Regional Economic Communities: Are they Improving the Efficiency of the African Union

Yohane Mbeeya Moono

Africa is a continent of 54 countries with the Western Sahara trying to gain independence from Morocco. On this vast continent of 54 countries, there is an idea of the Regional Economic Communities that makes a lot of good sense. These Regional Economic Communities from a Diplomacy point of view should form the building blocks of an integrated African Union. If they are working optimally these Communities would efficiently and effectively deal with the cross-border concerns among African Union member states, developmental and Economic issues that the continent is grappling with, take a very proactive stance on many developmental projects in Africa.

The African Continent has 8 Regional Economic Communities which means that most countries are a part of more than one bloc. Does this lead to divided loyalty and weakens the functioning of the African Union? The Regional Economic Communities include SouthernAfricanDevelopmentCommunity(SADC), Economic Commision Of West African Staes (ECOWAS),East African Community (EAC),Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) ,Community of Sahel-Sahara States (CEN-SAD),Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) among others. Looking at the African economies and the state of development in the African countries, can States with limited resources participate fully in more than one African Multilateral Institution? For example, the Southern African Development Community has in the last two years been grappling with insurgency in the Northern part of Mozambique which has destabilized the country. Do country in the region have the capacity to fight the insurgency? Or they will need the services of the African Union in fighting the Insurgency?

For their part Regional Economic Communities is to ensure and facilitate intra-Africa trade but the members belonging to more than one bloc have more obligations to fulfill. The Regional Economic Communities in most instances have not helped countries realise the reason for the establishment of these Communities. Current the African Union struggles to get member states to pay the annual fees and yet many African States are so eager to get into more than one Regional Economic Community. This is seriously derailing the progress of the Continental bloc. The financial challenges that many African countries are grappling should be reason enough to many countries on the continent that joining more Regional Economic Communities is not the answer. It is really sad to note that most countries have understaffed embassies, as well as having little diplomatic representation at the Regional Economic Communities headquarters. This has also hampered the implementation of many summit decisions due not having enough Human Resources to driven the decisions taken in the summits. Therefore, there is need to improving staffing at the embassies and building capacity in the human resources in the embassies in order to implement the summit decisions.

Africa as of 2018, enacted the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement which represents the biggest trade Agreement after the World Trade Organization agreement. However, this agreement is not being fully implemented because some member states of the Regional Economic Communities have not yet ratified the Agreements in their countries. This is hindering the answer to some of the economic challenges that have long beseeched the African Continent. African countries need to look to the future and realise that having so many obligations through membership to so many Regional Economic Communities is only stretching their limited resources. But rather, the countries should look to strengthen the Continental bloc by supporting the Agenda of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

The African Union for its part need to come up with clear policy direction regarding the membership to the Regional Economic Communities in order to maximize efficiency more especially of the Continental bloc. Policy Direction is the tool that the African Union needs to use to improve efficiency because these Regional Economic Communities risk lobbying the African Union of its purpose

Not Until African Countries have enough resources to support their membership in more than one Regional Economic Community should they be allowed to join more than one bloc. For now, joining more than one Regional Economic Community is contributing to the inefficiency of the African Union

Building More BRICS

Recent speculation that the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) plans to expand its membership has set tongues wagging in the diplomatic world. Rumours that Argentina could be the newest country to join have triggered questions around the viability and power of an expanded collective, and what it means for global geopolitics.

Cynics believe it’s simply a backdoor strategy by China to expand its sphere of influence. For advocates, it’s a long overdue initiative that will present a credible economic and political counterweight to Western dominance.

Could an expanded BRICS really emerge as an alternate power bloc? There’s long been a clamour among its members for larger power centres that offer alternatives to Western-dominated constructs.

Collectively BRICS is home to 26% of the world’s geographic area and about 42% of the world’s population. Moreover, the group is under-represented in the global financial system. The five nations combined hold less than 15% voting rights in both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet their collective economies are predicted to surpass the G7 economies in size by 2032.

The rationale behind the push for a fairer, more representative economic architecture is understandable and resonates with many in the global south who believe their interests aren’t adequately represented at existing fora.

The rationale behind the push for a fairer, more representative economic architecture is understandable
Argentina especially is intriguing, given its tumultuous relationship with the IMF and historical dependency on Western institutions to navigate sovereign debt crises. Between seeking new financing options from China (Belt and Road Initiative) and sourcing its vaccines from Russia, there’s clear strategic intent to reset its geopolitical and geoeconomic relations. Several other dissatisfied countries from the global south have expressed a similar desire to join BRICS, which they believe will better serve the interests of developing nations.

