The 2012 SADC People's Summit Report

We the more than 250 representatives of grassroots movements, visit web community-based organizations, visit this peasant and small farmers movements, faith based organizations, women’s organizations, labour, student, youth, economic justice and human rights networks and other social movements met in Mumemo centre, Maracuene, Mozambique, from 15-16 August at the eighth People’s Summit incorporating the People’s Dialogue organized by the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), supported by the local host organizations UNAC, Forum Mulher, JA, Livaningo, Accord and Via Campesina to bring the SADC Community’s attention to challenges that affect our daily lives.

We deliberated on the theme “Reclaiming SADC for People’s Development – A People’ SADC: Myth or Reality?”

Concerned with undemocratic governance, impunity of corporates in Extractive industries, global climate catasrophe, exploitation of natural resources, dominance of corporates in the energy sector, patriarchy, increasing violence against women and children, displacement of communities by corporates with active collaboration of SADC governments, increasing food insecurity, damage to ecosystems, growing inequalities, decline in health and education service provision and standards, deprivation of sustainable livelihoods, extensive land grabbing by corporates and governments collaborating actively with traditional leadership, continued recolonisation through for example bilateral agreements like the Economic Partnership Agreements and shady deals with the BRICS countries; the continued violations of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, excessive dependency on export oriented economies and finally the continued dominance of the free market dogma and ascendancy of neo-liberalism.

Recognising our efforts in the resolution of crisis in the hotspots of the region

We resolve to:

Strengthen campaigns against Free Trade Agreements, privatisation, GMOs, dictatorship, land grabbing, gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination.

And show solidarity with the struggling people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Swaziland

We call on SADC heads of states

  • Urgently dismantle patriarchal systems that aid and abate the discrimination of people using arguments rooted in backward culture and traditions
  • Be Transparent and accountable to the people of SADC in agreements for extractive industries and stop the land deals
  • Develop and enforce policies that protect the rights of women and children
  • Stop the pursuit of neoliberal social and economic policies.
  • Stop the land grabbing and utilise the land and natural resources for the development of the poor and marginalised.
  • Stop the deployment and use of violence to suppress people’s democratic rights
  • To adopt and aggressively implement lasting solutions to the political hot spots and crisis areas of the region without procrastination.
  • Make vigorous efforts to stop the pillaging of the environment
  • Uphold the principle of democratic, free and fair elections in Swaziland
  • Guarantee food sovereignty through agrarian reform and the establishment of indigenous seed banks
  • Be transparent and accountable in investment agreements
  • Embark on a wealth redistribution and transformative agenda through for example the removal of investment incentives and tax holidays for corporations
  • Enhance their capacity to collect taxes from errant corporations whose techniques for tax avoidance are now well documented.
  • Meet people’s needs such access to clean water, health services, education, food and energy rather than investing in mining, fossil fuel based energy and the mega projects that benefit corporations and elites.
  • To reorient infrastructure development for the promotion of regional integration and not designed to ship resources out of SADC to serve the local people
  • Stop the reliance on export-driven extractivism of our natural resources.
  • Promote and support agro-ecological farming.
  • Implement the protocol on the free movement of people in SADC
  • Ensure that SADC national focal points function effectively and serve the people.
  • Mobilise domestic resources and undertake innovative financing to meet budget requirements to meet the Abuja and Maputo declarations respectively
  • Ensure that leaders of nations that have benefitted, or continue to benefit, from a development path based on high greenhouse gas emissions, need to acknowledge and repay ecological debt owed to vulnerable communities and the planet.

THE 2012 SADC PEOPLE’S SUMMIT REPORT
“Reclaiming SADC for People’s Development – A People’s SADC Myth or Reality?”

Table of Contents
About SAPSN
Contextualization
1. Introduction
2. Opening and Introductory Remarks
3. Key Note Addresses: A People’s SADC Myth or Reality
3.1 From Liberation Struggles to the Building of Social Movements in SADC Countries
4. Democracy and Human Rights – Pre Conditions for Credible, Free and Fair Elections
5. Contemporary Politics and Power in Swaziland
6. Trade and Investment – Investment Agreements in SADC as a Vehicle to Facilitate Tax Avoidance
7. Climate Justice Post COP 17 Workshop
8.0 Reflections on the Role of Civil Society in COP 17: Mixed Reactions and Contradictions
9.0 Land Grabs in the SADC Region
9.1 Impact of the Establishment of the Ethanol Plant in Chisumbanje
9.2 Outcomes – Actions for Opposing Land Grabbing
10.  Extractive Industries and Mineral Rights in Southern Africa
10.1 Coal Mining in Mpumalanga – South Africa
10.2 Diamond Mining in Chiadzwa – Zimbabwe
10 .3 Coal Mining in Moatize Tete Province – Mozambique
10.4 Outcomes and Recommendations
11. SADC Focal Points – People’s Perspectives on the Role of SADC National Focal Points
11.1 Historical Analysis of SADC
11.2 CSOs Engagement with SADC
11.3 Role of SADC National Focal Points
12. Summit Declaration
13. Conclusion and Closing Remarks
14. Together We March

 

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Communique from the eighth SADC People's Summit (Mozambique, 15-16 August 2012)

We the more than 250 representatives of grassroots movements, medical community-based organizations, peasant and small farmers movements, faith based organizations, women’s organizations, labour, student, youth, economic justice and human rights networks and other social movements met in Mumemo centre, Maracuene, Mozambique, from 15-16 August at the eighth People’s Summit incorporating the People’s Dialogue organized by the Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), supported by the local host organizations UNAC, Forum Mulher, JA, Livaningo, Accord and Via Campesina to bring the SADC Community’s attention to challenges that affect our daily lives.

We deliberated on the theme “Reclaiming SADC for People’s Development – A People’ SADC: Myth or Reality?”

Concerned with undemocratic governance, impunity of corporates in Extractive industries, global climate catasrophe, exploitation of natural resources, dominance of corporates in the energy sector, patriarchy, increasing violence against women and children, displacement of communities by corporates with active collaboration of SADC governments, increasing food insecurity, damage to ecosystems, growing inequalities, decline in health and education service provision and standards, deprivation of sustainable livelihoods, extensive land grabbing by corporates and governments collaborating actively with traditional leadership, continued recolonisation through for example bilateral agreements like the Economic Partnership Agreements and shady deals with the BRICS countries; the continued violations of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, excessive dependency on export oriented economies and finally the continued dominance of the free market dogma and ascendancy of neo-liberalism.

Recognising our efforts in the resolution of crisis in the hotspots of the region

We resolve to:

Strengthen campaigns against Free Trade Agreements, privatisation, GMOs, dictatorship, land grabbing, gender-based violence and all forms of discrimination.

And show solidarity with the struggling people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Swaziland

We call on SADC heads of states

  • Urgently dismantle patriarchal systems that aid and abate the discrimination of people using arguments rooted in backward culture and traditions
  • Be Transparent and accountable to the people of SADC in agreements for extractive industries and stop the land deals
  • Develop and enforce policies that protect the rights of women and children
  • Stop the pursuit of neoliberal social and economic policies.
  • Stop the land grabbing and utilise the land and natural resources for the development of the poor and marginalised.
  • Stop the deployment and use of violence to suppress people’s democratic rights
  • To adopt and aggressively implement lasting solutions to the political hot spots and crisis areas of the region without procrastination.
  • Make vigorous efforts to stop the pillaging of the environment
  • Uphold the principle of democratic, free and fair elections in Swaziland
  • Guarantee food sovereignty through agrarian reform and the establishment of indigenous seed banks
  • Be transparent and accountable in investment agreements
  • Embark on a wealth redistribution and transformative agenda through for example the removal of investment incentives and tax holidays for corporations
  • Enhance their capacity to collect taxes from errant corporations whose techniques for tax avoidance are now well documented.
  • Meet people’s needs such access to clean water, health services, education, food and energy rather than investing in mining, fossil fuel based energy and the mega projects that benefit corporations and elites.
  • To reorient infrastructure development for the promotion of regional integration and not designed to ship resources out of SADC to serve the local people
  • Stop the reliance on export-driven extractivism of our natural resources.
  • Promote and support agro-ecological farming.
  • Implement the protocol on the free movement of people in SADC
  • Ensure that SADC national focal points function effectively and serve the people.
  • Mobilise domestic resources and undertake innovative financing to meet budget requirements to meet the Abuja and Maputo declarations respectively
  • Ensure that leaders of nations that have benefitted, or continue to benefit, from a development path based on high greenhouse gas emissions, need to acknowledge and repay ecological debt owed to vulnerable communities and the planet.

 

For more information of the 8th SADC People’s Summit visit: http://sadcpeoplessummit.org

SADC People’s Summit Declaration (Windhoek, Namibia, August 2010)

Following a three day conference, in August 2000, of twenty four independent peoples civil society organisations, sectoral networks and coalitions from many sectors and from all the countries of Southern Africa, the following declaration was produced. This expresses the perspectives of peoples organisations from across the region, and calls on other such organisations to endorse these positions on some of the broad economic dimensions of regional cooperation and integration that are being considered by the governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); and for other such peoples organisations to join together to add their own proposals and demands in other areas of concern which are all integral to a holistic program of regional development cooperation.


Declaration

“Making Southern African Development Cooperation and Integration a People-centered and People-driven Regional Challenge to Globalisation

As members of community-based development coalitions, trade union and other labour organisations, faith-based social development organisations, campaigning networks for debt cancellation and reparations, alliances against the IMF and World Bank, a women and trade network, development NGOs and popular education, information and capacity building bodies – and as participants in the ‘Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network’ (SAPSN) gathered together in Windhoek on the occasion of the Summit of the SADC Heads of State, 1-7 August 2000, we as

Peoples’ organisations state

  • We are united by our common history of colonisation and mutual support in our struggles for national liberation, as well as our shared experience of the depredations of apartheid and its destabilisation and devastation across the whole region. We are also conscious that we are part of a region enormously rich in human and natural resources which has the potential to become a community of nations enjoying peace and human security, guaranteed human rights and equitable human development. But these aims will only be achieved if peoples organisations give an effective lead to the governments of the region in order that they work together towards this historic goal.
  • We are committed to a vision of a united Southern Africa in which local and community-based development is the fundamental substance of national development programmes. These, in turn, will be strengthened by coordinated and combined programmes of people-based regional development, and the creation of an integrated development community in Southern Africa. Such an integrated region would also be a building block towards broader African peoples cooperation and unity, and could be an effective economic and political base from which to challenge capitalist globalisation.
  • We note, however, that the overwhelming majority of the people of our region are living in conditions of appalling poverty and already suffering the effects of an AIDS epidemic of potentially catastrophic proportions; but that the governments of our countries
    • have for long mainly engaged in rhetorical declarations about national development, and development cooperation and regional integration, with few effective achievements;
    • are mainly concerned with preserving and promoting their own individual and group status, power and privileges, and their personal and aspirant-class appropriation of our nations’ resources; and, for these reasons, are frequently engaged in divisive competition and even dangerous conflicts amongst themselves at the expense of the interests of the people at national and regional levels;
    • are, at the same time, committed to supporting and defending each other whenever the interests and power of the ruling elites come into conflict with the human rights, and the democratic and development aspirations of their own populations; and are using SADC as a self-serving ‘old boys’ club’ for such mutual support;
    • are increasingly responsive and subordinate to external inducements and pressures from governmental agencies in the richest industrialised countries, and their global corporations, banks and other financial organisations, and the ‘multilateral’ institutions dominated and used by them.
  • We note also the grossly uneven development within and between the countries of the
    region caused by a long history of deliberate political and economic programs in favour of the needs of South African and international companies, and privileged (mainly white) elites; and that, with the increasing penetration of the region by South African business, the dominant role of the South African economy in the region has not diminished but actually increased since 1994.

