PROGRAMA “Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, 21 y 22 Julio 2009)

Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis”
DIA: 21 y 22 de Julio
Lugar: PRODEPA, Av. Eusebio Ayala Km 4, 5, Asunción del Paraguay


PROGRAMA


21 JULIO

09:00–09:30 Bienvenida a cargo de los organizadores:
– Enrique Daza, Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos (PAAR), Holanda
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Canciller, República del Paraguay
09:30–11:30 Crisis sistémica, impactos de la crisis en los procesos de integración regional

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Parlamentario, Filipinas (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Gana

– Elizabeth Gauthier, Espace Marx, Francia (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION INGLES- POWER POINT / TEXTO)

Moderacion

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Holanda

11:30-13:30 Respuestas regionales a la crisis

– Juan Castillo, Secretario de Relaciones Internacional de PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Filipinas
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC Francia

Moderacion

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Integración Regional: Repensando el modelo de desarrollo.  Complementariedad versus competencia. Integración y Asimetrías
– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice Canciller, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Gobierno Argentina
-Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Graciela Rodríguez, REBRIP, Brasil


– Dot Keet, SAPSN, Sudafrica (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)

– Charles Santiago, Parlamentario, Malasia

Moderacion

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brasil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Modelo de desarrollo e Infraestructura
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brasil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, Sudáfrica

Moderacion

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULIO


09:00-10:45 Crisis energética y cambio climático: Desafíos para su superación. Integración y energía: Experiencias regionales

– Walden Bello, Paralamentario, Filipinas

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – ESPAÑOL)
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – ESPAÑOL)
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, España

Moderacion
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Modelo Productivo para garantizar la Soberanía alimentaria regional
– Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay
– Rabindra Adhikari, Parlamentario, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Vía Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe


– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION SPANISH)

Moderacion

Martin Prieto, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Almuerzo
14:00–16:00 Finanzas y modelo de desarrollo: Nuevas estructuras financieras: (Banco del Sur, monedas regionales, etc)  
– Pedro Páez, Presidente Comisión Técnica Presidencial Ecuatoriana para la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional y el Banco del Sur, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Republica Checa

Moderacion

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, Francia

16:00-17:00 Paz Regional, Democracia y Derechos Humanos

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Departamento de Relaciones Exteriores del Partido Democrático de Trabajadores de Corea, Corea del Sur (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Camille Chalmers, Campaña por la Demililtarización de las Américas, Haití

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finlandia (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Mesa Redonda: Integración Regional: Desafíos para los movimientos sociales y los gobiernos    

– Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Gobierno Paraguay     
– Franklin Gonzalez, Gobierno Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/Parlamentario, Filipinas

– Nalu Farias, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Holanda
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, Sudafrica

Moderacion
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co-organizan
Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute

En cooperación con

Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de las Américas (CSA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubileo Sur, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC Francia, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam,  Ecologistas en Acción

Fotos "Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales "Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, 21 y 22 Julio 2009)

Fotos de la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, 21 y 22 Julio 2009)

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Vea las fotos de la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, rx 21 y 22 Julio 2009). Organizada por Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute .

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COMUNICADO Integracion Regional, energia e Itaipu (Paraguay, 22 Julio 2009)

By Thomas Wallgren

* Presentation given at International Conference of governments and social movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, ask Asunción del Paraguay)


Because of systemic constraints in the so called leading nations we cannot wait for the Obamas and even Lulas of the world to show the way for the deep changes we need. Political, cultural and moral initiative that will inspire hope on all continents can and needs to come from many places.

In the golden age of the Nordic model, the small North European area that I come from, had disproportionate global significance in pro-people politics. Many of us in these countries still work to preserve and take further the Nordic tradition. We must, however, humbly admit that the Nordic identity has weakened in the last 15 years as we have been been overwhelmed by globalisation and EU-integration.

In this spirit I want to join the large number of people on all continents who enthusiastically welcome the recent wave of positive developments in Latin America, including also many smaller countries, such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. I recognise the enormous difficulties you are facing, including the current crisis in Honduras. Nevertheless I want to welcome the quality and direction of development in many South and Latin American countries in the last few years and the efforts and the decisive contribution of ordinary people from the struggling classes to them.

A. GLOBAL AND HISTORICAL PREMISES OF REGIONAL COOPERATION

Regional integration in the context of collapsing neo-liberalism, authoritarian capitalism and the search for cultural alternatives

1. “Neoliberalism died in 2008-2009. ” Is this statement true or false?
It is true in a limited sense. The state is back in the economy. Simultaneously deregulation, privatisation and trade liberalisation are all on a hold or they are rolled back. George W. Bush goes down in the books as the greatest socialiser of banks and enterprises in world history. Market fundamentalism will not come back easily as an economic orthodoxy. So far so good.


Nevertheless, as we have seen during the past months the demise of neo-liberalism does not mean the end of capitalism nor does it automatically change the balance of power or fundamental policies. Banks are bailed out and the costs of enterprise failures are carried by tax-payers. In the EU the centralising and liberalising Lissabon treaty is back on track. In India the elections were won by a centre right still pursuing growth through exports, international competitiveness, intensified exploitation of domestic natural resources and deepened integration into global markets. Obama brings the US back on a more Keynesian track and into multilateral cooperation, but his victory was more due to the catastrophic results of Bush’s politics than of a desire for fundamental redirection of US power. Financial regulation remains weak, tax havens still work as usual and even the Tobin tax awaits its implementation. In the global arenas, at WTO, the World Bank or even in the climate negotiations positive news are yet to come. All in all, it is clear by now that radical shifts in power structures, economic distribution or national or international policies are not easily within reach.


The main lesson of the past winter is that neo-liberalism was always only a radical fashion, a tip of the iceberg. When it goes away we can see again clearly that the modern state in most countries remains committed to a development model in which a mix of capitalist, growth dependent exploitative economy and consumerist, individualistic, civilisational values remains central. The global trend in the last years and months is not that neo-liberal capitalism is replaced by socialism, a new green politics or even social liberalism but, unfortunately, by authoritarian capitalism. In fact, what we witness on all continents is a colossal lack of political and cultural creativity in the state and corporate sector. Hence, and this is my first point today, people seeking social and ecological justice need to recognise that the shift to politics for sustainable futures that the world so badly needs will not come about just because neo-liberalism goes away.

The good news is that with neo-liberalism gone, with George Bush down and out and with the states and business sector at a loss both intellectually and morally we can begin to understand our responsibility and define our tasks and challenges more clearly than has been possible during the past ten years.


Everywhere people recognise that the ruling elites are failing and at a loss. We need a new internationalism that is not founded on state to state cooperation or market integration. The regional cooperation we are looking for must protect and build upon people-to-people solidarity and conviviality. It must draw its strength from the confidence and creativity of ordinary people who are engaged in a multitude of local struggles and in a plurality of efforts towards decolonisation and civilisational renewal.

2. Too often only the global and national level are recognized as relevant political arenas. They are important, but should not make us overlook the relevance of the local and regional levels. From the perspective of radical and comprehensive democracy building from below and strengthening the disempowered is essential in all responses to the crisis. Democratising the politics and economy of globalisation is important but difficult. In global efforts large corporations and states still have a relative advantage over other actors. Hence, as long as power structure are not altered, we should not expect too much good to come out from institutions working on global regulation of e.g. finance and climate.


The experience of the past years has shown clearly the inadequacy of the current structure, instruments and policies of global financial regulation and economic development. The Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO-framwork have been insufficient or even dysfunctional for development, ecological responsibility and economic stability, especially for the global South. This much should now be uncontroversial. It remains open, however, what the implications are for the politics of global governance and the role of regional and national politics.

My second point today is that regional politics needs to be recognised more than before as a relevant arena of political initiative in its own right. The regional arena is too often considered to be only complementary to nation states and global institutional arrangements and global governance. Regional cooperation in the South can provide protection from dysfunctional and failing global institutions. It can also strengthen the bargaining power of the South, especially the smaller countries of the South, in global politics. Thirdly regional political instruments may play a huge role in achieving at the regional level governance services and functions that are not available at the global level. These can include for instance protection and support of micro and small enterprise as well as of local knowledge systems and forms or democracy, the launch of local and regional currencies with high social and ecological value, and so forth.

3. State borders are becoming more porous than before, people are meeting and mixing more than before. The future belongs, as Indian social philosoper Lohia said fifty years ago, increasingly to “the bastards.” We see every day along the Southern borders of the US and the EU that efforts to keep borders closed and nations clean lead to disaster. Regional cooperation presents major opportunities if the physical and cultural mobility of peoples in the region and between them is enhanced. The opposite politics of regional integration which allows mobility only internally and is closed to the outer world, with exceptions allowed only for selfish reasons or on market premises is a false and dangerous model.


In societies atomised socially and empoverished culturally by late capitalism and consumerism nation state are often seen as competitors. The sense of competition fosters widely felt anxiety. As we have seen in South Asia, Europe, North America and elsewhere the consequence is often un upsurge of xenophobic identity-politics, increasing militarisation and securitisation and even terror by states and non-state agencies.

Regional protection and strategic cooperation should be built with a clear commitment to global solidarity.

In building regionalism for a new internationalism it is essential that we go beyond the current logic of competetive identity politics. In this a people-to-people cooperation and diplomacy, as pursued for instance in the World Social Forum and by a multitude of innovative smaller groups and movementsduring the past years, can play an important role. The legitimacy and need for non-state political cooperation is obvious and  in regional cooperation as well tax-payers money and other public resources should not be exclusively spent on state and market driven integration.

Having said this let me stress that our efforts must complement and give life to, but not undermine the UN centred multilateral system. The G-192 that met in June 2009 for a UN General Assembly on the financial crisis and its impact on development also needs strengthening.

4. Regional cooperation in the South should not only protect the weak. It should also lead the world out of its multiple crises on the long-term. Globally the political debates seem to be moving from a discussion of separate crises to a discussion of inter-connected crises: of the finance sector, the world economy, political governance, food, water, development and climate. I welcome the synthetic framework of this conference. I only want to add that not only are the different areas of crisis interconnected and systemic. They should all be seen as symptoms of an underlying cultural crisis; a crisis of development models and the fundamental aspirations and ideals of modernization.

My fourth suggestion is that all political reforms and initiatives now of the short and medium term should be shaped so as not to hamper but rather support a civilisational shift in which the ultimate goals and ideals of development are reconsidered. It is clear that people, states and corporations in Europe and America must be pressed to responsibility and that we must pay for the mess we have caused during five hundred years through exploitation of other continents and mother earth. Nevertheless, for historical, cultural and social reasons the global North cannot be trusted too much in the search for new civilisational visions and new socially and ecologically enriching models for progress and development. The global South must take the lead. Regional cooperation in the global South and between increasingly self-reliant but co-operating Southern regional blocs can be essential for gaining economic, political and cultural autonomy from Europe and the US, serving global solidarity and environmental responsibility.

Latin America, with its strong tradition of mass participation in politics, progressive left movements, liberation theology and its great cultural variety should be a strong region in this search. In recent years the increasingly lively alliances throughout the region of indigenous and other emancipatory movements, that has given one country a president coming from the indigenous movements and another country a constitution that recognises Mother Earth is of particular interest for people on all continents who are searching for new political tools, ideas and visions. In decolonising development, art iculating new visions of good life (buen vivir) and building radical democracy the movements South America are today a great source of energy and hope for people on all continents. It is important for us all that this political and cultural resurgence is placed at the centre of regional integration here.

6. Nuclear proliferation, the totalisation of war through the war on terror and anti-hegemonic insurgency with little or no dependence on states, and the largely uncalculable threats of new military technologies combining e.g. new IT, nano-technology and genetic engineering make 21st century questions of war and peace more intractable than before. For this reason pro-people regional cooperation should systematically promote cultures and economies of sustainability and peace.

Peace-politics cannot imply thoughtless pacifism. We can still draw insight and inspiration from the Gandhian notion of and experiments with truth-force (“satyagraha”). This year 100 years have passed since Gandhi wrote his definitive statement, the pivotal pamphlet Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule on board a ship between Britain and South  Africa. The new politics of global security that we need, must, as Gandhi and others have clearly seen long back, be linked to the construction of pro-people and environmentally sound development models. These can emerge on the basis of the variety of sustainable life-styles, democracies and civilisational values existing today especially in the global South.

