative tool in Africa. The project is being supported by the
African Union Commission and is being established in Gaborone, Botswana. He indicated that
the issue of commodities has been a source of concern to Africa since commodities form a
core of African exports. He noted that the pricing mechanisms of the commodities tended to
fluctuate considerably thus putting financial strain on producers as at times the commodities
were sold at below their real market value.

12.    He pointed out that the commodity exchange would be able to respond to the objective
needs of Africans to contribute to the regulation of commodity prices and to lay a foundation of
development in Africa. He further indicated that the exchange would offer trade services for
both intra-Africa and international trade; respond to the growing demand for African
commodities exports and the ownership of the exchange through franchise and shareholder
business model. He also emphasized that the exchange would benefit the small producers as
well and thus contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

13.   The Forum, after considerable debate, recommended the following:

      a)     African Governments should:

              Promote the PPPs through Build Operate and Transfer (BOT);
              Adopt PACDEX as one of the instruments for                continental economic
              Harmonize Banking Acts, Securities Acts and Cross Border Trade; and
              Facilitate the capacity building for rural traders, exporters and producers

       b)    African Private Sector should:
              Provide training for rural traders and producers;
              Provide necessary statistics and information to facilitate transparency in
               commodities trading and disseminate to all participants; and
              Mobilize and organize African exporters and producers associations to be
               able to engage in public private partnerships such as in PACDEX.

VII.   Closure of Forum

14.     Dr. Rene N’Guettia Kouassi, the Director of Economic Affairs, thanked all the
participants for the lively debate on all the subjects covered and for making fundamental
recommendations. He indicated that the recommendations would be submitted to Summit
when it deliberates on the theme of regional integration and rationalization of regional
economic communities.

15.    He also thanked The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the support
given to the AU during the Forum and all those who contributed to the success of the Forum.
He closed the Forum and wished everybody safe journey back home.

        AFRICAN UNION                                                         UNION AFRICAINE

                                                                              UNIÃO AFRICANA
        Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA   P. O. Box 3243   Telephone: 251-11-5517 700   Fax: 251-11-5517844

22 – 23 JUNE 2006

                                LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
    No.                     Name                        Title                              Address
    1     H.E. Alieu NGum          Secretary of State               Trade and Industry of the Gambia

2         Sulayman Samba           Permanent Secretary              Organization of State for Trade, Industry and
                                                                    The Gambia
                                                                    Fax: 200 4227756
                                                                    Tel: 220 4223767
                                                                    e-mail :

    3     Matarr Drammeh           President                        Gambia Chamber of Commerce
                                                                    Fax: (220) 4496125 / 4395716

    4     Amany Asfour             President                        Egyptian Business Women Association
                                                                    African Alliance for Women Empowerment
                                                                    14 Sgnia St. Mohandran
                                                                    Cairo – Egypt
                                                                    Tel : + 202 – 7495670
                                                                          + 20133144361

    5     Baboucar Sarr            President                        Petty Traders Association
                                                                    55, Kairaba Avenue
                                                                    c/o Chamber of Commerce
                                                                    Fax: (220) 9956752
                                                                    Tel: (220) 4378936

    6     Ndey Jallow              Secretary General                AGWB (Gambis)
                                                                    Fax : 4496839 / 8893423

No.                  Name                       Title                              Address
7     Anthony Adendorff       Chief Executive Officer        P.O. Box 25, Regency Court
                                                             Glategny Esplanade
                                                             St. Peters Port
                                                             Tel: + 27 (0) 834595439

8     Marilyn Angela Comrie   Chief Executive Officer        Leadergen Ltd.
                                                             The Empress Business Centre
                                                             380 Chester Raod
                                                             Manchester M16 9EA
                                                             Fax: 00 44 845 331 3405
                                                             Tel: 00 44 845 331 3409

9     Mam Cherno Jallow       Chief Executive Officer        The Gambia
                                                             Tel: (220) 4378929
                                                             Fax: (220) 4378936