Peoples’ organisations demand

  • The Governments of SADC must reject claims that the transformation and development of the regional economy should (and can) be driven by national and regional ‘market forces’ and should be structured to serve and further the business interests of ‘indigenous’ private enterprise and ‘national’ capital in the countries of the region. This applies particularly to South African trading companies, banks and corporations, often operating in conjunction with their international partners, which will reinforce not reduce the inherited inequalities within, and imbalances between our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must desist from their collaboration and collusion with national and international political and economic forces and neo-liberal agencies, particularly the IMF and World Bank, to turn SADC into an ‘open region’ of free trade, free capital movements and investment rights, to the benefit of international traders, transnational corporations and financial speculators. This runs counter to the potential for full and effective, internally-generated and rooted national and regional development.
  • The governments of SADC must provide for the effective participation of organised forces of civil society, and respond to the voices and needs of the people of the region for peace and security, democracy and development; and actively commit all the governments of the region to multilaterally negotiated cooperation and equitable development throughout the region. This must go hand in hand with independent popular initiatives for the empowerment of people in their own organisations and communities and at all levels of the regional community.
  • The governments of SADC must insist upon the illegitimacy of our purported national ‘debts’ and the continuous outflow of our hard-earned national financial resources into the coffers of the governments of the richest industrialised countries, private banks and the IMF and World Bank. Our governments must actively prepare, together with other ‘debtor’ countries like ours – and with the support of international peoples movements against debt – for collective and concerted repudiation of those debts if they are not promptly and definitively canceled. This must be carried further with demands for reparations for the long-standing economic, social and ecological damages imposed by such agencies upon our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must unite and act together with other countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and with democratic forces everywhere, to challenge and replace the currently dominant neo-liberal ideology and globalising capitalist system. This process must be started immediately by dealing with the dominant instruments of globalisation , particularly the IMF, World Bank and the WTO, whose policies and programmes are so manifestly detrimental to our economies, environments, societies, cultures and people.

Peoples’ organisations propose

On trade

Our governments must drop their uncritical embrace of the arguments for ‘free trade’ within our region which are reflected in the SADC trade agreement; and, instead,

  • create a negotiated variable and graduated preferential trade area within and through which to create clear and effective production development and diversification strategies for communities, national economies and the region as a whole;
  • replace the liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation policies in national and regional programmes and create trade and development cooperation agreements for Southern Africa which address region-specific issues and are not predetermined or constricted by ‘compliance’ with WTO terms and trade-related conditionalities, or any similar terms in ‘post-Lome’ agreements;
  • convince the South African government to revise its free trade agreement with the European Union where it is in conflict with the declared priority goals of cooperation and development in the SADC region, including South Africa.

On investment

Our governments have to abandon the futile illusion that foreign investors will respond to ‘positive macro-economic signals’ and an ‘open region’; and that such reliance on private capital will create development; and, instead

  • recognise that capital is a social relation not a neutral and disinterested financial instrument and, as the embodiment of social/class interests, any growth that such capital produces is distorted and incidental to its main aim of self-expansion (or profit);
  • build on the widespread experiences in the countries of the region, and elsewhere, that the free or ‘liberalised’ movement of capital is not conducive to financial stability and sound economic development, and requires strategic regulation;
  • base national and regional investment and production policies on the strategic direction of private national and international capital projects – where and in so far as they are required – for specific selected purposes, and clearly defined periods; but
  • prioritise the strategic mobilisation of inwardly-oriented and more varied and committed internal investment resources including public (governmental), parastatal, cooperative and community resources.

On labour

All the governments of the region have to recognise the vital role that labour plays in all economic projects/enterprises and national economic development, and recognise that governments have to adopt effective social and economic development policies that

  • bring to an end the forced migration of millions of workers in search of employment and survival resources for their families, for this is deeply disruptive of families and undermines community cohesion and stability;
  • tackle effectively and with urgency the dramatic growth of unemployment throughout the region, that contributes further towards the flows of economic refugees across borders and between rural and urban areas within all the countries of the region;
  • develop holistic and integrated urban and rural programmes to enable people to create their own incomes or obtain employment incomes, economic security and social and cultural fulfillment within their own communities;
  • incorporate in such social and development programmes, inter-governmental agreements to deal with the brain drain of precious skills from the poorer to the more developed and well-endowed countries of the region;
  • create economic, political and social conditions that will allow for the free movement of people throughout the region.

Peoples’ organisations declare

  • We are committed to deepen and extend our experiences of cooperation and solidarity, our strong sense of mutual recognition as the people of this region of Africa, to build on our joint needs and shared aspirations for the common benefit of our people; and at the same time work to counter any negative or conflictual attitudes towards each other amongst some sectors of our populations.
  • We are also committed to deepen and extend our strategies for cooperation and joint action with other regional peoples cooperation initiatives in the rest of Africa, as well as Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean towards a people-driven challenge to the currently dominant processes and institutions of economic globalisation; that are anti-democratic in their functioning and effects, destabilising of weaker economies and communities throughout the world, creating ever-increasing polarisation, with inequitable and divisive effects amongst peoples, and destructive impacts upon the world’s resources and the global environment.
  • Whether or not our governments accept and act on the above vitally important demands, we as members of peoples organisations from the whole of Southern Africa will continue to pursue these aims and deepen our work in and with existing and emerging mass movements to challenge and change our governments’ policies and strategies; and – if that fails – to change our governments.


Lusaka, sovaldi sale Zambia, salve
15-16 August 2007

We, members of Civil Society Organisations, trade unions, faith based organizations, student bodies and economic justice networks from the SADC region met in Lusaka, Zambia on August 15-16, under the auspices of the Southern Africa Peoples’ Solidarity Network (SAPSN), to constitute the SADC People’s Summit held parallel to the 27th Heads of State Summit.
We exchanged views on some common trends and issues of concern in the region including the appalling state of governance, democracy and human rights, youth unemployment levels, HIV/AIDS trends, poor health service delivery, gender discrimination, land problems, the debt burden, Economic Partnership Agreements and the Zimbabwe Situation.
We noted with concern that years after the adoption of the SADC protocol on human rights, governments in the region continue to violate the rights of their citizens using draconian laws, harassment and torture of opposition leaders and civic society activists, ban on political rallies, intolerance to dissenting views as well as denial of freedom of expression and association.
We deplore attempts by governments, through introducing NGO bills across the region, to silence the civic organisations’ calls for public transparency and accountability.
We categorically condemn the deportation of over 40 Zimbabweans headed for the SADC People’s Summit on August 14 by the Zambia government and call on the immigration officials in the region to desist from such repressive acts in the future. Further, we deplore the inability of the SADC to act decisively in solving the Zimbabwe crisis and we support the calls for a national constitutional conference to solve the country’s situation.
We observe the lack of true democracy in Swaziland and we support the calls for a new constitutional dispensation in the country.
We are disappointed with the little progress made so far in improving the health sector in the region as we underscore the need for urgent actioning by governments towards meeting the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent allocation of the national budgets to the provision of essential drugs including the Anti-Retroviral Drugs. We call on other governments in the region to emulate the government of Botswana which has met the Abuja target in its budgeting process.
We note the importance of land to the livelihoods of the communities and we deplore the unscrupulous evictions of people from their ancestral land, land privatization, and capitalization of land.
We are concerned that debt repayments continue to deprive the peoples of the region essential services and to hamper sustainable development in the region. Despite the debt relief programs undertaken in some of the countries in the region, SADC governments continue to reel under a chronic debt crisis exacerbated by ‘vulture funds’- the so-called predator companies from rich governments which purchase debts owed by poor countries and litigate against the debtor countries with huge costs.
We condemn the legislative and institutional gaps in our countries for addressing internal mechanisms for the debt problems and we call on parliaments in the region to enact legislations around the loan contraction processes and the establishment of institutions that are necessary for effective debt management.
We note with concern the divisive effects of the Economic Partnership Agreements on the region and the neoliberal nature of their content as the December deadline for signing those approaches.
We believe that the EPA negotiations are between unequal partners and that the SADC region stands to lose much more than the promised gains in the process.
We deplore the continued marginalization of women and the youth in decision-making processes across the region as we note the reluctance and piece-meal inclusion of women by governments of the region in political, economic ad social arenas. We emphasize that women’s equal participation
form an integral part of any meaningful strategy towards sustainable development in the region and
beyond.
On the basis of the above factors we demand:
1. All SADC governments to adopt and ratify the SADC protocol on human rights and gender; uphold regional integration as a participatory, people-driven and democratically negotiated process; respect the rule of law; allow free and fair elections; and make all constitutional reforms a consultative process.
2. All SADC governments and peoples to accept duty to de-stigmatise HIV/AIDS, uphold the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and empower them to live positively.
3. Governments in the region to prioritize the sustainable livelihoods of the rural communities, and equity in the land reform processes.
4. Total and Unconditional debt cancellation for all the SADC countries.
5. Governments of SADC to Stop EPAS!
We commit ourselves to continue mobilizing the peoples of the SADC in solidarity with other regions of the continent to contribute to sustainable solutions to the region’s social, economic, and political problems; to engage governments at national levels on regional integration, the Zimbabwe problem, Economic Partnership Agreements, adoption of gender sensitive policies, adequate resources for HIV/AIDS, unemployment for the youth and better working conditions for workers; and to forge active partnership with other actors across the region.
ANOTHER SADC IS POSSIBLE!
Gauteng – South Africa
More than four hundred representatives of Social Movements, labor organizations, economic justice networks, faith and community based and youth organizations, developmental, health environmental, human Rights and other NGOs that work closely with them gathered in Gauteng South Africa to discuss our common concerns and present our Demands and alternatives to the governments of SADC meeting here at this time.
This is the fourth annual SAPSN Summit and it takes place in a period of deepening political tensions within SADC and deteriorating social and economic situations for the majority of our peoples. In this context our discussions focused on our concerns, proposals and demands on the following:
1. Democracy and human rights abuses disrupting and destabilizing our region, with particular emphasis on the gross denial of democratic and human rights in Zimbabwe and Swaziland but also (to other degrees) throughout SADC, especially DRC and Angola. In this context we repeat our demand on all SADC governments to ensure the implementation of full democratic principles and all human rights (including women’s, labor, all NGOs to carry out their work with their people). We demand that SADC governments rapidly ensure that:
– All the people of Zimbabwe themselves are enabled to create the means and find the solutions to the crisis in their country, and SADC must terminate Mbeki’s role as mediator since he is about to become the SADC Chair;
– Apply targeted sanctions on the Swazi royal family, and do not confirm Swaziland’s Chairship of the SADC Organ on Peace and Security until a full democratic regime is established in that country by the people of Swaziland.
2. Poverty and Unemployment continues to devastate our people caused by the neo-liberal market- driven policies of SADC governments and their tolerance and promotion of self-serving corrupt practices in their own ranks. Of the many counter actions that must be undertaken, we demand that SADC:
-Must create regional economic development and diversification strategies to combat poverty and prioritize the creation of decent employment and the right to work.
– Must develop such policies with the active and full participation of the unemployed youth, women, small traders, fisher people and so on.
3. Food Insecurity and Hunger is the other compelling evidence of the growth of poverty in large sectors of our populations and the undermining of secure rural livelihoods. Of the many measure required, we demand that SADC governments:
– Must develop a regional agricultural strategy to secure equitable access to necessary agricultural resources for rural populations especially for women, as they are the main producers.
– Must deal with the skewed patterns of land ownership especially against women, and including extensive privatization of land and foreign appropriation.
must create, in consultation with rural producers, full governmental support for sustainable and organic (not GMOs) food production for family food security and regional food sovereignty.
4. Health crisis and social insecurity are central aspects of the poverty and increasing suffering of large numbers of our people especially the disproportionate numbers of women affected by HIV and AIDS personally and as nurturers of their families and the growing numbers of orphans. This requires free ARVs and special grant and food support. But we also demand that SADC governments
– Must create a regional strategy for universal access to free quality health care as a right for all, especially for the most vulnerable sectors of our people such as those who are differently abled;
– Must stop the practice of government leaders using public funds for health treatment overseas;
– Must ensure the training/retraining of health personnel and their just working conditions and remuneration.
5. Privatization of services, above all health, water and other social services removes these from the people, especially for women and children, and undermines the services provisions that are necessary for national and regional development (such as in public transport and affordable, secure public housing).
In this context, we commit ourselves to further mass campaigns to reverse this privatization, corporatization and commercialization (cost-recovery) policies, and we will pressure SADC governments to create national and regional programmes to ensure free accessible and accountable public services including public housing and free education for all, that are essential for our people’s well-being and human-based development;
6. Debt burdens and aid dependency continue to contradict the obligations of our governments and their responsiveness to our needs, because they are under the control of creditor banks and financial institutions, above all the IMF and World Bank, and donor governments. These constrain or dictate what policies governments can or should follow. Thus we demand that SADC governments:
– Create a combined regional response, in collaboration with civil society, to audit the sources, nature (especially illegitimate and odious debts), scale and their effects on our people especially the most vulnerable sectors such as women;
– reject externally imposed IMF/WB SAP-type conditionalities for ‘‘debt relief’’ or aid; and instead base their criteria on full consultations with their own people;
– put an end to the continual outflow of financial resources through debt payments, and instead demand reparations for these debt payments and the colonial and neo-colonial plunder of African people and resources.
7. Trade deficits and capital outflows are the other forms of financial drainage from our countries. These are created and reinforced by the trade and financial liberalization policies of SADC governments. These counter-developmental policies will be reinforced if SADC governments continue down the road of negotiating so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. Thus we demand that SADC governments:
– must reunite as a region and, together, firmly resist the EU’s recolonising EPAs; instead of maneuvering separately to get EU trade and “aid support” which is splitting SADC apart;
– must recognize that the free trade area they are creating within SADC will further serve to create an open integrated market for EU exporters, investors and service corporations under policies of eternal trade and investment liberalization;
– must recognize that such a SADC free trade area will also serve the expansionist aims and interests of South African companies, not the equitable and more balanced trade development that enables cross-border trade, especially by small women traders;
– must stop the vast financial outflows from our countries and region through international financial speculation (gambling), “legal” investors transfers , and huge transfers overseas of public money through embezzlement by government leaders.
8. Climate Change Dangers and Energy Crises are partly the result of global factors and forces but also result from the policies of our governments colluding with colonial and neo-colonial forces and allowing uncontrolled exploitation of our mineral and other resources. Industrialized countries are responsible for the historical and current global climate change crisis, therefore we demand that SADC governments
– ensure that those responsible assume the proportionate burden, on the “polluter pays principle”, and provide our countries with all the necessary resources towards a low carbon society;
– institutes strong regulations to reduce carbon emissions and pursue sustainable production and consumption patterns, including a regional strategy to ensure universal access to clean and renewable energy, which is a social justice issue;
– Impose environmental responsibility on industries operating our region, and end to dumping of damaging toxic waste affecting our people and workers;
– stop the diversion of land and agricultural production to produce agro-fuels to feed the auto industries and rich countries to the detriment of food production;
– must develop a joint regional energy strategy to ensure effective access to clean and renewable energy resources for us as this is a social justice issue which must not be based on market principles as they are anti-people approaches, and it is uncontrolled transitional corporations that have been the prime cause of global warming with accompanying ecological crisis that will disproportionately affect the poor especially in Africa.
OUR PEOPLES’ RESPONSES AND SOLIDARITY
All these adverse factors are being confronted by most of our people with creativity and courage. But some marginalized and desperate people resort to desperate measures. This is what fundamentally drove the recent escalation of verbal abuse and violent attacks by some elements of the South African population against their fellow Africans from the region and elsewhere on the continent.
We call for carefully planned and just reintegration of internally displaced people resulting from the above deeply deplorable events.
It is also in this context that we participants from all the countries in the SADC region welcome the opportunity to share experiences on our common concerns and deepen our mutual support. Thus we stress that this is a Peoples’ Solidarity Summit and we commit ourselves to make this a real active expression of Solidarity towards each other and a means to ensure that the governments of SADC respond and fulfill the key demands we have outlined here, advance the developmental integration of our region and of the whole African continent.

