Moustafa El-abdallah Al Kafry
2022 / 2 / 13
Is the Arab-African cooperation international Arab-African relations, Arab-African dialogue under governmental institutional frameworks of each party?´-or-through non-governmental organizations? An Arab-African cooperation within a framework of grounds supposed to be still outstanding albeit their first summit was adjourned in 1977 and it has stopped for 33 years until the second Arab-African summit was held in the Libyan Sert city on October 2010, then the third Arab –African summit in Kuwait on 19 and 20 November 2013?´-or-is it a new cooperation between two organizations of which one is An Arab organization, which is the Arab League, and the other is an African organization no matter whether it is the African Unity Organization´-or-the African --union--?´-or-is it a bilateral Arab cooperation between countries which are themselves Arab countries and other African countries per se, even though the likelihood of any one image does not necessarily mean neglecting the rest of images?
Strong and multiple links and bonds do gather the Arab peoples and the African peoples. They are historical, geographical, political and economic links. These factors make the meeting between the Arabs and Africans an essential issue and a dreamed - of demand on the long term. The importance of the African continent arises in the Arab context, it being embracing almost the two thirds of the population of the Arab countries and geographically it constitutes the larger part of the Arab homeland.
The relations between the Africans and the Arabs date back to ancient ages in history when large groups of the Arabs migrated from the Arab Peninsula and Southwest Asia towards Sinai and the Nile Valley, then towards North Africa and West Africa. The commercial relations began in the first centuries AD between the Arabian Gulf region and the Arab Peninsula, on one part, and the African Horn and African countries, on the other.
Importance of the Arab-African Cooperation:
Both Arab and African regions share the past and the future. In the past two decades they have realized a substantial progress and they have also faced many challenges, conflicts and wars which have had pernicious consequences for their peoples, in particular women, children and old people. From here arises the necessity of strengthening cooperation between the Arab space and the African space and overcoming the common difficulties depending on the common denominators for the sake of building up a partnership based on solidarity and mutual respect.
The march of the Arab-African cooperation was affected by the general circumstances and political conditions under which the region had passed. The items of the approved program of action stayed waiting the most prominent of which is what was connected with constructing the Arab-African Preferential Trade Zone and the Arab African Body for Finance and Investment. (The success of any activation´-or-even any communication depends upon the ability to take advantage of the available success factors. No doubt the question is not completely gloomy, faint, static´-or-motionless. Despite the differing visions, which of them is better for the Arab –African cooperation? As we said before, there are mechanisms which are still outstanding even though they are almost inactive. However, they may, work. Then, we can draw up a conception to put them into effect and confirm efficiency and agreement points on which we should concentrate, develop and keep ourselves away from the points of difference and weakness and preclude them.
The Importance of Arab – African Cooperation Arises from the Following factors:
The Arab countries and the African countries together are very rich in raw materials and sources of energy and human force in addition to the fact that these countries are facing the imperialist system in its old and new forms and are trying to eliminate its adverse consequences in their societies.
Since 1973 very big monetary surpluses began to accumulate in the Arab oil exporting countries. They could not use them internally because of the increasing volume of the oil returns within a short period of time resulting from the oil high prices and the inability of the local economy to absorb these funds in that stage. Therefore, it has been expected that the investment projects in the African countries would be a secure and useful place to invest some of the Arab financial surpluses.
The requirements of the African countries of the necessary funds to finance the investment plans and projects to accelerate and increase the economic growth rates in them.
The similar circumstances dominating the countries of the Arab – African region were a principal reason to motivate the cooperation and common action between the countries of both regions on a long-term basis.
The presence of ten Afro-Arab countries having the membership of both organizations, the African Unity Organization and the Arab League, may represent a strong impetus for the cooperation march, especially that among these ten countries there are leading countries which have, simultaneously, the Arab weight and the African weight such as Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Morocco.
The first unofficial conference of the African Unity was held in 1919, but the cooperation between the African countries has mainly developed only after most of the African countries had got their independence and got rid of imperialism in the fifth decade of the twentieth century. The first official conference of cooperation between the African countries was held in 1958 in which Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, the Sudan, Tunisia and the United Arab Republic participated.