10    Ansumana Marena         Managing Director              Julakay National Holding
                                                             Red Cross Building
                                                             Fax: (220) 4395660 / 9906060

11    Peter Gomez             Managing Director              Gambia – West Coast Radio
                                                             Fax: + 220 4461193
12    Stephen Mirero          Executive Director             INAFI Africa Trust
                                                             P.O. Box 4844 – 00200
                                                             Nairobi – Kenya
                                                             Fax: 254 - 20-3870281
                                                             Cell: 254 - 721 – 880 – 740
                                                             Tel : 254 – 20 – 3871689 / 3225
                                                             e-mail :

No.                    Name                        Title                             Address
13    Gilles Hounkpatin         Secrétaire Exécutif Adjoint   Communauté Economique des Etats de l’Afrique de
                                                              l’Ouest (CEDEAO)
                                                              ECOWAS Secretariat
                                                              PMB 401 Abuja, Nigeria
                                                              Tel : (234-9) 3147683
                                                              Fax: (234-9) 3147646 / 3005

14    Kujejatou Manneh-Jallow   Executive Director            Gambia / NAWFA
                                                              98 Kairaba Avenue
                                                              Tel : 4377837/ 4377836
                                                              e-mail :

15    Salifou K.Jaiteh          Managing Director             Gambia
                                                              Albat Market Banjul
                                                              Fax : 4229165
                                                              Tel: 4225049
                                                              e-mail: Skjiteh@yahoo.couk

16    Beatrice Allen            Director                      Trade and Investment Promotion
                                                              Gambia Chamber of Commerce & Industry
                                                              Kairaba Avenue
                                                              Fax: (220) 4377189 / 9941515
                                                              Tel: (220) 4378936
                                                              e-mail: TRAEFAIRGAMBIA@QANET.GM

17    Mborou Njie-Senghore      Auditor                       AGWB (Gambis) Gambia
                                                              Fax: 9914827

18    Adam Trinn-Njie           IT Officer                    55 Kairaba Avenue
                                                              The Gambia
                                                              Fax|: 4358929 / 4378936

No.                     Name                        Title                           Address
19    Ma Awa Faal                 Maawa Fall Gas                 GCCI
                                                                 Fax : 9815369
                                                                 Tel: 4229755

20    Ndey Fatou Njie             Touba Gas                      Kanifing Industrial Estate K.M.C.
                                  GCCI                           Tel: 4395053

21    Helder Francisco Malauene   Programme Manager              Mozambique (FDC)
                                                                 25 September 12504, Time SC BW6
                                                                 Fax: + 258 213553000
                                                                 Tel: + 258 21355335
                                                                 e-mail: HMALAUENE@FOC.ORG.M7

22    Yassin Jah Mbye             Assistant Secretary            AGWB (Gambis)
                                                                 Fax : 4394420 / 9953395

23    Osman Tasbasi               Manager                        The Gambia
                                                                 Fax: 4397963
                                                                 Tel: 4396606

24    Haddy Njai                  Coordinator                    G.C.C.I.
                                                                 AGWB (Gambis)
                                                                 P.O. Box 1307
                                                                 Fax: 4391988 / 9904536

No.             Name                                    Title                                     Address

26  Enobong Umoessien              Principal Programme Officer               ECOWAS Executive Secretariat
                                   Investment and Private Sector Promotion   60 Yakubu Gowon Crescent
                                   ECOWAS                                    Asokoro District
                                                                             P.M.B. 401 Abuja, Nigeria
                                                                             Tel: + 234 (9) 3147647-9
                                                                             Fax: + 234 (9) 3143005
                                                                             Cell: + 234 (0) 8051353682

27  Carlos Alberto Bonfim          Directeur a.i.                            Commerce et Douane
                                                                             B.P. 2112
                                                                             Tel: (+241) 444732 / 06 249816
                                                                              Fax: (+241) 444732

28  Angelo Mondlane              Head, Policy Strategic Planning             SADC Secretariat
                                                                             P. Bag 0095 Gaboronne, Botswana
                                                                             Tel: + 26771311555
                                                                             Fax: 2673972848

