• Introduction (Nepad)
• Open Borders
• Integrated Infrastructure
• Integrated Investments
• Open Skies Policy
• African Tourism Initiative
Introduction: Nepad: A The Institute aims to develop policies, principles and reports in line with NEPAD principals to assist in developing a cohesive continent free of strife & conflict where Democracy, Rule of Law are the cornerstones of each government and the freedoms and liberty of it’s citizens are entrenched and protected. The adoption of open, prudent free market policies based on sound economic principles, coordinated within an agreed framework for the economic empowerment and upliftment of the continent. Well thought out principles executed diligently can make positive impacts in the lives of each and every African from the village hamlet to the city centres.
The institute also believes that regional integration should a prelude to the realisation of a true African Union. In this regard ECOWAS, SADC & MAGREB must be empowered. Government with private initiatives and entrepreneurs with vision should be encouraged to see to the realisation of regional goals.
Open Borders: Stringent Visa restrictions on migration between African countries restrict the continents development and economic potential. African countries should adopt policies and laws in support of freedom of movement of people, goods and services between borders. This will encourage improved and even development across the content.
Such policies will foster greater integration, the continents citezens will be able to migrate to expand their business especially where there is saturation in their local market.
Citizens’ with a minimum of $10,000 to invest in another African country should be afforded automatic entry, just like the HSP scheme in the UK, US, Canada etc. This will have a positive impact on the nation’s GDP, quickening the pace of economic integration and convergence of the various neighbouring economies.
African’s should have the freedom live & work in any African country, freedom to invest in any African economy, freedom to own land, property, profits, stocks & shares assets etc; freedom to invest in any of the countries key sectors; freedom to repatriate, profits and interest etc. Preferential treatment to African investors/conglomerates will help create new African Multinational Companies AMNC, who will be part of the vanguard to transform the continents fortunes.
Closed economies have no chance of success in the dynamic one world scenario that we operate in now. Africa needs to consolidate itself to compete effectively with the likes of China, India, Europe and America. It has all the raw materials necessary to make a positive impact on the lives of it’s citizens and the world economy in general.
We must strive to make Africa open for business, encourage MNC to come and invest, create jobs and opportunities for the continent. With such investments African conglomerates should be encouraged to set up twined investments to take advantage of the skills pool, transfer of technology and give an opportunity for competition as monopolies by MNC should be discouraged. Past experiences have shown that such monopolies have the potential to exercise undue influence over sovereign governments and may have overwhelming power that could hold the nation to ransom.
Improving the lot of Africa will lead in the long run to generally lower price levels for commodities, goods and services. It will also lead to the creation of a new consuming class that will buy both basic & luxury items such as cars, fridges, Tv’s DVD players, computers etc. A self sufficient Africa can only augur well for the world economy. One just needs to look at the transformation of China, the ever growing middle class in India etc, improved infrastructure and generally greater prosperity for the overall population.
Integrated Infrastructure: Apart from changes in political orientation and economic philosophy, the infrastructure in Africa needs to be coordinated with greater integration of Transport links to ease the flow of citizens, goods and services. The Trans Sahara Highway needs to be completed so that Goods can be transferred by road and rail from South Africa in the South all the way to Egypt in the North or to Accra in the West. There is no reason why Nigerian Steel mills can not receive Iron Ore from Liberia via a rail line. The rail infrastructure in Africa and West Africa especially is fragmented and this is largely due to the rail network inherited from colonial time. The leaders from independence to date have done little to integrate the rail network or create links between neighbouring countries. The initial lines were laid primarily to transport commodities to the ports and took no cognisance of the needs of the people to link communities, towns, cities or countries.
The current trend to engage the Chinese to build infrastructural elements is laudable and should be bolstered to include integrating the rail network between neighbouring countries. This single task will lead to ever greater prosperity and provide a safer, quicker mode of transport for goods and people between the countries
Integrated Investments: As part of efforts to manufacture the African or Nigerian Car, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Cars, engines, trains, rolling stock, steel sheets and planes are currently being manufactured in S. Africa, Egypt and some other African countries with significant levels of local inputs. Countries such as Nigeria ought to source key inputs from these countries for assembly and eventual manufacture. Countries such as Japan, Korea and China have immense steel industries largely based on imported raw material inputs as neither have sufficient iron ore etc to meet their demand.
Nigeria and African Steel Mills should source their raw material requirements from other African countries, taking advantage of economies of scale etc. Nigerian Auto plants should source their engines from within Africa, Ford and BMW engines are manufactured in Africa, the advances made at these plants should be adapted towards creating indigenous models The African car with it’s own unique brand to be sold and used primarily within Africa and other similar developing countries. After the models have established market presence, brand loyalty and world standard quality controls they can be sold to the wider world: see case study Hyundai, Kia from Korea and Dihatsu, Datsun, Nissan Japan and Tata from India to name but a few other similar cases are from Malaysia and Poland. Brazil is also making strides in Small and Medium sized airlines. There is a need to learn from these examples and establish similar in Africa. There is also greater need to patronise goods and services from the fast emerging economies of Asia, former Eastern block countries & Latin America are less likely to impose the post colonial dependency cultures of Western Companies.
Open Skies Policy: This is crucial for tourism, minimal visa restrictions especially to those from countries that will be bringing millions of dollars into the economy. Current visa regimes actually discourage increased tourism. Tourists to Egypt, Cuba, S Africa to name a few, either pay visa at point of entry or have no visa requirements for citizens from wealthy countries.
To meet the required tourist levels, embassies will not be able to process applications fast enough. Tour operators and or airlines can be tasked to issue the visa forms in flight and payment can be made at port of entry via Visa, MasterCard etc or cash. With fully computerised systems, airlines will be compelled to provide detailed information on passenger numbers and their immigration status ensuring that proper accounting of payments can be made to minimise the possibility of fraud, with greater controls and monitoring such corruption will be easily identified and prosecuted. Airlines could also be compelled to collect the fees as part of the checking in process and remitted by automated transfer daily.
African Tourism: ‘Africa Loves You’ Africa needs tourism not aid, Look for the good things in Africa, promote, scenic beauty, happy people despite poverty, wildlife, culture, music, history, eco tourism, developmental tourism, wildlife, slave route, come back to your roots. Tourism making a difference in people lives, when you fly plant a tree, sponsors an animal, help build a school, hospital or provide shelter. Country hopper scheme: North Africa/Mediterranean, West African Coast, East African Coast/Safari & South African Coast.
The Institutes Aim For Ecowas/African Union:
a) Develop feasibility studies on Integrated Regional Investments.
b) Provide feasibility studies/reports on Ecowas/African Investments
c) Provide policy documents on economic integration