Esteban Actis, a Researcher at Argentina’s National University of Rosario, says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could also lead to a fragmentation of global governance, with less weight given to forums like the G20. Given this, China appears keen to expand BRICS to make the bloc more robust and add new countries to promote their development.

Beijing, which holds the rotating presidency of BRICS this year, is therefore mounting a charm offensive. Recent reports suggest China intends to argue for the inclusion of Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Senegal and Thailand. Insiders believe Beijing’s motive is to restructure and expand BRICS under its leadership and dilute Brazil and India’s role.

Although there’s broad enthusiasm for expansion, the initiative faces practical limitations. First is the ideological disconnect between the current BRICS members. The acronym is a catchy soundbite, but the commonalities between member states are limited. Apart from being regional hegemons and having large land masses with sizable populations, there’s not much else in common.

The collective includes notional democracies and autocracies, commodity importers and exporters, and fundamentally different economic and political values and visions. Since its 2009 inception, BRICS has largely failed to live up to its promise, largely due to internal issues

There is also deep friction between the group’s two most prominent players. New Delhi is unlikely to approve the expansion for fear that new members will support Beijing. The relationship between India and China has been tense because of perceived encroachment in the Indian sub-continent, conflict over the Ladakh border and inherent distrust around China’s technology.

It is also doubtful that India – which has its own global geopolitical aspirations – will be happy to take a junior role in this power formation. Moreover, given India’s historic alignment with the West and continued membership with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, this inherent tension will probably linger.

Although somewhat more supportive, Moscow also argued that ‘the entrance ticket’ to BRICS was independence and sovereignty, and under no circumstances should potential candidates be called China’s satellites. If Brazil and South Africa adopt a similar stance, consensus could be even more elusive.
The second practical limitation to expansion relates to finances. South Africa, Russia and Brazil are all battling their own domestic and external money issues, so their financial firepower would be constrained. This suggests that the institutions underpinning the new formation would be primarily funded by China, allowing Beijing to form them in line with its values, like with the New Development Bank.
But China is also navigating its own economic problems since COVID-19, making Beijing more selective in its international efforts. This is evidenced by the issues facing the Belt and Road Initiative which, according to the Financial Times, is ‘morphing into a financial firefighting operation on a grand scale.’ Circumstances may force Beijing to become more selective in its global efforts, which may compromise its ambitious plans for BRICS

Third is bureaucracy. Beijing hasn’t yet indicated the criteria for who precisely should become new members. The 23 June virtual summit declaration said leaders would continue discussing the possibility of admitting new countries based on ‘full consultation and consensus.’
Realistically, BRICS cannot mount an immediate challenge to the existing global system. However, its members justifiably want a greater say in how that system is governed, now and in the future.
What all BRICS nations really share is a deep desire for more influence over the rules governing international finance and economic policy. And each member has an alternate perspective on the existing global economic order.
Three other factors have renewed impetus for this initiative. First is the ‘confidence consequence’ of the attack on multilateral systems, especially during the Trump era, which eroded the legitimacy of these bodies. Second, the North’s behaviour during COVID-19 – especially through ‘vaccine apartheid’ – has pushed developing countries to seek more dependable and fairer alliances. Third, the West’s narrow Cold War mentality around the Russia-Ukraine conflict has alienated developing nations who don’t want to pick sides.
In this context, the shift towards an expanded BRICS is inevitable over the longer term, Sanusha Naidu of the Institute for Global Dialogue told ISS Today. However it will occur gradually, with new members unlikely to receive the same rights, participation or access as the founders.
The intention isn’t for an enlarged BRICS to be a silver bullet. The expansion is less about growing the power base and more about creating alternative alliances and options away from the current dollar dependency and Western hegemony. ‘It’s like being at a playground and picking another seesaw to play on,’ she says.
Despite its obvious limitations and contradictions, the idea of forming an alternate node of power to rival the traditional global liberal order is compelling and ultimately unavoidable. The value of any potential expansion is therefore in its deep symbolism, complementarity and agency.

The Author is

Ronak Gopaldas, ISS Consultant, Director at Signal Risk and CAMM Fellow at the Gordon Institute of Business Science

The Switzerland of Africa: New Exciting Investments Destination for Investors

Yohane Mbeeya Moono

Switzerland like Zambia is a landlocked country in the heart of Europe. Switzerland is a peaceful haven for most asylum seekers. This because the country once provided the Jews who fled from the holocaust of Adolf Hitler a safe haven. It is also home to many multinational organisations such as the World Health Organization, International Labour Organization, FIFA, UEFA and many others.
Switzerland is the world’s best country to conduct business in and is considered one of the most trustworthy countries in the world. This is a confidence booster that this country holds above other countries. Additionally, the country is better known for its Political and Economic stability, Transparency and Equality. The country has been said to without a specific owner. This is the kind of Equality that Switzerland provides to many citizens of different countries from around the world.