29 Abani Ibrahim                   Directeur Integration / Complémentaire    CEN-SAD
                                                                             P.O. Box 4041
                                                                             Algeria Square
                                                                             Tripoli, Libye

No.             Name                                     Title                                     Address

30   Joseph Atta-Mensah                Senior Economic Affairs Officer     UNECA
                                       UNECA                               P.O. Box 3001
                                                                           Addis Ababa
                                                                           Tel: 251 1 5445379

31  Hassan Adebayo SUNMONU           Secretary General                     Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (UATUU)
                                                                           P.O. Box M386, ACCRA, GHANA
                                                                           Tel: +233-21-508855

32  Baboucarr Blaise Jagne             Head of UNLO – AU                   UN
                                                                           UNLO – AU,
                                                                           c/o ECA
                                                                           Fax : 251 11 5511 407


33   H.E. Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba   Commissioner for Economic Affairs   A.U.C.
                                                                           Tel: 011 551 3569
                                                                           Fax: 011 551 5887

34   René N’Guettia Kouassi            Director                            A.U.C.
                                                                           Economic Affairs Department
                                                                           Box 3243
                                                                           Addis Ababa
                                                                           Tel: 00251-911201635

No.                  Name                         Title                                Address
35    Leonard Emile Ognimba   Directeur                        A.U.C.
                                                               Political Affairs Department
                                                               P.O. Box 3243
                                                               Addis Ababa

36    Salif Sada Sall         Director                         A.U.C.
                                                               Strategic Planning Policy, Monitoring, Evaluation
                                                               Resource Mobilization
                                                               P. O. Box 3243
                                                               Addis Ababa
                                                               00 251 115 51 77 00

37    Fudzai Pamacheche       Head, of Division                A.U.C.
                                                               Private Sector Development, Resource Mobilization
                                                               and Investment
                                                               Tel: 011 551 0595
                                                               Fax: 011 551 0249

38    Nadir Merah             Head of Division                 A.U.C.
                                                               P. O. Box 3243
                                                               Addis Ababa
                                                               00 251 115 51 77 00
                                                               Ext: 365

39    Charles Kossi Awitor    Senior Economist                 A.U.C.
                                                               P.O. Box 3243
                                                               Addis Ababa
                                                               Tel: 251115-517700

No.                  Name                             Title                                         Address
40    Emmanuel J. Chinyama         Special Assistant to the Commissioner for   A.U.C.
                                   Economic Affairs                            P.O. Box 3243
                                                                               Addis Ababa
                                                                               Tel: 251115-517700

41    Yeo Dossina                  Statistician (Consultant)                   A.U.C.
                                                                               P.O. Box 3243
                                                                               Addis Ababa
                                                                               Tel: 251115-517700

42    Emma Kasamale                Private Secretary to the Commissioner for   A.U.C.
                                   Economic Affairs                            P.O. Box 3243
                                                                               Addis Ababa

43    Hirut Yirgu                  Secretary                                   A.U.C.
                                                                               P.O. Box 3243
                                                                               Addis Ababa

44    Tsega Ab Ayenew              Assistant Accountant                        A.U.C.
                                                                               P.O. Box 3243
                                                                               Addis Ababa

44    Mr. Fikreselassie Getachew   Clerk                                       A.U.C.
                                                                               P.O. Box 3243
                                                                               Addis Ababa


