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The East African : Dec 15th 2014
The EastAfrican OUTLOOK DECEMBER 13-19,2014 Q &A WI T H CAR LOS LO P E S EA should not invest much hope in oil, future is in renewable energy East Africa is considered below the radar in terms of intra-regional trade. CHRISTABEL LIGAMI spoke to the executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa on the regional trade and integration agenda Data at the EAC secretariat indicates that Intra–EAC trade is approximately 22 per cent of the total. How would you rate the five partner states on this? Compared with other regions that have better infrastructure, East Africa is doing well and with the ongoing infrastructure development all over the region, we expect that trade among the partner states will grow by 40 per cent. In Africa, East Africa is the most integrated in terms of trade. The amount of intra-trade here is almost near the levels of South East Asia, that is at 25 per cent What are the EAC countries not doing to increase trade among themselves to the level of EU partners? The regional economy at the mo- ment is jumping from agriculture to service provision, skipping the manufacturing stage that creates BIO EDUCATION: Dr Carlos Lopes holds a PhD in history from the University of Paris 1 PanthéonSorbonne and a research masters from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. He has also received an honorary PhD in social sciences from the University of Cândido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. EXPERIENCE: Dr Lopes was appointed the eighth executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa in September 2012 He previously served as executive director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva and director of the UN System Staff College in Turin at the level of Assistant Secretary-General from March 2007 to August 2012. Dr Lopes has actively contributed to research on development issues. Specialised in development and strategic planning, he has authored or edited 22 books and taught at universities and academic institutions. jobs. EAC countries need to aggressively industrialise and venture into value addition for their agricultural products. This way, trade among the partners in these commodities will increase. They also need to rebase their national accounts. Kenya and Uganda have tried this by rebasing their informal sector and therefore the other partners need to follow suit. Roaming in East Africa is at the most advanced level in the world which signifies a level of sophistication that the governments don’t know how to account for. They rely on the telecommunication companies for accounting. This needs to change. There are new discoveries in oil and gas in the region, should we expect this to change our regional economy? The discoveries in oil and gas are coming at the wrong time when the markets are very volatile. This requires caution for the newcomers in the oil and gas industry like East Africa and therefore East African countries should not put so much hope into it. This is because most of the growth in the energy sector will be shifting towards renewable energy. It is projected that the US will in the coming years be an exporter of renewable energy . Therefore, the EA countries should start thinking of refined products rather than crude. The market for refined products in the region is very big. The East African Common Market Protocol on the free movement of goods, services and labour was signed in 2010 but implementation by the partner states has been a challenge. What should the partner states do? For the partners signing the protocol signals the political will to allow free movement of goods in the region. What the EAC countries are doing is realistic because this has to be a transitional process. The countries that feel they are ready to implement a particular thing on the protocol should be allowed to do so and the rest can join later when they are ready. There has been concern about the EAC monetary union and caution that that countries need to go slow on it. Should the partner states go ahead and implement it? The monetary union is an impor- tant incentive to trade but could be a problem if the countries implement it without harmonising their trade policies investment policies, fiscal and monetary policies. Just like what is happening in the EU. A monetary union needs to be comprehensive at all stages. The region is also in the process of formalising a political federation and the plan is to adopt the roadmap before the federation is implemented. What are your views on this? A political federation is a politi- cal decision. It has no sustainable economic base because it is difficult to set. If the EAC countrieswill integrate into a political federation as planned then they will have set a precedent in the world. You will be launching a report on the economic impact of Ebola in the next couple of days. What are the key findings in the report? The report focuses on the af- fected West African countries. There is a huge exaggeration and perception on Ebola and the whole Africa. There is confusion between the social and economic impact. The social impact is high and it affects the whole population because the food reserves, for example, are depleted. But the economic impact is not so high because the affected countries depend on extractive industries. The economic impact on Africa is about 0.05 per cent 31 Unicef says 2014 bad yea≥ fo≥ child≥en By RICK GLADSTONE New York Times THE YEAR 2014 has been one of the worst on record for the world’s children, the United Nations said Monday in a report that chronicled a litany of war, violence, atrocities and disease, mostly in the Middle East and Africa. Up to 15 million children are di- rectly entangled in violent conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine, says the report by Unicef. Globally, the report saysd, an estimated 230 million children live in countries and areas riven by armed conflicts. “Children have been killed while studying in classroom and while sleeping in their beds,” said Anthony Lake, the executive director of Unicef. “They have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves.” The report ias basically a sum- mation of the well-documented afflictions that affected children in 2014. But taken in their entirety, they presents what Unicef calls a devastating picture. Civil conflicts In the Central African Republic, a chronically dysfunctional country bordering on anarchy, 2.3 million children are affected, and up to 10,000 may have been recruited by armed groups as soldiers, the report says. More than 430 children have been killed or wounded, three times as many as in 2013. In Gaza, the report saysd, the 50-day conflict this summer between Israelis and Palestinians left 538 children dead, 3,370 wounded and 54,000 homeless. The nearly 4-year-old war in Syria, which spilled into Iraq this year with the ascendance of the militant group Islamic State, was a leading contributor of trauma for children, the report says, disrupting the lives of more than 7.3 million in Syria and 2.7 million in Iraq. In South Sudan, which gained Independence in 2011, a calamitous civil conflict that erupted a year ago has brought severe hunger, homelessness and death. More than 750,000 children have been displaced in the country, 320,000 others are refugees in neighbouring countries and 235,000 under fiveare suffering “severe acute malnutrition,” the report said. The year was worsened by the Ebola crisis in West Africa, which the report says, has left thousands of children orphaned and an estimated 5 million out of school. The sheer number of crises in 2014, the report says, meant that many had garnered little lasting attention or had been completely overlooked.
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