Dr Grace Tabengwa and Mr Boikanyo Sekwati attended the US-Africa Relations Validation Workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 18-19th July, 2014. Dr Tabengwa presented the key findings of the Southern Africa Position Paper. BIDPA was appointed by the ACBF to develop the Southern Africa Position Paper and present the key recommendations at an Africa Regional Validation workshop at the Africa Union Commission in Addis Ababa. The Position Paper which should be given prominence by the African leadership given the upcoming US-Africa Summit of August 2014 highlights the requisite priorities for mutually beneficial partnerships that should lead to sustainable growth and development of the region.
The ACBF has commissioned regional research to inform the African Strategy towards meaningful partnerships through the development of position papers for US-Africa Relations focusing on the following geographical areas: Francophone West Africa; Anglophone West Africa; East Africa and the Horn; Southern Africa; North Africa; and Central Africa. The Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) has thus been tasked with the development of the Southern Africa Region Position Paper. A key aspect to the position development has been the validation of the key findings across the regions to consolidate into a common Africa Position that will be shared with Heads of States by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Africa Building Foundation as the Africa Agenda to the 5-6August 2014 US-Africa Summit.
The primary objective of the Position Papers is to provide a nuanced analysis of the state, evolution, challenges, opportunities and possibilities of U.S.-Africa relations in Southern Africa. The goal is to answer the central question: What should Africa seek in its partnership with the US and how can it get it? More specifically, each of the studies interrogates the following key aspects of US-Africa relations:
· Peace and security;
· Economic (trade, investment, aid, remittances, in addition to sectors – agriculture, infrastructure, etc.);
· Socio-cultural (education); and
· Governance (democracy, leadership, etc.)
The insights and findings of the different studies are intended to inform policy and decision makers and therefore offer clear and evidence-based conclusions and recommendations in terms of (1) policy directions enabling African countries to strategically and beneficially partner with the United States and (2) capacity development imperatives.
The Validation Workshop aimed to offer stakeholders an opportunity to critique the position papers, but also serve as a platform that will help stakeholders and Africa’s leaders to better understand what works, what did not and why, and what is the way forward for a mutually beneficial relationship between Africa and the US. The two-day workshop brought together stallholders from the six geographical areas (Francophone West Africa; Anglophone West Africa; East Africa and the Horn; Southern Africa; North Africa; and Central Africa) to dialogue on US-Africa relations. The feedback received from the participants is to assist in improving the final version of the Position Papers. The workshop provided a good opportunity for a solution-oriented dialogue among researchers, policy and decision makers, technocrats and renowned experts as well as concrete recommendations on the capacities to strengthen, how to build or strengthen them in order to efficiently and beneficially cooperate with the US for a sustainable development of the continent.
The following key stakeholders from across each of the six geographical regions attended the validation workshop:
· Government representatives;
· Regional Economic Communities;
· Civil Society Organizations;
· Private sector organizations;
· Academia, and
· Think tanks
Regional and continental bodies such as USAID, UNECA, AfDB, African Union Commission, UNDP and NEPAD were present.