The year of 1991 had witnessed a renewal and confirmation by both the Arab and African parties of their obligation to cooperate and to push forward the march of this cooperation expressing thereby mutual interests in addition to the fact that it is an extension of distinguished historical relations and a strong link with a common destiny. This was evident in the attitudes of both the African Unity Organization and the Arab League. These attitudes proceed from the fact of a steady belief in the importance and advantage of this cooperation between both Arab and African groups, especially at a time the dialogue has declined between the North and the South and the importance of the aid provided to the developing countries has dwindled.
In this framework, the leaders of Africa have, through the Twenty-Seventh African Conference (Abuja, Nigeria, 27 May – 5 June 1991), renewed the determination to advance the Arab – African cooperation and to strengthen it in all fields. The decisions of the conference in this respect have recommended holding the twelfth ordinary session of the Permanent Committee of the Arab – African Cooperation in Algeria. The Secretary General of the African Unity Organization was charged with making the necessary measures for this purpose in close cooperation with the Secretary General of the Arab League and with consultation with the hosting country. He was also charged with continuing consultations with the Arab League and all the concerned parties in order to implement the prescribed programs of cooperation at the top of which is the project of setting up the Arab-African Body for Finance and Investment and the project of setting up an Arab – African Preferential Trade Zone. The African leaders have asserted the urgent need to strengthen the Arab – African solidarity.
On their part, the Arab countries have also asserted continuing the march of the Arab – African cooperation and realizing the best achievements in this field. During convention of the Tenth Arab Summit Conference held in Tunisia) 20 – 22 November 1979, Presidents of the Arab countries have approved a decision calling for supporting and strengthening cooperation between the Arab League and the African Unity Organization and developing the bilateral relations with the African countries. Presidents of the Arab countries have also called for continuing the bilateral and multilateral Arab financial support of the socio-economic development process in the African countries and the work done in this --dir--ection by the Technical Aid Fund of the Arab and African countries as well as by the multilateral banks and funds.
The First Arab –African Conference: Cairo 7 - 9 March 1977:
The first Arab African conference was held in Cairo within the period 7-9 March 1977. Sixty Arab and African countries represented by their Presidents´-or-Vice Presidents´-or-Ministers of Foreign Affairs (30 Presidents, 6 Vice-Presidents, 8 Prime Ministers and 16 Ministers of Foreign Affairs) have participated in the activities of this conference. The conferees have discussed the political, economic and social situations of the Arab homeland and the African continent.
The following documents have been issued by the conference:
The political declaration calling primarily for strengthening the struggle against imperialism and for supporting the liberation movements in the world and the struggle of the peoples of Palestine, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the French coast from Somalia and Comoros Islands for their freedom and independence. The political declaration has also stressed the adherence of the Arab and African countries to the principles of the non-alignment movement and peaceful coexistence and the struggle for setting up a new just international economic system.
The program of the Arab-African cooperation covering the fields of political, diplomatic and economic cooperation as well as the fields of social, cultural, educational, scientific and technical cooperation.
The declaration of the Arab-African economic and financial cooperation which covers the following: encouraging the national and multilateral financial institutions, providing technical and financial aids for the economic feasibility study for the developmental projects and building up the primary structures in Africa.
Supporting the national and multilateral financial institutions contributing to the socio-economic development process in Africa. The necessity of the participation of the Arab stock exchange markets in supporting and lending the African Development Bank to increase its financial resources as well as to increase the resources of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa.
Encouraging investing the Arab finance in Africa and coordinating the Arab financial aid for the African countries.
Encouraging the Arab investments in Africa and developing the Arab – African commercial relations.
Increasing the bilateral aids provided by the Arab financing institutions for the African countries and encouraging the Arab – African technical cooperation.
The apparatuses supervising organizing and implementing the Arab - African cooperation have been identified--;-- they are:
• A - The Permanent Committee,
• B – The Action Teams and Competent Committees,
• C – the Coordination Committee,
• D – The Conciliation and Arbitration Committee.
The main axes of the activities and deliberations of the meetings included identification of programs and coordinating the efforts of both Arab and African groups to boost the activity aiming at supporting and strengthening the Arab – African solidarity. The programs and recommendations covered the following subjects:
Continuing the political activity in the international forums to besiege the Zionist and racial entity and support the Palestinian cause and both peoples of Namibia and the peoples of the African South.
Coordinating the activities and efforts of both Arab and African organizations in the fields of culture and media and mobilizing the available energies in these fields and developing the events and stimulating frameworks to develop the common efforts in these fields.