The industrial growth centred development model that first emerged in Europe and North America in the 18th to 20th century needs to be seriously reconsidered. The global record seems to be that industrial growth economies are not capable of overcoming poverty and deprivation everywhere. Without a commitment to peaceful cooperation and civilisational alternatives zero-sum competition for growth and unsustainable life-styles among nations and regions is likely to dominate global politics in the 21st century. Regions are then more than likely to develop into competing, protectionist blocs forming strategic alliances. Even under the condition of functional interdependence globally of the competing blocs, climate change, development failures and resource depletion combined with nuclear proliferation and the evolution of new military technologies may easily lead to completely new types of wars with planetary consequences. Hence, regional cooperation in Latin America, in other Southern regions and between them needs to be globally oriented towards cooperation and solidarity, not competition. It may be helpful in this regard to think of the global North in a new way: not as the developed regions that have made it, but as regions suffering from serious development failures. Even quite conservative new models for measuring overall success in development, such as the so called Happy Planet Index, indicate that life-conditions in the US, Sweden, Germany and other similar countries reached an all-time high in th 1970s and haved steadily deteriorated since then.

B. LESSONS FROM THE EUROPEAN MODEL

Since the early 1950s the emergence of, first the European Economic Community, EEC, and later, its sequel, the European Union, has been the dynamic centre of European  integration. The EU is now the most advanced model of regional integration globally. It has the largest internal market, the most ambitious common political instruments and the tightest juridical integration.

European integration has gained popular support and political legitimacy from two great promises. It has been seen, first, as a peace project and, secondly, increasingly in later years, as a project for benign, political governance of corporate driven globalisation. Without these impressive ideas European integration could not have been brought to its present level. Both ideas are now in a crisis.

I wish to bring out some lessons for regional integration from the fifty years of building the European Union:

(1) Peace ambitions may undermine democracy:
Since its inception in the 1950s the EU has been seen as a device to overcome the belligerent tendencies of nation-states. Drawing on analysis and inspiration coming from the 18th century German enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant and others, the idea has been to promote peace through functional integration of the national economies in the region.
The dark side of this idea was that EU integration has worked top-down. The people have been seen as prone to aggressive sentiment. Integration has proceeded on the initiative and under the leadership of bureaucratic elites. Economic integration has intentionally been built as a device that will promote political and other integration later, behind the backs of the reluctant citizens. For this reason the EU carries a vast democratic deficit. In recent years the democratic deficit in Europe has become obvious to all. The repeated side-stepping of the outcome of national referenda on EU-issues, such as the French and Dutch rejection of the EU constitution  and the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty is rapidly leading Europe to a very serious and deep crisis in democratic legitimacy and participation.
The deficit is structural: decision-making in the EU is so undemocratic that, ironically, the EU, if it would be a nation, would not qualify for membership in the EU.  Because of the post-war technocratic logic of EU-integration the democratic crisis in Europe is also very deep-seated. It will take time to overcome it. At the moment, the effort by EU-leaders to enforce the Lisbin treaty show that so far the EU is on the wrong track in this regard.
The lesson to be learnt is that regional cooperation must, much more than has been the case in Europe, be built democratically, with explicit consent and support by the citizens.

(2) Peace ambitions regionally may be counterproductive for peace globally:

In the aftermath of the second world war the sound ambition of the architects of European integration was to prevent the outbreak of war between European nations. Less attention has, for understandable reasons, been paid to the contribution of Europe to global security. The consequence is that wars between the leading countries of Europe has become highly unlikely but that their integration between them may become, or has perhaps already become, counter-productive for global security. In the great wars of the Bush regime – on Iraq and Afghanistan – a new obscene division of labour is emerging between the trans-Atlantic forces. The USA carries the main burden of classical warfare, the EU steps in economically and logistically in the aftermath of the war, takinmg care of crisis management. This, it may be argued, is the new logic of Western, imperial military hegemony.
If other regions follow the EU model and see regional integration of foreign policy, security policy and trade policy as an instrument for selfish and hegemonic ambitions the ensuing world order may easily end up repeating the calamities of what we in Europe call the westphalian order of competing, sovereign nation states, at a new, higher level.

(3) Regional cooperation for global governance needs to be built democratically from below. Special care must be taken at every step to keep economic policies within democratic control and to avoid spill-over from economic policies on social protection, environmental protection and other vital policy areas:

Since the 1980s the main left and centre argument in favour of deepening European integration has no longer been the argument from peace. The new argument has been the argument from globalization. The main ideas are familiar to all by now. Technological changes have made possible deep changes in the economy. Deepening economic interdependence between nations and regions, the increasing importance of a globalised capital market and the increasing size and power of transnational corporations have overburdened the steering and regulating capacity of nation states. For these reasons new instruments for political regulations are called for. The European Union has been seen by many as a much needed instrument for improved global governance of the economy at first, and now increasingly also of climate change, migration etc.
For this and other reasons the primacy of economic policy instruments is a deep-seated feature of European integration. The creation of a common internal market and of common external economic policies, especially as regards trade, has been a priority in European integration.
In this tradition markets and trade have often been given politically very expansive interpretations: in the EU (as in the WTO) the free movement of trade in goods has not been enough. Free movement of capital, labour and services have been seen as equally natural parts of economic integration on liberal premises. In consequence, the more the economic instruments have developed the more they have dominated over other policy areas in which decision-making has been more confined to the national level. Social policy, workers rights, health and education, environment have all suffered from a subordination to common economic policies. The strong efforts by trade unions, left governments, environmentalists, women’s movements and others to change the balance of forces in Europe have so far met with, at best, half-success. Recent key developments, such as the text and ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty, the formation of Europe’s new global economic policy, and the struggles over the working time, services and chemical legislation at the European level, show that corporate interests and narrowly defined economic goals still tend to dominate EU-policies.


The lesson for other regions is again negative. It is extremely dangerous for democracy, ecology and social justice to make economic cooperation the heart of regional integration.

(4) Regional integration is possible but needs to be democratic:
Let me close on a more positive note with some recommendations drawn from the European experience:

* Regional integration needs to be built democratically. Economic integration should be subservient to social justice and radical democracy.
To this end, there are four  fundamental conditions:
One: the fundamental principle of democracy, that all state power and all power of regional authorities belongs to the people, must always be recognized formally. (In the EU this is still not the case!)
Two: It is imperative that the juridical hierarchy, including the effective control of constitutional rights and freedoms of people and nature, is never subordinated to economic policies or juridical agreements regulating the economy. In the European Union the primacy of economic rights and freedoms at the level of the common regional market and in trade agreements infringes more and more on the human rights achievements. This is not only a concern at the international level where bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements are known to undermine human rights. Also internally in Europe social rights achievements have some times been undermined by the economic logic of integration.
Three: the peoples must always have effective control, before the fact and after the fact, of the balance of powers between regional and national authorities. In practice, referenda about that powers to hold at the national level and what powers to confer to regional authorities are essential. But these must be complemented by stronger powers to question and interfere in the formation of this balance by national parliaments.
Four: the political logic of democratic regionalism by the people and for the people should be pluralistic and decentred. When the peoples are in effective control of the balance of powers different countries will participate in different ways in regional cooperation, taking exceptions as they see fit and forming sub-units of tighter cooperation as they see fit. This should not be seen as a problem. The example of the European Union shows that even when integration is rigidly designed to create a Union of just one kind of members the end-result will be something else. In actual fact different European countries have different between them quite different kinds of membership in the EU both politically and juridically.

* Economic policies of regions should learn from the failures of the neo-liberal experiments in the EU and elsewhere:

+ A Latin American Central Bank issuing a common currencie that may in the long run function as a (regional?) reserve currency must work under democratic political guidance and pursue socially and ecologically responsible monetary policies;
+  The political weight and influence of large corporations tends to be relatively greater on regional than on national and local levels of political decision-making. In order to curb excess corporate influence strong measures must be taken at all times. They need to include very tight transparency regulation and, as I believe, innovative, radical anti-trust regulation. I suggest that a maximum size of corporations is considered as well as sealings on individual ownership and control of corporate activity.

* Regional cooperation may have democratizing effects on the relations between big and small countries. For this, effective, almost excessive formal veto powers by smaller members states in the regional organisations are needed to counter the effective and lasting, greater political weight of larger members.

* Regional, elected parliaments can play an important role in a new regionalism. The elected parliament should not be subordinate to regional non-elected bodies, but the extent of its powers needs to be controlled from lower levels.

* The world has seen the emergence of many special economic zones lately. In a new kind of regionalism special zones for people’s power from below can be created, where people and nature are protected against corporations and states. In Bolivia there seems to be encouraging experiments along this line that could serve as a model for further work.

* The European experience shows that regional cooperation can be effective in enhancing the power and  economic and social status of oppressed minorities and underprivileged regions. The mechanisms to achieve this need careful attention.

* If we manage to correct the imbalances mentioned the European Union shows that cultural and social solidarity between peoples with a long negative record of wars is possible and can be promoted through regional cooperation.

* Lastly, as compared with Europe, Latin America (as well as e.g. South Asia) has four distinct advantages as compared with Europe in its effort to build pro-people, ecologically sustainable regional cooperation to the benefit of the global community.
+ The first is a commonality of cultural values and identity. I do not want to under underestimate the cultural diversity of the Americas. But it seems to me as an outside observer that the experience of more than 500 years of colonialism and imperialism serves as a source of solidarity between the peoples in Latin America.
+ The second is common languages: Spanish and Portuguese are closely related. Again I hope that I do not offend the many people with other  languages as their first language if I say that the conditions for a common public space, and hence for radical regional democracy is more happy in Latin America than in some other regions. In view of recent experiences elsewhere this is likely to be more important for post-national democracy than computer-intensity.
+ The third is common interest. Again, I do not want to overstate the case, but it appears to me that all countries in Latin Ameica could gain in economic and cultural terns from deepened cooperation between them and also with other Southern regions, even if it has to happen at the cost of laxer links to Europe and North America.
+ The fourth is the mere fact that Latin Ametican efforts towards regional integration can learn from the European experience, positively and negatively. For instance, it appears to me that it can be advantageous to build relatively more on existing sub-regional organizations than has been done in the European context where Benelux, Nordic and other sub-regional cooperation structures have been eroded by European institutions when a better policy could have been to sustain and strengthen them as parts of a multilayered regional cooperation structure.

Latin American regional cooperation may also benefit from solidarity and cooperation with regional cooperation in other regions of the South. Together the cooperating regions may make historic contributions to a post-colonial and post-imperial, pluricentric and peaceful world order

With these remarks I wish Paraguay and all countries in Mercosur and South and Latin America at large determination and democratic energy for regional cooperation that will enhance a new internationalism and civilisational renewal world-wide.

Thank you for your attention.

Thomas Wallgren
E-mail:  thomas.wallgren@helsinki.fi



[1] The author is the secretary of Coalition for comprehensive democracy, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam in Finland. He is affiliated with the Brussels based organisation Corporate Europe Observatory, chair of the Finnish Refugee Council and co-chair of Alternative to the EU – Finland. He serves as an elected member of the city council of Helsinki and is co-chair of the social-democratic group. Wallgren is the head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Finland. – All references are given for purposes of identification and transparency only. The author claims no ownership of his ideas nor originality for his views. He carries sole responsibility for the views expressed and all shortcomings of his remarks.



INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, Sala 1, drugstore Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, check Sala 1, Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, pills Sala 1, sick Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

* Presentation given at International Conference of governments and social movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, Asunción del Paraguay)


THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD[2]  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa[3].   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD[4].  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports [5]. 
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)[6]  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD[7].

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10)[8],  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period[9].
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”[10].

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry[11].  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue[12].  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising[13].  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered[14].




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



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By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.      
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation   
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered.




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.      
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.   

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.      

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.   

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.   

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation   
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.   

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all. 

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.   

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered. 


NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.      
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation   
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered.




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).



INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, Sala 1, pharm Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal (DOWNLOAD
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, Sala 1, click Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of GOVERNMENTS and SOCIAL MOVEMENTS “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises”

DATES: 21 and 22 July 2009
VENUE: PRODEPA, ambulance Sala 1,
Consejo Nacional del Deporte, Asunción del Paraguay
TIME: 9am-20pm


PROGRAME


21 JULY

09:00–09:30

Opening: Greeting from organisers

– Enrique Daza, Executive Secretary, Hemispheric Social Alliance, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Peoples’ Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms, Netherlands
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay

09:30–11:30 Systemic Crisis, impacts of the crisis on regional integration processes

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Ghana

Moderation

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Netherlands

11:30-13:30 Regional responses to the crises

– Juan Castillo, Secretary for International Relations PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France

Moderation

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Regional Integration: Re-thinking the development model. Complementarity versus competition. Integration and Asymmetries

– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Government Argentina

– Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

– Graciela Rodriguez, REBRIP, Brazil

– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa

– Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament, Malaysia

Moderation

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brazil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Development Model and Infrastructure
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre  Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Moderation

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULY


09:00-10:45 Energy Crisis and Climate Change: the challenge to find regional solutions

– Walden Bello, Member of Parliament, Philippines

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, Spain

Moderation
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Production model and Food Sovereignty

– Juan José Dominguez, Member of Parliament, MPP–FA, Uruguay

– Rabindra Adhikari, Member of Parliament, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Via Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile

Moderation

Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–16:00 Finances and development model: New financial structures: (Bank of the South, regional currencies, etc)
– Pedro Paez, President of the Ecuadorian Presidential Technical Commission for the New Regional Financial Architecture and Bank of the South, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubilee South, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Czech Republic

Moderation

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, France

16:00-17:00 Regional Peace, Democracy and Human Rights

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Chief External Relations Department of the Korea Democratic Labor Party, South Korea
– Camille Chalmers, Campaign for Demilitarisation of the Americas, Haiti

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finland (DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Round Table: Regional Integration: challenges for the movements and the governments


– Chacho Alvarez, President Committee of Permanent Representatives of MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Government Paraguay
– Franklin Gonzalez, Government Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/MP, Philippines
– Nalu Farias, World March of Women, Brazil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Netherlands
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, South Africa
Moderation
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co- Organisers
Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA), Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR), Focus on the Global South and Transnational Institute (TNI)

In cooperation with
Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubilee South, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC France, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam and Ecologistas en Acción

Supported by
Paraguayan Presidency Pro-tempore of Mercosur

With the contribution of
Oxfam/Novib, Oxfam Internacional, Christian Aid and Action Aid


By Demba Moussa Dembele [1]

* Presentation given at International Conference of governments and social movements “Regional Integration: an opportunity to face the crises” (21 and 22 July 2009, Asunción del Paraguay)


THE IMPACT OF THE CRISES ON AFRICA

The financial crisis and its transmission to the real economy are having devastating effects on Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the average growth of the continent will be cut in half this year, from 5.9% to 2.8%, as a result of falling international demand and falling commodity prices. One illustration of that is the decline of exports projected to fall by 40% in 2009. The shortfall in exports will be compounded by the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and remittances by African migrant workers. In 2007, these remittances were estimated at 28 billion US dollars, accounting for about 3% of the continent’s GDP. In several countries, these remittances are much higher than ODA. Private investments, in the form of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are also expected to fall sharply.

This bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. This situation in which Africa finds itself is the result of a set of neoliberal policies implemented over nearly three decades at the urging of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, joined later by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The food crisis has hit very hard several African countries and led to numerous food riots punctuated with dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests. The food crisis has increased the external dependence of many countries and given a golden opportunity to the IMF and World Bank to expand their control over African economic policies.

REGIONAL RESPONSES FROM AFRICA
The above bleak picture shows that Africa is paying a heavy price for the crises in which it has no responsibility. Africa has been the main victim of ruthless neoliberal policies imposed by the IMF and World for nearly three decades, with the catastrophic economic, social and political consequences the African people are still witnessing. Therefore, the crises should be used as an opportunity by Africa to free itself from the shackles of neoliberal capitalism and explore new paths to an endogenous development with regional economic integration and cooperation as a key element in that process.

A) Challenge “Free Trade” Model and Theory.
The first step should be to challenge neoliberal models, especially the “free trade” model. In that perspective, African regional communities must challenge “free trade” agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with the United
States and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union.
In connection with this challenge, it is the whole ideology of “free trade” that must be challenged and rejected. Indeed, it is that theory that underpins trade liberalization. It was in the name of “free trade” and “comparative advantage” that African countries were forced to accept sweeping trade liberalization that entailed huge economic and social costs, by increasing Africa’s external dependence, destroying domestic industries, accelerating deindustrialization and hampering sub-regional economic integration.

By contrast, none of the “benefits” that were supposed to accrue from trade liberalization, according to the IMF and World Bank, was achieved. Africa’s trade performance did not improve. Assessing the record of trade liberalization in Africa since the early 1980s, UNCTAD  came to the conclusion that the results were far from expectations. Indeed, the outcome of trade liberalization in Africa could hardly be different. While the IFIs and the WTO were extolling the virtues of “free trade”, the staggering subsidies that Western countries were providing to their agricultural exporters and the disguised or open trade barriers they erected to protect their markets have made “free trade” a farce.

B) Reclaim the Debate on Africa’s Development
The collapse of market fundamentalism and the discredit of IFIs provide Africa with a golden opportunity to reclaim the debate on its development. No external force can “develop” Africa. So, Africans should restore their self-confidence, trust African expertise and promote the use of African endogenous knowledge and technology. Since development should be viewed as a multidimensional and complex process of transformation, there can be no genuine development without an active State. Proponents of State intervention have been vindicated by the demise of laisser-faire and the active State intervention in the United States and leading European countries.

However, the State is no longer the only player. It has to contend with civil society organizations which have become key players in the debate on Africa’s development. Therefore, African sub-regional and continental institutions should work with these organizations to explore an alternative development paradigm in Africa.

In the search for that paradigm, a number of key documents should be revisited. They include the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA, 1981); the African Alternative Framework to structural adjustment programs (AAF-SAPs, 1989); the Arusha Declaration on popular participation to development (1990); the Abuja Treaty on economic integration (1991), among others. All these documents were published under the leadership of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Organization of African Unity, which was replaced by the African Union in 2001. This shows that African sub-regional and continental institutions had played a leading role in the debate on the continent’s development before the onslaught of the neoliberal ideology. They can play that role again by initiating the update of the above documents and taking into account the contributions made by civil society organizations in the areas of gender equality, trade; debt; food sovereignty, human and social rights and so forth.

C) Accelerate Regional Integration
One of the key issues in reclaiming the debate on Africa’s development is sub-regional and continental integration. It necessary to stress again that integration is one of the keys to Africa’s survival and long-term development. This was reiterated during the Summit of African Heads of State in Sirte (Libya) on July 1-3, 2009 and stressed by UNCTAD in its latest report on Africa.   
Despite an experience of sub-regional integration for more than 30 years, Africa is lagging behind other continents in terms of concrete achievements. In 1991, African countries tried to revive the spirit of integration by signing the Abuja Treaty, which projected an African Economic Community (AEC) by 2025. In the pursuit of that objective, the Treaty called for the rationalization of sub-regional economic communities in the continent’s five sub-regions. But years later, this recommendation has yet to be implemented.

1) Integration Trough Development or Market Model?
One of the main causes of the failure or mixed results of economic integration in Africa is the model used in the sub-regional groupings. Sub-regional groupings followed the European model of integration, the market model characterized by trade liberalization aimed at stimulating trade of goods and services. The European model was justified because European countries had mature industries and saturated internal markets. Therefore, the possibility of further growth depended on access to new markets. Hence, the model of trade liberalization aimed at opening up national markets to neighboring countries’ goods and services.

In Africa, the situation was different. These countries were at the early stages of their industrialization and were exporting mainly raw materials and semi-finished goods. Even today, roughly two-thirds of the continent’s exports are composed of raw materials and semi-processed goods, according to UNCTAD.  Therefore, following the market model would not lead to integration. This is exactly what happened. After decades of integration, intra-African exports in several sub-regions account for about 10% of their overall exports. Between 2004 and 2006, intra-African exports accounted for 8.7% of the continent’s total exports while intra-African imports were estimated at 9.6% of Africa’s total imports. However, for Sub-Saharan Africa, intra-African exports accounted for 12% of total exports  
The level of trade is low or negligible even among countries sharing the same currency, the cfa franc, like the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CAEMC).Yet, the common currency was supposed to be an integrating factor by eliminating exchange rate risks and providing some kind of “economic stability” to these countries! In CAEMC, intra-regional trade is less than 2%. In WAEMU, intra-regional trade is less than 10%. Only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seem to have significant levels of intra-regional trade flows. For instance in 2006, UEMOA exports to ECOWAS and other African countries accounted for respectively 26% and 32%, while UEMOA imports from these groupings were respectively 20% and 23%, according to UNCTAD.

Trade should serve production and development, not the other way around. Trade cannot be an end in itself. This is why integration through the market model makes no sense in most sub-regions in Africa since sub-regional economic communities have little to exchange because the bulk of their exports is composed of commodities. By contrast, the production model could provide the economies of scale indispensable to an effective and successful industrialization strategy that would help build industries capable to transform raw materials and commodities to meet people’s basic needs. By adding more value to Africa’s products, the production model may also lay the ground for a viable regional market, which in turn would support a regional demand-led growth strategy as opposed to the export-led growth strategy imposed by the IFIs and the WTO.

2) Create Regional Currencies and New Regional Institutions
One of the obstacles to economic integration in West and Central Africa is the use of a currency inherited from French colonization, the cfa franc. Its use by the WAEMU has hampered efforts to merge that Union into ECOWAS, as recommended by the 1991 Abuja Treaty. Instead of the “benefits” the use of the cfa franc was supposed to bring, the 14 African countries using it are all classified as either “Least Developed Countries” (LDCs) and/or “Heavily Indebted Poor Countries” (HIPCs)! Moreover, while trade flows among these countries account for 10% or less of their overall trade, as already indicated, at the bilateral level, France continues to be the main trading partner of most of these countries. Their trade with the European Union (EU) accounts for more than half of their overall trade. This means that the common currency has reinforced these countries’ external dependence and the outward orientation of their economies.

The experience with the cfa franc has convinced African leaders that development cannot occur without exercising a sovereign control over their monetary policies. And it is now widely accepted that real progress toward economic integration requires abandoning the cfa franc in favor of common currencies in West and Central Africa. But so far discussions on the issue have been slow. One may hope that the current crises may open the eyes of policy makers and make them take the decisive steps toward creating new regional currencies, which can serve not only the process of economic integration but also the wider goal of an endogenous development.

Along with regional currencies, African countries need to move toward new institutions. There is a debate within the African Union Commission on setting up an African Monetary Fund (AMF) and an African Central Bank (ACB). Beyond technical difficulties, however, the main obstacle to achieving these projects is the African leadership. Building a consensus on these issues and on other key objectives depends on the political will and strong commitment of African leaders.

There is no doubt that Western countries and international financial institutions will do what they can to foil these projects and keep Africa under their control. For example, if African countries accept to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), on the terms dictated by the European Union, these projects are likely to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, so long as African countries continue to listen to the IMF and World Bank, they will never reclaim their sovereign right to design their own policies, which is the indispensable step toward exploring an alternative development paradigm.

3) Better Continental Coordination
The acceleration of sub-regional integration should go hand in hand with a greater and more effective coordination at the continental level. In November 2008, the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank organized a meeting of African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss Africa’s position on the responses to the financial crisis before the first G20 Summit in Washington, DC. At that meeting, a Committee, composed of 10 African Finance Ministers and Central and Regional Bank Governors (C10),  was formed with the mission to make recommendations on how Africa should respond to the global crises at the sub-regional and continental level.

So the crises seem to have given a new momentum to coordination of policies and greater cooperation at the continental level. Indeed, since the creation of the African Union (AU) in 2001, there seems to be a new consciousness about African economic integration and cooperation and the need for Africa to speak with one voice. The African Union Commission has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen that consciousness. It was under its sponsorship that African Ministers in charge of Economic Integration and Cooperation met in Burkina Faso in 2008 to assess the state of the integration process.

But once again, the issue of economic integration in Africa is essentially a political issue. Without a strong political commitment and will to move toward economic integration and a united Africa, nothing significant will happen. Therefore, African leaders should learn from the experiences of other regions of the Global South, especially South America. In that region, the Bolivarian Alternatives of the Americas (ALBA) and the South Bank are strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of States and peoples through closer economic, financial and political ties. .

