The Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) is a Commission of the African Union (AU). It supports stability, peace, good governance, democracy, and human rights as the basis for inclusion, security, and the development of Africa and its people (African Union).
By Selima Terras
Topic: Preserving Peace and Security during Election Periods in Africa
Thirteen African states are holding national elections in 2021. Five of them (Chad, Ethiopia, Libya, Niger, and Somalia) are currently facing armed conflict, which significantly increases the chances of violence and abuse of power (African Centre for Strategic Studies). The already fragile state of some African countries makes it even more challenging to ensure a peaceful passage of power. The instability during election periods is mainly due to corruption, term limit circumvention and increased police brutality, which caused fifty-five deaths during the 2021 Ugandan elections alone (African Centre for Strategic Studies). The costs associated with electoral violence are high, with election violence having a critical impact on the electoral process, its outcome, and its legitimacy (ISS Africa). Ultimately, electoral violence not only jeopardises democracy on the continent, but also causes humanitarian crises that slows Africa’s socioeconomic progress (Nordic African Institute). The AU has put peace, security and democracy at the core of its 2063 agenda. In implementation of this vision, the AU deployed election observation missions most recently in August 2021 in Zambia to oversee the country’s elections. Although such initiatives provide a sense of security and stability to politically fragile states, they remain scarce and often neglect the most unstable countries.
At ALAMAU 2022, PAPS will discuss the necessary measures to prevent conflict and instability from emerging during election periods on the continent. The delegates will therefore be tasked with the responsibility of propelling the vision of “good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, and justice” towards a viable action plan (African Union).
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is the technical arm of the African Union (AU), adopted in 2002 by the AU to manage Africa’s development in the 21st century. NEPAD’s main objective is to eradicate poverty and place African countries on the path towards sustainable growth and development as individual nations and as a collective. Under economic integration, NEPAD seeks to advance industrialisation, develop markets, and facilitate cross-border infrastructure.
By Malik Mashigo
Topic: Leveraging Technology for the Movement of People, Goods, and Services Across Africa
Intra-African exports account for only 16.6% of total exports as of 2019. Africa has a combined GDP of $2 trillion, and yet only $166 billion of that output is retained within the continent. This loss of output from the continent arises from the difficulty to move people, goods, and services around Africa efficiently. A study by the World Bank points out the cost of transport in Africa is often greater than the value of goods transported. One of the factors behind this high cost of transport includes poor transport infrastructure, which has heavily affected Trans-African trade, with 53% of road infrastructure remaining unpaved (African Development Bank). Inefficiency at border crossings also significantly affects the current state of movement on the continent. It takes an average of 196 hours and $813 to export goods across a border in Africa, compared to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries that use an average of 15 hours and $186. The African Union (AU) has made efforts to tackle regional integration in Africa, with the initiation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, signed by 54 of 55 member states. One of the agreement’s mandates is to boost intra-African trade by developing policy frameworks to remove trade barriers and make movement across Africa more coherent. Other flagship projects outlined in the AU’s Agenda 2063 include an integrated high-speed train network, the African Passport and Free Movement of People, as well as the Single Air African Transport Market.
At the African Leadership Academy Model African Union 2022, delegates in this committee will debate on how to increase the efficiency of movement across Africa through cost-effective technological solutions, in line with the policy frameworks that underpin multilateral co-operations within the AU’s Agenda 2063.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a committee of the African Union (AU) whose main objective is to stimulate economic and social development in order to alleviate poverty in African countries. It does this by mobilizing and allocating resources for investments also providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts.
By Barakaeli Lawuo
Topic: Revolutionizing the Agro-Processing Sector for Economic Development in Africa
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 30-50% of food produced annually become post-harvest losses, leading to economic losses of more than $940 billion each year (Dalberg Advisors). Post-harvest losses refer to the degradation in both quantity and quality of food production from harvest to consumption. In Africa, the lack of cold chain facilities and other storage facilities for food, as well as insufficient knowledge on agro-processing techniques, contribute towards post-harvest losses. As of 2019, about 250 million people in African countries were highly undernourished, yet 1.3 billion tons of food produced each year does not reach consumers due to post-harvest losses (World Vision). This lost food could feed approximately 1.6 billion people annually (The Conversation).
According to the President of AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, each year Africa imports $35 billion worth of food that can be produced in the continent. AfDB estimates that the amount of food imported will rise to $110 billion by 2025 thus posing a great threat to the African economy. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the need for African countries to be self-sufficient in terms of food production & supply. In African countries, the establishment of Agro-processing industries has the potential of increasing food security and creating opportunities for farmers to increase their income from their crops.
