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  • Can Africa Trade Its Way to Peace?

    Former assistant secretary of state for Africa Herman Cohen writes in The New York Times:

    After his inauguration, Barack Obama should appoint a special negotiator who would propose a framework for an economic common market encompassing Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. This agreement would allow the free movement of people and trade. It would give Rwandan businesses continued access to Congolese minerals and forests. The products made from those raw materials would continue to be exported through Rwanda. The big change would be the payment of royalties and taxes to the Congolese government. For most Rwandan businesses, those payments would be offset by increased revenues.

    In addition, the free movement of people would empty the refugee camps and would allow the densely populated countries of Rwanda and Burundi to supply needed labor to Congo and Tanzania.

    If such a common market could be negotiated, Rwanda and Congo would no longer need to finance and arm militias to wage war over the natural resources in Congo’s eastern provinces. Without government backing, the fighting groups would either dissolve on their own or be integrated into legitimate armed forces.

    If undertaken with enough will and persistence, an American-led mediation to create a common market in East Africa could end the war and transform the region.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Can Africa Trade Its Way to Peace?

    1. Wm Johnson, St.Peter says:

      Pie in the sky…

      No one ever counts the pure Bloody Mindedness of people in conflicts. Economic dependency has never stopped neighbors from trying to cut each others throats. In most cases it's managed to make resentments and their violent outcomes worse.

      The only thing to end conflict is a clear winner. Only from that can peace & prosperity grow. And location doesn't matter. Africa, South Eastern Europe, South Asia… Festering wounds only heal after being drained.


    2. Haragakiza Nkoribiga says:

      I beg Mr Hermann Cohen no longer trade the war in my native region. We are human beings. I don't he would be happy if we were in position of funding war in hi America, USA. Now we can know and understand who orchestered genocide in our region. Any human plan is temporary in this world. May Cohen understand that all he is supporting will have and end one day.

    3. B. Deogratias, Grez- says:

      I acknowledge that Cohen's paper has done a true (although partial) description of the conflict in the great lakes.

      But the solution the author suggests is illogical, cynical and silly.

      The author recognizes that this conflict has made more then 5 millions death in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the most killing conflict since the World War II!). Armand Dedecker even said it is a kind of "genocid".

      But Cohen does't suggest any justice. So for him, as far as Rwanda's economic interest is concerned, congolese people can still be killed, raped, etc. That's "well-done" for Mr. Cohen.

      Does Congo has the right to choose its economic partners and conclude contracts with them? (Cohen's answer is "no" because he confuses national economic policy with "paying royalties").

      Can Congo has its own immigration policy? ("no", for the "specialist", because D.R.Congo must only receive the demographic surplus of its neighbours). It is clear, for Mr Cohen, and this seems to be the opinion of Western countries, D.R.Congo doesn't have right to manage itself. Western countries must continue plundering congolese wealth via Rwanda. I don't disregard the interest of having economic cooperation, but this is definitely not the solution for peace, if the alternative to non cooperation is war. And Cohen knows it. Should he read the history of WW II to see the way peace was built in Europe?

      I hope this kind of awkward and reasoning will not guide the Obama administration policy in Africa.

      I am preparing a more detailed reply to Mr Cohen. I am sure it want be accepted for publication in western medias. But I will find other ways to submit.

      Thank you.

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