Gauteng – South Africa

More than four hundred representatives of Social Movements, buy labor organizations, cheap economic justice networks, there faith and community based and youth organizations, developmental, health environmental, human Rights and other NGOs that work closely with them gathered in Gauteng South Africa to discuss our common concerns and present our Demands and alternatives to the governments of SADC meeting here at this time.

This is the fourth annual SAPSN Summit and it takes place in a period of deepening political tensions within SADC and deteriorating social and economic situations for the majority of our peoples. In this context our discussions focused on our concerns, proposals and demands on the following:

1. Democracy and human rights abuses disrupting and destabilizing our region, with particular emphasis on the gross denial of democratic and human rights in Zimbabwe and Swaziland but also (to other degrees) throughout SADC, especially DRC and Angola. In this context we repeat our demand on all SADC governments to ensure the implementation of full democratic principles and all human rights (including women’s, labor, all NGOs to carry out their work with their people). We demand that SADC governments rapidly ensure that:

– All the people of Zimbabwe themselves are enabled to create the means and find the solutions to the crisis in their country, and SADC must terminate Mbeki’s role as mediator since he is about to become the SADC Chair;

– Apply targeted sanctions on the Swazi royal family, and do not confirm Swaziland’s Chairship of the SADC Organ on Peace and Security until a full democratic regime is established in that country by the people of Swaziland.

2. Poverty and Unemployment continues to devastate our people caused by the neo-liberal market- driven policies of SADC governments and their tolerance and promotion of self-serving corrupt practices in their own ranks. Of the many counter actions that must be undertaken, we demand that SADC:
-Must create regional economic development and diversification strategies to combat poverty and prioritize the creation of decent employment and the right to work.
– Must develop such policies with the active and full participation of the unemployed youth, women, small traders, fisher people and so on.

3. Food Insecurity and Hunger is the other compelling evidence of the growth of poverty in large sectors of our populations and the undermining of secure rural livelihoods. Of the many measure required, we demand that SADC governments:
– Must develop a regional agricultural strategy to secure equitable access to necessary agricultural resources for rural populations especially for women, as they are the main producers.
– Must deal with the skewed patterns of land ownership especially against women, and including extensive privatization of land and foreign appropriation.
must create, in consultation with rural producers, full governmental support for sustainable and organic (not GMOs) food production for family food security and regional food sovereignty.

4. Health crisis and social insecurity are central aspects of the poverty and increasing suffering of large numbers of our people especially the disproportionate numbers of women affected by HIV and AIDS personally and as nurturers of their families and the growing numbers of orphans. This requires free ARVs and special grant and food support. But we also demand that SADC governments
– Must create a regional strategy for universal access to free quality health care as a right for all, especially for the most vulnerable sectors of our people such as those who are differently abled;
– Must stop the practice of government leaders using public funds for health treatment overseas;
– Must ensure the training/retraining of health personnel and their just working conditions and remuneration.

5. Privatization of services, above all health, water and other social services removes these from the people, especially for women and children, and undermines the services provisions that are necessary for national and regional development (such as in public transport and affordable, secure public housing).

In this context, we commit ourselves to further mass campaigns to reverse this privatization, corporatization and commercialization (cost-recovery) policies, and we will pressure SADC governments to create national and regional programmes to ensure free accessible and accountable public services including public housing and free education for all, that are essential for our people’s well-being and human-based development;

6. Debt burdens and aid dependency continue to contradict the obligations of our governments and their responsiveness to our needs, because they are under the control of creditor banks and financial institutions, above all the IMF and World Bank, and donor governments. These constrain or dictate what policies governments can or should follow. Thus we demand that SADC governments:
– Create a combined regional response, in collaboration with civil society, to audit the sources, nature (especially illegitimate and odious debts), scale and their effects on our people especially the most vulnerable sectors such as women;
– reject externally imposed IMF/WB SAP-type conditionalities for ‘‘debt relief’’ or aid; and instead base their criteria on full consultations with their own people;
– put an end to the continual outflow of financial resources through debt payments, and instead demand reparations for these debt payments and the colonial and neo-colonial plunder of African people and resources.

7. Trade deficits and capital outflows are the other forms of financial drainage from our countries. These are created and reinforced by the trade and financial liberalization policies of SADC governments. These counter-developmental policies will be reinforced if SADC governments continue down the road of negotiating so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. Thus we demand that SADC governments:
– must reunite as a region and, together, firmly resist the EU’s recolonising EPAs; instead of maneuvering separately to get EU trade and “aid support” which is splitting SADC apart;
– must recognize that the free trade area they are creating within SADC will further serve to create an open integrated market for EU exporters, investors and service corporations under policies of eternal trade and investment liberalization;
– must recognize that such a SADC free trade area will also serve the expansionist aims and interests of South African companies, not the equitable and more balanced trade development that enables cross-border trade, especially by small women traders;
– must stop the vast financial outflows from our countries and region through international financial speculation (gambling), “legal” investors transfers , and huge transfers overseas of public money through embezzlement by government leaders.

8. Climate Change Dangers and Energy Crises are partly the result of global factors and forces but also result from the policies of our governments colluding with colonial and neo-colonial forces and allowing uncontrolled exploitation of our mineral and other resources. Industrialized countries are responsible for the historical and current global climate change crisis, therefore we demand that SADC governments
– ensure that those responsible assume the proportionate burden, on the “polluter pays principle”, and provide our countries with all the necessary resources towards a low carbon society;
– institutes strong regulations to reduce carbon emissions and pursue sustainable production and consumption patterns, including a regional strategy to ensure universal access to clean and renewable energy, which is a social justice issue;
– Impose environmental responsibility on industries operating our region, and end to dumping of damaging toxic waste affecting our people and workers;
– stop the diversion of land and agricultural production to produce agro-fuels to feed the auto industries and rich countries to the detriment of food production;
– must develop a joint regional energy strategy to ensure effective access to clean and renewable energy resources for us as this is a social justice issue which must not be based on market principles as they are anti-people approaches, and it is uncontrolled transitional corporations that have been the prime cause of global warming with accompanying ecological crisis that will disproportionately affect the poor especially in Africa.

OUR PEOPLES’ RESPONSES AND SOLIDARITY

All these adverse factors are being confronted by most of our people with creativity and courage. But some marginalized and desperate people resort to desperate measures. This is what fundamentally drove the recent escalation of verbal abuse and violent attacks by some elements of the South African population against their fellow Africans from the region and elsewhere on the continent.

We call for carefully planned and just reintegration of internally displaced people resulting from the above deeply deplorable events.

It is also in this context that we participants from all the countries in the SADC region welcome the opportunity to share experiences on our common concerns and deepen our mutual support. Thus we stress that this is a Peoples’ Solidarity Summit and we commit ourselves to make this a real active expression of Solidarity towards each other and a means to ensure that the governments of SADC respond and fulfill the key demands we have outlined here, advance the developmental integration of our region and of the whole African continent.

sapsnThe Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) is a network of civil society organizations from the Southern Africa region challenging globalization by promoting pro-people socio-economic policies at national, find regional, continental and global levels.

SAPSN was formed in 1999 with its secretariat housed by South African-based Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC) between 2000-2003 on a rotational basis. Since then, ZIMCODD hosting the . Malawi Economic Justice Network – MEJN

Vision: SAPSN envisions economic, environmental, social and political equity and justice in Southern Africa.

Mission: To mobilize regional solidarity, build members’ capacities and support people-based regional co-operation, integration and unity in the fight against the debt crisis, global trade injustices and neo-liberal policies in Southern Africa.

Membership is drawn from civil society organizations, trade unions, faith based organizations, student bodies and economic justice networks working on capacity building around global trade injustices, poverty, the debt crisis and globalization as well as seeking alternatives to neo-liberalism in Southern Africa.