                    OPENING STATEMENT


                     HON. ALIEU NGUM,
                     AND EMPLOYMENT

                  PRIVATE SECTOR FORUM
                    BANJUL, THE GAMBIA
                       23 JUNE 2006.
Dr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, A.U. Commissioner for Economic Affairs
Distinguished Delegates
Representatives of Regional Economic Communities
Members of the Private Sector
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I feel deeply honoured and privileged for the opportunity to deliver the Opening
Statement on the occasion of the AU Private Sector Forum on Regional Integration
and Development Process and the Rationalization of Regional Economic
Communities. First of all I would like to thank the Commission of the African Union
(AUC) and the AU organizing secretariat in Banjul for organizing such a forum, and
for the excellent arrangements made for this meeting. For the distinguished visiting
delegates, may I take this opportunity on behalf of His Excellency The President,
Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J Jammeh, the Government and people of the The Gambia to
welcome you to The Gambia, and encourage you to take time from your busy
schedule to explore this beautiful country of ours. The theme for the Forum is
impressive as it is taking the debate of regional economic integration beyond the
state by seeking public private partnership in championing the integration process. In
response to economic problems such as declining growth and per capita incomes,
poverty and low socio-economic indicators, rising debt and massive unemployment,
African governments are embarking upon programs emphasizing economic
liberalization and the role of the private sector as a prime mover in economic growth
as well as in the formulation of reform policies. Governments now view the private
sector as the dynamic engine of growth necessary to produce the goods, services,
income and employment to meet the growing needs of the region's expanding
population and thereby combat poverty.

Mr. Chairman,

For the private sector to play this role, however, governments must create enabling
environments conducive to private investment and growth, removing obstacles in the
political, bureaucratic and economic environment. Appropriate steps for creating this
environment include an improved macroeconomic policy framework, greater public
sector efficiency, transparent and effective legal regimes, reduced bureaucracy and
better governance. As these reforms are undertaken, the private sector will begin to
play a partnership role expanding the important dialogue between the public and private
sectors. The private sector input into reform process represents the most effective
means of ensuring that government policy will be favourable for private sector growth
and development, which is required to deal with the increasing level of poverty on the
continent. For this input to take place, mechanisms that assure the private sector
access to policy makers and that strengthen dialogue between the public and private
sectors must be established. The institutionalization of such mechanism is critical to the
success of regional economic integration.

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is reasonable to assume that the most significant trend in this new millennium is
global competitiveness. In the face of the opportunities and challenges posed by
globalization, nations are moving to integrate their economies with those of their
neighbours, to create larger and more competitive regional blocs, and to engage in
international trade, not just as individual states but as regional powers. This shift is
nowhere more urgent than in Africa, where the combined impact of our relatively small
economies, the international terms of trade, and the legacy of colonialism, mis-rule, and
conflict has meant that we have not yet assumed our global market share despite our
significant market size.

The advantages of the regional integration in Africa were recognized long before the
term "globalization" was coined. The creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
in 1964 reflected the awareness and the vision, by the leaders of the day, that Africa's
strength was rooted in Pan-Africa cooperation. The Southern Rhodesia Customs Union
was established in 1949, and the East African Community in 1967. But while the
intentions behind these efforts to promote regional integration may have been genuine,
the impact of Africa's first regional communities was limited.

Mr. Chairman,

Much has changed across the continent as Africa's leaders and citizens have taken
dramatic steps to open and transform centralized economies, to invigorate the African
private sector, and to build the institutions that can sustain political stability and
economic development. Regional economic communities now operate in West, East,
Central and Southern Africa, and the treaty establishing the African Economic
Community sets forth a vision of a continental community. Also the adoption of the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) provides an overall development
framework for the continent which gives regional integration as one of its core
objectives, and the private sector is put in the forefront in pursuing the objectives. The
establishment of the Commission of the African Union, and agreement on its priorities,
makes it clear that Africa's leadership is committed to move the regional integration
forward, effectively and efficiently.

However, the need to encourage private sector participation in the regional integration
process is still more of a strategy rather than a reality. The private sector in most African
countries is not part of the identification, formulation, and implementation of integration
policies and programmes. Many policies are needed to place the sector as the centre of
African's integration dialogue and agenda, as an active participant in policy and decision
making, as the driving force in cross-border investment and production of goods, arid as
a driving force in development infrastructure and provision of services.

A rapidly changing global economic environment demands that Africa moves swiftly,
and strategically, to achieve regional economic integration. I strongly believe that
regional integration provides a key to unlocking Africa's vast economic potential and
help raise the living standards of our people. This, in turn, will bring greater stability to
the region, improve the business climate and provide growing opportunities for the

business sector. In recent years, we have seen the emergence of a number of initiatives
to enhance the region's integration. The question is: how can we capitalize on the
momentum of those initiatives to ensure continued growth and prosperity - prosperity
that is shared by all people in Africa.

