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Again Morocco not on agenda of ECOWAS summit

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ECOWAS Heads of state still wont discuss membership of Morocco. (NAN)

Morocco is not on the agenda of the 54th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS’ Heads of State and Government, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Morocco had requested to be a member of ECOWAS while Tunisia requested to be an observer country.

The 51st Ordinary Session held in Monrovia, Liberia in June 2017 agreed, in principle, to Morocco’s membership of the sub-regional bloc and directed the commission to consider the implications of the country’s membership.

The commission confirmed that study on the impact of Morocco’s membership was carried out and the outcome would be submitted to the Authority.

Morocco’s Foreign Ministry had reportedly said that the country had to wait until the first quarter of 2018 to know the decision of the ECOWAS Heads of State, which would be announced at an extraordinary session.

The decision was, however, expected to be considered at the 2018 session taking place in Abuja on Saturday.

The summit would, nevertheless, consider the reports on ECOWAS Single Currency, the political situation in Guinea Bissau and Togo among any other business.

According to the Draft Work Programme, the session would also sign Community Acts and Decisions and read to the ECOWAS Political Declaration and Common Position on the Return of Cultural Artefacts to Africa.

The Authority would also consider the Annual Report of ECOWAS, reports of the 41st Ordinary Meeting of the Mediation and Security Council and the 81st Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers. (NAN)

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Regional integration remains low, according to African Regional Integration Index (ARI)

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The Index, known as ARII, was set up to monitor and evaluate the status of economic integration among African countries and provides a basis for member States to track their progress

MARRAKESH, Morocco, March 24, 2019/ — The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) marks a momentous milestone for Africa but preliminary findings of the upcoming 2019 African Regional Integration Index, released at the on-going Conference of Ministers in Morocco on Saturday, indicate that regional integration in Africa remains low.

The Index, known as ARII, was set up to monitor and evaluate the status of economic integration among African countries and provides a basis for member States to track their progress.

The findings reveal that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is the most integrated region in terms of trade, with South Africa as the most integrated country on the continent.

In the five areas that were analysed – trade integration, regional infrastructure, productive integration, free movement of people and macroeconomic integration – South Africa topped the ranking; with South Sudan as the least integrated mainly because of its modest performance in regional infrastructure and financial integration.

Meanwhile, integration in services, contributed more than 53% of the continent’s GDP, but ratification of the protocol on the free movement of people has been slow, despite the 2016 launch of the Common Electronic Biometric African Passport, and the AU Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. The Continent’s large infrastructure deficit remains a major hindrance to intra-regional trade.

“It is up to Africans themselves to ensure that the initiative benefits them through hard work and efficient implementation of the mechanisms of the CFTA,” says David Luke, Co-ordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre, Regional Integration and Trade Division of Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) (www.UNECA.org).

Leila Mokadem, Country Manager and Resident Representative in Morocco for the African Development Bank (AfDB) added that despite the “tremendous” political support for the AfCTFA, there are still major challenges ahead in terms of implementation and pushing the agenda forward to meet the goal of increasing intra-African trade to 25% by 2023 from between 15% and 18% currently. She cited weak productive capacity in Africa, high production costs, large infrastructure deficits and other challenges that affected Africa’s competitiveness. This is compounded by the number of small markets and 16 landlocked countries. “We cannot gloss over the challenges, but it is important to underscore the fact that it cannot be business as usual if Africa is to progress.”

The final ARII and the accompanying Assessing Regional Integration in Africa IX Report will be released later in the year.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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Africa speaks

Immployment Connect By Zandile Dube

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Due to varying factors, black girls and women have been struggling to break into the corporate world, arguably more than the average aspiring professional across the world. Some common factors include the lack of access to inside information on the desired career path from practicing professionals. Also, culturally, a lot of families have held the belief that only hard work will propel one into a future they desire however, in a progressive world like ours, it is evident that it requires more than studying to successfully debut as professionals into the desired field.

Some families are also simply unaware of the other opportunities available outside of the classroom, as they did not have them for themselves, therefore they are unable to expose their children to unfamiliar experiences. This results in underwhelming CVs, causing a loss for both the individuals and the industries they were aiming for as they mostly are hard-workers who were merely unfortunate.

In the worst-case scenario, families may not be supportive of a woman going into male-dominated industries, therefore they may withdraw their support financially, leaving her with little to no access to other extra-curriculum activities that may boost her chances at future employment. These are realities for a number of black, female aspiring professionals.

We believe that success is best prepared for early on, therefore the objective of Immployment Connect is to encourage black females by bridging the gap between the opportunities made available to them and those available to the rest of the world who may be of more privilege than them. We intend to do this by connecting professionals with, for instance, students on a mentorship basis at no cost.