Why is Zambia being Compared to Switzerland?

Zambi is a former British colony that has enjoyed peace since attaining independence in 1964. The country has also played a key role in brokering peace deals for its neighbouring countries that have been beseeched with wars and civil strife. The Lusaka Accord which helped bring stability to the Democratic Republic of Congo remains one of the highlights of Zambia’s efforts to broker peace in the Southern and Central African regions.

Additionally, Zambia has successfully held peaceful transitions of power from the ruling party to the opposition upon successful elections. In 1991, Kenneth Kaunda handed over the instruments of power to Fredrick Titus Jacob chiluba after being in power for 27 years. In 2011, incumbent Rupiah Bwezani Banda handed over the instrument of power to Michael Chilufya Sata and recently in 2021, incumbent Edgar Chagwa Lungu handed over the instruments of power to Hakainde Hichilema. It is these peaceful transitions after successful elections that puts Zambia above the rest.

Zambia has been in the news as being the first country in the pandemic era to default on the Debt. And it is public domain that Zambia seeks a Debt Restructuring Programme in order to get an IMF bailout package. Zambia seeks to have her debt suspended for three years then worked on revamping the economy which was ravaged by the negative effects of the Covid-19. The New Dawn government has clearly outlined that Trade and Investments are going to helped put the economy back on track and the country has scored a number of positives. Some Investments have been announced

1. The opening of the Nickel Mine in Kalumbila District which is going to make Zambia the largest producer of Nickel in Africa and creating employment opportunities for over 700 Zambians
2. The 1 3 Billion Dollars into the expansion of the Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi of North-western province. This is a huge investment in the sector that was almost stagnant for some years without investment.
3. The 70 Million Dollars exploration programme by the Anglo-American through ARC Minerals Limited
4. The Opening of the Kalene Hills Fruit Company which is going to employ over 1000 Zambians in the quest for value addition to the Agricultural Produce. This is a Government owned project through the Industrial Development Corporation.
5. The 100 Million Dollars Expansion project of the ZAMBEEF farms in Mpongwe District on the Copperbelt which is expected to boost production on the farm and the milling plant.
6. The 80 Million Dollars Expansion project by the Zambia Breweries. This is going to boost production and help to create employment opportunities during the expansion phase of the project.
7. The revamping of operations at Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, Munushi Banana Plantation and the Kawambwa Tea Company are in line to make Zambia a regional hub for economic activities

These and many other investments that country the country has received, it is safe to say that the is earmarked for investments in various sectors of the economy. The country remains a peaceful haven and that is an ingredient most investors seek as they plan to invest in a country.

With the Republican President His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema declaring that the country is open for business. Zambia is definitely poised to be compared to Switzerland. The Government is trying by all means to make Zambia the most landlinked country to conduct business in.
Zambia provides exciting opportunities for investors to invest in different sectors of the Zambian economy. This stands to provide a win win situation for both the investors and the government.

Mali’s Lucrative Gold Trade

West Africa’s lucrative gold trade has a costly dark side. Discrepancies in data on gold production and trade between Mali and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) expose a massive illegal business, particularly in the artisanal mining sector. These illicit dealings not only strip West African countries of billions of dollars, but fuel conflict through the financing of violent extremism.
Rising global gold prices have attracted significant interest in the metal’s extraction from local and international investors, especially in rural small-scale mining. Mali is Africa’s third biggest gold exporter, and around a third of its total production comes from artisanal mining. In 2016, the country exported 67 tonnes of gold valued at US$2.2 billion. Of that, 46.9 tonnes were mined by industrial producers, with the remaining 20.1 tonnes extracted through artisanal means.
But although the UAE imported US$1.52 billion in gold from Mali in 2016, Bamako recorded only US$216 million in exports. Likewise, in 2014, Mali declared a gold production of 45.8 tonnes against the UAE’s import from Mali of 59.9 tonnes.
Mali taxes only the first 50 kg of gold exported per month, incentivising gold smugglers to ship the metal from Mali for a large tax break. This makes the country a magnet for the illegal gold trade in West Africa, which lacks a regional tax coordination framework.

