- February 23rd marked the first meeting of the newly formed General Assembly of Drought Resilience. The group was formed after the meeting of the heads of state of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in September 2011 that saw the need to address the repeating droughts plaguing the IGAD community of states. The meeting was attended by over 200 participants including the African Bank for Development and ministers from IGAD members and senior representatives from non-state actors and international organizations. A loan was signed between the African Development Bank, The Government of Ethiopia and the Secretariat of the IGAD. Phase I of the Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program is going to be rolled out to Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and the IGAD secretariat and is estimated around $125 million.
- Jacob Zuma had been accused of allowing Robert Mugabe dissolve the South African Development Community’s Tribunal. Former Chief Justice of the SADC Tribunal Ariranga Pillay has said that the president of South Africa had the resources to oppose the actions of the Zimbabwean president in suspending the activity of the Tribunal after the government of Mugabe was found guilty of expelling, the white farmer, Mike Campbell of his property without compensation and in turn had violated the SADC treaty. Pillay notes that it was Mugabe who proposed the establishment of the Tribunal that would oblige its members to “to act in accordance with human rights, democracy and the rule of law.” Pillay notes that the disbandment of the Tribunal leavel the citizens and corporations of its member states vulnerable to state abuse. Nicole Fritz of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre has commented that if it wasn’t for the Campbell case as one of it’s first to solve the Tribunal might have survived to consolidate its decision making power. Land reforms in Zimbabwe are a hot topic. Laurie Nathan, of the Centre of Mediation in Africa, has added that SADC had been opposed of transferring their power to a supranational body because their own sovereignty was fragile.
- Western African Economies (ECOWAS) have recorded a 6.9% growth in 2012 compared to the year 2011. The growth was mainly attributed to the improvements in the petroleum and mining industries and due to enough rainfall. According to the organization, Sierra Leone recorded the greatest growth, at 18.3% while Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, achieved the estimated 8%. Mali recorded a recession due to political circumstances.
- Maghreb Union celebrated its 24th anniversary at the end of February yet many believe it has failed to live to its dreams. UMA Shura Council Secretary-General Dr Said Mekedem has stressed the importance of calling a summit to address some issues of the union as well as implement several reforms that will ‘activate’ the community. One of these reforms is the foundation of a Maghreb parliament with broad powers that would have legislators elected through direct populist vote. The parliament would have weight and force at the executive level. Another reform is the implementation of a Maghreb free trade zone. Inter-regional trade is estimated at only 3% while trade between EU and Maghreb states is around 65%. A study done in 2009 has shown that economic integration would generate profits of around 3.7 billion in investments and 2.2 billion in direct foreign investment.