Also Read The power of rejection | Zoussi Ley

This will enable professional relationships to be established and allow the mentees some insight on their desired industry, we believe this will be a fulfilling experience for the mentors too to be able to impart their knowledge onto eager individuals. Such a program will open doors that some of our mentees would have only worked hard and hoped for, without actually believing it could be their reality.On a larger scale, our program will help the corporate world by increasing diversity, which almost always equates to progress as different experiences/ backgrounds offer a fresh perspective to any situation.

This program was founded by Zandile Dube who migrated to Australia from Zimbabwe at the age of 16/17. Soon after she had enrolled in the Bachelor of Business and Commerce – Accounting and finance, she was told by the people she came across that as a Black Woman in Australia she wouldn’t be able to secure a corporate job especially her having an African accent. This motivated her to get a job in the industry as soon as she could.

In her first year in the Uninversity, she decided to also partake Vocational studies through ARC (part of TAFE) where she was put on work placement at a boutique firm called Pride Advisory in Sydney. During her work placement she worked hard and was able to secure fulltime employment at the end of her first year of university.

However, she quickly noticed that she was one of the few black women in Corporate Australia and there was a significant underrepresentation of the female African society within the Australian workforce. Therefore, she has taken an initiative to bridge the gap by providing African females access to a number of highly qualified and motivated professionals that are already making an impact in the industry.

 

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Zandile Dube

 

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Our future lies in regional integration. We need resources to move forward – say Central Africa Governors

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Bank Group Governors for Central Africa came to attend a consultative meeting during which they had fruitful discussions with the senior management

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, February 27, 2019/ — “Your presence at the Bank’s headquarters matters. So is your voice. It is encouraging hearing you,” says Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), addressing the institution’s Governors for Central Africa, on 26 February in Abidjan.

Like their West Africa counterparts on Monday, Bank Group Governors for Central Africa came to attend a consultative meeting during which they had fruitful discussions with the senior management. They came from all parts of the central African region: Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad and Equatorial Guinea, to review national and regional projects and, with the Bank’s leaders, to lay the foundations for further development of their region.

African Development Bank Vice-President and Chief Economist, Célestin Monga gave an economic overview of the continent and more specifically of Central Africa, highlighting the main challenges to inclusive growth, peace and security, sound macroeconomic management and stability, the development and strengthening of basic infrastructure, and effective regional integration. He also emphasised the need for the States of the region to diversify their economies through agribusiness, fisheries and livestock. Gabon’s Governor, Hilaire Machima echoed this view: “This policy is already bearing fruit, since the government of my country has been working for several years on processing wood within the country. There are currently some 80 wood-processing companies in Gabon.”

The Bank’s Director General for Central Africa, Ousmane Doré, spoke of the significant impact Bank-financed projects have on people’s lives.  “The Bank’s commitments in the region totalled $13 billion in 2018, through 531 operations in all,” he said, adding that 2019 would be a year of even deeper cooperation with the region and citing several major projects financed by the Bank. Thanks to the African Development Fund, four of the seven countries of the region – Cameroon, the CAR, Republic of Congo, and Chad – have been connected by a road corridor in under ten years. These links have enabled a fivefold reduction in transport costs between production and consumption areas. Another example is the programme to facilitate transport between Douala (Cameroon), Bangui (CAR) and Ndjamena (Chad), allowing trade to develop in the area and outside the CEMAC zone, and further improving the efficiency of the transport logistics chain.

In the energy sector, two projects have come to fruition, one in Kribi in Cameroon and the other, the interconnection of power grids between the CAR and the DRC. The ‘Central African Backbone’ fibre optic project in Cameroon, DRC and CAR aims to improve connectivity, e-banking and the information provision on markets and the business climate. The Bank has also financed a project to improve the drinking water supply in the city of Libreville, Gabon. During the Africa Investment Forum last year, the African Development Bank, Africa50 and other partners concluded a $500 million funding agreement for the construction of the first road-rail bridge to connect two Congolese neighbours, Republic of Congo, and the DRC.

To highlight the importance to the Bank of a general capital increase, Vice-President for Finance, Swazi Tshabalala cast her mind back to the strategic focus of the first Governors’ meeting held in Rome last year. “The Bank’s ‘High 5’ priorities are at the very heart of Africa’s development programme,” she reiterated.

The Governors unanimously gave the African Development Bank their support. “We have a Bank that innovates. We need significant resources to take Africa and our region forward,” said the Bank Governor for Cameroun, Alamine Ousmane Mey. Bank Governor for Equatorial Guinea, Lucas Abaga Nchama stressed the continent’s enormous development needs, saying that “the [Bank’s] capital increase is important. Our future lies in regional integration”. The Bank Governor for Chad, Issa Doubragne [MOU1] added, “We have every reason to be hopeful.”  Concluding, President Adesina said: We will continue to work hard for the Africa you want.

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