Mali applies export taxes to only the first 50 kg of gold exported per month

An estimated 80% of the artisanal gold in Mali’s supply chain is produced in Senegal. Porous borders, geographical proximity, transboundary ethnic affinity, safer routes through illegal entry points and years of instability in Mali facilitate the illicit trade. And although Senegalese customs authorities require gold traders to provide an official gold purity analysis certificate, most local traders rely on informal transactions and rarely produce such documents.
Mali is also used as a gateway to UAE gold markets by its neighbours and beyond. Libya and Venezuela recently used Mali as a platform to export their gold illegally to Dubai. In 2020, gold trafficking to Mali apparently brought in about US$1 billion to the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Armed groups and terrorists in Africa are also using the illegal gold trade with Dubai to finance their activities, an anonymous expert on Africa’s gold trade told the ENACT project. In 2021 two terrorist groups engaged in a fierce battle to control gold mining sites in Mali’s Gourma region. And Swiss company Valcambi sourced significant quantities of the metal from Kaloti, a Dubai gold smelting firm, which was likely linked to armed groups in Sudan in 2012.
Gold illegally traded between Mali and Dubai is hand-carried by couriers transporting an average of 10 kg per trip. Flights between Mali and Dubai cost around US$500, the equivalent of about 10 g to 12 g of gold, making a single trip profitable. Some traffickers move up to 40 kg of gold to Dubai every week. This is facilitated by corrupt airport staff, such as customs officers and police authorities in Bamako.

In the UAE, legal loopholes, weak import procedures and questionable practices by UAE-based buyers and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) facilitate illegal trade. For instance, passengers arriving in the UAE are exempted from customs declarations for gold carried in hand luggage. So smugglers coming from Mali to sell their wares in Dubai’s Gold Souk need only present buyers with the UAE customs form that simply proves ‘the gold was legally declared to customs officials.’
There are also problems with how the DMCC traces the origin and supply chain of gold brought into the country. UAE customs don’t require information about the gold’s origin. Most of the illegally traded gold is sold first in the Dubai Gold Souk and then onward to refineries and jewellers. The identity of foreign firms purchasing the metal from Dubai-based refineries is unknown.
Moreover, auditing of the DMCC is reportedly weak. Ernst & Young has been accused of ‘unlawful, unprofessional and unethical’ conduct over its relationship with the commodities centre. The accounting firm is believed to have helped an Emirati gold refiner rewrite its compliance report for the DMCC to modify the audit findings.
Because many West African artisanal miners struggle to finance their activities, they take loans from Emiratis that can only be paid back through exporting their gold to the UAE. This isn’t necessarily illegal, but most of this gold is probably exported through illicit channels.

Mali and the UAE must strengthen both domestic strategies and procedures, and bilateral and regional cooperation to close the gaps that enable the illegal gold trade. Dubai’s airport authorities need to closely control and monitor the hand-carried gold arriving from Mali and Africa. Travellers must provide genuine certificates authenticating the country of origin and tax receipts in the exporting country.
Mali’s tax incentives are attractive for neighbouring smugglers. West African states should harmonise their tax policies and regulations on gold, starting with better coordination among countries in the Economic Community of West African States. Smugglers would then have fewer commercial route opportunities.
Finally, traceability is difficult because of the informal nature of artisanal mining. One way to fix this is to identify all actors in the trading chain. Because most illegally traded gold from Mali is sold in the Dubai Gold Souk and then onward to refiners and jewellers worldwide, buyers’ identities should be revealed. International political and economic partners should pressure UAE authorities to be more transparent in this regard.

Abdelkader Abderrahmane, Senior Researcher, ENACT West Africa Regional Organised Crime Observatory, ISS Dakar

Picture for illustration only

Debt Suspension to Spur Zambia to Economic Transformation

Yohane Mbeeya Moono

The period between 2011 and 2021, Zambia under the Patriotic Front led government initiated many capital projects which required heavy Moneta investments. Among them was the Link Zambia Programme which was aimed at the construction of massive road networks across the country in order to open many areas of the country to both local and international business opportunities. The situation saw the country become highly indebted.
As of October, 2021, the country’s debt stood at $27 Billion Dollars that was owed to both foreign and local lenders. The impregnable debt position prompted the Government both the current and previous regimes to seek an International Monetary Fund Bailout Package which is valued at $1.4 Billion Dollars. The Government in Novemebr of 2021 reached a Staff Level Agreement with the Brentwood Institution but had to wait for the office Creditors Committee to get assurances from Zambia about the Debt being repaid.
Now with the Official Creditors Committee coming to an agreement for Zambia to access the Bailout Package. Zambia needs to have Key Performance Indicators that are going to Spur the country to Economic Transformation in the three years that Zambia’s Debt Servicing would be suspended. Zambia currently spends about 45.35% of the country’s revenue to Debt Servicing

How Should Zambia move with Economic Transformation Agenda?