The need to integrate our economies is no longer an option but a matter of must if Africa
wants to integrate itself in the global economy. The benefits of integration are numerous
and are self-evident in regions that have successfully integrated their economies, for
example, ASEAN countries, NAFTA and MERCOSUR. Regional integration
arrangements can help African countries overcome constraints arising from small
domestic marketsallowing them to reap the benefits of scale economies, stronger
competition, and more domestic and foreign investment. Such benefits can raise
productivity and diversify production and exports. The small size of many African
countries makes cooperation in international negotiations an attractive option
achievable through integration arrangements. Cooperation can increase countries'
bargaining power and visibility. By pooling our resources and exploiting our comparative
advantages, integration can give rise to common solutions and use resources more
efficiently to achieve better outcomes.

Small populations and low incomes limit the size of Africa's domestic markets, which
constrain any meaningful investment in the continent. Regional integration can increase
investment in member countries by reducing distortions, enlarging markets, and
enhancing the credibility of economic and political reforms. The results can raise the
returns to investments, make larger investment more feasible, and reduce economic
and political uncertainty. Apart from its direct impact on production, increased
investment-particularly foreign direct investment- can promote knowledge and
technology transfers and spillovers, raising productivity in member countries.

Mr. Chairman,

If Africa has any chance of diversifying its production and trade away from
dependence on agricultural products and on the northern hemisphere, an integrated
continental market offers the best hope for large-scale manufacturing. Developing
physical infrastructure, removing commercial obstacles to the free movement of goods
and productive resources, and harmonizing monetary, fiscal, and financial policies
across the African Sub-regions will improve the operating environment for foreign

The policy challenges of diversifying production and trade help explain why the
continent continues to export primary commodities and import manufacture goods.
Individual national markets are small, whether measured by population or aggregate
purchasing power- the main constraint on national economies attempting to diversify
the structure of production and trade. Therefore for the African continent, market
integration is a survival strategy in a global world. The negative economic and social
indicators in Africa do not bode well for small countries attempting individually to rise
above the growing competition. The concept of a stand-alone nation-state backed by a
rigid adherence to national sovereignty is fast disappearing in the new millennium.

Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Globalization and regional integration require effective regional infrastructure - transport,
communication, and energy- to widen and integrate markets, achieve economies of
scale, encourage participation of the private sector, and attract foreign investment and
technology. Despite efforts to integrate transport, communications, and energy, gaps
still exist in infrastructure and services across regional economic communities and
across Africa - raising the cost of doing business and impeding factor mobility,
investment, and competitiveness.

There is also increase recognition of the importance of services in the economic
development by the developing countries. Since the mid-1990s an interest has arisen in
services liberalization on the part of many developing countries. The liberalization of
services has become a part of the considerable revival and renewal of interest in
regional integration in all parts of the world. Services have been the most dynamic
component of the World economy over the past two decades. In both trade and foreign
direct investment, services are the fastest growing component, displacing trade in
merchandise and employing a large number of population.

Efficient services allow for more competitive production and export of goods. Advances
in telecommunication services are contributing significantly in reducing the cost of doing
business and also making it possible for developing countries to benefit from global
outsourcing of component manufacturing. Africa can equally benefit from services
liberalization particularly in telecommunication and energy.

Mr. Chairman,

African countries recognize that industrial expansion has a vital role in transforming
their economies from overwhelming dependence on production and exports of primary
commodities to technologically advanced manufacturing. Yet most African countries
have rudimentary, fragile manufacturing capacity. A significant increase in systemic
support for industrialization - including adequate industrial investments- is imperative.
Without it, trade liberalization will have minimal impact. Several steps should be taken
to boost economic communities’ industrial cooperation efforts.