At ALAMAU 2022, the committee will debate and propose resolutions for how the AfDB can provide knowledge and technical support to small & medium scale farmers in Africa to preserve food for future use. In doing so, we will increase the revenue of farmers and reduce the importation of food in African countries during natural disasters, economic turmoil, and political crises.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), founded in 1958, is the African branch of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The UNECA seeks to promote the socio-economic development of its member states and foster intra-regional integration. One of its core objectives is to develop macroeconomic and structural policy options to accelerate economic diversification and job creation.
By Mike Masamvu
Topic: Digital Industrialisation of African Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
The definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) varies amongst countries. Some of the metrics used to categorise a business as a MSME includes the enterprise’s total number of employees and the total turnover of the enterprise. According to the World Bank’s definition of MSMEs, a micro enterprise consists of one to nine employees, a small enterprise has ten to forty-nine employees, and a medium enterprise has fifty to 249 employees. MSMEs have the potential to create millions of jobs, which will in turn help to end poverty, achieve food security by promoting sustainable agriculture and crucially contribute to economic growth. Thus, MSMEs play a critical role in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In 2020, the African Union introduced the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030) to enhance digitally enabled socio-economic development whilst simultaneously promoting the achievement of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs. The extent to which Covid-19 negatively affected the MSMEs, however, is evidence of the lack of progress that has taken place to realise this strategy. Many MSMEs are no longer operational and millions of Africans lost their jobs. Sustainable solutions that enhance digital transform in the African MSMEs industries will thus be vital in boosting African economies in the post Covid-19 world and better prepare them for future economic recessions.
At ALAMAU 2022, the UNECA will develop strategies and action plans that will help put into practise existing policies and strategies to diversify African MSMEs through digital industrialisation.
The Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) is a commission in the African Union (AU). ARBE promotes sustainable environmental management and agricultural development to reinforce strategies and programs that aim to leverage agricultural and ecological growth in Africa.
By Saifeddine Lahmar
Topic: Tackling Climate Change to Protect Water Resources in Africa
Climate change is an essential factor driving water stress in Africa. According to the 22nd European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Morocco is likely to have a future decrease in surface water availability due to climate instability. The United Nations University states that by 2050, climate change will also deeply affect water supply in the rural areas of South Africa.
African governments seem to currently underestimate the gravity of climate change in the continent. Climate change has a severe impact on hydrological resources and systems, thus having fundamental socio-economic ramifications on resources that heavily depend on water security.
Climate change is increasing at an exponential rate and thus narrowing humanity’s access to freshwater supplies. This phenomenon thus places a severe burden on Africa’s development. To minimise the stress on water resources, the AU under Agenda 2063 initiated a project in 2013 setting up solar-powered and micro-irrigation that reduced water usage by up to 90%. Although these initiatives have been partially successful in the short term, their efficiency is debatable as they only tackle the symptoms of water insecurity, not the root cause, which is climate change.
Honouring the 20th Anniversary of the AU this committee is dedicated to revitalizing the continental strategies and goals set to combat this issue. Delegates will be discussing the root causes of climate change problems and putting forth possible solutions to address water stress in Africa.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) safeguards, upholds and interprets the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and reflects on individual complaints of Charter violations. The ACHPR is a quasi-judicial body that drafts proposals sent to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, which thereafter acts accordingly.
By Moshood Abiola
Topic: Eradicating Child Labour in Africa
Child labour is the illegal employment of children that dispossesses them of their childhood. It is harmful to children from a mental, physical, social, and moral perspective and is an infringement on their rights. According to the International Labour Organization’s 2016 global estimates of child labour, approximately one-fifth of all African children engage in some form of child work. In that year, there was an estimated total of 72 million child workers in Africa. Moreover, most child labour in Africa is unpaid.
The African Union (AU) Ten Year Continental Action Plan to eradicate child labour has been the most significant step in eradicating this issue continentally. Eleven African countries have been identified as ‘pathfinder countries’ under Alliance 8.7, which is a global partnership committed to eradicating child labour. This partnership, along with the universal ratification of Convention 182, was adopted to mobilise action against the worst forms of child labour. Many African countries have accordingly taken great strides in eliminating this issue, with progressive policies targeting perpetrators. However, fundamental problems remain. A case in point is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which adopted a revision to the Labour Code that raised the minimum age of work to eighteen. It is also liaising with the United Nations to investigate individuals accused of forcibly recruiting children, and initiated plans for reparations to former child soldiers. Despite the seemingly progressive measures taken to combat child labour, children in the DRC continue to engage in the worst forms of work, including forced mining and armed conflict. This is because of the significant humanitarian crisis in the DRC, high poverty levels, and a lack of enforcement by the DRC’s government. Many of these challenges are replicated in other African countries.