D) Promote Policies of Collective Food Sovereignty
As indicated earlier, in the name of “free market”, structural adjustment programs (SAPs) destroyed agricultural policies put in place after independence, by dismantling parastatals that used to provide services to farmers. The IMF and World Bank compelled African countries to give priority to cash crops for exports in order to repay the external debt. As a result, food production was neglected which led to greater dependence on food imports to feed African citizens. For example, net food imports in Sub-Saharan Africa have increased from 1.3% to 1.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2007 and from 1.4% to 2.0% of GDP in West Africa during the same period.
Now the IMF and the World Bank are using the food crisis to make a comeback, while trying to hide their responsibility in the crisis of the agricultural sector in Africa.

What African countries need is to move toward policies of collective self-sufficiency in food production. Africa leaders should listen to their citizens and trust small-scale African farmers and other agricultural producers who need good public policies that would enable them to produce enough to feed the African population. Africa has water aplenty and vast arable lands, most of which are not exploited. In 2003 during an African Summit in Maputo (Mozambique), a recommendation was made to invest each year at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. Only a few countries followed through this recommendation. The African Union Summit held in Libya (July 1-3, 2009) held a special session on agricultural policies and heads of State reiterated the pledge to invest more in agriculture to achieve “food security”. One may hope that African leaders have learned a good lesson from the food crisis and understood the urgent necessity to reverse current agricultural policies and pursue the objective food sovereignty.

E) Resources for Financing Africa’s Development
In the short run, all financial flows to Africa in response to the financial, food and energy crises should be in the form of grants and concessional financing, not new loans, since Africa has no responsibility, whatsoever, in these crises. From that perspective, any flows to the continent by the IFIs and Western countries in the form of loans will be deemed illegitimate by African civil society organizations and pressure will bear on African governments not to repay these illegitimate loans.

1) Moratorium and Debt Cancellation
On the other hand, in May 2009 the Secretary General of UNCTAD called for a moratorium on the debt of “poor” countries”. African countries should support this proposal. However, African governments and institutions should seize this opportunity and take that proposal a step further by calling for the unconditional cancellation of the continent’s debt. In 2005, the African Union Commission had taken a number of initiatives to build a strong continental consensus on the continent’s external debt and this common position was instrumental in the decision made by G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July of that year. The current crises offer an even greater opportunity to the African Union Commission to intensify the call for debt cancellation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned by African leaders from the financial crisis is that Africa cannot count on its so-called “traditional partners”, i.e. Western countries and international financial institutions under their control. It is well known that none of the promises of “aid” to Africa has been completely fulfilled, including the one made at the G8 Summit in Scotland in 2005 to double “aid” to Africa to $50 billion a year beginning in 2010. By contrast, in 2008 and earlier this year, in just a few weeks, the United States and Europe had mobilized trillions of dollars to rescue their banks and industries. The first rescue package for AIG ($152 billion) by the US government was higher than the amount of “aid” promised in 2007 by the United States and European Union to all developing countries, estimated at $91 billion!

Therefore, African leaders should understand once for all that there must be a significant shift in the sources of financing for Africa’s development. Reclaiming its sovereign right to design its own policies goes with vigorous efforts to raise financial resources internally and the necessity to bear a greater part of the burden to finance its development. The African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly claims that “The continent needs to boost domestic resource mobilization – through financial and fiscal instruments- to support growth and investment. Addressing these issues require strategic interventions at various levels”

2) Domestic Resource Mobilization
So, African countries must put a greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization. In this regard, African countries should adopt new monetary and fiscal policies aimed at increasing domestic savings. And the potential is huge indeed, if African countries give themselves the means to achieve this objective. In a study, Christian Aid indicates that African countries are losing close to $160 billion each year in tax revenues, as a result of tax exemptions and for lack of enforcement of agreements with foreign companies investing in various sectors, especially in the mining industry.  Dealing with weak and ineffective States, these companies resort to various means to pay lower taxes or avoid paying taxes at all.

Therefore, to compel foreign companies to fulfill their obligations and expand the tax base, African countries need to reorganize their States into effective States able to enforce agreements and mobilize resources for development. Several international institutions have made this recommendation. UNCTAD devoted one of its reports on Africa to that issue.  It argues that it is time to build developmental States and put them at the centre of the development process in order for African countries to recover the policy space lost to neoliberal institutions over the last three decades. The Report says that such States should help African governments improve tax collection; formalize the informal sector; stop capital flight; make more productive use of remittances from African expatriates and adopt effective measures to repatriate resources held abroad.

Coordination of financial and monetary policies at the sub-regional level would put African countries in a stronger position to achieve this goal. Therefore, sub-regional economic communities have a crucial role to play in domestic resource mobilization by proposing common legalizations on capital flows and common tax policies vis a vis foreign investors.

3) South-South Cooperation and Solidarity
African economic integration will greatly benefit from building closer ties between Africa and other Southern regions. In particular, it would open a number of possibilities for non traditional financing for Africa. With the rise of new powers with substantial foreign exchange reserves and willing to build a new type of cooperation with African countries, the continent has new opportunities that should be used wisely. Already, several African countries are turning more and more to these powers, like China, India, Iran, Venezuela and Gulf countries, for loans, direct investments and joint-ventures. The South-South trade has increased from $577 billion to $1,700 billion between 1995 and 2005 and it keeps rising.  In 2008, trade between Africa and China was estimated at $107 billion, with a favorable balance for Africa.

Economic and political ties with South America are also growing. In June 2009, the President of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, in a visit to Venezuela was quoted as saying that African countries would strengthen their cooperation with ALBA countries. He hailed the cooperation between Africa and South America in general and called for strengthening their ties at all levels. At the political level, the second Africa-South America Summit will be held in Caracas in September 2009 (9-14), after the first Summit held in November 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria).
These are very encouraging signs that a growing consciousness is taking place at the level of African leaders on the need to “look South”. Indeed, by developing its economic and financial cooperation as well as the political solidarity with the rest of the South, Africa will not only benefit from new sources of financing but also strengthen the policy space it needs to weaken the influence of “traditional partners”, especially the international financial institutions.

4) Repatriation of Stolen/Illegal Wealth
The African Union Commission and the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have issued a joint document calling for the cooperation of Western countries and international institutions in Africa’s efforts to get back the wealth that rightfully belongs to the African people. This is a positive development that gives a new momentum to the demand made several years ago by African civil society organizations working on the issue of Africa’s illegitimate.
This campaign for the repatriation of the wealth stolen from the African people and illegally kept abroad with the complicity of Western States and financial institutions is long overdue. Therefore, sub-regional and continental institutions should work closely with civil society organizations for a strong and sustained mobilization on that issue. With only half of the wealth illegally kept in Western banks, Africa’s development financing could be largely covered.




NOTES

[1] Director of the African Forum on Alternatives & Member of Jubilee South International Coordinating Committee (JS/ICC), Dakar (Senegal).

[2]UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa 2008. Export Performance Following Trade Liberalization: Some Patterns and Policy Perspectives. United Nations: New York & Geneva, 2008.
[3] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009: Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2009

[4] UNCTAD. Economic Development in Africa. Trade Performance and Commodity Dependence. New York & Geneva: United Nations, 2004.
[5] UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2009, op.cit, p.29
[6] ECOWAS is composed of 15 countries. It includes all 8 WAEMU members and 7 other countries, like Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Each of these 7 countries has its own currency.
[7] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2007, p.99

[8] The Committee is composed of the Finance Ministers of South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania and Central Bank Governors of Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, West African Central Bank (BCEAO), Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and African Development Bank President.  
[9] UNCTAD, Trade and Development Report, 2008, p. 34, table 2.3

[10] African Development Bank (2008), Ministerial Conference on the Financial Crisis, Tunis, November 12, 2008. Briefing Note No. 1: The Current Financial Crisis: Impact on African Economies
[11] Christian Aid (2008), Death and Taxes: the true toll of tax dodging. London, A Christian Aid Report (May)
[12] UNCTAD (2007), Economic Development in Africa. Reclaiming Policy Space: Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Developmental States. New York & Geneva: United Nations
[13] Le Monde Diplomatique, L’Atlas, February 2009, p. 183
[14]See Léonce Ndukumana and Hippolyte Fofack (2008), Capital Flight Repatriation. Investigation Into its Potential Gains for Sub-Saharan African countries (October 2008).




MARCELO I. SAGUIER

Facultad Latinoamerica de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), try here  Argentina


El documento analiza la formación de una coalición transnacional de organizaciones de sociedades civiles coordinadas por la Alianza Social Hemisférica para oponerse al establecimiento de un área de libre comercio entre las Américas. La Alianza Social Hemisférica, purchase help representando sindicatos laborales, movimientos sociales, indígenas, organizaciones del medio ambiente y civiles a lo largo de las Américas, ha servido como mediadora entre múltiples expresiones de resistencia a procesos neoliberales con raíces locales/nacionales y una estrategia más amplia a nivel hemisférico, para lograr una forma sostenible y democrática de alternativa de desarrollo al proyecto de un Área de Libre Comercio entre las Américas (FTAA, por sus siglas en inglés). El documento explora los retos y oportunidades de la Alianza Social Hemisférica (HSA, por sus siglas en inglés) trazando un método del proceso político de la sociología de movimientos sociales, para construir alternativas políticas al plan del proyecto del FTAA. El argumento central es que mientras se logro ? un progreso significativo mediante la HSA al definir una base de consenso hemisférico para un plan político alternativo, permanece el reto de asegurar que el proceso de elaborar tales alternativas sea democra ?tico e incluya a la base y a los sectores populares. Por un lado, debe haber un equilibrio entre la necesidad de la capacidad de ampliar la Alianza Social Hemisférica (HSA, por sus siglas en inglés), para movilizar a las fuerzas sociales críticas del continente en una campaña contra el FTAA y, por el otro lado, para asegurarla cohesión de una coalición que se amplía cada vez más bajo la tensión por la alineación de nuevos sectores y actores.



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Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009

Nosotras y nosotros, ask organizaciones sociales y políticas de diferentes países y continentes, y pueblos originarios, nos reunimos en la ciudad de Asunción los días 23 y 24 de julio de 2009, en la Cumbre de los Pueblos del Sur “Protagonismo popular, construyendo soberanía” para debatir la coyuntura actual de la crisis del sistema capitalista y las salidas frente a ésta.

Nos plantean desde los poderes estatales, financieros y mediáticos que la crisis que atravesamos es una crisis financiera que puede ser resuelta con la inyección de fondos al Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial. Nunca en la historia del capitalismo se había otorgado tal cantidad de dinero para el salvataje de las empresas privadas. Así se benefician unos pocos que no casualmente son quienes causaron la crisis en un primer lugar. El objetivo del salvataje es entonces que el casino financiero siga funcionando, mientras millones de personas permanecen en la indigencia.

A la par, también promueven la idea de que estamos atravesando una crisis alimentaria diciendo que es a causa de que países como India y China están hoy aumentando su consumo diario de alimento. Pero esta argumentación no muestra que hay un nuevo patrón de producción basado en biotecnologías de avanzada que provocan la destrucción de la agricultura familiar-campesina, y las costumbres campesinas e indígenas.

Este modelo productivo basado en la agricultura mecanizada, extensiva e intensiva, con el uso masivo de transgénicos y agrotóxicos, impacta directamente sobre el medio ambiente, destruyendo y afectando muy fuertemente el clima del planeta. Es por esto que el segundo acuífero mas grande del mundo, el Acuífero Guaraní, está en grave peligro de contaminación por la implementación de este modelo extractivo de desarrollo que está ubicado justamente en las zonas de recarga de dicho acuífero.

Esto viene de la mano de la idea de que estamos viviendo una crisis energética, lo cual coincidió con una campaña mundial impulsada por países como EEUU y Brasil, donde se plantea la necesidad de aumentar la escala del monocultivo de soja, maíz y caña de azúcar para la producción de etanol y biocombustibles.

Frente a esto, nuestra conclusión es que se trata de una crisis integral del capitalismo, que no es momentánea y que no se va a solucionar con la inyección masiva de capitales. Esta crisis integral pone al desnudo el modelo de desarrollo imperante. La respuesta a esta crisis integral debe ser también integral. Hay que transformar el modelo de desarrollo para salir de la crisis. Esto quiere decir que tenemos que construir un proyecto propio desde los pueblos de América Latina.