1. The Creation of the Industrial Development Corporation should be a game changer in the Economic Transformation Agenda. The Corporation should focus on opening up and running industries that are going to improving the level of value addition to the Zambian Agricultural Produce. The Zambian Agricultural Sector has great economic potential to change the economies of the country. Industries such as the newly opened Kalene Hills Fruit Company, the Munushi Banana Plantation, the Kawambwa Tea Company, The Mongu Cashew Nut Industry, The Zampalm Project in Kanchibya Costituency just to name but a few. The country would be in great economic space once these industries are fully functional and produce products with value addition. That improves the export ability of the country and that would surely contribute to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product value of the country. Valuable Fruits such as Mango and Avocado are going to be key fruits with the Zambian Avocados now being given space in the European Union Market. Soya Beans also should help to improve the Agricultural as the country just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China which wi see Zambian Soya Beans being exported to that country. China is arguably the biggest market in the world with the country’s population of over 1.3 billion people.

2. The Zambian Central Bank needs to create a Gold Reserve reservoir in the country. This has to be done through the creation of the Gold Processing Industry in the Mining Towns where the commodity is readily available. The refined gold should then be reserved at the Central Bank who in turn would have to attach value of the Gold using the Zambian currency.

3. The Mining Sector should cede the claim of being the biggest contributor to the Zambian Gross Domestic Product value. The opening of the Nickel Mine in Kalumbila and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in the Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain with the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to control the value Chain of the resources needed to manufacture electric vehicles and other electronic products. Zambia stands to have the economy improved to the tune of $980 billion. Adding Value to our mineral resources would help to improve our economy during the period the country would not have to worry about Debt Servicing.

4. Zambia needs to improve Fiscal Discipline if the country needs to reap the benefits of the IMF bailout package. Reducing wastage and pilferage more especially in the public sector and the construction industry would help the country save resources that would be channeled to the needy areas of the economy. Africa and Zambia’s greatest undoing has been the lack of a fiscal discipline in public sector. Improving the fiscal discipline of the country would help to save resources for use to improve the economy

5. Trade and Investment should also be part of the Key Performance Indicators that the country needs to have in the next three years. Foreign Direct Investments remains one of the critical strategies for economic development in many countries. Providing an enabling and conducive Investment Climate would help to improve the flow of Investments in the country.

The Official Creditors Committee agreement on the Zambian Debt Restructuring Programme means that Zambia stands ready to access the IMF package. This is an opportunity for the country to show that it deserves that Debt Suspension and use the critical Key Performance Indicators to Spur Zambia’s Economic Transformation.

Time has come for Zambia to banish the assertion that no country has ever developed when under an IMF Programme.
Home Grown solutions to Improving the Economy are already being rolled out but were hampered by the huge chunk of resources that were channeled to Debt Servicing. However, the Debt Servicing due to be suspended, the solutions highlighted should be able to Spur Zambia to Economic Transformation

Reasons the Pan African Ideology Failed

Yohane Mbeeya Moono

The Pan African Ideology started in the United States of America and was heavily promoted by individuals such as Marcus Garvey. The idea started in the 18th Century. The movement had a philosophy of driving Black Liberation against White Domination and Exploration

The Pan African Movement grew as Africa sought an to the White Imperialism that had engulfed the continent for much of the 19th Century. This culminated in the first Pan African Congress that was held in Manchester in October 1945.

The Congress may have had some positive outcomes among which was the formation of the Organization of African Unity in May 1963 in Addis Abba Ethiopia and that led to the political independence of many African States. However, the Pan African philosophy had some of indelible shortfalls on the people of the continent and people of African descent

Reason that made the Pan African Philosophy fail

1. The Pan African Ideology has failed to deliver on the early promise due to the fact that the Initial African drivers of the Agenda held the conference in the land of the Imperialist which gave them an upper hand over the implementation of the Pan African Ideology. Whatever the African leaders who attended the Pan African Congress in Manchester discussed was easily grasped and debunked by the Imperialist thus giving them an upper hand over the Africans

2. Failure to Appreciate History and Literature by the Pan African Philosophy drivers on the Continent. The drivers of the Pan African Ideology on the continent and World over placed little or no premium on key subjects that would have helped the Ideology to flourish. The History and Literature of the Pan African Ideology still remains scant and uncoordinated. History and Literature of the Pan African Ideology should be readily available and well coordinated and should have been included as key subjects on the African continent. This was going to help shape the education system of the continent according to the needs of the African Continent and the people of the Continent.