Reviewing the activities of the specialist Arab and African institutions (the Arab Bank, the African Development Bank and the African Economic Committee) and the other African Arab organizations specialized in the economic, financial, cultural, and technical and media fields.
Both General Secretariats of the Arab League and African Unity Organization are doing their best to implement the main recommendations entrusted to them:
Setting up an Arab – African exhibition for the Arab and African businessmen and investors. Practical steps have been made by both Secretariats to form the Steering Committee of the Exhibition in order to assume the tasks of starting with implementation of the programs drawn up for this purpose. Efforts are being continued to establish the Arab – African Preferential Free Trade Zone in cooperation with the specialist bodies in the countries of both Arab and African groups.
Arranging for organizing the Arab – African Food Security Symposium in order to identify the ways and means of strengthening cooperation and satisfying the urgent needs in this vital field.
Within the framework of recommendations and initiatives aiming at strengthening the Arab – African cooperation in the financial and investment fields the Permanent Committee has adopted a recommendation to take the necessary steps to establish an Arab – African Financial Institution. It has prepared the documents related to the draft agreement of establishing this institution and presented them to the meeting of the Arab – African Ministers of Finance and Planning (Washington 27 September 1989). A report was presented on the results of the meeting of the Eleventh Session of the Permanent Committee of the Arab –African cooperation.
Through the deliberations made in the meetings of the African Unity Organization it has been found out that the group of the African countries are exerting an intensive effort to abide by the recommendations of the Permanent Committee of the Arab-African cooperation. The Eleventh session of the Permanent Committee of the Arab – African cooperation (New York 3-6 October 1989) is considered a starting point to implement the recommendations and programs approved during 1989. The following have been decided:
The Arab – African Cultural Institute was established during the period 1990-1991. Agreement has been made to allocate the necessary budget for it to start with its activities.
Setting up the First International Arab-African Exhibition (1990). A joint Arab – African committee was charged with making the necessary arrangements to steer and organize the activities of the said exhibition.
The preparation of the final documents of the draft agreement for encouraging and securing the Arab – African investment has been considered complete after presenting the same to a meeting of Arab and African experts specialized in these fields.
The recommendations made by the eleventh session of the Permanent Committee of the Arab – African cooperation regarding establishment of an Arab – African Investment Financial Institution have been expected to result in entering the Arab – African cooperation within a framework of financial and investment activities achieving more aspirations in these fields.
The most important role has remained to be in the process of monitoring and following up the development of the Arab – African cooperation of the Permanent Committee which follows up identification, formulation, implementation and following up of the various subjects of cooperation between both Arab and African groups. This committee is consisted of 12 ministers of foreign affairs of the countries which are members of the Arab League including ( Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iraq, Palestine, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania ) and a similar number of ministers of foreign affairs in the African Unity Organization including (Angola, Burkina Faso –formerly Upper Volta -, Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Mauritius Island, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania and Tunisia). This Permanent Committee meets twice a year in one of the Arab´-or-African capitals. It has been decided that the Arab – African Summit Conference will be held once every three years to follow up the march of cooperation between the Arab and African countries.
The Second Arab–African Summit Conference: Sert city, Libya, 10 October 2010
The second Arab – African summit was held on 10 October 2010 in Sert city in Libya in which 66 Arab and African countries of the members of the Arab League, African Unity Organization and the African --union-- participated after the passage of 33 years to convention of the first summit in 1977 to be a new start of the Arab – African economic and political cooperation. The summit discussed the project of the Arab – African partnership strategy which included:
The most important axes of the Arab – African cooperation at the political, economic, developmental and cultural level.
The project of the Arab-African joint strategy and plan of action 2011/2016.
The summit had issued the document of the Sert Declaration dealing with the subject matters concerning both Arab and African spaces, the development of the Palestinian cause, the situations of the Sudan and Somalia and coordination in the international organizations, in addition to the development of the United Nations Organization and its organs. The Arab countries have asserted their interest in authentication and support of cooperation with the African countries, building up a strategic true partnership and realizing an economic and political benefit for both spaces.
Preparation for the summit and the countries participating in its activities:
Convention of the summit was preceded by many preparatory meetings of the Permanent Committee of the Arab – African Cooperation (consisted of 24 Arab and African ministers) with the aim of setting a time - table for the activities of the summit. The Arab – African Preparatory Committee ( consisted of the representatives of 8 countries six of which are Arab countries ( Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait, Libya and Morocco ) and 3 African countries ( Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania), also held meetings, in addition to the meetings of the Coordination Committee ( consisted of the Arab League, the African --union-- and the hosting country ) to make preparation for the summit, and the meetings of the Organizational Committee ( consisted of the Arab League, the African --union--, the hosting country and the Arab Bank for the Economic Development of Africa ) to make preparation for the high level economic forum in trade and investment fields.
Participants in the activities of the Arab – African summit are:
Arab countries: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, Syria, Morocco, Mauritania, Palestine, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Tunisia.
African countries: Angola, Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Swaziland.
The Arab – African partnership strategy:
The Arab – African partnership strategy approved by the second Arab – African summit (Libya 2010) raises four prioritized fields--;-- they are:
1. The political, peace and security field,
2. Strengthening investment and trade,
3. Agriculture and food security,
4. The socio-cultural cooperation.
Regarding political cooperation: Necessity of the African – Arab political dialogue at all levels in order to strengthen a strong and sustainable partnership between both regions along with making available of the primary institutional support on part of the African --union-- and the Arab League and arranging for:
Increasing partnership and Arab – African solidarity to realize peace and security based on respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity and independence of all countries.
Conducting consultations and periodical coordination between both groups to ensure harmonized policies and attitudes in the United Nations and the other international forums.
Cooperation between both groups in the fight against the foreign occupation, terrorism, cross - border crime, smuggling of human beings and drugs, piracy, and the other threats of peace and regional and international security.
Exchanging experiences between both groups to settle disputes by peaceful means and the outstanding mechanisms and promoting the peace culture and carrying out joint activities to prevent and settle disputes and differences in and between the countries of both spaces.
Carrying out the construction and development activities for the post settlement of disputes.
Setting up an African – Arab mechanism to support the efforts of the African --union-- and the Arab League in maintaining and building peace and establishing meetings between the African – Arab specialist organizations, the civil society, parliaments, etc.
Regarding economic, commercial and financial cooperation: Necessity of intensifying the Arab – African cooperation in the economic, financial, commercial and developmental fields based on the principles of solidarity, reliability and bilateral benefit and building on the positive achievements of the main strategies, programs and institutions set up within the past three decades such as the African --union-- , the New Partnership of Africa Development (NEPAD), the regional economic blocs, free trade zones, and customs --union--s and developing integration and strengthening the self-reliance in order to realize an accelerated and sustainable development in both regions.
The Sirte Declaration stressed the need for uniting efforts to increase cooperation, integration and coordination in all fields to achieve the hoped-for strategic partnership in a political and economic system that has more solidarity and justice. It also called for carrying out Afro-Arab work plans, guaranteeing investment between the two areas, opening new markets, establishing a preferential trade zone, dealing with obstacles facing investors from both sides, and expanding cooperation to guarantee investment.
The Sirte Declaration asserted the importance of cooperation, developing technologies to confront challenges, developing the chances provided by renewable energy sources in a manner guaranteeing achieving food security and sustainable development, realizing the repercussions of climate change, and committing to efforts for combating climate change.
The second Arab-African summit closed on Sunday in the Libyan city of Sirte with the participating countries reaffirming commitment to promoting relations, boosting cooperation and establishing the strategic partnership between African and Arab nations… The summit which attracted 66 Arab and African leaders focused on regional cooperation on energy water resources, infrastructure investment, food security and agriculture, and regional issues on security, fighting terrorism and coordination in international affairs.
The Sirte Declaration called for a joint concerted Afro-Arab effort to carry out substantial and comprehensive reforms in the UN to fulfill the demands of the African and Arab peoples and enable the UN to enhance the role of the UN General Assembly in dealing effectively with the contemporary international challenges.
(In the closing statement of the second Arab – African summit it was mentioned that setting up of the Arab – African fund was decided to-limit- the consequences of disasters to which the Arab and African countries are exposable. The Arab and African Leaders have decided to have the financial resources of this fund composed of the relevant allocations of amounts from the annual budget of the African --union-- and the Arab League as well as of the voluntary contributions from the Arab and African countries, the institutions of the civil society, the private sector, the donations of international partners and of the regional and international organizations. Both the President of the Commission of the African --union--, John Ping, and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, have been charged with drawing up the by-law of this fund, along with its aims, management and the aspects and conditions of spending these aids).