Mr. Chairman, I wish to conclude by saying that Africa's productive sectors have not
yet acted as an engine for growth in regional trade. Low agriculture productivity and
production coupled with insufficient and uncompetitive industrial output do not provide
opportunities for boosting trade within or between regional economic communities.
These structural deficiencies and others such as the high cost of doing business- need
to be addressed to achieve significant growth in intra-African trade.

Efforts should be intensified to clean up trade agendas by harmonizing policies,
removing unnecessary duplication, harmonizing investment codes and factor mobility,
and promoting genuine unification of markets. It is also imperative that regional
groupings coordinate and harmonize common position in the EPA negotiations with
the EU. Also trade and industrial policies need to be harmonized both within and

across economic communities. African countries, in future rounds of WTO
negotiations, should push for modification to the principles of the WTO system and the
body of agreements and rules in ways that spotlight the vulnerable position of African
and other developing countries, and support efforts for strengthening supply capacities.

On this note, I now wish to declare the African Union Private Sector Forum, which is
one of the antecedent events of the seventh AU Banjul Summit, formally open.

I thank you all for your kind attention.


      AFRICAN UNION                    UNION AFRICAINE

                                       UNIÃO AFRICANA

                       AFRICAN UNION

                    ON THE OCCASION OF
                    THE OPENING OF THE

                       22 JUNE, 2006

                              BANJUL, THE GAMBIA

Honourable Alieu NGum, Secretary of State for Trade, Industry & Employment
Mr. Bai Matarr Drammeh, the President of The Gambia Chamber of Commerce
and Industry
Distinguished Members of the Private Sector
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a great honour and privilege for me this morning, on behalf of the Chairperson of
the African Union Commission and indeed on my own behalf, to extend a warm
welcome to you all to The Gambia and in particular to Banjul. I am equally delighted to
make a few remarks at the opening of this crucial Private Sector Forum. It is pleasing to
note that this Forum will focus on the theme "Regional Integration and Rationalization of
Regional Economic Communities", which is also the theme of the Summit. We,
therefore, hope that the Forum will make its voice heard at the Summit level on this
developmental strategy that the African Union adopted as the only viable strategy for
achieving poverty reduction, sustainable growth and development and integrating Africa
into the global economy.

Please allow me to express the African Union Commission's sincere gratitude to the
Government and the people of The Gambia for the warm hospitality accorded to all of
us, including you, representatives of the Private Sector, and the excellent facilities made
available to ensure the success of this Forum. I also wish to thank all of you, particularly
the private sector representative attending this Forum, for affording us the opportunity to
meet and share ideas and experiences on regional integration and the rationalization of
the Regional Economic Communities and how we can combine our resources and
energies to propel Africa onto a sustainable growth path. I am sure that your
discussions and conclusions on this subject will also inform out Heads of State and
Government when they discuss the same issue during their Summit to be held here in
Banjul from July 1- 2, 2006.

Honourable Minister
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

We are all aware of the critical role that the private sector plays and continues to play in
the development and integration of the African economy. For instance, it is making
remarkable contribution to poverty reduction through new investments, creation of
wealth, and generation of employment. In addition, it is making major contributions to
social development. Some of you will recall that when you met in June 2004 in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia, you agreed on the establishment of this Forum as a key instrument of
interface and partnership between the African Union (AU) and the private sector that
would also strengthen public-private sector partnership and accelerate the integration of
Africa. At that first meeting, you discussed the Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan of the

AU and the role of the Private Sector in financing the AU Strategic Plan and the NEPAD

The June 2004 meeting also discussed the role of the private sector in the realization of
the African Economic Community (AEC) as well as the private sector’s response to the
challenges and opportunities of globalization and the AU Commission undertook to
organize, on an annual basis, the AU-Private Sector Forum. The issue was presented to
the Executive Council and AU Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in January 2005 and it was
decided to institutionalize this Forum, of course, with the private sector taking the lead
and the African Union facilitating its organization. We did try to call a second meeting in
January 2006 in Khartoum, The Sudan. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control,
the Forum could not take place. Therefore, I am happy that we are gathered here today
to take this process forward to build a better Africa for its peoples and its future

The AU Private Sector Forum meeting in Banjul is expected to build on the outcomes of
the previous meeting by engaging in the debate on African integration. The Forum yet
provides another opportunity for the AU Commission to engage the private sector with a
view to strengthen its role in the realization of Africa's integration through promoting
trade, investment, industrialization and employment creation in Africa.