Por ello hoy estamos en el proceso de construcción y reivindicación de la soberanía alimentaria desde y para los pueblos. Creemos en la necesidad de una producción autónoma, autogestionada y comunitaria, así como la distribución popular e igualitaria. Defendemos el derecho a alimentarnos sanamente, y por ello resistimos desde la defensa de las semillas y la producción agroecológica. Es imprescindible rescatar la memoria y el patrimonio para el saber identitario, desde la pluriculturalidad y desde la puesta en el centro del territorio como base de la identidad cultural. Asimismo, exigimos el diseño de políticas públicas que garanticen la soberanía alimentaria.

Creemos que en el proceso de devastación de nuestros recursos continentales, los pueblos originarios son los principales afectados. En ese sentido, exigimos políticas claras que vayan en el camino de la autodeterminación y soberanía de los pueblos originarios. Una de estas políticas es la generación de espacios nacionales de negociación colectiva en el marco del Convenio 169 de la OIT, así como la conformación de Paritarias Sociales por comunidad.

Reivindicamos la necesidad de construcción de una soberanía energética donde los pueblos podamos disponer libremente de nuestras fuentes de energía así como buscar los modos más convenientes para lograrlo. Vemos esta necesidad particularmente hoy en el caso paraguayo, donde se ha convertido en una causa nacional la recuperación de la soberanía energética sobre las represas de Ytaypu con Brasil y de Yacyreta con Argentina. Aquí reclamamos la revisión de las deudas binacionales y la posibilidad de que el pueblo paraguayo goce de libre disponibilidad y obtenga el precio justo sobre el 50% de la energía allí generada.

A su vez, impulsamos la creación del movimiento de víctimas de cambio climático y la instalación de los tribunales de los pueblos sobre justicia climática. Es central lograr el fortalecimiento de las legislaciones, pero fundamentalmente garantizar el funcionamiento de la justicia hacia las comunidades y territorios más vulnerables como afectados por el cambio climático y la deuda ecológicas. En el mismo sentido, exigimos la incorporación de políticas climáticas en las políticas públicas. Exigimos a los gobiernos del Mercosur que reclamen a los responsables del Norte el reconocimiento y pago de la deuda ecológica en todas las negociaciones internacionales. Y hacemos un llamado a la movilización global por la justicia climática en el marco de la reunión cumbre de Naciones Unidas sobre cambio climático en Copenhague.

También sabemos de la necesidad de construir soberanía financiera desde nuestros países, donde nos paremos en contra del pago de las deudas ilegítimas adquiridas a espaldas de nuestros pueblos. Tomamos el compromiso desde nuestros movimientos y organizaciones de realizar una Auditoría integral ciudadana de las deudas financieras, sociales y ecológicas generadas por la construcción y funcionamiento de Ytaypu y Yacyreta, y el reclamo a los gobiernos involucrados (Paraguay-Brasil-Argentina) de hacer lo mismo. Exigimos la restitución y reparación de las deudas ecológicas, sociales, económicas, etc. Asimismo, ahora más que nunca precisamos avanzar en la construcción de alternativas de soberanía financiera que respondan a las necesidades y los derechos de nuestros pueblos y la madre tierra. Al respecto, denunciamos la lentitud, la falta de diálogo y las trabas que siguen obstaculizando la creación del Banco del Sur. Reclamamos su inmediata puesta en funcionamiento, resguardando el principio de “un país-un voto” en todas sus instancias y niveles de decisión, y la necesidad de que esté al servicio de una integración desde los pueblos y para la transformación del modelo productivo vigente.

Exigimos que además se abran espacios y mecanismos formales de información y participación de la sociedad en la creación y funcionamiento del Banco del Sur. Llamamos a los movimientos y organizaciones sociales a multiplicar las acciones de sensibilización, debate y movilización acerca de la creación de este y otros instrumentos de una nueva arquitectura regional, como podrían ser una unidad de cuenta suramericana, como el sucre, y un sistema regional de reservas.

Apoyamos la decisión de los gobiernos de Bolivia y recientemente de Ecuador de salir del CIADI, mecanismo de solución de controversias sobre inversiones dependiente del Banco Mundial. Demandamos que los países de la región asuman igual compromiso, así como avancen en el rechazo de los Tratados Bilaterales de Inversión (TBI). Rechazamos cualquier forma de tratado comercial que violente la soberanía de los pueblos.

A su vez, repudiamos la represión constante y la criminalización de las luchas de campesinos y campesinas por obtener un pedazo de tierra. Esto sucede en todo el continente, pero se ve hoy con mayor crudeza en Paraguay. Estas represiones se volvieron sistemáticas y se realizan bajo el amparo de fiscales y jueces, que las hacen parecer legales. Exigimos el cese de las políticas de criminalización de la pobreza y de judicialización de la lucha social, así como la derogación de las llamadas leyes antiterroristas. Asimismo reclamamos el desprocesamiento de todos los luchadores y luchadoras sociales en toda América Latina.

Del mismo modo, rechazamos la militarización creciente del continente promovida por los Estados Unidos y sus aliados en la región y exigimos el retiro de la IV flota de Estados Unidos en el Atlántico; el fin de los ejercicios militares conjuntos con los Estados Unidos; el levantamiento de todas las bases y asentamientos militares extranjeros y la no instalación de nuevas bases; la eliminación de la fortaleza militar de la OTAN en Malvinas; la suspensión del envío de efectivos a la Escuela de las Américas u otros institutos similares; el fin de las misiones militares de Estados Unidos en nuestros países; la derogación de las inmunidades concedidas a los efectivos militares de las bases de Estados Unidos instaladas en nuestros países y castigar a los responsables de las violaciones sobre las poblaciones, particularmente a las mujeres.

También expresamos nuestro rechazo al golpe de estado perpetrado recientemente en Honduras y exigimos la inmediata restitución de Manuel Zelaya, legítimo presidente electo por este pueblo hermano. Apoyamos la lucha del pueblo hondureño por la institucionalidad democrática y el derecho a sostener al presidente que ellos mismos se han puesto. De la misma manera, repudiamos firmemente la violencia militar y policial ejercida contra este pueblo.

Alentamos la iniciativa del grupo del ALBA en convocar a sus asociados y hacer declaraciones de apoyo al gobierno de Zelaya. De la misma forma, los pueblos debemos esforzarnos de profundizar las diferentes alternativas de integración regionales que buscan enfrentar al sistema capitalista desde otro modelo. Del mismo modo, creemos que sería importante que los presidentes del Mercosur avancen en el mismo camino.

Es por todo esto que nosotros y nosotras hoy seguimos en el camino de la construcción de una integración latinoamericana desde los pueblos, fortaleciendo nuestra identidad regional. Sabemos que para ello debemos seguir en este proceso de lucha de nuestros pueblos para construir un nuevo sujeto que sea el protagonista de su historia y de su cultura.

Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009

Asunción, sovaldi sale 23 y 24 de julio de 2009
Nosotras y nosotros, organizaciones sociales y políticas de diferentes países y continentes, y pueblos originarios, nos reunimos en la ciudad de Asunción los días 23 y 24 de julio de 2009, en la Cumbre de los Pueblos del Sur “Protagonismo popular, construyendo soberanía” para debatir la coyuntura actual de la crisis del sistema capitalista y las salidas frente a ésta.
Nos plantean desde los poderes estatales, financieros y mediáticos que la crisis que atravesamos es una crisis financiera que puede ser resuelta con la inyección de fondos al Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial. Nunca en la historia del capitalismo se había otorgado tal cantidad de dinero para el salvataje de las empresas privadas. Así se benefician unos pocos que no casualmente son quienes causaron la crisis en un primer lugar. El objetivo del salvataje es entonces que el casino financiero siga funcionando, mientras millones de personas permanecen en la indigencia.
A la par, también promueven la idea de que estamos atravesando una crisis alimentaria diciendo que es a causa de que países como India y China están hoy aumentando su consumo diario de alimento. Pero esta argumentación no muestra que hay un nuevo patrón de producción basado en biotecnologías de avanzada que provocan la destrucción de la agricultura familiar-campesina, y las costumbres campesinas e indígenas.
Este modelo productivo basado en la agricultura mecanizada, extensiva e intensiva, con el uso masivo de transgénicos y agrotóxicos, impacta directamente sobre el medio ambiente, destruyendo y afectando muy fuertemente el clima del planeta. Es por esto que el segundo acuífero mas grande del mundo, el Acuífero Guaraní, está en grave peligro de contaminación por la implementación de este modelo extractivo de desarrollo que está ubicado justamente en las zonas de recarga de dicho acuífero.
Esto viene de la mano de la idea de que estamos viviendo una crisis energética, lo cual coincidió con una campaña mundial impulsada por países como EEUU y Brasil, donde se plantea la necesidad de aumentar la escala del monocultivo de soja, maíz y caña de azúcar para la producción de etanol y biocombustibles.
Frente a esto, nuestra conclusión es que se trata de una crisis integral del capitalismo, que no es momentánea y que no se va a solucionar con la inyección masiva de capitales. Esta crisis integral pone al desnudo el modelo de desarrollo imperante. La respuesta a esta crisis integral debe ser también integral. Hay que transformar el modelo de desarrollo para salir de la crisis. Esto quiere decir que tenemos que construir un proyecto propio desde los pueblos de América Latina.
Por ello hoy estamos en el proceso de construcción y reivindicación de la soberanía alimentaria desde y para los pueblos. Creemos en la necesidad de una producción autónoma, autogestionada y comunitaria, así como la distribución popular e igualitaria. Defendemos el derecho a alimentarnos sanamente, y por ello resistimos desde la defensa de las semillas y la producción agroecológica. Es imprescindible rescatar la memoria y el patrimonio para el saber identitario, desde la pluriculturalidad y desde la puesta en el centro del territorio como base de la identidad cultural. Asimismo, exigimos el diseño de políticas públicas que garanticen la soberanía alimentaria.
Creemos que en el proceso de devastación de nuestros recursos continentales, los pueblos originarios son los principales afectados. En ese sentido, exigimos políticas claras que vayan en el camino de la autodeterminación y soberanía de los pueblos originarios. Una de estas políticas es la generación de espacios nacionales de negociación colectiva en el marco del Convenio 169 de la OIT, así como la conformación de Paritarias Sociales por comunidad.
Reivindicamos la necesidad de construcción de una soberanía energética donde los pueblos podamos disponer libremente de nuestras fuentes de energía así como buscar los modos más convenientes para lograrlo. Vemos esta necesidad particularmente hoy en el caso paraguayo, donde se ha convertido en una causa nacional la recuperación de la soberanía energética sobre las represas de Ytaypu con Brasil y de Yacyreta con Argentina. Aquí reclamamos la revisión de las deudas binacionales y la posibilidad de que el pueblo paraguayo goce de libre disponibilidad y obtenga el precio justo sobre el 50% de la energía allí generada.
A su vez, impulsamos la creación del movimiento de víctimas de cambio climático y la instalación de los tribunales de los pueblos sobre justicia climática. Es central lograr el fortalecimiento de las legislaciones, pero fundamentalmente garantizar el funcionamiento de la justicia hacia las comunidades y territorios más vulnerables como afectados por el cambio climático y la deuda ecológicas. En el mismo sentido, exigimos la incorporación de políticas climáticas en las políticas públicas. Exigimos a los gobiernos del Mercosur que reclamen a los responsables del Norte el reconocimiento y pago de la deuda ecológica en todas las negociaciones internacionales. Y hacemos un llamado a la movilización global por la justicia climática en el marco de la reunión cumbre de Naciones Unidas sobre cambio climático en Copenhague.
También sabemos de la necesidad de construir soberanía financiera desde nuestros países, donde nos paremos en contra del pago de las deudas ilegítimas adquiridas a espaldas de nuestros pueblos. Tomamos el compromiso desde nuestros movimientos y organizaciones de realizar una Auditoría integral ciudadana de las deudas financieras, sociales y ecológicas generadas por la construcción y funcionamiento de Ytaypu y Yacyreta, y el reclamo a los gobiernos involucrados (Paraguay-Brasil-Argentina) de hacer lo mismo. Exigimos la restitución y reparación de las deudas ecológicas, sociales, económicas, etc. Asimismo, ahora más que nunca precisamos avanzar en la construcción de alternativas de soberanía financiera que respondan a las necesidades y los derechos de nuestros pueblos y la madre tierra. Al respecto, denunciamos la lentitud, la falta de diálogo y las trabas que siguen obstaculizando la creación del Banco del Sur. Reclamamos su inmediata puesta en funcionamiento, resguardando el principio de “un país-un voto” en todas sus instancias y niveles de decisión, y la necesidad de que esté al servicio de una integración desde los pueblos y para la transformación del modelo productivo vigente.
Exigimos que además se abran espacios y mecanismos formales de información y participación de la sociedad en la creación y funcionamiento del Banco del Sur. Llamamos a los movimientos y organizaciones sociales a multiplicar las acciones de sensibilización, debate y movilización acerca de la creación de este y otros instrumentos de una nueva arquitectura regional, como podrían ser una unidad de cuenta suramericana, como el sucre, y un sistema regional de reservas.
Apoyamos la decisión de los gobiernos de Bolivia y recientemente de Ecuador de salir del CIADI, mecanismo de solución de controversias sobre inversiones dependiente del Banco Mundial. Demandamos que los países de la región asuman igual compromiso, así como avancen en el rechazo de los Tratados Bilaterales de Inversión (TBI). Rechazamos cualquier forma de tratado comercial que violente la soberanía de los pueblos.
A su vez, repudiamos la represión constante y la criminalización de las luchas de campesinos y campesinas por obtener un pedazo de tierra. Esto sucede en todo el continente, pero se ve hoy con mayor crudeza en Paraguay. Estas represiones se volvieron sistemáticas y se realizan bajo el amparo de fiscales y jueces, que las hacen parecer legales. Exigimos el cese de las políticas de criminalización de la pobreza y de judicialización de la lucha social, así como la derogación de las llamadas leyes antiterroristas. Asimismo reclamamos el desprocesamiento de todos los luchadores y luchadoras sociales en toda América Latina.
Del mismo modo, rechazamos la militarización creciente del continente promovida por los Estados Unidos y sus aliados en la región y exigimos el retiro de la IV flota de Estados Unidos en el Atlántico; el fin de los ejercicios militares conjuntos con los Estados Unidos; el levantamiento de todas las bases y asentamientos militares extranjeros y la no instalación de nuevas bases; la eliminación de la fortaleza militar de la OTAN en Malvinas; la suspensión del envío de efectivos a la Escuela de las Américas u otros institutos similares; el fin de las misiones militares de Estados Unidos en nuestros países; la derogación de las inmunidades concedidas a los efectivos militares de las bases de Estados Unidos instaladas en nuestros países y castigar a los responsables de las violaciones sobre las poblaciones, particularmente a las mujeres.
También expresamos nuestro rechazo al golpe de estado perpetrado recientemente en Honduras y exigimos la inmediata restitución de Manuel Zelaya, legítimo presidente electo por este pueblo hermano. Apoyamos la lucha del pueblo hondureño por la institucionalidad democrática y el derecho a sostener al presidente que ellos mismos se han puesto. De la misma manera, repudiamos firmemente la violencia militar y policial ejercida contra este pueblo.
Alentamos la iniciativa del grupo del ALBA en convocar a sus asociados y hacer declaraciones de apoyo al gobierno de Zelaya. De la misma forma, los pueblos debemos esforzarnos de profundizar las diferentes alternativas de integración regionales que buscan enfrentar al sistema capitalista desde otro modelo. Del mismo modo, creemos que sería importante que los presidentes del Mercosur avancen en el mismo camino.
Es por todo esto que nosotros y nosotras hoy seguimos en el camino de la construcción de una integración latinoamericana desde los pueblos, fortaleciendo nuestra identidad regional. Sabemos que para ello debemos seguir en este proceso de lucha de nuestros pueblos para construir un nuevo sujeto que sea el protagonista de su historia y de su cultura.
Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009
Asunción, click 23 y 24 de julio de 2009
Nosotras y nosotros, sick organizaciones sociales y políticas de diferentes países y continentes, physician y pueblos originarios, nos reunimos en la ciudad de Asunción los días 23 y 24 de julio de 2009, en la Cumbre de los Pueblos del Sur “Protagonismo popular, construyendo soberanía” para debatir la coyuntura actual de la crisis del sistema capitalista y las salidas frente a ésta.
Nos plantean desde los poderes estatales, financieros y mediáticos que la crisis que atravesamos es una crisis financiera que puede ser resuelta con la inyección de fondos al Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial. Nunca en la historia del capitalismo se había otorgado tal cantidad de dinero para el salvataje de las empresas privadas. Así se benefician unos pocos que no casualmente son quienes causaron la crisis en un primer lugar. El objetivo del salvataje es entonces que el casino financiero siga funcionando, mientras millones de personas permanecen en la indigencia.
A la par, también promueven la idea de que estamos atravesando una crisis alimentaria diciendo que es a causa de que países como India y China están hoy aumentando su consumo diario de alimento. Pero esta argumentación no muestra que hay un nuevo patrón de producción basado en biotecnologías de avanzada que provocan la destrucción de la agricultura familiar-campesina, y las costumbres campesinas e indígenas.
Este modelo productivo basado en la agricultura mecanizada, extensiva e intensiva, con el uso masivo de transgénicos y agrotóxicos, impacta directamente sobre el medio ambiente, destruyendo y afectando muy fuertemente el clima del planeta. Es por esto que el segundo acuífero mas grande del mundo, el Acuífero Guaraní, está en grave peligro de contaminación por la implementación de este modelo extractivo de desarrollo que está ubicado justamente en las zonas de recarga de dicho acuífero.
Esto viene de la mano de la idea de que estamos viviendo una crisis energética, lo cual coincidió con una campaña mundial impulsada por países como EEUU y Brasil, donde se plantea la necesidad de aumentar la escala del monocultivo de soja, maíz y caña de azúcar para la producción de etanol y biocombustibles.
Frente a esto, nuestra conclusión es que se trata de una crisis integral del capitalismo, que no es momentánea y que no se va a solucionar con la inyección masiva de capitales. Esta crisis integral pone al desnudo el modelo de desarrollo imperante. La respuesta a esta crisis integral debe ser también integral. Hay que transformar el modelo de desarrollo para salir de la crisis. Esto quiere decir que tenemos que construir un proyecto propio desde los pueblos de América Latina.
Por ello hoy estamos en el proceso de construcción y reivindicación de la soberanía alimentaria desde y para los pueblos. Creemos en la necesidad de una producción autónoma, autogestionada y comunitaria, así como la distribución popular e igualitaria. Defendemos el derecho a alimentarnos sanamente, y por ello resistimos desde la defensa de las semillas y la producción agroecológica. Es imprescindible rescatar la memoria y el patrimonio para el saber identitario, desde la pluriculturalidad y desde la puesta en el centro del territorio como base de la identidad cultural. Asimismo, exigimos el diseño de políticas públicas que garanticen la soberanía alimentaria.
Creemos que en el proceso de devastación de nuestros recursos continentales, los pueblos originarios son los principales afectados. En ese sentido, exigimos políticas claras que vayan en el camino de la autodeterminación y soberanía de los pueblos originarios. Una de estas políticas es la generación de espacios nacionales de negociación colectiva en el marco del Convenio 169 de la OIT, así como la conformación de Paritarias Sociales por comunidad.
Reivindicamos la necesidad de construcción de una soberanía energética donde los pueblos podamos disponer libremente de nuestras fuentes de energía así como buscar los modos más convenientes para lograrlo. Vemos esta necesidad particularmente hoy en el caso paraguayo, donde se ha convertido en una causa nacional la recuperación de la soberanía energética sobre las represas de Ytaypu con Brasil y de Yacyreta con Argentina. Aquí reclamamos la revisión de las deudas binacionales y la posibilidad de que el pueblo paraguayo goce de libre disponibilidad y obtenga el precio justo sobre el 50% de la energía allí generada.
A su vez, impulsamos la creación del movimiento de víctimas de cambio climático y la instalación de los tribunales de los pueblos sobre justicia climática. Es central lograr el fortalecimiento de las legislaciones, pero fundamentalmente garantizar el funcionamiento de la justicia hacia las comunidades y territorios más vulnerables como afectados por el cambio climático y la deuda ecológicas. En el mismo sentido, exigimos la incorporación de políticas climáticas en las políticas públicas. Exigimos a los gobiernos del Mercosur que reclamen a los responsables del Norte el reconocimiento y pago de la deuda ecológica en todas las negociaciones internacionales. Y hacemos un llamado a la movilización global por la justicia climática en el marco de la reunión cumbre de Naciones Unidas sobre cambio climático en Copenhague.
También sabemos de la necesidad de construir soberanía financiera desde nuestros países, donde nos paremos en contra del pago de las deudas ilegítimas adquiridas a espaldas de nuestros pueblos. Tomamos el compromiso desde nuestros movimientos y organizaciones de realizar una Auditoría integral ciudadana de las deudas financieras, sociales y ecológicas generadas por la construcción y funcionamiento de Ytaypu y Yacyreta, y el reclamo a los gobiernos involucrados (Paraguay-Brasil-Argentina) de hacer lo mismo. Exigimos la restitución y reparación de las deudas ecológicas, sociales, económicas, etc. Asimismo, ahora más que nunca precisamos avanzar en la construcción de alternativas de soberanía financiera que respondan a las necesidades y los derechos de nuestros pueblos y la madre tierra. Al respecto, denunciamos la lentitud, la falta de diálogo y las trabas que siguen obstaculizando la creación del Banco del Sur. Reclamamos su inmediata puesta en funcionamiento, resguardando el principio de “un país-un voto” en todas sus instancias y niveles de decisión, y la necesidad de que esté al servicio de una integración desde los pueblos y para la transformación del modelo productivo vigente.
Exigimos que además se abran espacios y mecanismos formales de información y participación de la sociedad en la creación y funcionamiento del Banco del Sur. Llamamos a los movimientos y organizaciones sociales a multiplicar las acciones de sensibilización, debate y movilización acerca de la creación de este y otros instrumentos de una nueva arquitectura regional, como podrían ser una unidad de cuenta suramericana, como el sucre, y un sistema regional de reservas.
Apoyamos la decisión de los gobiernos de Bolivia y recientemente de Ecuador de salir del CIADI, mecanismo de solución de controversias sobre inversiones dependiente del Banco Mundial. Demandamos que los países de la región asuman igual compromiso, así como avancen en el rechazo de los Tratados Bilaterales de Inversión (TBI). Rechazamos cualquier forma de tratado comercial que violente la soberanía de los pueblos.
A su vez, repudiamos la represión constante y la criminalización de las luchas de campesinos y campesinas por obtener un pedazo de tierra. Esto sucede en todo el continente, pero se ve hoy con mayor crudeza en Paraguay. Estas represiones se volvieron sistemáticas y se realizan bajo el amparo de fiscales y jueces, que las hacen parecer legales. Exigimos el cese de las políticas de criminalización de la pobreza y de judicialización de la lucha social, así como la derogación de las llamadas leyes antiterroristas. Asimismo reclamamos el desprocesamiento de todos los luchadores y luchadoras sociales en toda América Latina.
Del mismo modo, rechazamos la militarización creciente del continente promovida por los Estados Unidos y sus aliados en la región y exigimos el retiro de la IV flota de Estados Unidos en el Atlántico; el fin de los ejercicios militares conjuntos con los Estados Unidos; el levantamiento de todas las bases y asentamientos militares extranjeros y la no instalación de nuevas bases; la eliminación de la fortaleza militar de la OTAN en Malvinas; la suspensión del envío de efectivos a la Escuela de las Américas u otros institutos similares; el fin de las misiones militares de Estados Unidos en nuestros países; la derogación de las inmunidades concedidas a los efectivos militares de las bases de Estados Unidos instaladas en nuestros países y castigar a los responsables de las violaciones sobre las poblaciones, particularmente a las mujeres.
También expresamos nuestro rechazo al golpe de estado perpetrado recientemente en Honduras y exigimos la inmediata restitución de Manuel Zelaya, legítimo presidente electo por este pueblo hermano. Apoyamos la lucha del pueblo hondureño por la institucionalidad democrática y el derecho a sostener al presidente que ellos mismos se han puesto. De la misma manera, repudiamos firmemente la violencia militar y policial ejercida contra este pueblo.
Alentamos la iniciativa del grupo del ALBA en convocar a sus asociados y hacer declaraciones de apoyo al gobierno de Zelaya. De la misma forma, los pueblos debemos esforzarnos de profundizar las diferentes alternativas de integración regionales que buscan enfrentar al sistema capitalista desde otro modelo. Del mismo modo, creemos que sería importante que los presidentes del Mercosur avancen en el mismo camino.
Es por todo esto que nosotros y nosotras hoy seguimos en el camino de la construcción de una integración latinoamericana desde los pueblos, fortaleciendo nuestra identidad regional. Sabemos que para ello debemos seguir en este proceso de lucha de nuestros pueblos para construir un nuevo sujeto que sea el protagonista de su historia y de su cultura.
Asunción, 23 y 24 de julio de 2009

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, discount Asunción, Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009

We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.

Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.

On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.

It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

Asuncion del Paraguay, 22 July 2009

COMMUNIQUE
From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”,
Asunción, sovaldi Paraguay, shop July 21-22, 2009
We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.
Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.
On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.
It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples. .
We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.
COMMUNIQUE
From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, check Asunción, see Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009
We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.
Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.
On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.
It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

COMMUNIQUE

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, sales Asunción, seek Paraguay, July 21-22, 2009

We, representatives of social movements, labour and civil society organisations from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe, who are meeting in Asunción to discuss the vital importance of regional responses to the current global crisis, call upon the heads of state meeting in Asunción for the Mercosur Summit to decisively agree and implement new modalities for developmental cooperation that serves the needs of the peoples of the regions.

Such new modalities must, in the first instance, fundamentally revise the unjust terms of the Itaipu energy agreement signed decades ago between the dictatorship governments of Brazil and Paraguay. Energy is Paraguay’s chief resource which can be used to develop a sustainable economy and thereby improve the lives of its people. The social movements and Government of Paraguay have demanded the sovereign right of the country to 50 percent of the energy from the Itaipu and Yacyreta projects, and revision of the debt from the building of the dam. We see these as fair and just demands.

On the basis of this highly significant case and in order to ensure that such projects, based on imbalanced power relations between neighbouring countries, are not in future replicated anywhere in our respective regions, we strongly urge that region-wide frameworks of equity principles regulating such joint projects and programs must be created through collective negotiations involving all the regional governments . These, in turn, must include active engagements and inputs from organised social and labour forces from throughout the respective regions.

It was in this spirit of cooperation that the conference included the participation of parliamentarians from various countries in these regions, and direct dialogue with government spokespersons. Some of the critical issues that were discussed were:
* The urgent necessity for governments to create regional financial policy instruments such as regional development banks to defend their economies and peoples against the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalized capitalism.
* The recognition that regional integration must be based on solidarity principles and programs of complementarity based on appropriate accommodation to the different sizes, resources and levels of development of participating countries in order to transform the development models towards balanced and equitable production systems between all the countries, localities and peoples.
* In this context, the strategic importance of taking active stands to reverse the coup-de-etat in Honduras and the displacement of a legally elected government by anti-democratic forces which is aimed not only against the Zelaya government but at reversing the progressive trends in the region in order to maintain the capital accumulation system, favouring the interests of transnational corporations from the US and Europe.
* The imperative urgency of creating modalities and means of effective participation by social and labour movements and communities to evolve strategies of regional cooperation from a holistic and sustainable perspective and with true sovereignty of the peoples.

We see this moment as an historical conjuncture for the world when the crisis has exposed the fundamentally unstable functioning and dangerous effects of the global capitalist system. It is also an opportunity to challenge the currently dominant global economic and political regime, and devise people-centered and ecologically sound alternatives. We are confident that the Latin American people and governments will play a significant role in the formulation and evolution of such alternatives together with all the regions and peoples of the world in the interests of our shared planetary home and common future.

De los participantes de la Conferencia “Integración Regional: una oportunidad frente a la crisis”, Asunción, Paraguay, 21-22 Julio, 2009

Nosotros, representantes de movimientos sociales, sindicales y de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Latina, África, Asia y Europa, reunidos en Asunción para discutir la vital importancia de las respuestas regionales a la crisis global actual, instamos a los Jefes de Estado reunidos en Asunción para la Cumbre del Mercosur a tomar una decisión contundente de avanzar en la implementación de modalidades para la cooperación orientada a un verdadero desarrollo al servicio de los pueblos de nuestras regiones.

Estas nuevas modalidades deben, en primer lugar, revisar de manera fundamental los términos injustos del acuerdo de Itaipu firmados décadas atrás por gobiernos dictatoriales de Brasil y Paraguay. La energía es el principal recurso del Paraguay para diseñar un desarrollo sustentable que responda a la necesidad de mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de su pueblo. Los movimientos sociales y el gobierno de Paraguay han demandado el derecho soberano de su país, traducido en la libre disponibilidad y el precio justo, sobre el 50% de la energía producida en Itaipu y Yacyreta, y la revisión de la deuda contraída para la construcción de estas represas. Consideramos estas demandas como justas.

Sobre la base de esta caso altamente significativo y con el objetivo de asegurar que este tipo de mega-proyectos, basados en relaciones de poder desiguales entre países vecinos, no sean en el futuro replicados en ninguna de nuestras respectivas regiones, llamamos a la creación urgente de marcos regionales elaborados conjuntamente y basados en principios de equidad que regulen este tipo de proyectos conjuntos. Estos, en vez, deben incluir el involucramiento activo y los aportes de las fuerzas sociales y de trabajadores organizadas de todas las respectivas regiones.

Fue en este espíritu de cooperación que la conferencia incluyo la participación de parlamentarios de varios países de las distintas regiones, y el dialogo directo con representantes gubernamentales del Mercosur. Algunos de los temas claves que se discutieron incluyeron:

* La urgente necesidad que los gobiernos creen instrumentos financieros regionales tales como Bancos regionales de desarrollo para defender sus economías y sus pueblos de los efectos destructivos del capitalismo globalizado neoliberal.
* El reconocimiento de que la integración regional debe estar basada en principios de solidaridad y programas de complementariedad que reconozcan las asimetrías en términos de tamaños, recursos, y niveles de desarrollo de los países participantes para transformar el modelo de desarrollo hacia un sistema productivo mas balanceado y sostenible entre todos los países, localidades y pueblos.
* En este contexto, la estratégica importancia de tomar una posición firme y activa para revertir el golpe de estado en Honduras y la restauración del gobierno legalmente elegido, desplazado por las fuerzas anti-democráticas que actuaron no solo en contra del Gobierno de Zelaya sino también con el objetivo de revertir las tendencias progresistas en la región buscando mantener el sistema de acumulación del capital, favoreciendo los intereses de las transnacionales de Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea.
* La imperativa urgencia de encontrar modalidades y medios de hacer efectiva la participación de los movimientos sociales, comunidades, trabajadores y trabajadoras para avanzar estrategias de integración regional, en una perspectiva holística, sustentable y de verdadera soberanía desde los pueblos.

Vemos este momento como una coyuntura histórica para el mundo cuando la crisis ha expuesto el funcionamiento fundamentalmente inestable y los efectos peligrosos del sistema capitalista global. Es también una oportunidad para desafiar el régimen económico-político global dominante y para avanzar alternativas enfocadas en las necesidades de los pueblos y la preservación del medio ambiente. Tenemos confianza que los pueblos de América Latina y algunos de sus gobiernos jugaran un papel significativo en la formulación y evolución de alternativas regionales, junto con todas las regiones y pueblos del mundo, que respondan a los intereses de nuestro planeta y nuestro futuro común.

Asuncion del Paraguay, 22 de Julio de 2009

COMUNICADO De los participantes de la Conferencia “Integración Regional: una oportunidad frente a la crisis”, Asunción, Paraguay, 21-22 Julio, 2009

Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis”
DIA: 21 y 22 de Julio
Lugar: PRODEPA, sales Av. Eusebio Ayala Km 4,5, Asunción del Paraguay


PROGRAMA


21 JULIO

09:00–09:30 Bienvenida a cargo de los organizadores:
– Enrique Daza, Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos (PAAR), Holanda
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Canciller, República del Paraguay
09:30–11:30 Crisis sistémica, impactos de la crisis en los procesos de integración regional

– Juan Gonzalez, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Parlamentario, Filipinas (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Gana

– Elizabeth Gauthier, Espace Marx, Francia (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION INGLES- POWER POINT / TEXTO)

Moderacion

Cecilia Olivet,

TNI, Holanda

11:30-13:30 Respuestas regionales a la crisis

– Juan Castillo, Secretario de Relaciones Internacional de PIT-CNT, Uruguay

– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Joy Chavez, Focus on the Global South, Filipinas
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC Francia

Moderacion

José Miguel Hernández,

CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

13:30-15:00 Lunch
15:00-17:30 Integración Regional: Repensando el modelo de desarrollo.  Complementariedad versus competencia. Integración y Asimetrías
– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice Canciller, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Gobierno Argentina
-Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Graciela Rodríguez, REBRIP, Brasil



– Dot Keet, SAPSN, Sudafrica (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)

– Charles Santiago, Parlamentario, Malasia

Moderacion

Gonzalo Berrón,

ASC/CSA, Brasil

17:30-18:00 Coffee break
18:00-20:00 Modelo de desarrollo e Infraestructura
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brasil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, Sudáfrica

Moderacion

Ximana Centellas,

Directora General de

Gestión Pública,

Viceministerio de

Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia


22 JULIO


09:00-10:45 Crisis energética y cambio climático: Desafíos para su superación. Integración y energía: Experiencias regionales

– Walden Bello, Paralamentario, Filipinas

– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – ESPAÑOL)
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – ESPAÑOL)
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Accion, España

Moderacion
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos,

Iniciativa Paraguaya por la

Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay

10:45-11:00 Coffe Break
11:00-13:00 Modelo Productivo para garantizar la Soberanía alimentaria regional
– Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay
– Rabindra Adhikari, Parlamentario, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Vía Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe


– Francisca Rodriguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION SPANISH)

Moderacion

Martin Prieto, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

13:00-14:00 Almuerzo
14:00–16:00 Finanzas y modelo de desarrollo: Nuevas estructuras financieras: (Banco del Sur, monedas regionales, etc)  
– Pedro Páez, Presidente Comisión Técnica Presidencial Ecuatoriana para la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional y el Banco del Sur, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Republica Checa

Moderacion

Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, Francia

16:00-17:00 Paz Regional, Democracia y Derechos Humanos

– Lee, Seung-Heon, Departamento de Relaciones Exteriores del Partido Democrático de Trabajadores de Corea, Corea del Sur (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Camille Chalmers, Campaña por la Demililtarización de las Américas, Haití

– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Finlandia (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia (DESCARGAR PRESENTACION – INGLES)

Moderation

Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ

Paraguay/ Iniciativa

Paraguaya por la integracion de los Pueblos, Paraguay

17:00–17:30 Coffee break
17:30–20:00

Mesa Redonda: Integración Regional: Desafíos para los movimientos sociales y los gobiernos    

– Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Gobierno Paraguay     
– Franklin Gonzalez, Gobierno Venezuela
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South/Parlamentario, Filipinas

– Nalu Farias, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Holanda
– Dot Keet, SAPSN, Sudafrica

Moderacion
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Co-organizan
Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute

En cooperación con

Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de las Américas (CSA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubileo Sur, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC Francia, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam,  Ecologistas en Acción

Nosotros, physician representantes de movimientos sociales, purchase sindicales y de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de América Latina, decease África, Asia y Europa, reunidos en Asunción para discutir la vital importancia de las respuestas regionales a la crisis global actual, instamos a los Jefes de Estado reunidos en Asunción para la Cumbre del Mercosur a tomar una decisión contundente de avanzar en la implementación de modalidades para la cooperación orientada a un verdadero desarrollo al servicio de los pueblos de nuestras regiones.

Estas nuevas modalidades deben, en primer lugar, revisar de manera fundamental los términos injustos del acuerdo de Itaipu firmados décadas atrás por gobiernos dictatoriales de Brasil y Paraguay. La energía es el principal recurso del Paraguay para diseñar un desarrollo sustentable que responda a la necesidad de mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de su pueblo. Los movimientos sociales y el gobierno de Paraguay han demandado el derecho soberano de su país, traducido en la libre disponibilidad y el precio justo, sobre el 50% de la energía producida en Itaipu y Yacyreta, y la revisión de la deuda contraída para la construcción de estas represas. Consideramos estas demandas como justas.