The Third Arab – African Summit: Kuwait 19 and 20 November 2013
Under the slogan (Partners in Development and Investment), the Third Arab – African Summit was held in Kuwait on 19 and 20 November 2013 in which 62 African and Arab countries participated. The economic issues have occupied the first place, in particular the development and investment issue and activation of the institutional capabilities of the plans of joint action and decisions approved in the second Sert summit in Libya which was held in October 2010, in addition to strengthening the links of Arab – African cooperation for the renaissance and development of the peoples of both Arab-African spaces and defending their causes at the regional and international levels holding up the slogan of taking care of developing relations in all fields.
The third Arab – African summit was distinctively prepared through the Permanent Committee of the Arab – African Cooperation including both the Arab League and the African --union-- and the hosting country, Kuwait. Concentration was made on providing the mechanisms of implementation of the decisions, the mechanism of financing of projects and activation of the slogan of the summit “Partners in Development and Investment". Therefore, the main subject was chosen for the summit which includes the interest of both sides together, that is, “Joint Investment and Development “along with bringing about the Arab – African compatibility with respect to the main and important subject of the summit.
Convention of the summit was preceded by many meetings of the Arab ministers of foreign affairs and their African counterparts to discuss the issues forwarded to the summit among which are the situations in Syria, developments of the Palestinian cause and the developments in both countries of the Sudan and the South of the Sudan as well as in Somalia and other political issues and the issues and draft decisions to be prepared by the senior officials of both Arab and African sides during their meetings which precede the summit. On the side lines of the summit activities, the Egyptian delegation discussed the question of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam during the meetings held between both the Egyptian and Ethiopian sides.
Activities of the Third Arab – African Summit:
The first preparatory meetings of the third Arab – African summit set out in Kuwait on Wednesday, 13 November 2013. The Arab – African TROIKA had been held before the meetings of the senior officials of both Arab and African sides held on Thursday, 14 November 2013 during which the joint Arab African report on the activities of the plan of action and strategy set forth in the second Sert summit was discussed.
The agenda of the summit included a number of subjects of common interest. Prior to the official convention of the summit there were preparatory meetings to be held with the participation of the senior Arab and African officials. These meetings had been preceded by the Arab – African economic forum. A report and recommendations were prepared by the summit. Most of the specialist Arab-African organizations having a --dir--ect relation to investment and development have participated in these recommendations for the sake of strengthening cooperation and setting a conception before the leaders and setting a mechanism for financing of the joint projects which were always issued by the various meetings without locating financing to implement them. Therefore, one item was added to the agenda of the summit concerning establishment of a joint mechanism for financing of the projects by the funds existing on both Arab and African arenas and by every fund contributing to satisfaction of its sectors.
(Of the important things made during preparation for this summit is convention of a ministerial Arab - African meeting in the field of agriculture and food in Riyadh on last 2 October. It was successful in setting a joint action plan for the food security with clear financing mechanisms by the Arab and African funds. This meeting issued an important decision in this regard, which will be approved by the summit meeting. Saud Arabia exerted a great effort in this respect. There is also an important mechanism for the Arab-African cooperation--;-- it is the 24- ministerial committee. It is a committee for partnership and it will be approved. It comprises 12 Arab ministers and 12 African ministers at the level of the ministers of foreign affairs. It was supposed to be formed during Sert summit, but it was postponed for the expected summit which will be held in Kuwait).
The senior officials have also discussed a joint report by the Secretary General of the Arab League and the President of the Commission of the African --union-- concerning what was implemented between both second and third summits and the obstacles which prevented implementation of a number of projects and the recommended procedures for strengthening the institutional capabilities to implement the joint Arab – African Plan of Action.
The Axes Concentrated on By the Summit:
The activities of the summit were concentrated on energy, investment, woman, transport and communications through setting up an Arab – African partnership away from the political issues.
Trade and Investment:
The summit has discussed the recommendation on cooperation in trade, investment, transport, telecommunications and energy. Preparation of the subject was Arab-oriented preparation. To be approved by the Arab Socio-economic Council in its last session.
It was decided to improve the investment climate in order that the Arab – African countries can build up their economic power, the comparative and competitive advantages in the world market, attracting the --dir--ect regional and foreign investment, mobilizing financing for both the major implemented national Arab – African projects, the regional and the African – Arab sub-regional economic integration projects and encouraging the participation of the private sector in the economic development by creating a favorable environment for it.