At ALAMAU 2022, delegates of the ACHPR will deliberate on effectively solving the issue of child labour in Africa.
The African Commission on Science and Technology (ACST) was established specifically for the African Leadership Academy Model African Union (ALAMAU). It is not an existing African Union (AU) committee, but it is modelled after the Science and Technology Division, which is largely focused on the creation of an African STEM Education policy and strategy.
By Mahmoud Wael
Topic: Establishing STEM Education in Africa for Technological Sustainability
It is evident that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is an important platform for preparing African youth for the challenges that lie ahead in a technologically advanced world. As reiterated by Babs Fafunwa, a Nigerian educationalist, “…science and technology have become an integral part of the world’s culture, and any country that overlooks this significant truism does so at its own peril.” The AU indicated its commitment to STEM education within Agenda 2063, which outlines a vision for a continent with a diverse and industrialised economy that is environmentally sustainable. The AU’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy for Africa also highlights science, technology, and innovation as a focal point for Africa’s socio-economic development and progress. STEM education is further valued in many national policies for its role in building human capital to attain these goals.
According to the African Development Bank, less than 25% of African higher education students choose STEM-related job sectors. As a result, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development confirms that there are fewer STEM abilities in the employment pool and fewer domestic STEM workers. Furthermore, African nations are lagging in contrast to the rest of the globe in its STEM education outputs. For example, only a few Sub-Saharan African (SSA) nations have taken part in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study assessments of secondary student attainment. Ghana, South Africa, and Botswana were, in fact, three of the four lowest-achieving countries in both mathematics and science in the 2011 examinations. Even the top performing SSA students received much lower grades than the worldwide average percentage.
To address the STEM skills deficit, the recent Africa 2063 Framework Document outlined an ambitious vision for an African Renaissance that has STEM at its core. By 2063, Africa will have “well-educated and competent individuals, supported by science, technology, and innovation for a knowledge society, and no kid misses school due to poverty….” (STEMpedia). At ALAMAU, delegates of the ACST will thus attempt to create a policy framework that can secure Africa’s bright STEM future, as envisioned by the AU’s Agenda 2063, to strive for long-term sustainable development.
The Peace and Security Council (PSC) is the decision-making committee of the African Union (AU) for conflict resolution. It aims to promote peace and security in the continent to ensure stable and continuous growth. The PSC prevents, manages, and resolves conflicts through its early warnings, diplomatic mediations, and interventions in response to crises in Africa.
By Saif Elmaleh
Topic: Leveraging Space Exploration for Conflict Mapping and Management
Conflict mapping is the process of gathering information about the events of a conflict to have a deeper understanding and accordingly an efficient plan for resolution. This process helps in identifying different parties of a conflict, their relative powers, the external forces affecting them, the chain of events, and further relevant information. According to No Peace Without Justice, conventionally inter-ethnic conflicts were mapped using testimonies and infantry intelligence. However, current conflicts might need an improved system of conflict mapping.
For many generations, Africa has suffered from inter-ethnic conflicts specifically that hinder development, regress the gross domestic product (GDP), and result in thousands of deaths and disabilities. Frontier Economics confirms that the 2013 civil war in South Sudan, for example, resulted in a drop of 15% in the GDP for 2014 and the United Nations established that the death rate was as high as 380,000. The same pattern has been repeated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Libya, and many other states. These inter-ethnic conflicts are difficult to map because they are civil wars. Unlike conventional interstate wars, they are hard to analyse, track their progress, and, as a result, solve using diplomacy.
The key to improving conflict mapping and management might exist in space exploration. From live satellite tracking and monitoring to enhanced communication systems, space technologies provide a wide range of tools that can help to track the different forces actively engaged in the conflict and in a timely manner, strengthen the response. For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science states that satellite imagery can monitor and warn of border conflicts. Overall, space provides endless opportunities to help achieve the fifth goal of the AU’s 2063 agenda for a Peaceful and Secure Africa.
At ALAMAU 2022, delegates of the PSC will discuss how the different applications of space technology can be used to enhance conflict mapping and management. How can African nations foster space exploration on the continent? How can we implement these tools? What are the limitations that might prevent or delay this implementation and how can we overcome these challenges?
