The Community of Sahel-Saharan State (CEN-SAD) and AfCFTA
We discussed the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), one of the eight RECs recognized by the African Union, and how it relates to the AfCFTA in the previous edition. In this edition, we will look at the Sahel-Saharan State Community (CEN-SAD) and AfCFTA.
The Community of Sahel-Saharan State was established on 4th February 1998 in Tripoli (Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) during the summit meeting set in motion by Brother Colonel Muammar Al Kaddafi, leader of the Great Al Fateh Revolution, in presence of the Heads of State of Mali, Chad, Niger, Sudan and a representative of the President of Burkina Faso.
CEN-SAD had 29 members, with six founding members (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Sudan), and the remaining members (Central African Republic, Eritrea, Nigeria, Djibouti, Gambia, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Somalia, Tunisia, Benin, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Comoros, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania. While the following countries are no longer members due to their failure to sign the revised CEN-SAD Treaty in 2013, (Kenya, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Cape Verde).
CED-SAD became a Regional Economic Community during the 36th ordinary session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, held in Lomé (Republic of Togo) from 4th to 12th July 2000. It became an observer at the UN General Assembly under Resolution A/RES/56/92.
The community has a partnership agreement with many regional and international organizations with the aim of promoting common and shared action in political, cultural, economic, and social fields. The establishment of the union was based on the implementation of a community development plan that complements the local development plans of member states.
To ensure the removal of all restrictions hampering the integration of the member countries the following necessary measures were adopted
1. The promotion of external trade through an investment policy in member state
2. The increase of means of land, air, and maritime transport and communication among member states and the execution of common projects.
3. The same right, advantages, and obligations granted to their own citizens to nationals of the signatory countries in conformity with the provisions of their respective constitutions.
4. The harmonization of educational, pedagogical, scientific, and cultural systems of the various cycles of education.
And these have ensured;
1. Free movement of persons, capitals, and interests of nationals of member states;
2. Right of establishment, ownership, and exercise of economic activity;
3. Free trade and movement of goods, commodities, and services from member states.
Following the establishment of the CEN-SAD, the primary goal of the organization is to promote economic, cultural, political, and social integration by establishing a comprehensive economic union and eliminating all obstacle impeding the unity of its member states.
The African Union (AU) recognizes eight regional trading blocs and CEN-SAD is one of the eight and the largest of all the regional blocs. All but two of the Economic Communities of West African State (ECOWAS) and all but one of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) are members of the CEN_SAD.
For the reason of the multiplicity of memberships, its performance vis-à-vis other RECs cannot be easily configured. It suffices to say that the unique composition is bound to be an interesting feature of the ensuing inter-REC negotiations.
According to the Africa Regional Integration Index (ARII) CEN-SAD records a low level of integration and performs poorly on the productivity and infrastructural dimensions and fares relatively well on the free movement of people. Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Morocco are CEN-SAD most integrated countries.
The AfCFTA will create an integrated African market of 1.2 billion people which would make it the world’s biggest single market for goods and services by number of countries. In fact, the agreement aims at removing tariffs on 97% of imported goods from member states.
- “CEN SAD”. African Union, accessed 9th October 2022.
- “Community of Sahel–Saharan States (CEN–SAD) – Mapping African Regional Cooperation”. European Council on Foreign Relations, accessed 10th October 2022.
- “CEN-SAD: Community of Sahel–Saharan States”. Africa Regional Integration Index, accessed 10th October 2022.
- “Untangling Africa’s mixed bag of regional organisations”. ISS Africa, accessed 11th October 2022.
- “Community of Sahel-Saharan States”. Wikipedia, accessed 11th September 2022.
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