For more information on SAPSN: http://www.sapsn.org

 

 

sapsnThe Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) is a network of civil society organizations from the Southern Africa region challenging globalization by promoting pro-people socio-economic policies at national, regional, >
continental and global levels.

SAPSN was formed in 1999 with its secretariat housed by South African-based Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC) between 2000-2003 on a rotational basis. Since then, help SAPSN Secretariat was hosted by ZIMCODD in Zimbawe until 2011 when it moved to Malawi to be hosted by Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN).

Vision: SAPSN envisions economic, environmental, social and political equity and justice in Southern Africa.

Mission: To mobilize regional solidarity, build members’ capacities and support people-based regional co-operation, integration and unity in the fight against the debt crisis, global trade injustices and neo-liberal policies in Southern Africa.

Membership is drawn from civil society organizations, trade unions, faith based organizations, student bodies and economic justice networks working on capacity building around global trade injustices, poverty, the debt crisis and globalization as well as seeking alternatives to neo-liberalism in Southern Africa.

For more information on SAPSN: http://www.sapsn.org

 

 

sapsnThe Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) is a network of civil society organizations from the Southern Africa region challenging globalization by promoting pro-people socio-economic policies at national, capsule regional,
continental and global levels.

SAPSN was formed in 1999 with its secretariat housed by South African-based Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC) between 2000-2003 on a rotational basis. Since then, and ZIMCODD has been hosting the SAPSN Secretariat.

Vision: SAPSN envisions economic, environmental, social and political equity and justice in Southern Africa.

Mission: To mobilize regional solidarity, build members’ capacities and support people-based regional co-operation, integration and unity in the fight against the debt crisis, global trade injustices and neo-liberal policies in Southern Africa.

Membership is drawn from civil society organizations, trade unions, faith based organizations, student bodies and economic justice networks working on capacity building around global trade injustices, poverty, the debt crisis and globalization as well as seeking alternatives to neo-liberalism in Southern Africa.

For more information on SAPSN: http://www.sapsn.org

 

RECLAIMING AND REUNITING SADC FOR PEOPLES’ POLITICAL, drugstore SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RIGHTS DECLARATION OF THE PEOPLES’ SUMMIT

Windhoek, there Namibia, AUGUST 16, 2010

More than 350 representatives of grassroots movements, community-based organizations, and faith based organizations, women’s organizations, labor, students, youth, economic justice and human rights networks and other social movements met in Windhoek, Namibia on 15-16 August at the sixth SADC People’s Summit organised by the Southern Africa Peoples’ Solidarity Network (SAPSN), supported by the local host organization NANGOF Trust.

The summit- which was inspired by lively cultural presentations and energized by the participants’ singing and chanting-received solidarity greetings from all fellow citizens of SADC, and brief reports on our respective areas of work and the key concerns in our national terrains.

We had plenary sessions and discussions on regional solidarity and development; the global financial and economic, climate and related crises facing Africa and the world; and Eu‘s imposed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). Discussions were also held and testimonies received in commissions on the state of democracy and human rights in SADC countries; on the rights of workers and social and  economic protections; on the scourge of unemployment especially amongst the youth, and the necessity of affordable education for all; on the continuing adverse situation of women; on preventing further debt creation through guaranteed popular oversight; on natural resources and land rights; on public provision of full social and economic rights; on social exclusion and marginalization, with particular  reference  to the San  people; on the rights to health, especially with regards to HIV/Aids; and on the relatively new themes for people’s movements in our region arising from climate change which is adding to the many other crises already being experienced by our peoples. All these issues and demands on SADC governments and our joint programs for further action will be energetically followed through in the coming year.

At this point, the most pressing common concerns to all our countries, and the demands of our peoples arising out of the powerful presentations, first hand testimonies and the key demands expressed throughout this summit, were on:

  • The ratification and rapid implementation of the SADC Declaration and Treaty and all SADC Protocols on social and economic rights, particularly the original protocol on the free movement of all SADC citizens within their region, including the  right of assembly and freedom of expression.
  • The full institutionalization of all democratic processes and bodies (including to ensure fully free and fair elections), the guarantee of all human and cultural rights and  the protection of human rights defenders and political activists, with particular reference to Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Madagascar, and DRC which is still suffering the effects of war.
  • The rejection of all free trade agreements and especially the EU-imposed Economic Partnership Agreements which are dividing and threatening the very survival and future development of SACU and SADC.

We the peoples of SADC have been strengthened by our sharing of experiences and aspirations within this Peoples’s Summit and we commit ourselves to achieve these by all means necessary.

Viva the Peoples of SADC! Viva the Solidarity and rights of the Peoples of SADC!

SAPSN Statement on the Climate Crisis

25 March 2010, adiposity Windhoek
Climate change is one of the biggest catastrophes facing humankind as result of unsustainable economic growth and consumption and production patterns, largely from the GLOBAL NORTH. The dominant economic growth paradigm is turning the earth into a hostile environment with increasing droughts, floods, water-scarcity and many more physical disasters affecting every sector of society.
Despite this challenge our governments have supported the undemocratic and opaque Copenhagen Accord through which the Global North seeks to renege on its responsibility to reduce its unsustainable consumption and provide the necessary finance and technology to address climate change and a just transition to low carbon economies.
We acknowledge that climate change is a symptom of the exploitative, destructive, polluting, profit – driven consumption and production. As such the current orientation to address climate change through market – driven and trade- led approaches to promote competiveness, “green” tariffs, carbon markets and finance encouraging green capitalism is highly problematic.
We demand the polluter pays principle be implemented and reject the right to pollute through carbon trading and markets.
We reject the technology quick fix solutions to address the climate crisis, particularly the imposed false solutions to address the energy and food crises such as GMOs, agro-fuels, synthetic fertilisers, agrochemicals. These deepen will deepen the crises and perpetuate food aid dependency.
We demand sufficient, mandatory, predictable climate financing to developing countries. Climate funds are compensation and not aid. These funds should be over and above the longstanding ODA commitments (0.7% of GNP). In addition, funding should be in the form of grants which is consistent with the idea of reparations
We demand democratic governance and decision making of financing mechanisms under the UN process and the Conference of Parties (COP) and not the World Bank.
We urge governments and civil society to recognize the gendered dimensions of Climate Change, and facilitate meaningful dialogue between women who are directly affected with policy makers at both local and national levels as well as regional and global level.
We call for the removal intellectual property rights and trade restrictions that place severe constraints on people’s access to climate friendly technologies and thus their ability to promote low carbon alternatives.
Finally we call for civil society in Southern Africa to collaborate with other people based movements on Climate Change globally, and immediately activate existing networks and resources within our ranks, need to build each other’s capacities to engage meaningfully on pro-people solutions to the crisis of climate change.

SAPSN Statement: PROMOTING SOUTHERN AFRICAN SOLIDARITY

Dot Keet, AIDC Regional Briefs 6/2004

Following a three day conference, in August 2000, of twenty four independent peoples civil society organisations, sectoral networks and coalitions from many sectors and from all the countries of Southern Africa, the following declaration was produced. This expresses the perspectives of peoples organisations from across the region, and calls on other such organisations to endorse these positions on some of the broad economic dimensions of regional cooperation and integration that are being considered by the governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); and for other such peoples organisations to join together to add their own proposals and demands in other areas of concern which are all integral to a holistic program of regional development cooperation.

Declaration

“Making Southern African Development Cooperation and Integration a People-centered and People-driven Regional Challenge to Globalisation

As members of community-based development coalitions, trade union and other labour organisations, faith-based social development organisations, campaigning networks for debt cancellation and reparations, alliances against the IMF and World Bank, a women and trade network, development NGOs and popular education, information and capacity building bodies – and as participants in the ‘Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network’ (SAPSN) gathered together in Windhoek on the occasion of the Summit of the SADC Heads of State, 1-7 August 2000, we as

Peoples’ organisations state

  • We are united by our common history of colonisation and mutual support in our struggles for national liberation, as well as our shared experience of the depredations of apartheid and its destabilisation and devastation across the whole region. We are also conscious that we are part of a region enormously rich in human and natural resources which has the potential to become a community of nations enjoying peace and human security, guaranteed human rights and equitable human development. But these aims will only be achieved if peoples organisations give an effective lead to the governments of the region in order that they work together towards this historic goal.
  • We are committed to a vision of a united Southern Africa in which local and community-based development is the fundamental substance of national development programmes. These, in turn, will be strengthened by coordinated and combined programmes of people-based regional development, and the creation of an integrated development community in Southern Africa. Such an integrated region would also be a building block towards broader African peoples cooperation and unity, and could be an effective economic and political base from which to challenge capitalist globalisation.
  • We note, however, that the overwhelming majority of the people of our region are living in conditions of appalling poverty and already suffering the effects of an AIDS epidemic of potentially catastrophic proportions; but that the governments of our countries
    • have for long mainly engaged in rhetorical declarations about national development, and development cooperation and regional integration, with few effective achievements;
    • are mainly concerned with preserving and promoting their own individual and group status, power and privileges, and their personal and aspirant-class appropriation of our nations’ resources; and, for these reasons, are frequently engaged in divisive competition and even dangerous conflicts amongst themselves at the expense of the interests of the people at national and regional levels;
    • are, at the same time, committed to supporting and defending each other whenever the interests and power of the ruling elites come into conflict with the human rights, and the democratic and development aspirations of their own populations; and are using SADC as a self-serving ‘old boys’ club’ for such mutual support;
    • are increasingly responsive and subordinate to external inducements and pressures from governmental agencies in the richest industrialised countries, and their global corporations, banks and other financial organisations, and the ‘multilateral’ institutions dominated and used by them.

    We note also the grossly uneven development within and between the countries of the
    region caused by a long history of deliberate political and economic programs in favour of the needs of South African and international companies, and privileged (mainly white) elites; and that, with the increasing penetration of the region by South African business, the dominant role of the South African economy in the region has not diminished but actually increased since 1994.

Peoples’ organisations demand

  • The Governments of SADC must reject claims that the transformation and development of the regional economy should (and can) be driven by national and regional ‘market forces’ and should be structured to serve and further the business interests of ‘indigenous’ private enterprise and ‘national’ capital in the countries of the region. This applies particularly to South African trading companies, banks and corporations, often operating in conjunction with their international partners, which will reinforce not reduce the inherited inequalities within, and imbalances between our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must desist from their collaboration and collusion with national and international political and economic forces and neo-liberal agencies, particularly the IMF and World Bank, to turn SADC into an ‘open region’ of free trade, free capital movements and investment rights, to the benefit of international traders, transnational corporations and financial speculators. This runs counter to the potential for full and effective, internally-generated and rooted national and regional development.
  • The governments of SADC must provide for the effective participation of organised forces of civil society, and respond to the voices and needs of the people of the region for peace and security, democracy and development; and actively commit all the governments of the region to multilaterally negotiated cooperation and equitable development throughout the region. This must go hand in hand with independent popular initiatives for the empowerment of people in their own organisations and communities and at all levels of the regional community.
  • The governments of SADC must insist upon the illegitimacy of our purported national ‘debts’ and the continuous outflow of our hard-earned national financial resources into the coffers of the governments of the richest industrialised countries, private banks and the IMF and World Bank. Our governments must actively prepare, together with other ‘debtor’ countries like ours – and with the support of international peoples movements against debt – for collective and concerted repudiation of those debts if they are not promptly and definitively canceled. This must be carried further with demands for reparations for the long-standing economic, social and ecological damages imposed by such agencies upon our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must unite and act together with other countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and with democratic forces everywhere, to challenge and replace the currently dominant neo-liberal ideology and globalising capitalist system. This process must be started immediately by dealing with the dominant instruments of globalisation , particularly the IMF, World Bank and the WTO, whose policies and programmes are so manifestly detrimental to our economies, environments, societies, cultures and people.