A certain set of factors stands behind the weakness of the trade exchange between the Arabs and Africans the most important of which are:
• Absence of the fundamental export capabilities.
• Weakness of the commercial and industrial links.
• Limited knowledge of the African markets in respect of their nature and general characteristics.
• Lack of a favorable financial support.
• Wrong assessment of the risks accompanying the situations of the political instability.
• Absence of confidence in the business sectors.
• Backwardness of the stock exchange markets.
• Lack of coordination of the policies of supporting trade and development.
Regarding Agriculture and Food Security:
Arranging for bridging the gap between the growth rate of the agricultural production and the population growth rate, lessening occurrence of famine through the cohesion of policy to provide food and food safety and quality, increasing local and foreign investments, diversifying the regional economies, developing orientations for addressing crises, using the early warning systems to protect the food production against the natural disasters and migratory insects and taking actions to-limit- post-harvest losses.
Energy and Development:
The summit has discussed energy and the joint projects for generating power from water and the other renewable sources. It asserted the necessity of cooperation in the development field, exploiting and managing the energy resources including the new and renewable resources by joint projects, exchanging experiences, building up the common capabilities and researches and transferring technology.
Political Crises and Developments:
Both the Secretary General of the Arab League and the President of the Commission of the African Unity have drawn up a report on the political issues which are of common interest at the top of which is the Palestinian cause, clarifying that the African attitude is very advanced and supporting the Palestinian right of self-determination and setting up the Palestinian state. Of the other common issues are the developments of the situations in the Sudan, Somalia and Comoros Islands and the Eritrean and Djibouti attitudes concerning the Dameera Head and the efforts exerted in this respect, in addition to other issues.
The Joint Cultural Institute:
The Arab and African leaders have noticed the weakness of the level of performance of the Arab – African Institute for Culture and Strategic Studies headquartered in Mali and funded regularly by the League and the African --union-- against the ambitions of the Arab and African peoples to activate the relation on the cultural scale, especially that this institute has to achieve the Arab – African convergence and strengthen the cultural cooperation. The matters of this institute have been discussed in the summit and how to activate it to carry on the role entrusted to it.
The Closing Statement of the Third Arab – African Summit in Kuwait. The following was included in the Closing Statement of the Third Arab – African Summit:
We, the leaders and presidents of the states and governments of the Arab and African countries meeting in Kuwait on 19 and 20 November 2013 in the Third Arab – African Summit held under the slogan " Partners in Development and Investment", renew our commitment to the by-law of the African --union-- and the Charter of the Arab League and cherish the principles of the international law and the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the principles concerning respect of the national sovereignty of countries and their territorial integrity and non- interference with their internal affairs. We also renew our assertion of the commitment to strengthen cooperation between both Arab and African regions and recognize our multiple links and common interests and the facts of the geography, history and culture of our both regions and, in the same magnitude, strengthen solidarity and friendship between our Arab and African peoples in the context of responding to the aspirations of our peoples for the continuation of the Arab – African fraternity based on the principles of equality, respect and common interests.
The Arab and African leaders have agreed to enhance cooperation between the Arab and African countries and build up close relations between the governments and peoples of both regions through:
(Promote South-South Cooperation between African and Arab countries and build closer relations between the Governments and peoples of the two regions through frequent visits and consultations at all levels--;--
Strengthen diplomatic and consular relations between African and Arab countries through regular consultations between diplomatic missions accredited to the United Nations (UN) and other regional and international organizations in, among others, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Brussels, Geneva, New York and Washington D.C, with a view to harmonizing positions and developing common policies on issues of mutual concern)--;--
• Strengthening the diplomatic and consular relations between the Arab and African countries.
• Locating a peaceful settlement for the political crises in both regions.
• Strengthening cooperation and coordination between the Arab and African countries in the fight against all forms and shapes of terrorism and organized crime and supporting the international efforts in this respect.
• Demanding comprehensive reform of the system of the United Nations including the Security Council.
• Calling the governments, private sector, and civil society in both regions to play a main role in increasing the agricultural production.
Strengthening cooperation and increasing investment in energy including the joint development of the resources of the renewable and new energy, encouraging the effective use of the natural resources, and expanding the capability to attain the services of the modern energy which may be relied on rewardingly.
