Working for Africa: The SEMAU experience

The Model African Union is known as a competition in which student delegates represent a selected country and develop an understanding of African issues from an African perspective. It is a simulation of the African Union Summit which occurs twice a year in Africa. At this 20th annual Southeast Model African Union, I had the opportunity to represent the beautiful Republic of Niger in the Economic Matters Committee. We convened in the afternoon of November 3, 2016, at the Georgia Centre at UGA, to discuss two main agenda topics:

  • Promoting a balanced and inclusive economic growth: aspirations and implementation
  • Promoting a sustainable ecosystem and climate resilient economies: aspirations and implementation

The objective of this session was to debate and engage in diplomatic principles and standards on major economic issues currently harming the development of African countries. Some of these issues include concerns about water resources and agricultural development, management of mineral resources, debt relief, energy and development, multilateral trade negotiations, and food security.

While in session, the Delegation of Niger recognized that despite a sustained agricultural productivity growth, a large number of households continue to face food insecurity and malnutrition problems due to on-site effects of soil degradation and the mismanagement of revenues from the exportation of the continent’s natural resources. At this point, it was clear that our challenge would not only be that of enhancing our agricultural production to meet the increased food demands of the expanding population, but also to focus on the judicious use of soils in order to promote a sustained productivity in the foreseeable future.

We also fought for the implementation of a tax on the total revenue from natural and agricultural resources exportation which will be deposited and managed at the level of the African Union through an African Fund for Development. The funds would then be distributed back across the continent to support integration-related projects which will lead to the inclusive economic growth of the continent. By promoting this resolution, we wanted to highlight the need for an inclusive collaboration among countries by “giving what they own for the benefit of the continent!” I learned a lot from other students. They all came up with brilliant ideas. For me, this was the most interesting moment of this experience as it teaches you how to interact with people with different views in order to find a consensual solution that will satisfy not only one’s interest but the interest of a larger majority, the interest of one continent.

During the competition, I had the honor of being promoted by the jury as a “Parliamentarian Dais”. As such, my role was to ensure the respect of the rules and proceedings during debates and advise the Chair on various procedural issues. I also had the opportunity to fill this role during the General Assembly of Heads of State and Government on November 5, 2016. I have always been passionate about International Affairs and I am a strong believer of “A better Africa, By Africans, and For Africans”. Therefore, I am so thankful to the Dean Rusk International Law Center for allowing us to represent the Law School in such important event. Finally, I really enjoyed being part of the Niger team next to such collaborative and enthusiastic classmates. I feel like the connection we had to ourselves was the key to our success! Read more

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