Peoples’ organisations propose

On trade

Our governments must drop their uncritical embrace of the arguments for ‘free trade’ within our region which are reflected in the SADC trade agreement; and, instead,

  • create a negotiated variable and graduated preferential trade area within and through which to create clear and effective production development and diversification strategies for communities, national economies and the region as a whole;
  • replace the liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation policies in national and regional programmes and create trade and development cooperation agreements for Southern Africa which address region-specific issues and are not predetermined or constricted by ‘compliance’ with WTO terms and trade-related conditionalities, or any similar terms in ‘post-Lome’ agreements;
  • convince the South African government to revise its free trade agreement with the European Union where it is in conflict with the declared priority goals of cooperation and development in the SADC region, including South Africa.

On investment

Our governments have to abandon the futile illusion that foreign investors will respond to ‘positive macro-economic signals’ and an ‘open region’; and that such reliance on private capital will create development; and, instead

  • recognise that capital is a social relation not a neutral and disinterested financial instrument and, as the embodiment of social/class interests, any growth that such capital produces is distorted and incidental to its main aim of self-expansion (or profit);
  • build on the widespread experiences in the countries of the region, and elsewhere, that the free or ‘liberalised’ movement of capital is not conducive to financial stability and sound economic development, and requires strategic regulation;
  • base national and regional investment and production policies on the strategic direction of private national and international capital projects – where and in so far as they are required – for specific selected purposes, and clearly defined periods; but
  • prioritise the strategic mobilisation of inwardly-oriented and more varied and committed internal investment resources including public (governmental), parastatal, cooperative and community resources.

On labour

All the governments of the region have to recognise the vital role that labour plays in all economic projects/enterprises and national economic development, and recognise that governments have to adopt effective social and economic development policies that

  • bring to an end the forced migration of millions of workers in search of employment and survival resources for their families, for this is deeply disruptive of families and undermines community cohesion and stability;
  • tackle effectively and with urgency the dramatic growth of unemployment throughout the region, that contributes further towards the flows of economic refugees across borders and between rural and urban areas within all the countries of the region;
  • develop holistic and integrated urban and rural programmes to enable people to create their own incomes or obtain employment incomes, economic security and social and cultural fulfillment within their own communities;
  • incorporate in such social and development programmes, inter-governmental agreements to deal with the brain drain of precious skills from the poorer to the more developed and well-endowed countries of the region;
  • create economic, political and social conditions that will allow for the free movement of people throughout the region.

Peoples’ organisations declare

  • We are committed to deepen and extend our experiences of cooperation and solidarity, our strong sense of mutual recognition as the people of this region of Africa, to build on our joint needs and shared aspirations for the common benefit of our people; and at the same time work to counter any negative or conflictual attitudes towards each other amongst some sectors of our populations.
  • We are also committed to deepen and extend our strategies for cooperation and joint action with other regional peoples cooperation initiatives in the rest of Africa, as well as Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean towards a people-driven challenge to the currently dominant processes and institutions of economic globalisation; that are anti-democratic in their functioning and effects, destabilising of weaker economies and communities throughout the world, creating ever-increasing polarisation, with inequitable and divisive effects amongst peoples, and destructive impacts upon the world’s resources and the global environment.
  • Whether or not our governments accept and act on the above vitally important demands, we as members of peoples organisations from the whole of Southern Africa will continue to pursue these aims and deepen our work in and with existing and emerging mass movements to challenge and change our governments’ policies and strategies; and – if that fails – to change our governments.

By Servaas van den Bosch

WINDHOEK, Mar 29, 2010 (IPS) – Southern African governments must regain control over the negotiations on the trade deals known as economic partnership agreements (EPAs). Issues earmarked as deal-breakers should be resolved before talks to a full EPA are continued. These include limiting the EPA to a goods-only agreement and the EU dropping its demand for reciprocity.

These demands emanate from a public meeting of the Southern Africa People?s Solidarity Network (SASPN) and the Southern African Christian Intiative (SACHI) held on Mar 24 and 25 in the Namibian capital.

SACHI is a non-denominational Christian non-governmental organisation (NGO) that strives towards “empowering leaders to become vibrant and transparent citizens, promotes Christian moral values and its obligations, and actively engages in the democratic process in Southern African region”.

SASPN was started in 1999 by civil society groups that believe the struggle for economic, environmental, social and political justice, including for people?s participation in decision-making, continues after the fall of apartheid. In this vein activists from nine African countries, representing three EPA negotiating blocs, adopted a statement against the EPAs at the meeting.

“If we open up the services sectors like the EU wants, European companies with a huge competitive advantage have unlimited access to our water, electricity or telecommunications sectors while we have no regulations in place,” said Rangarirai Machemedze, deputy director of the Harare-based Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), a member of SAPSN.

African countries should diversify their trade options; and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Southern African Customs Union should advance much more decisively with regional economic integration, declared Dot Keet, trade activist and research associate at the Alternative Information and Development Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, another SAPSN member.

Part of this, according to Machemedze, is the development of domestic regulatory frameworks before embarking on trade deals that require opening of markets.

“The EPAs in their current form will not in any way help develop the economies of Africa,” Machemedze argued.

“While the developed world sees trade as an end in itself, for us trade is a means to an end. This end is development. Currently maybe five African countries are able to produce goods, add value to products and sell these internationally. Other countries are unable to do this, because of poor infrastructure, limited production capacity and a lack of investment in research and development.

“So how can Africa effectively compete with the EU on a basis of supposed equality?” Machemedze asked.

Dakarayi Matanga, SAPSN secretary general, added that, “reciprocity in trade in this case actually means ?the winner takes all?. The countries that dominated global trade in the past will continue to do so. But Africa deserves the opportunity to protect its markets. No country has been able to develop its economy without protection.”

The principle of reciprocity in the EPA ? insisted on by the EU – is laughable, according to Keet. “One of the biggest myths in the EPA negotiations is that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) demands reciprocity in the EPA. The Europeans give non-reciprocal access to their markets all the time, most recently to the Balkan states, without this leading to a challenge at the WTO.

Brussels? insistence on reciprocity and on the controversial most favoured nation-clause that automatically extends preferential trade agreements with third countries to the EU are, in her opinion, driven by a desperate need of the Europeans to access new markets.

“It is a complete inversion of reality that the EPAs would be in our interests. The Euro-global strategy set out by Brussels is directly aimed at ensuring market access for European producers who are under immense pressure from emerging countries (such as China, India and Brazil).

“This is why it is important for Europe to re-assert its dominance over Africa. The European Commission deliberately exploits existing tensions and encourages particular interests, such as those of the cut flower industry in Kenya.”

EPA critics in SAPSN point out that the interests of Kenyan flower producers gave the decisive push for the East African Community (EAC) to sign the controversial trade agreement. “But obviously there are many more interests in that region that should have been taken into account,” Keet pointed out.

“How does it help your food security if you stop growing crops and start growing flowers for export?” added Matanga.

The EU is playing a game of stick and carrot, according to the civil society groups? analysis. “They refuse to discuss the wider economic context, such as Europe?s own agricultural subsidies that are very hard to compete with,” Matanga commented.

Poor countries are being blocked through WTO rules to pay subsidies to their farmers and, even if they were allowed, they would not be able to spend 365 billion dollars on such subsidies, as rich countries did in 2007.

Matanga further argued that the EU uses development aid as a “sweetener” to open up markets.

Said Keet, “we understand the desperation of countries like Mozambique that are almost fully dependent on aid. Zimbabwe just signed the EPA, basically giving away its infant industry protection simply as a public relations exercise with the EU. Still, there are countries like Namibia, Malawi and Zambia that have taken a stance and said they will not sign unless some conditions are met.”

Meanwhile the EPAs hinder the project of regional economic integration in SADC by dividing the region into separate EPA negotiating blocs. “Zambia and Zimbabwe have been swayed to negotiate under the East and Southern African (ESA) EPA configuration,” explained Machemedze. “This is an obscure grouping that doesn?t even exist in terms of current regional structures.”

Matanga added: “We are being balkanised. Through the EPAs the EU promotes a neoliberal agenda that divides us. Instead of talking about real fair trade, the fast-track opening of markets threatens the livelihoods of small producers and farmers in Southern Africa.” (END)

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50820

SAPSN Statement on EPAs, prescription WINDHOEK, healing 25 MARCH 2010

The Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network (SAPSN) is a regional network embracing a wide range of civil society organizations, for sale labour and social movements from all the countries of the whole Southern African region. Amongst many concerns common to all the countries and peoples of our region, we also have to deal with the economic and political relations between the governments of our region and the European Union (EU). These have most recently been expressed in their negotiations over so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

In this context we observe the active and highly questionable interventions of representatives of the European Commission (EC) on the ground in various of the countries and in relation to targeted governments in our region. This has recently included criticisms and barely veiled threats targeted against the government of Namibia.

Meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, 24-25 March 2010, we take this opportunity to commend the stand taken by the government of Namibia – actively supported by Namibian labour and social movements and other national stakeholders – not to accept the many highly contentious demands inserted into the EPA negotiations by the EU.

We also note that EC negotiators manipulate the perceived aid and trade needs of various African governments to propel them into agreeing to the extensive opening up of their economies to European exporters and investors. The self-serving and opportunistic tactics of the EC are also evident in their negotiation and initialing of an interim EPA agreement with the government of Zimbabwe which they simultaneously denounce and sanction as a paraiah state.

We observe and deplore the multiple pressures to which African (and other governments) are being subjected by the EC, and the simultaneous persuasions and false reassurances from many European politicians. But we are also aware of the “Global Europe” strategic aims driving the international EU offensive to maintain its competitive position in the world and to secure its continued dominance over Africa’s rich resources.

In the EU’s pursuit of these global aims, existing African regional groupings – the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in our region of Africa – have been broken up through the EPA negotiations with the EU. African governments, however, also carry responsibility for the success of the EU’s divide and rule tactics.

Thus, we urge all African governments to resist the EU’s EPA offensive, reverse the damaging fragmentation of SADC and counter the threats to the integrity of SACU and , instead, to reunite and act decisively to advance and deepen the development cooperation and integration of the Southern African region. We urge all African governments not to compromise their policy-making (political) rights and obligations to their peoples by signing long-term trade, investment, services and other areas of liberalization through EPAs with the EU, or other similar ‘free trade’ agreements with other governments, North or South.

Thus, we demand a suspension of any further EPAs negotiation until all the implications have been fully investigated and alternatives devised throughtransparent and inclusive processes.

In the face of current profound economic, socio-economic, social and environmental stresses and pressures in our countries, and looming climate change challenges to the whole region, we are committed to do all we can, as the peoples of this region, to ensure that our governments are responsive and accountable to us and do not undermine our rights and block our development and security aspirations through their adverse agreements with foreign governments and concessions to powerful financial and economic forces.

5th Southern Africa Social Forum in Maseru, Lesotho

With the theme “Southern Africa People’s Unity Against Economic Crisis and Oppression”, cure the 5th edition of Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF) will be held in Maseru, treatment Lesotho, from October 6th to 9th,, in the Maseru Club, located downtown. The SASF is a forum where issues of regional interests are discussed hoping to come out with possible alternatives for the development of the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) region.

The Forum will follow an interactive mode of operation which will comprise a plenary session – opening and closing – that will bring people together on key national and regional issues; autonomous thematic sessions; exhibitions – organizations and social movements’ literature; theatre, arts, music-alternative arts; and a peaceful march/demonstration. This edition aims at six objectives:

1. To create a common social change agenda through the active participation of the social movements, like minded organisations, development partners and the general population in Lesotho.
2. To create a regional solidarity against the neo-liberal policies.
3. To have a vibrant and sustainable, long-living, Lesotho Social Forum that serves as platform for men, women and young people of Lesotho to discuss issues together.
4. To a have a permanent presence of a living space within a “free space ” networking to strengthen solidarity among the peoples of southern Africa.
5. To locally and regionally maintain a wide, collective and enhanced political pressure on politicians and all decision makers on behalf of the citizenry with regard to people-centred policies on social and economic justice policies.
6. To create a framework of alternative political positions emerging from the deliberations and discussions during the SASF for the various participating entities and social movements.