Agree to create the necessary conditions to encourage and facilitate investment in African and Arab countries. Reaffirm further the need to increase the volume of trade and investment flows between the two regions, support the existing industrial development initiatives in order to reduce poverty and generate employment for our youthful population--;--
Calling the Arab and African financing institutions and the private sector to support, in cooperation with the Commission of the African --union-- and the General Secretariat of the Arab League, implementation of the programs of developing of the infrastructure of the African --union--, such as the Program of Development of the Infrastructure of Africa (PIDA) and the programs of the Arab League.
Establishing a joint Arab-African mechanism to finance programs and projects and asking the Arab-African Coordination Committee, in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Arab League, the Commission of the African --union-- and the Arab – African financing institutions, to identify the financing sources, examples of financial contributions and the method of managing the processes of the mechanism.
Applying the principle of exchanging the hosting of the Arab – African summit. Accordingly, it has been agreed to hold the Fourth Arab – African Summit in Africa in 2016.
It is a must to strengthen the regional integration and enhance the level of the Arab – African trade and investment, deepen the integration of the market which have the capacity to contribute to a sustainable development and create job opportunities, reduce poverty, (increase) the inflow of the --dir--ect investments and industrial development, (arrange) for a better integration of both regions in the world economy and bring to memory the approval of the strategy of the Arab – African partnership and the joint plan of action 2011 – 2012 set down during convention of the Second Arab – African Summit in 2010 in Libya, stressing commitment to implement them. The Arab and African leaders have asserted the need to strengthen the role and participation of the private sector and the civil society in both regions in planning and implementing of the joint programs and projects.
The President of the Commission of the African --union--, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has confirmed today commitment of Africa to do its best to apply the resolutions of the Third Arab – African Summit and support cooperation with the Arab partners to realize the ambitions of the peoples of both regions. The investments coming from the Middle East to Africa have achieved an increase in the African growth rates. They have also achieved a rate in the investment returns which is considered the highest rate in the world. He has also said that it is expected for the population of the African continent to double in the next few decades.
Evaluation of the March of the Arab – African Cooperation: (Whatever are the objects and dealings in the fields of the Arab – African cooperation, there is an essential need to promote this cooperation through several joint determinants either in the framework of the bilateral relations´-or-in the framework of the regional organizations´-or-in one of the non-governmental frameworks´-or-so. It is possible to say here that the presence of ten Afro-Arab countries combining the membership of both Arab and African organizations may represent a strong propeller for the cooperation march, especially that of these ten countries there are leading countries enjoying the Arab weight as well as the African weight and when they have a certain movement´-or-activity they may reflect good economic and commercial relations between both parties even though this does not absolutely mean to turn a blind eye to activating, promoting and developing determinants and supports of the regional cooperation between both parties).
(It has become evidently clear that the Arab financial transfers in favor of Africa, no matter how big their value is, are not and may not be all the cooperation for two reasons:
The first reason: The volume of the Arab financial transfers in favor of the third world countries including Africa is governed by several factors such as: fluctuations of the world economic, financial and monetary situations imposing themselves on the Arab countries, in particular the oil exporting countries.
The second reason: The increasing requirements of the Arab countries themselves for development and financing. Therefore, concentrating on one element, that is the financial transfers, does not provide sustainability and stability for this cooperation. On the other hand, It is noteworthy to remind that the Cairo Declaration, and the programs accompanying it have included a cooperation of multiple and different elements: financial, investment, commercial, technical, cultural and information. It is not possible to confine cooperation to only one element no matter how much important it is. It turns out that there is a number of missing links in this cooperation which must be completed in the future in order that this cooperation will become integrated, diversified and comprehensive. In this context, it is obligatory to reinforce, support and rectify the fund of the technical aid for the African and Arab countries, reaffirming and developing the vital role played by this fund in this cooperation).
The Achievements Realized by the Arab – African Cooperation:
The achievements realized through the Arab – African cooperation constitute by themselves a strong motivation of the hope and a key source for the confidence in the future of this cooperation. The best example for this is the volume of the projects to which the Arab aid of financing contribute and the full details about these projects and their objectives. Seeing the volume of the Arab contribution to the African development during the period since 1973 until now is really gratifying. Nevertheless, there is one more thing which is not less important than the volume and number of the projects--;-- it is the prestigious position enjoyed by the Arab aid in the African development and the international importance enjoyed by the Arab aid organs for Africa and the developing world in general.