3. Arising from the failure to appreciate History and Literature on the Pan African Ideology, the continent has failed to come up with a Pan African Think Tank. A Pan African Ideology Think Tank was going to help push the agenda of the Pan African Ideology even in the modern era and make the people of the African Continent and of African descent beyond the African Continent to have access to well researched and well coordinated History and Literature on the Pan African Ideology. African Unity was going g to be easy to achieve if the African Continent had set up a vibrant Pan African Ideology Think Tank

The Pan African Ideology had good intentions by failed to come up with strategies on how to propel the Ideology to greater heights and safeguarding the African Continent from the never ending vicious cycle of Colonialism which keeps changing face.
Africa needs to rethink its Pan African strategies and harness the potential it Harbours through the large pool of human resource.

Food for thought

1. Why is it that most vibrant African leaders who propagated the idea of Pan Africanism have their deaths shrouded in mystery and controversial?


By Eugene Makai

You have read and heard a lot about the turmoil in Congo 🇨🇩 in the 1960s and the coup against, capture and subsequent murder of its first Prime Minister Patrice Émery Lumumba on 17th January, 1961.

The underlying cause of this is hardly emphasized enough. Putting it bluntly it is Western Corporate greed, corrupt Congolese politicians, an inept United Nations and Western government’s fear of losing influence over a huge mineral resourced African country excused as an ideological war with the Soviet Union.

The chief culprits of course were the Belgian government, the Anglo-Belgian mining giant, the Union Minière du Haut-Katanga (UMHK) a joint venture by the Tanganyika Concessions Limited
and Société Générale de Belgique to mine mineral deposits in southern Katanga Province.

Lumumba a self confessed Socialist – to his detractors, a “Communist” – was a threat because he intended to nationalise the mineral wealth of this newly independent but highly underdeveloped country.

Today the company is called La Générale des Carrières et des Mines (Gécamines) after Dictator Joseph Mobutu aka Mobutu Sese Seko nationalised it anyway on 1st January 1967.

Meanwhile, the Katangese and in particular Moïse Tshombe leader of the Katanga based Confédération des associations tribales du Katanga (CONAKAT) political party was suspicious of Lumumba’s intentions.

Tshombe had personally benefited from his relationship with UMHK and saw the mineral wealth of Katanga as a basis to secede from Congo.

As soon as a mutiny broke out in the country after independence in early July 1960, he prepared himself and declared his own independence of Katanga on 11th July, 1960.

He was followed by Albert Kalonji Ditunga of South Kasai who declared his own independent state on 8th August 1960.

Tshombe had such disdain for Lumumba that he was the most convenient destination for Lumumba after his capture by the troops of Mobutu and President Kasavubu.

Tshombe had first proposed joining a Federation with Northern Rhodesia which he discussed with Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland Prime Minister Roy Welensky in early March 1960 before he unilaterally declared independence of Katanga.

Welensky and the mining companies saw it as an opportunity to entrench their interests and also to demonstrate co-existence with another mineral rich African state to the British government.

Welensky and his Party the United Federal Party (UFP), had argued that a continued Federal state in Central Africa was the way to go and that the fears of a South African type union were misplaced.

Welensky’s dalliance with Tshombe alarmed the Belgians who themselves needed Tshombe to hold onto their interests. On 4th March, 1960 the Belgian Ambassador to the United Kingdom asked British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Selwyn Lloyd about Welensky’s remarks to a journalist about Tshombe’s approaches.

Mr. Lloyd assured the Belgian diplomat that such an association would require Queen Elizabeth II’s assent and legislation in the British Parliament. This outrage by the Belgians formed part of the question Time in the House of Commons debate of 30th March, 1960.

In early October, 1961 more than 9 months after Lumumba was assassinated at the hands of the Katangese, Tshombe persisted in his dream of a union with the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. To this effect he requested to see Welensky who was in Salisbury the Federal capital.

Tshombe flew to Salisbury with two of his Ministers for secret talks with Welensky which included Tshombe’s clashes with Indian UN peace keeping troops that erupted in Elisabethville (Lubumbashi).