Southern African region is faced by several challenges and among them the following needs urgent attention: socio-economic and political issues; global financial crisis; free trade area; Zimbabwean reconstruction; debt; climate change; land as a human right; the right to education; labour rights, food security, globalization- impact of 2010 Soccer World Cup in the region; gender and women rights; youth and HIV/AIDS; governance; human rights; social service delivery; corruption; regional integration, peacemaking and mediation; and the right to information. These and other themes will be part of the SASF Lesotho program. To see it, click here.

The local organising committee is made up of the following organisations: Media Institute of the Southern Africa, Katleho-Moho Association, Christian Council of Lesotho, Lesotho Justice and Environmental Network, Monna ka Khomo, Unite, Machobane Agricultural Development Foundation. Lesotho Council of Non Governmental, Pelum Lesotho Association, Moritsoana Association. SASF expects to receive people and organasations from the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

SADC Peoples’ Summit Declaration (Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, 6 September 2009)

We the more than 250 representatives of Social Movements, Non-Governmental Organisations, case Trade Unions, Religious Organisations, Economic Justice and Human Rights Networks, Youth and Women’s Organisations, met in Kinshasa, DRC, to bring the SADC Community’s attention to challenges that affect our daily lives. The SADC Peoples’ Summit is annually convened parallel to the Heads of State Summit under the auspices of the Southern Africa Peoples’ Solidarity Network, SAPSN. Our theme for this year is, ‘Reclaiming SADC for People’s Solidarity and Development Cooperation: Taking Ownership of our Resources for People’s Security and Justice”. From our deliberations at the Summit, we call on the SADC governments and all stakeholders to pay particular attention to the following:

1. Privatisation of basic Public Services: This is worsening the poverty of the SADC peoples as African leaders apply neo-capitalist and western policies without profound analysis of regional and African issues. Privatisation violates the right to life as it infringes on the rights to education, health care, accommodation, safe drinking water, protection of persons and services and also the right to electricity. The Peoples of SADC demand that:

* The DRC and the other states in the region involved in the exportation of electricity from Inga Dam ensure that there is complete electrification of DRC before exportation.
* The organised Civil Society representing specific social interests should be actively involved in the negotiations related to the granting of contracts on public services in order to guarantee the social economic rights of workers and the social responsibility of new shareholders in community development projects.
* There should be a STOP to privatisation of essential services.

2. The impact of external forces in the DRC armed conflict is of major concern.
The role of foreign states in the stabilisation of the DRC must be of concern to the SADC Heads of State. The people of SADC are demanding that:

* The SADC states move and cooperate following the SADC charter on the security of DRC in order to allow effective peoples integration;
* The SADC states must themselves avoid taking advantage of the weakness of the Congolese government to occupy it as in the case of Kayemba and Bas Congo by Angola and other forms of imposition.
* The SADC Leaders ensure that the resources of the Congo are used for the benefit of the people of the Congo.
* The rampant violence against women and children in the DRC must be stopped forthwith.

3. Democracy and human rights is a solid base to support sustainable development and guarantee the participation of SADC people in the project of regional integration. We demand that:

* All the governments throughout the region respect promote and protect fundamental human democratic rights. On this subject, we would like to draw the attention of the Heads of State on the Limited freedom of speech and association particularly for the political organisations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Swaziland, Angola and Zimbabwe is an impediment to the people’s participation in the project of collective development.
* The power sharing agreement concluded on 15th September 2008 in Zimbabwe between the political protagonists must be implemented in the realisation of promises on human rights related reforms.
* The strengthening of mechanisms of execution of the SADC Tribunal decisions. The courts and national tribunals should be without racial, sex and social class discrimination.

4. External debts, international aid and Trade Injustices are ropes that tie down the African people to poverty. The majority of the population who pay the price are ignorant of this issue. It is therefore necessary that the civil society gets involved in the popularisation of debt problems, and make petitions demanding external debt cancellation to the SADC Head of State.

The people are calling for:
· An audit of external debt in order to separate legitimate debt from illegitimate debt particularly when the political leaders enjoy being supported by donors and Western states.
· Organise a meeting of the SADC civil society on external debt and submit the resolution to SADC Heads of State.
· Our national governments to stop opening up our markets to international competition that negatively affect small-scale producers and traders particularly women.
· Our governments to revisit and review the Economic Partnership Agreements they have signed whilst those that have not yet signed should desist from signing the agreements.

5. Global Financial Crisis.
The global financial crisis is widely generalised and yet it was created by the financial institutions from economically powerful nations. The State must involve itself more in the regulation of the financial sector to avoid fraud, money laundering and their harmful social consequences on the people. To achieve this we demand that:

* The Heads of State must favour the creation of a common market of exchange in the region to allow financial cooperation and integration and regional customs.
* The SADC states must adopt a policy of granting micro credit to the population particular rural and peasant to prompt either production of local goods.

6. Climatic Change and Energy Crisis has become a major problem in the 21st century affecting all the countries. However, the most industrialised nations which find themselves out of our region and of the continent are the biggest polluters. The African people, particularly women and children who are already poor and they pay the most.

* The SADC people reject the principle and application of Carbon Trade which is a false solution predicated on inventing a perverse right to pollute. They propose reforestation of forests devastated by western companies and put in place measures protecting water and fishing.

* The SADC people must participate and contribute positively as civil Society in order to find national solutions to the problem of Global Warming. The DRC civil society seeks that the Heads of State and SADC Nongovernmental organisations support the preservation of the Central basin whose greater part is found in the Congo.

7. Poverty and Unemployment are a plague in our region principally caused by neo-colonial and capitalist policies implemented by our governments. SADC countries pledged to allocate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture (Maputo Summit 2003) but food crisis continues and not all countries have honoured their agreements on agriculture. We have 249 million people in the region, 70% of them depend on agriculture for food, income and employment. The poor spend 60- 100 % of their income on food.
WE therefore demand:

* The establishment of an economic and social agency to promote creation of decent employment in each SADC country;
* A huge budgetary allocation to the key sectors particularly education, employment creation, and the fight against poverty.

* On Agriculture the government must provide with: Infrastructure (roads, railways and access to markets), Mechanisation, Inputs (seeds etc), ’ Research and extension services and capacity building for farmers’ organisations,

* Mitigation approaches must be put in place in areas where climate change is having an impact for example providing irrigation where farmers depend on rainfall (due to evidence of drought they are becoming vulnerable)


Over 200 people from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region converged in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for fifth Edition of the People’s Summit on 5-6 September, 2009.  The Summit ran under the theme “Reclaiming SADC for People’s Solidarity and Development Cooperation: Taour Resources for People’s Security.”

SEATINI: Statement to the COMESA Summit on the ESA-EC Economic Partnership Agreements Negotiations

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, 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”, 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.

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

De los participantes de la Conferencia “Integración Regional: una oportunidad frente a la crisis”, for sale 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.
De los participantes de la Conferencia “Integración Regional: una oportunidad frente a la crisis”, shop 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

COMMUNIQUE

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, find Asunción, pilule Paraguay, troche 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.

From participants in the conference “Regional Integration: A new opportunity to face the crisis”, 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

  1. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is holding its Policy Organs meetings and the 13th Summit of Heads of State and Government in the resort town of Victoria Falls, buy Zimbabwe from the 28th May to 8th June 2009 under the theme Consolidating Regional Economic Integration through Value Addition, Trade and Food Security.2.
  2. From the 2nd – 4th June 2009 the Council of Ministers will be meeting to deliberate on a number of issues affecting the COMESA region, check including the current negotiations with the European Union (officially known as the European Community) on concluding Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

We recall that:

3.         The Eastern and Southern Africa Group (ESA) and the European Community (EC) senior officials met in Brussels on 28 April 2009 under the co-chairmanship of H.E Ambassadors S Gunessee and N. Wahab on ESA side as well as P. Thompson, Director, DG Trade on EC side. In their conclusions on the Interim EPAs initialled towards the end of 2007, the officials noted that:

On signature of interim EPA, EC confirmed that provided that an agreement is reached on translation, the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) could be ready for signature around mid-May 2009. ESA confirmed its decision to host the signature in Mauritius and informed that the issue of the date of signature will be considered at the next ESA Council scheduled for the 4th June 2009 in Victoria Falls back to back with COMESA Summit with a view to agreeing on a mutually convenient date as well as its arrangement for the signing ceremony.

We are concerned that:

4.         The ESA countries (as represented by their officials) have confirmed their decision to host the signature of the interim EPAs and that they are already considering discussing the dates of such a ceremony when the outstanding and contentious issues in the interim EPAs have not been addressed and resolved.

5.         The contentious issues arising from the interim EPAs include, inter alia, involve far reaching commitments on tariffs reductions the freezing of export taxes that ESA countries have been using, the requirement that ESA countries should not increase duties on products from the EU beyond what they have been applying (standstill clause), liberalising “substantially all trade”, bilateral safeguards (for infant industry protection)-all these issues are still under negotiations. We take the precautionary principle and reiterate that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

6.         The EC has insisted that the first priority should be the signature of the interim EPA. The EU main interest is in market access which they may achieve in interim EPAs. This limits the scope of focussing on the real issues of interest to ESA countries that need attention before the signature. ESA countries should resist the pressure of rushing to sign the interim EPA when it is clear they will be mortgaging national and public assets to the EC.

We urge ESA countries to recognise that:

7.         Africa remains a marginal player in world trade (6% in 1980 and 3% in 2008) since the continent’s trade structure still lacks diversity in terms of production and exports. As such, negotiations to further liberalise (after Structural Adjustment Programmes) their economies will be a futile and possible suicidal exercise until certain pre-requisites are met and instituted within their economies. The emphasis on trade liberalisation alone as a means to stimulating growth and development is misplaced.

8.         The pre-requisites (as informed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) centre on addressing the structural constraints in ESA countries including

  • increased public investment in research and development, rural infrastructure — including roads — and health and education
  • overhauling the basic productive infrastructure to make production more reliable. Power generation, water supply and telecommunications are three key areas that need special attention. In addition, building a competitive manufacturing sector will require the strengthening of the support infrastructure needed for exporting, including roads, railways and port facilities.
  • encouraging cross-border trade infrastructure. It is unlikely that the manufacturing sector in Africa will grow to a competitive level if it is limited to small domestic markets. The smallness of individual African markets and the difficulty for most firms to access the markets of industrialized countries suggest that in the short and medium term, the expansion of intra-African trade could offer the opportunity to widen markets outside national boundaries. In so doing, some key infrastructure projects could be executed at the regional level, taking into account regional economic complementarities.
  • development of domestic policy regulatory frameworks to regulate the movement of goods and services in and outside ESA countries. This includes adopting policies that ensure Special and Differential Treatment including the Special Safeguard Mechanism in agriculture, use of tariffs, among other things

9.         Trade liberalisation has so far discouraged intra-regional trade in Africa as the reduction of tariffs, which reduce the preference margins given to other African countries, reduce the incentives for intraregional trade.

10.       The Cotonou Agreement (that forms the legal basis of negotiating EPAs), recognise that reciprocal agreements (EPAs) with the EC had to foster regional integration and to be based on current integration efforts. However, as the interim agreements have shown, this commitment has been negated as the current configuration of the EPA encompasses a major risk of undermining ongoing regional integration processes.

11.       Most countries in the region continue to suffer from food shortages and food insecurity. As a result they have been importing more food and energy (including inflation which was at 10.7% in 2008 up from 6.4% in 2007, the continental average excluding Zimbabwe) into the region. Trade liberalisation will exacerbate the problems of food insecurity.

12.       The ESA political leadership have an obligation towards their people and should ensure that whatever decisions they take should not put the lives of people in danger. This means all those targets of reducing poverty, reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to education for the people should be used as tools for making informed decisions especially with regards to trade negotiations.