This meeting aims to critically examine the role of the private sector in enhancing
integration and the building of a large, viable and competitive African market. We are
convinced that the creation of an integrated African market where there is free
movement of goods and services, capital and people across all borders is essential for
Africa's socio-economic and political development. In the last few years, we have
experienced increases in intra-regional trade emanating from the various trade
liberalization initiatives undertaken by the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). For
instance, there have been efforts and regional development plans for integrating
financial and capital markets as well as cultural and social development in Africa.

In this regard, I wish to recognize the work so far undertaken by the RECs in their effort
to integrate Africa. Indeed the RECs are recognized as the building blocks of the African
Economic Community in the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic
Community. However, more could have been achieved in this process had there not
been any problems associated with the overlapping and multiple memberships to
regional economic communities (RECs) of Member States and the associated trade and
related economic policies that have tended to compromise the gains so far achieved
and posed a major challenges to the operations of the private sector.

Honourable Minister
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

As you may be aware, for this Forum, the African Union Commission has suggested the
key areas of focus in order to address the theme of the Summit. However, in future, we

expect the private sector to make the suggestions and the Commission to facilitate the
work of the Forum so as to be consistent with the Decision of the African Heads of State
and Government taken in Abuja, Nigeria, in January 2005. Thus, this Private Sector
Forum is expected to concentrate on discussing the following issues:

      a)    The Role of the Private Sector in Regional Integration and development
            process and the Rationalization of the Regional Economic Communities;
      b) Engaging the private sector in the creation of a competitive and integrated
            African market; and
      c) Creating effective Public-Private Sector Partnerships in the development of
            infrastructure and promoting connectivity in Africa.
These suggestions should not limit your debate. Instead, they should serve as guides
and the presentations by the various participants should stimulate debate and the
proposition of solutions to the challenges identified.

As we deliberate on these issues, I wish to remind ourselves of the very crucial
ambition the African Union has committed itself to by 2025: “A united and integrated
Africa; an Africa imbued with the ideals of justice and peace; an interdependent
and virile Africa determined to map for itself an ambitious strategy; an Africa
underpinned by political, economic, social and cultural integration, which would
restore to Pan –Africanism its full meaning; an Africa able to make the best of its
human and material resources and keen to ensure progress and prosperity of its
citizens by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the globalized world;
an Africa engaged in promoting its values in a world rich in its disparities.”

It is clear that the African Governments cannot achieve this ambition on their own
unless they combine forces, resources and ideas with the private sector, civil society,
labour, the youths and all Africans. We need a united force to this daunting task and
look forward to hearing your ideas on how we move forward our integration agenda,
including the role that needs to be played by the private sector and what needs to be
done for the private sector to effectively play this role.

Honourable Minister
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, please allow me to once again thank you all for giving us this opportunity
to consult on this very pertinent subject which is Africa’s key strategy for development
and integration into the global economy. The African political leadership recognizes that
you have a critical role to play in this process and I urge that you seize the opportunity
so that the African private sector can grow from being small and medium enterprises to
African multinationals that drive the integration process. It is my sincere hope that the
outcome of this meeting will enrich all of us and give us a leeway to move forward with
the integration and development of our continent.

Once again, I wish to thank the Government and the people of The Gambia for having
made it possible for us to meet in this beautiful city of Banjul. I also wish to thank the
Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, the NEPAD
Secretariat, the African Business Round-Table and all private sector associations in
Africa for working tirelessly in promoting the development of the private sector in Africa
and also contributing in various ways to Africa's integration efforts.

Finally, I wish you all successful deliberations and a wonderful stay in Banjul, The

I thank you for your kind attention!


To top