On 19th November, 1962 Tshombe met with Northern Rhodesian African Nationalist Kenneth David Kaunda of UNIP in Kitwe. This was after the 30th October, 1962 general elections in which Kaunda’s party secured the most popular seats trailing the Welensky led UFP by a single seat.

Tshombe also met Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula of the ANC separately on the same day in Kitwe. However, this was not the first time Tshombe had met Nkumbula. He did so on a number of occasions.

The first time he met Nkumbula was in 1960 and a benefactor of his party, donating generously to the ANC a total sum of £25,000 by February 1962.

Nkumbula was warm to Tshombe’s idea of Federalism but Kaunda was suspicious of Tshombe.

Kaunda was outraged by Lumumba’s assassination and feared the chaos of Congo spilling in to Northern Rhodesia.
He also particularly was wary of Tshombe’s association with both Nkumbula and Welensky.

This was a very delicate time and Kaunda was aware of the secret alliance deal between the ANC and UFP to form government after the 1962 elections.


Lumumba was a threat to the economic, financial and political interest of diverse actors in and outside Congo. Though a firebrand and popular leader, he was greatly naive and a political novice who put all his cards on the table. This led to his assassination.

Kaunda greatly learnt from the Lumumba episode and he vowed NEVER to allow Northern Rhodesia to fall into the trap of its bigger Northern neighbour. He did not trust Tshombe who wanted to forge a greater Luba-Lunda nation with Northern Rhodesia because his end game and calculations were suspect.

List of Africa’s Longest Serving Presidents 👇

1. Teodoro Obiang | Equatorial Guinea 🇬🇶 | 43 years (since 1979)

His son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue has been his Vice President since 2012.

He seized power from his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema who ruled the country from 1968 to 1979. He was the country’s first President.

2. Paul Biya | Cameroon 🇨🇲 | 40 years (since 1982)

He was the Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982.

3. Yoweri Museveni | Uganda 🇺🇬 | 36 years (since 1986)

4. Isaias Afwerki | Eritrea 🇪🇷 | 29 years (since 1993)

5. Dennis Sassou | Congo 🇨🇬 | 25 years (since 1997)

He was also the President of Congo from 1979 to 1992.

6. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh | Djibouti 🇩🇯 | 23 years (since 1999).
He took over from his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon who was the country’s first President and who ruled from 1977 to 1999.

7. Paul Kagame | Rwanda 🇷🇼| 22yrs (Since 200).

Born 23 October 1957) he is a former military officer. He is the fourth and current president of Rwanda, having taken office in 2000. Kagame previously commanded the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a Uganda-based rebel force which invaded Rwanda in 1990 and was one of the parties of the conflict during the Rwandan Civil War and the armed force which ended the Rwandan genocide. He was considered Rwanda’s de facto leader when he served as Vice President and Minister of Defence under President Pasteur Bizimungu from 1994 to 2000.

8. Salva Kiir Mayardit | South Sudan 🇸🇸| ( since 2011).

He has been President of South Sudan since its independence on July 9th 2011. Prior to independence, he was President of the Government of Southern Sudan, as well as First Vice President of Sudan, from 2005 to 2011. He was named Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 2005, following the death of John Garang.


AfCFTA could boost African incomes by 9%, says World Bank report

Full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could increase FDI by up to 159%, with positive impacts for trade and incomes.

Charles Dietz

Reforms set in motion by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could lead to a rise in foreign direct investment (FDI) that would boost incomes on the continent by 9% by 2035, according to a new report from the World Bank.
The AfCFTA is an ambitious project to form the world’s largest free trade area by creating a single market for goods and services across Africa – 54 of the continent’s 55 countries are signatories.
Limited trading under the AfCFTA began in January 2021, but achieving its full potential depends on significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures across the signatory nations, for which negotiations are still ongoing.

Benefits of expanding AfCFTA agreement

In 2020 a World Bank report estimated that the AfCFTA had the potential to raise income on the continent by 7% by 2035 and lift 40m people out of extreme poverty, mainly by spurring intraregional trade.
The new report builds on the earlier study by adding potential gains arising from greater flows of FDI under two possible scenarios – the “AfCFTA FDI broad scenario” and the “AfCFTA FDI deep scenario”.
The broad scenario incorporates the expected benefits of increased FDI resulting from the reforms to trade in goods and services. The deep scenario examines the additional gains that could result from expanding the agreement to harmonising policies on investment, competition, e-commerce, and intellectual property rights.