13.       Given the above, liberalising ESA economies under the EPAs as already indicated by the interim EPAs will further weaken the countries’ ability to develop and respond to the challenges posed by liberalisation and Limit Africa to the production and export of low value goods (the so-called “poor-country” goods) based on the so-called comparative advantage argument. This is tantamount to condemning the continent and locking it into poverty.

We therefore recommend that:

14.       A moratorium be put in place on EPAs negotiations until the ESA countries have put in place adequate institutional mechanisms to deal with trade liberalisation as recommended by the African Union, UNCTAD, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa among others.

15.       ESA countries focus on developing its regional market, steps that have already been taken by consolidating the gains of the COMESA FTA, the Customs Union and the move to form a single FTA with the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

16.       In light of the high food and energy prices, the climate crisis and the current global recession triggered by the financial crisis, ESA countries MUST reverse most of the commitments they have agreed under the IMF/World Bank SAP policies, the World Trade Organisation and the so-called interim Economic Partnership Agreements. This will allow the countries to implement favourable home grown policies that are in tandem with their development priorities.

Declaration of 9 Annual Meeting of the Africa Trade Network

Ministro de Estado para la Integración y Comercio Exterior
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FORWARD WITH THE STRUGGLE TO STOP THE EPAs

We, pharmacy discount African civil society organisations gathered at the 9th Annual Review and Strategy Meeting of the Africa Trade Network in Accra, salve from the 11-14 of December, 2006, having reviewed the on-going negotiations on the so-called Economic Partnership Agreements as well as developments in the World Trade Organisation negotiations, declare as follows.

We affirm as primary the right of our countries to pursue autonomously determined policies which promote the development of our economies, and fulfil the social and human rights and livelihood needs of our people. We also assert the integration of African countries both regionally and continentally, on the basis of our own imperatives, as a key condition for the development of our countries and for the benefit of our people.

Over the past two decades, this right of African countries to pursue their own individual and collective developmental agenda have been attacked and subverted by the countries of the north that dominate the world economic system, as part of their never-ending attempts to further open up the economies of African and other developing countries for the benefit of their transnational corporations.  

Economic Partnership Agreements
The so-called Economic Partnership Agreements being negotiated by African countries (and the Caribbean and Pacific) with the European Union, are, like other bi-lateral and multilateral free trade agreements, simply the latest instruments deployed in the attack on our countries. These agreements are set to be even more restrictive of the policy choices and opportunities available to our governments, and even more severe in their impacts than the World Bank/IMF structural adjustment policies as well as the WTO agreements.  

It has been three years since members of the Africa Trade Network launched their opposition to the Economic Partnership Agreements. Since then, several hundred civil society organisations, social movements, and mass-membership organisations across Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Europe have been pursuing a campaign to STOP the EPAs as currently being negotiated between the European Union and ACP groupings of countries.

While there is wide-spread recognition among governments, inter-governmental institutions, parliamentarians, civil society actors and a diverse range of social constituencies across the ACP, Europe and the rest of the world of the dangers posed by the EPAs to the economies and peoples of the ACP countries, this has not yet led to fundamental changes in the design of the EPAs and the process of negotiations.  

Expressions of concern among some European Union member-states and institutions about the EU proposals for the agreements have not yet translated into changes in directives for the European Commission. Instead, the EC has simply adopted new rhetoric to continue to impose its parameters, agenda and momentum on African (and other ACP) groups. Furthermore, while the EC negotiators have sought to strike a public profile of reasonableness, they have continued with characteristic arrogance in the negotiations.

On their part, Africa’s EPA negotiating regions still seem unable to give expression to the fundamental logic of their stated developmental concerns in the overall architecture of the EPA and its different themes. Rather, they have tended to get bogged down in disputes with the EC over narrow (even if legitimate) questions of support for adjustment costs, transition costs and supply-side constraints.

Furthermore, many countries in the African regions have still not fully carried out their own independent assessments and studies of the overall as well as sectoral implications of the EPAs. They continue to rely on support from the EC, while the latter continues to reject those studies whose outcomes it does not like. In some instances, the secretariats of the regional groupings whose role it is to represent the interests of the regions in the negotiations have been overwhelmed by the EC.  

Above all, in spite of the fact that they are patently not in a position to do so, many of the African negotiating regions are rushing to engage in the more advanced and complex stages of the negotiations.  

The region of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared itself ready to move into text-based negotiations, in spite of continued deadlock (indeed as a way of breaking out of the deadlock) over fundamental issues of principle such as the development content of the EPAs. Furthermore, in spite of their own stated opposition to the Singapore Issues in the EPA, ECOWAS has agreed under pressure from the EC to adopt its own regional policy frameworks of investment and competition in a manner that is set to prejudice its ability to continue to resist the inclusion of these issues in the EPA.  

On its part, the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region has tabled its own draft EPA agreement ahead of any meaningful progress on such fundamental principles as development in the EPAs, and in the absence of clarity on how to deal with some subjects such as services in the EPAs, or even on such practical matters as approaches to dealing with sensitive products that should not be subject to tariff liberalisation. The draft agreeement’s provisions on tariff liberalisation give up the right of ESA countries to use tariff to develop the capital and raw material goods sector, thereby undermining their long-term industrialisation. 

Similar contradictions and tendencies have been displayed in other EPA negotiating regions in Africa and beyond.

The above narrow and superficial approach has been adopted in relation to the mid-term review into the EPA negotiations as mandated in the Cotonou Agreement. The declared principle that the review be comprehensive, transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders, has so far not been observed. In addition, none of the regions seems to have taken seriously the stated objective of the review to explore alternatives, and indeed some have stated that there is no alternative to the current approach.

As they are proceeding therefore, the EPA negotiations reinforce our declared concern that they aim to establish nothing other than free trade agreements between Europe and the regions of Africa (and the Caribbean and the Pacific), where reciprocal trade liberalisation is coupled with deregulation of investment in favour of European investors.

We therefore re-iterate our rejection of the Economic Partnership Agreements, and re-affirm our campaign objective to Stop the EPAs.  

We re-state our position that as free-trade agreements between two unequal parties, the EPAs are fundamentally anti-developmental. This is especially so in the particular context of Africa’s weak, fragmented economies, which have been ravaged and distorted by years of European and (other) external domination. This anti-developmental essence can not be reversed by means of the on-going attempts to inject some so-called development dimensions into these FTAs. We also assert that any alternative to the EPAs can only be defined as the right of, and support for, African and other countries of the ACP to determine their own polices and agenda for development.  

We therefore re-affirm the demand of the stop EPA Campaign for an overhaul and review of the EU’s neo-liberal external trade policy, particularly with respect to developing countries, and demand that EU-ACP trade cooperation should be founded on an approach that:
•    is based on a principle of non-reciprocity, as instituted in the Generalised System of Preferences and special and differential treatment in the WTO;
•    protects ACP producers, domestic and regional markets; 
•    excludes the pressure for trade and investment liberalisation; and 
•    is founded on the respect for and supports the space of ACP countries to formulate and pursue their own development strategies. 

In furtherance of the above, we demand that:
•    the Singapore Issues of Investment, Competition Policy and Government Procurement should be unconditionally excluded from trade agreements with the European Union;  
•    rules and disciplines on services liberalisation and intellectual property must not form part of such agreements, since the related disciplines in the WTO are sufficient for any interaction with the European Union; the imbalances of those disciplines in the WTO will not be removed but rather worsened in the EPAs.
•    there should be no reciprocal removal of tariff, in whatever form, whether asymmetrical or otherwise, with the European Union; any market access relationship should be based on the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

WTO
We reiterate our views that the negotiations under the Doha Work programme have continued to marginalise the developmental concerns of African and other developing countries, in favour of the developed countries. This is affirmed by the very circumstances of the suspension of the negotiations in July 2006, which was occasioned by deadlock among an exclusive group of countries, consultations among whom had taken centre stage of the negotiations, at the expense of the democratic participation of other member countries.

We reject any resumption of the Doha talks that is based on the exclusion of the concerns and interests of African countries.  

We reject the continued drive by the developed countries to further open our markets to their agricultural and industrial products, and to their services suppliers. Instead, we insist on the right of our countries for a continued use of tariff instruments to protect our agricultural producers and industry, to support our industrialisation; and maintain our flexibility to determine whether and how to further open our economies to foreign entities.

Responsibility of African governments
We call on all African governments to rise up to their primary responsibility to the African peoples and states in the context of all the trade negotiations.  

In relation to the EPA negotiations, we urge our governments to resist attempts to rail-road them to stick to tight and unrealistic negotiating time-lines. They must use the space that is gained for a more meaningful engagement with their stakeholders around our own autonomous regional integration agenda as basis for a beneficial relationship with the European Union. We further call on our governments to rise beyond narrow regional fragments in dealing with the European Union that has been imposed by the region-based negotiations of the EPAs, to assert the collective vision for Africa which the people yearn for and which the imperatives of our economies demand. They must also work more closely with the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

Civil society
As civil society organisations, we commit ourselves to strengthen our continent-wide solidarity and action, and to further strengthen our interactions with our allies from the African, Pacific, the Caribbean and Europe and all over the world to take forward the struggle to Stop the EPAs.

SADC People's Summit Declaration (Gauteng South Africa, August 2008)

Dot Keet, AIDC Regional Briefs 6/2004

Following a three day conference, in August 2000, of twenty four independent peoples civil society organisations, sectoral networks and coalitions from many sectors and from all the countries of Southern Africa, the following declaration was produced. This expresses the perspectives of peoples organisations from across the region, and calls on other such organisations to endorse these positions on some of the broad economic dimensions of regional cooperation and integration that are being considered by the governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); and for other such peoples organisations to join together to add their own proposals and demands in other areas of concern which are all integral to a holistic program of regional development cooperation.

Declaration

“Making Southern African Development Cooperation and Integration a People-centered and People-driven Regional Challenge to Globalisation

As members of community-based development coalitions, trade union and other labour organisations, faith-based social development organisations, campaigning networks for debt cancellation and reparations, alliances against the IMF and World Bank, a women and trade network, development NGOs and popular education, information and capacity building bodies – and as participants in the ‘Southern African Peoples Solidarity Network’ (SAPSN) gathered together in Windhoek on the occasion of the Summit of the SADC Heads of State, 1-7 August 2000, we as

Peoples’ organisations state

  • We are united by our common history of colonisation and mutual support in our struggles for national liberation, as well as our shared experience of the depredations of apartheid and its destabilisation and devastation across the whole region. We are also conscious that we are part of a region enormously rich in human and natural resources which has the potential to become a community of nations enjoying peace and human security, guaranteed human rights and equitable human development. But these aims will only be achieved if peoples organisations give an effective lead to the governments of the region in order that they work together towards this historic goal.
  • We are committed to a vision of a united Southern Africa in which local and community-based development is the fundamental substance of national development programmes. These, in turn, will be strengthened by coordinated and combined programmes of people-based regional development, and the creation of an integrated development community in Southern Africa. Such an integrated region would also be a building block towards broader African peoples cooperation and unity, and could be an effective economic and political base from which to challenge capitalist globalisation.
  • We note, however, that the overwhelming majority of the people of our region are living in conditions of appalling poverty and already suffering the effects of an AIDS epidemic of potentially catastrophic proportions; but that the governments of our countries
    • have for long mainly engaged in rhetorical declarations about national development, and development cooperation and regional integration, with few effective achievements;
    • are mainly concerned with preserving and promoting their own individual and group status, power and privileges, and their personal and aspirant-class appropriation of our nations’ resources; and, for these reasons, are frequently engaged in divisive competition and even dangerous conflicts amongst themselves at the expense of the interests of the people at national and regional levels;
    • are, at the same time, committed to supporting and defending each other whenever the interests and power of the ruling elites come into conflict with the human rights, and the democratic and development aspirations of their own populations; and are using SADC as a self-serving ‘old boys’ club’ for such mutual support;
    • are increasingly responsive and subordinate to external inducements and pressures from governmental agencies in the richest industrialised countries, and their global corporations, banks and other financial organisations, and the ‘multilateral’ institutions dominated and used by them.

