Frédéric Boyenga-Bofala
The End Of The Great Lakes Crisis

Monetary dimension of the Common Market Alliance

The Alliance Common Market, by increasing economic interdependence between Member States, would necessarily reduce the autonomy enjoyed by Member States and would amplify the effects beyond national borders of development policies to be implemented at national level. Therefore, more effective coordination of national economic policies would be essential; just as the implementation of joint policies would also be necessary to ensure that development is balanced overall.

The successful creation of an Alliance common market would essentially depend on closer coordination of national economic policies and more effective joint policies. This would mean that a number of measures leading to the economic and monetary union of the Alliance would have to be taken during progressive implementation of an Alliance common market.

I believe that a number of framework conditions would be necessary if a monetary union of the Alliance is to be achieved: a guarantee of total irreversible reciprocal convertibility of currencies, full liberalization of capital movements and definitive integration of banking markets and other financial markets, elimination of fluctuation margins and irrevocable fixing of exchange rates. And to achieve Alliance economic and monetary union, I think that a three-step approach would be called for. The objective of the first step would be the completion of a unified fiscal area, within which all monetary and financial instruments should be able to circulate freely; while services in the banking, securities and insurance sector would have to be supplied on uniform conditions throughout the Alliance. In addition, all the currencies of the Member States would have to participate in any Alliance monetary system that would be established.

During the second stage, the Alliance's central banking system would be set up, which would play a gradually increasing role in determining the formulation and implementation of the Alliance's common monetary policy.

The third and final stage would begin the transition to irrevocably fixed exchange rates, by granting the Alliance's institutions full economic and monetary powers. The goal should be the replacement of national currencies with a single Alliance currency. The monetary solidarity thus established would make it plain that any Great Lakes war between the member states of the Alliance would become not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible. Thus, the merger of interests essential to the establishment of a deep, close alliance between countries that have long been pitted against each other in an ongoing, bloody crisis, would be realized simply and swiftly.

We must eliminate the psychological barriers that are carving up our region. We would have to eliminate or reduce other obstacles that are not insignificant: including physical barriers that impede the movement of persons, goods and ideas. It is to this vast undertaking that I propose the trans-alliance networks programme. From north to south and from east to west within the territory of the Alliance of Great Lakes states, the citizens of the Alliance would be interconnected by a modern, rapid, safe transport infrastructure - road, air or rail; while a power grid would also criss-cross our regions and data would be exchanged via the most advanced technical infrastructure. Let us also teach the advent of the Alliance. Let us teach it to our children. Schools would prepare them to become citizens of the Alliance; and would develop the teaching of history, geography and cultures of the countries of the Alliance. We would focus on twinning arrangements between schools and academics and on exchanges of pupils and students; we would insist on multilingualism.

Another objective to be achieved would be, of course, the economic and monetary union of the Alliance: to me, this is the natural and indispensable corollary of the Alliance Common Market Alliance; otherwise it would just become a blueprint for anarchy and a forum for the worst types of illicit competition. But markets are only a means to an end and are also mechanisms that all too often are dominated by the principle of survival of the fittest; they are mechanisms that can all too easily give rise to injustice, exclusion and dependency if the necessary counterweights are not supplied by the democratic legitimacy to do so. Besides the markets, we must provide the Alliance with room for economic and social activities based on solidarity, cooperation, association, mutuality, in short, the service of the general interest. Now let's sketch out the social Alliance together. Here I propose that, in conjunction with social partners in each Member State, we take initiatives in the areas of training, education, organisation of labour and the fight against social exclusion. Nothing would really be achieved if the social partners (trade unions, NGOs) were not to be accorded the place that should rightfully be theirs in the construction of the Alliance. And thereafter, let us also focus on the social dimension of trade, so as to recall the need to build the Alliance common market on the basis of fundamental rights for workers, women, children and social and professional organisations. The care with which we must preserve the freedoms of the individual and any corresponding protective aspects of the law should not impede the creation of the Alliance.