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Cablegate: Au Economic Commissioner Discusses African

VZCZCXRO1220
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #2545 3001303
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271303Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6622
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7965

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 002545

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/FO AND AF/RSA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PREL AU
SUBJECT: AU ECONOMIC COMMISSIONER DISCUSSES AFRICAN
INTEGRATION, PARTNERSHIP WITH U.S.

1. (U) On October 20, USAU Ambassador Michael Battle met with
Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba, the African Union (AU) Commissioner
for Economic Affairs. Mkwezalamba began by explaining that
the Economic Affairs Commission is organized into three
divisions: (1) Economic and Policy Research; (2) Economic
Integration and Regional Cooperation; and (3) Private Sector
Development. The first division works on harmonizing the
African continent's macro-economic policies with an eye
toward creating an African Central Bank by 2018 and
instituting a single, African currency in the 2018-2020
timeframe. Before this, however, the AU plans to set up an
African monetary institute.

2. (U) Discussing the division of Economic Integration and
Regional Cooperation, Mkwezalamba noted that his team works
with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa, and
coordinates with other AU departments. While a number of
RECs have already created free trade zones within their
regions, the goal is to reduce tariffs to zero and create
free-trade areas across the African continent. Turning to
the private sector, Mkwezalamba said that his department has
drafted a private sector development plan, which has yet to
be implemented. Given the AU Chairperson's emphasis on the
need to see clear results on the ground from AU initiatives,
the Economic Affairs division has devoted significant time to
private sector reform.

3. (SBU) Citing the importance of Africa to the future of the
world, Ambassador Battle suggested connecting the AU's
Economic Affairs Commission with the U.S. Department of
Commerce in order to deepen the relationship between the AU
and the U.S. Mkwezalamba said that there had been
discussions within the commission of establishing a
partnership with the U.S. In fact, his department
coordinates dialogue between Africa and the European Union
(EU), and would like to formalize a similar partnership with
the U.S. Mkwezalamba specifically said that his department
"could benefit from your experience with the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)." He also discussed the idea of
having a central monetary policy and commented that his
division could also learn from the U.S. Federal Reserve
System.

4. (SBU) Mkwezalamba said that Africa's integration program
was built on the European model, and covers economic, social,
educational, agricultural and cultural areas. Interestingly,
he also said that, eventually, integration would include the
political realm to achieve a "United States of Africa,"
though this is a long time away.
MEECE

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