Sobre la base de esta caso altamente significativo y con el objetivo de asegurar que este tipo de mega-proyectos, basados en relaciones de poder desiguales entre países vecinos, no sean en el futuro replicados en ninguna de nuestras respectivas regiones, llamamos a la creación urgente de marcos regionales elaborados conjuntamente y basados en principios de equidad que regulen este tipo de proyectos conjuntos. Estos, en vez, deben incluir el involucramiento activo y los aportes de las fuerzas sociales y de trabajadores organizadas de todas las respectivas regiones.

Fue en este espíritu de cooperación que la conferencia incluyo la participación de parlamentarios de varios países de las distintas regiones, y el dialogo directo con representantes gubernamentales del Mercosur. Algunos de los temas claves que se discutieron incluyeron:

  • La urgente necesidad que los gobiernos creen instrumentos financieros regionales tales como Bancos regionales de desarrollo para defender sus economías y sus pueblos de los efectos destructivos del capitalismo globalizado neoliberal.
  • El reconocimiento de que la integración regional debe estar basada en principios de solidaridad y programas de complementariedad que reconozcan las asimetrías en términos de tamaños, recursos, y niveles de desarrollo de los países participantes para transformar el modelo de desarrollo hacia un sistema productivo mas balanceado y sostenible entre todos los países, localidades y pueblos.
  • En este contexto, la estratégica importancia de tomar una posición firme y activa para revertir el golpe de estado en Honduras y la restauración del gobierno legalmente elegido, desplazado por las fuerzas anti-democráticas que actuaron no solo en contra del Gobierno de Zelaya sino también con el objetivo de revertir las tendencias progresistas en la región buscando mantener el sistema de acumulación del capital, favoreciendo los intereses de las transnacionales de Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea.
  • La imperativa urgencia de encontrar modalidades y medios de hacer efectiva la participación de los movimientos sociales, comunidades, trabajadores y trabajadoras para avanzar estrategias de integración regional, en una perspectiva holística, sustentable y de verdadera soberanía desde los pueblos.

Vemos este momento como una coyuntura histórica para el mundo cuando la crisis ha expuesto el funcionamiento fundamentalmente inestable y los efectos peligrosos del sistema capitalista global. Es también una oportunidad para desafiar el régimen económico-político global dominante y para avanzar alternativas enfocadas en las necesidades de los pueblos y la preservación del medio ambiente. Tenemos confianza que los pueblos de América Latina y algunos de sus gobiernos jugaran un papel significativo en la formulación y evolución de alternativas regionales, junto con todas las regiones y pueblos del mundo, que respondan a los intereses de nuestro planeta y nuestro futuro común.

Video Live Streaming Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales "Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis”

Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis”
21 y 22 de Julio de 2009 (9am-20pm), PRODEPA, Sala 1, Asunción del Paraguay



Vea aqui en vivo por internet los debates (el 21 de julio a las 9am hora Paraguay comenzara la transmision en vivo)
Para ver el horario en otros paises ir a www.timeanddate.com/worldclock



Free video streaming by Ustream

Co-organizan
Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute

En cooperación con
Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de las Américas (CSA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Trade Strategy Group, Jubileo Sur, REBRIP, Transform Europe, ATTAC Francia, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva Kutumkakam, Ecologistas en Acción

Con el apoyo de
Presidencia Paraguaya Pro-tempore del Mercosur

PROGRAMA
21 de JULIO

09:00–09:30
Bienvenida a cargo de los organizadores:
– Enrique Daza, Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia
– Brid Brennan, TNI/Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos (PAAR), Holanda
– Guillermo Ortega, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Héctor Lacognata, Canciller, República del Paraguay

09:30–11:30
Crisis sistémica, impactos de la crisis en los procesos de integración regional
– Victor Baez, Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de las Américas (CSA), Brasil
– Juan González, MOSIP, Argentina
– Walden Bello, Parlamentario, Filipinas
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Gana
Moderación Cecilia Olivet, TNI, Holanda

11:30 – 13:30
Respuestas regionales a la crisis
– Representante del ALBA
– Juan Castillo, Secretario de Relaciones Internacional de PIT-CNT, Uruguay
– Demba Moussa Dembele, African Forum on Alternatives/Africa Jubilee South, Senegal
– Joy Chavez, Focus on The Global South, Filipinas
– Frederic Viale, ATTAC France, Francia
Moderación: José Miguel Hernández, CTC Nacional/ CC-ASC, Cuba

15:00 – 17:30
Integración Regional: Repensando el modelo de desarrollo. Complementariedad versus competencia. Integración y Asimetrías
– Jorge Lara Castro, Vice Canciller, Paraguay
– Oscar Laborde, Gobierno Argentina
-Tomas Palau, Base IS, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los Pueblos, Paraguay
– Graciela Rodríguez, REBRIP, Brasil
– Dot Keet, Trade Strategy Group, Sudáfrica
– Charles Santiago, Parlamentario, Malasia
Moderación
Gonzalo Berrón, ASC/CSA, Brasil

18:00 – 20:00
Modelo de desarrollo e Infraestructura
– Guilherme Carvalho, Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brasil
– Ricardo Miranda, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), Bolivia
– Michelle Pressend, Trade Strategy Group, Sudáfrica
Moderación
Ximena Centellas,Directora General de Gestión Pública, Viceministerio de Coordinación y Gestión Gubernamental, Bolivia

22 de JULIO

09:00 – 10:45
Crisis energética y cambio climático: Desafíos para su superación. Integración y energía: Experiencias regionales
– Gobierno de Venezuela
– Walden Bello, Paralamentario, Filipinas
– Pablo Bertinat, Cono Sur Sustentable, Argentina
– Roberto Colman, Coordinadora Soberanía Energética, Paraguay
– Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción, España
Moderación
Fernando Rojas, Decidamos, Iniciativa Paraguaya por la Integración de los
Pueblos, Paraguay

11:00-13:00
Modelo Productivo para garantizar la Soberanía alimentaria regional
– Juan José Domínguez, Parlamentario, MPP – FA Uruguay
– Rabindra Adhikari, Parlamentario, Nepal
– Indra Lubis, La Vía Campesina, Indonesia
– Lodwick Chizarura, SEATINI, Zimbabwe
– Francisca Rodríguez, CONAMURI/CLOC, Chile
Moderación
Sebastián Valdomir, Redes Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay

14:00 – 16:00
Finanzas y modelo de desarrollo: Nuevas estructuras financieras: (Banco del Sur, monedas regionales, etc)
– Pedro Páez, Presidente Comisión Técnica Presidencial Ecuatoriana para la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional y el Banco del Sur, Ecuador
– Beverly Keene, Jubileo Sur, Argentina
– Ivan Lukas, Glopolis, Republica Checa
Moderación
Veronique Sandoval, Espace Marx, Francia

16:00-17:00
Paz Regional, Democracia y Derechos Humanos
– Camille Chalmers, Campaña por la Demililtarización de las Américas, Haití
– Lee, Seung-Heon, Departamento de Relaciones Exteriores del Partido Democrático de Trabajadores de Corea, Corea del Sur
– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Thomas Wallgren, Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva kutumkakam, Finlandia
– Pezo Mateo-Phiri, SAPSN, Zambia
Moderación
Ramon Corvalan, SERPAJ Paraguay, Iniciativa Paraguaya

17:30 – 20:00
Mesa Redonda: Integración Regional: Desafíos para los movimientos sociales y los gobiernos
– Edgardo Lander, Universidad Central de Venezuela/TNI, Venezuela
– Meena Menon, Focus on the Global South, India
– Nalu Faria, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brasil
– Brid Brennan, TNI, Holanda
– Tetteh Hormeku, TWN/ATN, Gana
– Chacho Alvarez, Presidente de la Comisión de Representantes Permanentes del MERCOSUR, Argentina
– Ana Cristina Betancourt Garcia, Ministerio de Autonomía, Bolivia
– Gustavo Codas, Gobierno Paraguay
Moderación
Héctor de la Cueva, RMALC, México


Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales

“Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis”

paraguay_conference_es

21 y 24 de Julio de 2009, about it Salón XX, Consejo Nacional del Deporte,

Asunción del Paraguay



Co-organizan

Alianza Social Continental, Iniciativa Paraguaya para la Integración de los Pueblos, Agenda de los Pueblos para Regionalismos Alternativos, Focus on the Global South y Transnational Institute


En cooperación con

Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de las Américas (CSA), Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), People’s SAARC, Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA), TWN Africa, Jubilee South, Transform Europe, ATTAC Francia, Ecologistas en Acción


Con el apoyo de

Presidencia Paraguaya Pro-tempore del Mercosur




Seminario: "Crisis Emergentes: Deglobalizacion? Oportunidades y desafios para alternativas regionales (FSM, Belem)

Workshop organised during World Social Forum in Belem

31 January 2009

Introduction

The global financial system is unravelling at great speed. This is happening in the midst of a multiplicity of interlinked crises in relation to food, climate change and energy arising from the workings of the currently dominant global neo-liberal model. The failure of this economic model has been forcefully made evident. More than two decades of privatisation, liberalization and deregulation in many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have had devastating effects on industrial and agricultural capacities, formal sector employment, independent livelihoods and the environment. Despite the intensity of the crisis a ‘business as usual’ agenda is being pursued in the US and EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) which is dis-integrating the existing and emerging regions of the South.

Finding solutions to the global crises has now become the major concern across the globe. This workshop will highlight the debate around the idea of ‘de-globalisation’ and the challenges and possibilities of moving forward in the concretisation of regional alternatives to the economic, financial, food, climate and energy crises and instead place the interest of people and the planet at its center. It will aim to encourage cross-fertilisation from experiences on regional alternatives among social movements and civil society organisations from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

PROGRAMME

The Global Crises & De-Globalisation
Walden Bello – Focus on the Global South & Freedom from Debt Coalition

Regional responses to the crisis: experiences & challenges from Africa
Michelle Pressend – BioWatch & Trade Strategy Group, South Africa

Regional responses to the crisis: experiences & challenges from South East Asia region: ASEAN
Joy Chavez – Focus on the Global South & SAPA, Philippines

Regional responses to the crisis: experiences & challenges from South Asia region: SAARC
Asfar Jafri – Focus on the Global South & People’s SAARC, India

Regional responses to the crisis: experiences & challenges from Latin America
Graciela Rodriguez – IGTN, Brazil

Northern Counter-Strategies – including regional responses to the crisis: experiences & challenges from Europe
Brid Brennan -Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Thomas Wallgren – Attac Finland

Open Forum Discussion: The potential of regional alternatives and the need for cross-regional networking – focus and priorities
Gonzalo Berron – CSA/HSA
Cecilia Olivet – TNI

Moderator: Adhemar Mineiro, REBRIP – Brazil (Moderator)


Co-Convenors:

Transnational Institute (TNI) Hemispheric Social Alliance (HSA) Focus on the Global South, People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR)

Seminario organizado durante el  Foro Social Mundual en Belem

31 Enero de 2009

 

PROGRAMA

Crisis Globales (financiera, energética, alimentaria) y deglobalización

Walden Bello – Focus on the Global South & Freedom from Debt Coalition, Filipinas

Respuestas regionales a las crisis: experiencias y desafíos desde África

Michelle Pressend – BioWatch & Trade Strategy Group, Sudáfrica

Respuestas regionales a las crisis: experiencias desde el Sudeste de Asia: ASEAN

Joy Chavez – Focus on the Global South & SAPA, Filipinas

Respuestas regionales a las crisis: experiencias y desafíos desde Asia de Sur: SAARC

Asfar Jafri – Focus on the Global South & People’s SAARC, India

Respuestas regionales a las crisis: experiencias y desafíos desde América Latina

Graciela Rodriguez – IGTN, Brazil

Respuestas regionales a las crisis: experiencias desde Europa

Brid Brennan -Transnational Institute, Holanda

Thomas Wallgren – Attac Finlandia

Foro de Debate: El potencial de las alternativas regionales y la necesidad de las alianzas inter-regionales

Gonzalo Berron – CSA/HSA

Cecilia Olivet – TNI

Moderador: Adhemar Mineiro, REBRIP – Brasil

Co-organizadores

Alianza Social Continental (ASC), Focus on the Global South, Transnational Institute (TNI), Third World Network-Africa, Siemenpuu (Finland) and People’s Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR)