About UsMember CouncilsContact Us
   
Final Communiqué of Meeting of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Africa and the Arab world Manama, Bahrain 27th- 28th October 2010

1.0            Under the auspices of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab world (ASSECAA) in collaboration with  the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industries, a meeting of the Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Africa and the Arab world was held in Manama, Bahrain from 27 – 28 October 2010

 Venue – The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry Complex.

 

Communiqué 

2.0 Present

Delegates from the following countries attended the meeting:

i)                   Republic of Algeria

ii)                Federal Republic of Nigeria

iii)              State of Qatar

iv)              Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

v)                Kingdom of Bahrain

vi)              Islamic Republic of Mauritania

vii)           Kingdom of Morocco

viii)         Jamahiriya of Libya

ix)              Republic of South Africa

x)                Republic of Yemen

xi)              Republic of Zimbabwe

xii)           Republic of Sudan

xiii)         Republic of Senegal

xiv)         Republic of Iraq

 

2.1                        Observers

 

i)                   Representatives of the Gulf Research Centre from UAE

ii)                Delegates from World Eminence Chinese Businessmen Association.

3.0Opening Ceremony

3.1 The honourable Minister of Industry and Commerce of Bahrain, Dr Hassan A. Fakro who represented HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain in his opening speech welcomed the delegates to Bahrain and assured the meeting that the leadership and government of Bahrain was very pleased to welcome the delegation to Bahrain for what the country felt was a very important meeting that would discuss ways of bolstering Arab and African trade and economic relations.

 

3.2 He observed that the meeting was timely as it had come shortly after the Arab and African summit held in Libya, which discussed among other issues, energy cooperation, water resources, investment in infrastructure, food security, agriculture coordination and trade.

 

3.3 He observed that the African and Arab countries faced common challenges as

developing countries.  He therefore urged that the meeting of chambers of commerce and industries in Africa and the Arab world should find ways and means of instituting strong economic cooperation between the two regions.

 

4.0 Dr. Issam Fakhro, the Chairman of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his welcome address said he was very pleased to host this very important 2nd Meeting of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and also reminded the audience that the meeting was held under the Royal patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the Prime Minister who had always shown support since the beginning of the preparation work for the very important meeting.

 

4.1 He also referred to the positive climate, Bahrain was experiencing at the time with the successful parliamentary election on the Island and emphasized the interest the political leadership in Bahrain had always shown in regional as well as international cooperation at all levels.  He also thanked ASSECAA for choosing Bahrain as a venue for the 2nd Meeting of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Africa and the Arab world and promised every support for the meeting.

 

5.0 The Secretary-General of ASSECAA, Mr. Livinus I. Osuji delivered the welcome address in which he recalled the resolutions of the previous meeting held in South Africa from 25th to 27th October 2008. He highlighted that ASSECAA was formed in response to the prevailing world phenomena.  Countries are aligning into regional trade and associations to expand internal market, increase productivity and create employment within their regions and thus to have a strong bargaining position in the globalised world market. He restated the objectives of the Association which include strengthening of socio-economic, political and cultural cooperation between the two regions of Africa and the Arab world and the reduction of poverty.

 

5.1 He informed the forum that if an enduring and functional framework was  established,  a resilient and strong platform for economic development of the two regions, to enable them withstand the onslaught of globalisation and attract to the region, the attention of international investors and technology, would be created. 

 

6.0Papers presented

 

6.1 The following papers were presented at the meeting:

    i) The Necessity of Regional Economic Cooperation in a Globalised world Economic Order by Dr. Jaafar Al-Sahegh

ii) Entrepreneurial Development Industrial Programme (EDIP) the Bahrain Model by Dr. Hashim Sulaiman Hussein, UNIDO representative in Bahrain

iii) Trade Relationships as a Contributor to Socio-Political and Cultural  Cooperation among Nations by Dr. Ndubuisi M. Nwaru from Nigeria.

 

7.0Committees’ Deliberations

 

The meeting resolved into Committees to ensure deeper deliberations on its agenda and provide sharper recommendations on the way forward.

 

 

7.1 Committee One

 

Madam Lamia Samie, from Iraq was the Chairman of the Committee.

 

7.1.1    Membership

 

a.     Iraq

b.     Nigeria

c.      South Africa

 

7.1.2  Terms of Reference

 Committee one discussed the following:

a.     Processes of dissemination of Business information in the regions of Africa and the Arab world

b.     Trade Exhibitions in the two regions to bring together the businesses and expose opportunities in all aspects of investment.

c.      Workshops for the creation of awareness on economic development in the regions

d.     Exchange of  business visits

e.      Date and place of next meeting.

 

7.1.3     Recommendations

After deliberations, the following recommendations were made by the Committee:

i.       Establishment of a centre for information gathering and studies on all African and Arab countries including investment opportunities. Embassies of African and Arab countries can be used for the purpose.

ii.     Arab and African countries should give facilities and privileges in order to attract investors.

iii.  Countries should put in place mechanisms to enhance the exchange of trade between Africa and Arab world.

iv.  Exhibitions should be organized to promote indigenous industries in the two regions thereby enhancing investment opportunities.

v.     The committee agrees that organization of workshops would assist in the creation of awareness among the public on economic development in the two regions.

vi.  There should also be good investment and trade environments which includes privileges like tax breaks and exemptions and political stability in Africa and the Arab world to attract investors.

vii.   Business exchange visits should be encouraged to enable the business men compare notes on their activities and also on investment opportunities existing in other countries. This would also include tourism programmes.

viii. Decision on the date and venue of next meeting has to be taken by the plenary. But the committee recommends that the meeting be held annually.

The recommendations were adopted nemine contradicente.

7.2 Committee Two

Mr. Hassan Al-Khabous, from Yemen was the Chairman of the Committee. 

7.2.1  Membership

Members of the Committee were:

i)                   Bahrain

ii)                Libya

iii)              Mauritania

iv)              Senegal

v)                Jordan

vi)              South Africa

vii)           Yemen

7.2.2  Terms of Reference

The Committee discussed the following:

a.     Investment opportunities in the regions

b.     Processes of cooperation investment and incentives to foreign investors

c.      Resource availability in the region

d.     Funding of the next Conference

e.      Regional employment policies.

7.2.3 Recommendations

The Committee recommended that the Secretariat of ASSECAA should:

(i)  prepare a data base about the investment opportunities and policies in the two regions

(ii) continue to organise the Meeting of Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Africa and the Arab world

(iii)  organise conferences for businessmen in the region

(iv)  in cooperation with the Chambers of Commerce and Industries   make available investment guides to assist the investors to invest in these countries

(v)  governments’ investment promotion institutions  should be invited to future Conferences/Meetings in order to coordinate the efforts.

(vi)  in order to enhance participation in the activities of ASSECAA and Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Africa and the Arab world, enough resources should be made available by asking the local, regional and international business firms to sponsor these events

(vii)  make labour and human resources policies attractive to foreign   investments by training and re-training.

The recommendations were adopted nemine contradicente.

7.3 Committee Three

Committee three was chaired by Mr. Mohammed Abdul Saeed from Yemen. 

7.3.1 Membership

 

Members of the Committee were:

i.                   Yemen

ii.                 South Africa

iii.              Zimbabwe

iv.              Nigeria

v.                 Sudan

7.3.2 Terms of Reference

The Committee discussed the following:

a.     Committee to draft appropriate Treaty for Trade Cooperation between Africa and the Arab world

b.     Business laws and regulations among countries

c.      Indigenization, privatization and nationalization of business ventures and prospects for regional economic cooperation

d.     Tariff regimes and local products

e.      Waivers for regional products.

7.3.3 Recommendations

The Committee recommended as follows:

i.                   That the meeting should accept and direct ASSECAA Secretariat to circulate the draft Treaty to all countries in Africa and the Arab world.

ii.                 That the draft should be a document which the Meetings of Chambers of Commerce and Industry can focus on and work towards its improvement in the course of the years ahead.

iii.              That a Committee of legal draftsmen be set up to technically redraft the Treaty while it is being studied by different countries.

iv.              That the Committee should be funded by ASSECAA.

v.                 That ASSECAA Secretariat should study further issues of business laws, such as indigenisation, tariff regimes and waivers in view of the provisions of the WTO agreements.

The recommendations were adopted nemine contradicente

7.4 Resolutions

The 2nd Meeting of the Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Africa and the Arab world, held in Manama, Bahrain,

OBSERVING that the historical and geographical ties that link Africa and the Arab world form an inseparable bond of co-existence,

OBSERVING that the two regions are endowed with abundant natural resources and promising opportunities for strong trade links,

OBSERVING that the two regions share undeniably strong desires to build all round formidable trade relationships,

RECOGNISING the need for a centre for information gathering and studies on all African and Arab countries including investment opportunities,

RECOGNISING the important role of exhibitions at regional level, workshop on the economic development of the region and exchange of business visits,

DETERMINED to vigorously continue the search for a process of strong economic cooperation between Africa and the Arab world,

CONSCIOUS of the need to ensure wider participation by the African and Arab countries in the Meetings of the Chambers of Commerce and Industries organised by ASSECAA,

CONVINCED of the need to guide the discussions at future meetings to a set objective of creating an economic bloc for the two regions, 

CONSCIOUS of the fact that similar institutions have sprung up in other regions of the world,

CONSCIOUS of the fact that these other regions through their regional economic/trade blocs are strengthened in their participation in the globalised world socio-economic and political order,

RESOLVED:

a)     That the draft Treaty prepared by ASSECAA Secretariat be adopted as a document which the meeting of the Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Africa and the Arab world should focus on perfecting.

b)    That ASSECAA Secretariat should circulate the draft to all countries in Africa and the Arab world for their study, amendment and return to the Secretariat in the course of the years that will lead to its ratification.

c)     That a Committee of  international law experts and legal draftsmen be set up to study and improve the document while it is being studied by different countries

d)    That the Committee should be funded by ASSECAA.

e)     That the Meeting of Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Africa and the Arab world should be organised every year.

f)      That local, regional and international business firms should be consulted to sponsor the Meetings of the Chambers of Commerce and Industries.

g)     That ASSECAA Secretariat should prepare a database on the investment opportunities and policies in the two regions.

h)    That government investment promotion agencies should be invited to future Meetings of the Chambers of Commerce and Industries to start co-ordination of efforts.

i)       That Exhibition, Workshops and Business exchange visits should be programmed and included in future activities of the Meeting of Chambers of Commerce and Industries.

8.0Date and Place of Next Meeting 

The delegates from Morocco offered and the meeting accepted that the Meeting of Chambers of Commerce and Industries in 2011 be held in Rabat, Morocco.  The date shall be agreed between the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Morocco and the Secretariat of ASSECAA.

 

9.0Adjournment

 

The meeting adjourned sine die at 7:00pm.

 

General Secretariat

ASSECAA

28 October, 2010