The Press Corps is a group of young journalists charged with the responsibility of recording and disseminating information on the events during the African Leadership Academy Model African Union (ALAMAU) conference. This committee will also be responsible for conducting press conferences and interviews with members of the ALAMAU community, including the organising team, delegates, advisors, and guests. Delegates will take up the role of recording the proceedings of the conference through reporting, photojournalism, and documentation.
By Joy Ezechikamnayo
Topic: Empowering Trans-African Media Institutions for Continental Growth
The media plays a crucial role in the formation of individual, group, and global ideas. As such, media institutions and their content need to be circulated across the continent. A pressing issue, however, is the lack of media liberty. According to the 2021 Press Freedom Index in Africa, Eritrea and Djibouti land the lowest in Africa in terms of freedom of the press. National media entities require freedom of the press to publish information that is free from bias and accurately represents the people. Consequently, private media institutions have a crucial role to play. Private news agencies such as allafrica.com and The Continent have succeeded in broadcasting news from diverse locations within Africa. The integration of information from around the continent into local news in various regions of Africa will serve to promote circulation of information, influence the exchange of ideas, and improve connectivity.
At ALAMAU 2022, The Press Corps will seek to explore how media institutions can be empowered, in various capacities, to support each other and enhance connectivity towards promoting development.
The Specialised Technical Committee on Education (SPCE) was created specifically for the African Leadership Academy Model African Union (ALAMAU). It is not presently a committee of the African Union (AU), but it aligns with the ALAMAU 2022 theme to propel vision into action. The committee is replicating a specialised body of the AU entrusted with speeding up the standard and access of quality education for all those in need.
By Fareedah Imam
Topic: Improving Public Education for the Next African Generation
In his research article for Groundup, education researcher Nic Spaull declared that “…the longer children remain out of the schooling system, the higher the likelihood of permanent dropouts.”
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed multiple flaws in Africa’s education sector, specifically regarding the insufficiency of resources to take learning outside of the classroom to the digital world. Though this is relevant to the overall public education system, it was especially challenging for those utilising the rural public education system. According to the September 2020 survey ‘The Effect of Covid-19 on Education in Africa and its Implications for the use of Technology,’ the pandemic worsened rural education as poor students enrolled in public school were virtually left to their own devices. While the pandemic exacerbated underdevelopment of the rural public education system across Africa, the issues existed before. This is exemplified in Ethiopia, where in 2011, 36% of rural children were out of school compared to 13% of urban children in the country. This disparity in rural and urban education is replicated across the continent.
The reality of rural public education is that it reflects the poor standard of living that surrounds it. With underpaid teachers and little to no funding from the government, African states urgently need to take action to improve the standard of education for all students; creating holistic spaces for future leaders to grow. Exceeding the present standard of rural public education will further Africa’s growth in the 21st century, creating equal opportunities for development to students and consequently, improving the overall quality of life in their communities and, henceforth, the continent.
At ALAMAU 2022, delegates will focus on what qualifies as quality basic education on the continent, how to advance rural education, and how to motivate students and their families to trust the public education system overall.
The Pan African Parliament (PAP) serves as a platform for African states to deliberate on critical issues facing the continent and subsequently work towards solving them. The Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs within the PAP is especially responsible for facilitating and advising on matters pertaining to health and social affairs.
By Bianca Kalinaki
Topic: Advancing Mental Healthcare on the Continent
According to Lancet Digital Health, “the COVID-19 pandemic has not only exacerbated mental illnesses among patients with a history of mental health conditions, the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 can also precipitate mental illnesses in individuals without any previous history.” Indeed, the lack of social security and support has led to the deterioration of the mental health of thousands of Africans and increased their risk of conditions such as anxiety and depression. Prior to the pandemic, the state of mental healthcare on the continent was just as poor, with Lancet Global Health citing that 46% of African countries lacked standalone mental health policies. Furthermore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) notes the region’s insufficient mental healthcare capacity, with only 1.4 mental health workers per 100,000 people, compared with the global average of 9.0 per 100,000.
Taking the case of South Africa into account, the WHO noted the public sector’s stark underfunding and subsequent shortage of mental health professionals, with just “0.4 public sector psychiatrists in SA.” Prior to the pandemic, a study entitled ‘Mental Health and COVID-19 in South Africa’ showed that “1 in 6 South Africans already suffered from anxiety, depression, or a substance use disorder.”
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for greater development of the mental healthcare system in Africa. At ALAMAU 2022, the Pan-African Parliament will therefore discuss how to develop Africa’s mental health care capacity, with a focus on increasing their availability and destigmatising mental illness on the continent.