Tana Forum Recap Note

Points as Presented by Dr. Mehari Taddele Maru

¬ In the spirit of the foundational intention of the Forum –I will skip formalities:

Distinguished participants
Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning!
This morning I have found out that I have lost all the notes I have taken yesterday for this Recap!
Only one line remained: And it reads: no more Uncle Sam. What President Museveni said about Uncle Sam that President Trump said all countries are free and the USA will only follow its national interest and will never impose any values on any other country.
But this has to be taken with seriously as a cautionary note. This particular Uncle Sam is the most unpredictable of all uncles we had before:” He may not ACT on what he says, He may not Say much about what he acts upon.

On a serious note:
¬ The message from the President Museveni is clear and loud: Our internal situation is more fundamental in determining our fate as a continent and as African people. Populist politics is a local act, but often with a global impact. As indicated in the report by President Obasanjo: the implications about the rise of Tump and Trumpisim are huge not only for Africa but even for China and Russia, both of whom have more power and leverage than we do.
¬ One clear implication is the fact that populism and extreme nationalism of the ‘America First’ kind, are now no longer on the fringes of ideology. It is now in the main stream, endorsed in the USA—one of the world’s great democracies.
¬ Nationalist populist movements are not what we want in Africa:
¬ Populist political discourse– that stirs the blood, feeds politics of hate, politics of resentment, politics of fear – Politics that feeds on emotional reaction, not on rational discourse is and has always been a serious challenge for Africa.
¬ Populism deflects meager resources and energy from the delivery of basic legitimately expected services toward emotional and symbolic political discourse.
¬ Populism deflates democratic ideals attached to common humanity and focuses on ‘us’ versus them.
¬ In Africa, we’ve had enough of populist declarations that never delivered, particularly in the1960s, and 70s when the Cold War was at its height.
¬ Populism rarely delivers! Nationalism never delivers! In governance, it is by far better to promise less and deliver more than promising a lot and delivering little!
¬ One unintended beneficial consequence in the rise of Trump is that America is now searching for its deep soul and its Democratic Institutions are being tested. We witnessed the daring nature of judges and the judiciary at work! Also with the protests of many kinds under different banners!
¬ Europe too is doing its own share of soul searching–we have seen the election results of Austria and the Netherlands–we will see Frances elections results soon!

I thought one of the key messages from yesterday was:
¬ Deliver, Deliver, Deliver on our promises!
¬ Implementation, implementation of our hundreds of norms are already set!
¬ BUT if we leave our policies when we depart from Bole airport–how could African capitals know about and implement these hundreds of normative frameworks
The alpha and omega of implementation are the responsibility of the Member States
¬ Maybe the AU and the RECs need to go to call the MSs to Addis for another norm setting session.
¬ Mining vision was mentioned yesterday–it has been adopted by AU policy organs
¬ I believe that is a major reason why the book by Greg Mills and President Obasanjo is important –as it focuses on “how” …. and the “how” is mainly about implementation and skills–the “what” which focuses on knowledge is more or less clearly set out under the AU and REC normative frameworks

Governance failure as the main reason for turning natural resources into cures in Africa:
¬ I like the word ‘governance’ because Governance is about Policy, Strategy, implementation and evaluation, whereas Management is limited to the execution of predetermined policies
¬ Governance needs a normative framework, an institutional framework, collaborative platforms and financial capability
¬ Self-serving elites and a rent-seeking political economy turn the blessings of nature’s resources into a curse by restricting developmental benefits of natural resource governance
¬ Nature of state needs to be transformed into an agent of on human security, which requires transformation from its current status as an agent of regime security
¬ The platforms of political, economic and social forces are not democratic, but are sectarian ethnic, religious, or regional markers and/or are rackets for amassing personal resources
¬ International actors and power imbalances require the means to ensure the accountability of these actors, particularly the big, the good, bad and ugly
¬ Primary responsibility for good governance resides in the state
¬ There is a leadership deficit: the need for frank and open dialogue and the freedom to be critical while being respectful and civil
The Transformational role of Agriculture in Africa
¬ There is a particular need to revive agriculture in regions where it has been neglected and to ensure it is not neglected in those countries heading toward industrialization and the establishment of a manufacturing economy.
¬ Integrity in African governance is important and can be achieved through education, civic education in particular, and reliance on foreign know-how derived from the world’s successful democracies
¬ Quality education and the kind of education matter–particularly in terms of the values and skill sets needed in addition to the pursuit of knowledge

Youth and Urban Insurrection
–I forgot which president said it, but one of them did.
“If we do not take care of the youth, they will take care of us!”
¬ Migration is driven by the gap between ideal or aspired to living conditions and actual living conditions
¬ Street Protests are a revived form of expressing powerlessness and frustration
¬ Civil wars, mainly in the form of rural based insurrections, often turn into urban insurrections
¬ Mega trends matter: Mega cities require good governance and efficient service delivery
¬ The Climate change and Security nexus demands a special focus on Water security, Food Security and Energy Security
Empowerment of the democratic citizenry, not only as passive victims but as Key actors in the quest for solutions
¬ Empowered democratic citizenry: The examples of good governance of natural resources: Norway and Botswana, and even those without large natural resources: the key empowered democratic/not sectarian citizenry, cherishing creative and innovative   minds –countries
¬ Even if you have good regulatory and enforcement mechanisms without an empowered democratic citizenry–the fundamental problems cannot be solved
¬ With empowered of the citizenry, even weak regulatory and enforcement mechanisms will fundamentally work
¬ Natural resources governance needs further discussion as does human resources and the capabilities of our people
Filling the Accountability, Transparency Participation Gap, the emphasis is on regulatory and enforcement mechanisms
¬ The focus is on delivery and the implementation of established norms
¬ Decentralization requires the power and capability to deliver required essential services
¬ There is a legal standing for community ownership
Yesterday, the Organizers instructed me to be very brief, partly because the Secretariat will provide a Report of the Forum after the review process
Yesterday I decided to honor this instruction: The main reason was a personal one, which I’ll share with you.:  Unless one is a head of state, a speaker needs to leave the podium before the audience becomes tired of him and leaves him standing alone!

So, I want to add some points that need further discussion:
1. I am not an economist by profession, but rather by obsession- I thought we forgot Solar, wind and geothermal energy as the most important, cost-effective and renewable resources in Africa?
2. There are discrepancies on narratives–Creating and Owning the correct narrative: not only the narrative about extraction and use but also the narrative around natural resources are out of control –victimization, loss, conflicts, corruption, and hopelessness need further discussion
3. Minimal Impacts of some well thought out narratives on global actors have become almost insignificant, why? And how can this be changed? – We need to address fundamental political economics, power relations with external actors, corruption and our limited capabilities
4. What about the Governance of PMSCs in natural resources governance and human rights? Where are we in terms of governing these PMSCs? In Africa, due to Constituency differences and motivational gaps, we do not have an AU normative Framework on this important aspect of governance
5. Transboundary natural resources and Border governance are a continuing obstacle.: there is a need to transform trans-boundary resources into integrative opportunities, but first, colonial borders need to be changed into integrative borders
6. Necessary State capabilities require predictive, preventive, responsive, adaptive approaches to climate change and the fate of natural resources
7. Maritime security and the blue economy will depend on the capability of the state, its security and governance.

Thank you!