The ninth session of the Permanent Committee of the Arab – African Cooperation held in Wakanda, the capital of Burkina Faso, in the period 6-9 December 1988 aimed at activating all the organs involved in the Arab – African cooperation. Both the Arab and African sides studied the programs of strengthening the Arab – African solidarity in the economic, cultural, and technical and information fields. Many (general) meetings and preparatory meetings held by both Secretariats of the Arab League and the African Unity Organization have been held for supporting and strengthening the Arab – African cooperation.
(On the whole, it can be said that whatever are the objects and dealings in the fields of Arab – African cooperation, there is an essential need to activate this cooperation through several common determinants either within the framework of the bilateral relations´-or-within the framework of the regional organizations´-or-within any one of the non-governmental frameworks´-or-so.
The extent of success of this promotion´-or-activation may be conceived by foreseeing the future closely, taking into consideration the experiences of the past long years including their pitfalls and setbacks to preclude and avoid them and the factors of the success of attracting and developing them. This is normal, for foreseeing the future cannot be a matter of foretelling´-or-a matter of rosy dreams, but it is an aspiration and future visions linked to reality. The future is not the birthplace of the link to the present. In the introductions of this present come those international changes either at the world level´-or-the regional level.
The Missing Links of the Arab – African Cooperation:
About the truth of the Arab – African cooperation Dr. Alshazily Aliary poses four important questions looking for answers:
The First question: Is this cooperation a circumstantial, accidental, opportunist and compensatory action´-or-is it a long breathing and of a distant horizon cooperation deeply rooted in the past and is increasingly rooted day by day to become an uninterrupted and irreversible cooperation?
The second question: Is this cooperation a financial and Petro-dollar cooperation,´-or-is it a civilized and fatal action including the full comprehensively political, economic, humanitarian and cultural sense of these words?
The third question: Is this cooperation an action between a rich Arab North and an indigent and grieved South´-or-is it a solidarity, steadfastness and joint defense (standing) of a group of countries all of which are developing and all of which are from the South and are in conflict with the countries of the North?
The forth question: Is the Arab – African cooperation is a bloc against the outside world´-or-is it an alternative for the stupid and unjust international cooperation? Is it a reaction against the disappointed dialogue between the North and the South´-or-is it a solidarity approach between 60 developing countries, self-opened and opened to others, instigator of the countries of the world, rich and poor, to take up the road of cooperation, fraternity, comprehensive renaissance of mankind and providing the means of the decent living for all, security and peace?
It remains that we should refer to what we have called the missing links of the Arab-African cooperation which are many and very many. Excluding the governmental developmental financial side, not any other utility of the utilities and programs of Cairo Charter has indeed been promoted for the cooperation approved by the First Arab – African Summit Conference (March 1977). Neither the trade exchange nor the sector of the private sector and the cultural cohesion between the Arab and African peoples has ever come to existence as required.
The reasons are many of which the most important are : lack of interest of some parties in the non-financial cooperation, the failure of the joint Arab – African apparatuses to encourage all parties to provide programs of action in all these fields left in cooperation of which also are the difficulty of inducing the Arab and African private commercial and capital apparatuses to exchange information and study the prospects of dealing among them in addition to the over dominance of the national events on both Arab and African arenas and the international events on the press media and the information apparatuses, as the information apparatuses have not paid the required attention to support the common Arab – African action.
The Arab – African cooperation is important and useful for the present and future generations in both Africa and the Arab homeland. This cooperation gains a great importance every day because of what the African continent and the Arab homeland possess of material and human potentialities. This makes it imperative to support the Arab – African cooperation politically and with all economic, technical, financial and cultural means in order to become comprehensive and useful for all parties. (The closer we come to achieve these tasks, the closer the cooperation project comes to be fruitful for the Arab homeland because the stage of the mutual economic giving in its comprehensive sense is the stage we will reach after the Arab effort has entered into the heart of the African development process at the core of which is the technical cooperation).
Nevertheless, the positive results realized by the Arab – African cooperation by various means are per se a strong impetus on the road of hope and a key factor for the confidence in the future of the advantageous cooperation even though the tasks expected for the march of the Arab – African cooperation are great and need a lot of effort and coordination. It is a must to support, strengthen and evaluate all the fields of the Arab – African cooperation and organize and establish the institutions which shall supervise this work in order to enhance the level of cooperation and make the desirable objectives come true.
Prof. Dr. Moustafa El-Abdallah Alkafry
Faculty of Economics – Damascus University
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