Africa could record an increase of 111% in FDI under the broad scenario and 159% under the deep scenario, says the report. Extreme poverty could fall by an additional 5m under the broad scenario and by an additional 10m under the deep scenario.
Other potential benefits of the AfCFTA highlighted by the report include:

Higher-paid, better-quality jobs, with wage rises of 11.2% for women and 9.8% for men by 2035, albeit with regional variations depending on the industries that expand the most in specific countries.

Under deep integration, Africa’s exports to the rest of the world could rise by 32% by 2035, while intra-African exports could grow by 109%, led by manufactured goods.

“The conclusion of negotiations is critical,” says the report. “Increasing the role of the African private sector and generating greater grassroots support for the AfCFTA, going beyond government leadership, are also crucial.”

Afreximbank renews $1bn facility for AfCFTA

In related news, on June 13, 2022, the board of directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) renewed their approval of a $1bn facility to operationalise the AfCFTA Adjustment Funds.

The AfCFTA Adjustment Fund supports AfCFTA member states in adjusting to the new liberalised and integrated trading environment established under the AfCFTA. It consists of a base fund, a general fund and a credit fund.
The base fund will consist of contributions from state parties, grants and technical assistance funds to address tariff revenue losses as tariffs are progressively eliminated.

It will also support countries to implement various provisions of the AfCFTA agreement, its protocols and annexes. Afreximbank also approved a grant funding for $10m to seed the base fund.
The general fund will mobilise concessional funding, while the credit fund will mobilise commercial funding to support both the public and private sectors, enabling them to adjust and take advantage of the opportunities created by the AfCFTA.

The funding required under the Adjustment Funds is estimated at $8-10bn.
“The endorsement by the Afreximbank Board brings the continent closer to operationalising the AfCFTA Adjustment Funds before the end of 2022. We urge other development partners and financial institutions to provide additional resources required under the Adjustment Funds to support the implementation of the AfCFTA,” commented Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA Secretariat.



Concerned Citizen

Former Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu ruled Zambia for 7 years and upon assuming the highest office of the land, he adopted autocratic tendencies where he unleashing the unprecedented level of cadreism on the ordinary citizens whom he swore to protect by virtue of Oath of Presidency.

During his reign as President of Zambia, the country slipped into high levels of indebtedness and high levels of corruption like never seen before.

He preached infrastructure development but the country’s infrastructure leaves much to be desired despite the country accruing a lot of debt for the said programs.

Since leaving office last in August after a crushing defeat, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has made some unstatesman like comments.

During the burial of former Republican President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, he uttered the statement of “Hypocrisy”.

A state that caused a stir in the political arena in the country at the time when Unity should have been preached by a man who is the only surviving former Head of State in the country.

When Former First Lady Esther Nyawa Lungu was summoned by the Drug Enforcement Commission for questioning over flats she allegedly built after a donation from a friend in the United States of America.

Edgar Chagwa Lungu being a lawyer by profession must be well acquainted with the law that the former first lady should have declared the assets built for as a donation.

Her being a public figure and having indirect influence on the state as part of her being the first lady should have shown more transparency by declaring the said assets as a donation.

However, the statement coming from her husband who is the former head of state clearly show that Edgar Chagwa Lungu is not in touch with reality and never believed in the Democratic tenets that this country upholds so dearly.

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu said Antonio: “Don’t blame me that I gave up power. It was the right thing to do.”This statement shows that the man has not healed and is not ready to be a Statesman and that he ascension to the Presidency and eventually leaving the Presidency never believed in constitution provisions.

Hence making such undemocratic statements before the media.

According to the Zambian constitution amendment act of 2016 No. 2 Article 90 (3) states that:-

The President shall, in exercise of the Executive Authority of the State

(a) Respect, uphold and safeguard Constitution

This constitutional provision clear mandates the office bearer of the office of Presidency to Respect uphold and safeguard the Supreme Law of the land the constitution. However, it is really absurd that the former head of state is still the thought he should have held on to power despite the crushing defeat his party suffered in the General Elections.

Former Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu should accept the reality that he lost the elections and now is the time for the Nation to move on and unity regardless of the events surrounding us in the nation. He needs to sober up and be a Statesman the country can depend on.

The behaviour too being portrayed by the former ruling party also makes the former president feel as though he is a demigod. Let the party move on and let the man rest as he has retired from politics.

If he has not retired from active politics then the government should take the decisive step of stopping paying him his retirement package as he is still actively participating in politics. Former President Edgar Chagwa Lungu needs a Press Aide to handle his media duties as putting him in the spotlight will make him lose the dignity that the people have bestowed on him as the former head of state.

Former president Edgar Chagwa Lungu needs a reality check and sober up and be a Statesman that the country expects of him.

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