Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Somalia finally joins the EAC

It was in the air. Already during the Africa Investment Forum, held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 8 to 10 November 2023, some rumors were circulating that Somalia was likely to be admitted to the EAC by the end of November 2023. Today, during the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of States held in Arusha, Tanzania, following the discussion of the report on the negotiations for the admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia into the EAC, the country has been officially admitted to the East African bloc becoming the 8th member of this Community.


Road infrastructure, transport and logistics are AfCFTA enablers, AfDB warns

A new report published by the African Development Bank (AfDB) raises the need to upscale investment in road infrastructure to unlock cross-border trade and reap the benefits of the AfCFTA. While roads are the primary mode of transport, the report notes (as they carry 80 percent of goods and 90 percent of passenger traffic), only 43 percent of the African population has access to an all-season roads. Moreover, only 53 percent of roads on the continent are paved, isolating people from access to basic social services including healthcare, education, trade hubs and economic opportunities. Africa is the less connected continent in the world (for the coverage of its infrastructure network, see the Africa Development Corridor Database). This leads to increased transaction costs and low level of Intra-Africa trade, estimated at less than 20% according to several sources and at 18% by the AfDB in its report.


EAC expansion: towards a possible reconfiguration of Regional Economic Communities in Eastern Africa?

During the Africa Investment Forum, held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 8 to 10 November 2023, the Secretary General of the EAC indicated that Somalia is likely to be admitted to the EAC by the end of this month. More importantly, it seems that also Ethiopia and Djibouti showed interest to join the bloc. If this will happen, this Regional Economic Community (REC) will expand considerably its geographical reach to cover a good part of the Horn of Africa peninsula. This expansion will threaten the survival of another REC representing African countries in the Horn: the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia are also members (or prospective members, such as in the case of Somalia), of the EAC. In fact, if Djibouti and Ethiopia will join the EAC, the only IGAD members that will be left out of the EAC will be Sudan and Eritrea. This will probably revive the debate on the possible merging of the two Communities. To be noted that participation of African States to RECs is not free, as annual contributions need to be paid for such membership. African countries should therefore make a choice and select cartefully the RECs to which participate.


Time to reframe the relations EU - Sub-Saharan Africa: Post-Cotonou Agreement finally signed

On 15 November 2023, the European Union (EU) and its Member States, on one side, and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) on the other, have signed the much-awaited Post-Cotonou Agreement, also known as Samoa Agreement, by the name of the country where the Agreement was concluded. The Post-Cotonou Agreement is a comprehensive framework agreement that will govern the future relations between the EU and OACPS for the next twenty years. The OACPS is a regional group established in 1975 with the Georgetown Agreement (revised in 2019). It comprises 79 Member States from three different geographical areas (Africa, Carribean and Pacific) which previously formed the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries. For Africa, its members include 48 African countries, and more precisely all Sub-Saharan countries except South Sudan. The five North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) are also not part of this organization. The ACP group became the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, or OACPS in April 2020. The post-Cotonou Agreement will replace the Cotonou Agreement, set to expire already in February 2020, but de facto extended until its replacement with the new Agreement.


Latest UNCTAD Less Developed Countries report shows Ethiopia and DRC at the top of the list of beneficiaries of development assistance

UNCTAD has published the latest edition of its Less Developed Countries (LDCs) report, the document that identifies the low-income countries facing severe structural impediments to sustainable development and analyses challenges related to their economic growth. Being highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks and having low levels of human assets, these countries are given preferential access to international support measures (mainly in the form of grants from multilateral finance institutions and bilateral donors), in particular in the areas of development assistance and trade. However, despite this preferential treatment, the report shows that the gross disbursements of development assistance-related resources to this group of countries has reduced, collapsing to $66.9 billion in 2021, from $72.9 billion in 2020. Among the largest recipients, two African countries, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, remain at the top of the list, followed by Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania and Mozambique.


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