    We note also the grossly uneven development within and between the countries of the
    region caused by a long history of deliberate political and economic programs in favour of the needs of South African and international companies, and privileged (mainly white) elites; and that, with the increasing penetration of the region by South African business, the dominant role of the South African economy in the region has not diminished but actually increased since 1994.

Peoples’ organisations demand

  • The Governments of SADC must reject claims that the transformation and development of the regional economy should (and can) be driven by national and regional ‘market forces’ and should be structured to serve and further the business interests of ‘indigenous’ private enterprise and ‘national’ capital in the countries of the region. This applies particularly to South African trading companies, banks and corporations, often operating in conjunction with their international partners, which will reinforce not reduce the inherited inequalities within, and imbalances between our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must desist from their collaboration and collusion with national and international political and economic forces and neo-liberal agencies, particularly the IMF and World Bank, to turn SADC into an ‘open region’ of free trade, free capital movements and investment rights, to the benefit of international traders, transnational corporations and financial speculators. This runs counter to the potential for full and effective, internally-generated and rooted national and regional development.
  • The governments of SADC must provide for the effective participation of organised forces of civil society, and respond to the voices and needs of the people of the region for peace and security, democracy and development; and actively commit all the governments of the region to multilaterally negotiated cooperation and equitable development throughout the region. This must go hand in hand with independent popular initiatives for the empowerment of people in their own organisations and communities and at all levels of the regional community.
  • The governments of SADC must insist upon the illegitimacy of our purported national ‘debts’ and the continuous outflow of our hard-earned national financial resources into the coffers of the governments of the richest industrialised countries, private banks and the IMF and World Bank. Our governments must actively prepare, together with other ‘debtor’ countries like ours – and with the support of international peoples movements against debt – for collective and concerted repudiation of those debts if they are not promptly and definitively canceled. This must be carried further with demands for reparations for the long-standing economic, social and ecological damages imposed by such agencies upon our countries.
  • The governments of SADC must unite and act together with other countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, and with democratic forces everywhere, to challenge and replace the currently dominant neo-liberal ideology and globalising capitalist system. This process must be started immediately by dealing with the dominant instruments of globalisation , particularly the IMF, World Bank and the WTO, whose policies and programmes are so manifestly detrimental to our economies, environments, societies, cultures and people.

Peoples’ organisations propose

On trade

Our governments must drop their uncritical embrace of the arguments for ‘free trade’ within our region which are reflected in the SADC trade agreement; and, instead,

  • create a negotiated variable and graduated preferential trade area within and through which to create clear and effective production development and diversification strategies for communities, national economies and the region as a whole;
  • replace the liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation policies in national and regional programmes and create trade and development cooperation agreements for Southern Africa which address region-specific issues and are not predetermined or constricted by ‘compliance’ with WTO terms and trade-related conditionalities, or any similar terms in ‘post-Lome’ agreements;
  • convince the South African government to revise its free trade agreement with the European Union where it is in conflict with the declared priority goals of cooperation and development in the SADC region, including South Africa.

On investment

Our governments have to abandon the futile illusion that foreign investors will respond to ‘positive macro-economic signals’ and an ‘open region’; and that such reliance on private capital will create development; and, instead

  • recognise that capital is a social relation not a neutral and disinterested financial instrument and, as the embodiment of social/class interests, any growth that such capital produces is distorted and incidental to its main aim of self-expansion (or profit);
  • build on the widespread experiences in the countries of the region, and elsewhere, that the free or ‘liberalised’ movement of capital is not conducive to financial stability and sound economic development, and requires strategic regulation;
  • base national and regional investment and production policies on the strategic direction of private national and international capital projects – where and in so far as they are required – for specific selected purposes, and clearly defined periods; but
  • prioritise the strategic mobilisation of inwardly-oriented and more varied and committed internal investment resources including public (governmental), parastatal, cooperative and community resources.

On labour

All the governments of the region have to recognise the vital role that labour plays in all economic projects/enterprises and national economic development, and recognise that governments have to adopt effective social and economic development policies that

  • bring to an end the forced migration of millions of workers in search of employment and survival resources for their families, for this is deeply disruptive of families and undermines community cohesion and stability;
  • tackle effectively and with urgency the dramatic growth of unemployment throughout the region, that contributes further towards the flows of economic refugees across borders and between rural and urban areas within all the countries of the region;
  • develop holistic and integrated urban and rural programmes to enable people to create their own incomes or obtain employment incomes, economic security and social and cultural fulfillment within their own communities;
  • incorporate in such social and development programmes, inter-governmental agreements to deal with the brain drain of precious skills from the poorer to the more developed and well-endowed countries of the region;
  • create economic, political and social conditions that will allow for the free movement of people throughout the region.

Peoples’ organisations declare

  • We are committed to deepen and extend our experiences of cooperation and solidarity, our strong sense of mutual recognition as the people of this region of Africa, to build on our joint needs and shared aspirations for the common benefit of our people; and at the same time work to counter any negative or conflictual attitudes towards each other amongst some sectors of our populations.
  • We are also committed to deepen and extend our strategies for cooperation and joint action with other regional peoples cooperation initiatives in the rest of Africa, as well as Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean towards a people-driven challenge to the currently dominant processes and institutions of economic globalisation; that are anti-democratic in their functioning and effects, destabilising of weaker economies and communities throughout the world, creating ever-increasing polarisation, with inequitable and divisive effects amongst peoples, and destructive impacts upon the world’s resources and the global environment.
  • Whether or not our governments accept and act on the above vitally important demands, we as members of peoples organisations from the whole of Southern Africa will continue to pursue these aims and deepen our work in and with existing and emerging mass movements to challenge and change our governments’ policies and strategies; and – if that fails – to change our governments.

Gauteng – South Africa

More than four hundred representatives of Social Movements, stuff labor organizations, economic justice networks, faith and community based and youth organizations, developmental, health environmental, human Rights and other NGOs that work closely with them gathered in Gauteng South Africa to discuss our common concerns and present our Demands and alternatives to the governments of SADC meeting here at this time.

This is the fourth annual SAPSN Summit and it takes place in a period of deepening political tensions within SADC and deteriorating social and economic situations for the majority of our peoples. In this context our discussions focused on our concerns, proposals and demands on the following:

1. Democracy and human rights abuses disrupting and destabilizing our region, with particular emphasis on the gross denial of democratic and human rights in Zimbabwe and Swaziland but also (to other degrees) throughout SADC, especially DRC and Angola. In this context we repeat our demand on all SADC governments to ensure the implementation of full democratic principles and all human rights (including women’s, labor, all NGOs to carry out their work with their people). We demand that SADC governments rapidly ensure that:

– All the people of Zimbabwe themselves are enabled to create the means and find the solutions to the crisis in their country, and SADC must terminate Mbeki’s role as mediator since he is about to become the SADC Chair;

– Apply targeted sanctions on the Swazi royal family, and do not confirm Swaziland’s Chairship of the SADC Organ on Peace and Security until a full democratic regime is established in that country by the people of Swaziland.

2. Poverty and Unemployment continues to devastate our people caused by the neo-liberal market- driven policies of SADC governments and their tolerance and promotion of self-serving corrupt practices in their own ranks. Of the many counter actions that must be undertaken, we demand that SADC:
-Must create regional economic development and diversification strategies to combat poverty and prioritize the creation of decent employment and the right to work.
– Must develop such policies with the active and full participation of the unemployed youth, women, small traders, fisher people and so on.

3. Food Insecurity and Hunger is the other compelling evidence of the growth of poverty in large sectors of our populations and the undermining of secure rural livelihoods. Of the many measure required, we demand that SADC governments:
– Must develop a regional agricultural strategy to secure equitable access to necessary agricultural resources for rural populations especially for women, as they are the main producers.
– Must deal with the skewed patterns of land ownership especially against women, and including extensive privatization of land and foreign appropriation.
must create, in consultation with rural producers, full governmental support for sustainable and organic (not GMOs) food production for family food security and regional food sovereignty.

4. Health crisis and social insecurity are central aspects of the poverty and increasing suffering of large numbers of our people especially the disproportionate numbers of women affected by HIV and AIDS personally and as nurturers of their families and the growing numbers of orphans. This requires free ARVs and special grant and food support. But we also demand that SADC governments
– Must create a regional strategy for universal access to free quality health care as a right for all, especially for the most vulnerable sectors of our people such as those who are differently abled;
– Must stop the practice of government leaders using public funds for health treatment overseas;
– Must ensure the training/retraining of health personnel and their just working conditions and remuneration.

5. Privatization of services, above all health, water and other social services removes these from the people, especially for women and children, and undermines the services provisions that are necessary for national and regional development (such as in public transport and affordable, secure public housing).

In this context, we commit ourselves to further mass campaigns to reverse this privatization, corporatization and commercialization (cost-recovery) policies, and we will pressure SADC governments to create national and regional programmes to ensure free accessible and accountable public services including public housing and free education for all, that are essential for our people’s well-being and human-based development;

6. Debt burdens and aid dependency continue to contradict the obligations of our governments and their responsiveness to our needs, because they are under the control of creditor banks and financial institutions, above all the IMF and World Bank, and donor governments. These constrain or dictate what policies governments can or should follow. Thus we demand that SADC governments:
– Create a combined regional response, in collaboration with civil society, to audit the sources, nature (especially illegitimate and odious debts), scale and their effects on our people especially the most vulnerable sectors such as women;
– reject externally imposed IMF/WB SAP-type conditionalities for ‘‘debt relief’’ or aid; and instead base their criteria on full consultations with their own people;
– put an end to the continual outflow of financial resources through debt payments, and instead demand reparations for these debt payments and the colonial and neo-colonial plunder of African people and resources.

7. Trade deficits and capital outflows are the other forms of financial drainage from our countries. These are created and reinforced by the trade and financial liberalization policies of SADC governments. These counter-developmental policies will be reinforced if SADC governments continue down the road of negotiating so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. Thus we demand that SADC governments:
– must reunite as a region and, together, firmly resist the EU’s recolonising EPAs; instead of maneuvering separately to get EU trade and “aid support” which is splitting SADC apart;
– must recognize that the free trade area they are creating within SADC will further serve to create an open integrated market for EU exporters, investors and service corporations under policies of eternal trade and investment liberalization;
– must recognize that such a SADC free trade area will also serve the expansionist aims and interests of South African companies, not the equitable and more balanced trade development that enables cross-border trade, especially by small women traders;
– must stop the vast financial outflows from our countries and region through international financial speculation (gambling), “legal” investors transfers , and huge transfers overseas of public money through embezzlement by government leaders.

8. Climate Change Dangers and Energy Crises are partly the result of global factors and forces but also result from the policies of our governments colluding with colonial and neo-colonial forces and allowing uncontrolled exploitation of our mineral and other resources. Industrialized countries are responsible for the historical and current global climate change crisis, therefore we demand that SADC governments
– ensure that those responsible assume the proportionate burden, on the “polluter pays principle”, and provide our countries with all the necessary resources towards a low carbon society;
– institutes strong regulations to reduce carbon emissions and pursue sustainable production and consumption patterns, including a regional strategy to ensure universal access to clean and renewable energy, which is a social justice issue;
– Impose environmental responsibility on industries operating our region, and end to dumping of damaging toxic waste affecting our people and workers;
– stop the diversion of land and agricultural production to produce agro-fuels to feed the auto industries and rich countries to the detriment of food production;
– must develop a joint regional energy strategy to ensure effective access to clean and renewable energy resources for us as this is a social justice issue which must not be based on market principles as they are anti-people approaches, and it is uncontrolled transitional corporations that have been the prime cause of global warming with accompanying ecological crisis that will disproportionately affect the poor especially in Africa.

OUR PEOPLES’ RESPONSES AND SOLIDARITY

All these adverse factors are being confronted by most of our people with creativity and courage. But some marginalized and desperate people resort to desperate measures. This is what fundamentally drove the recent escalation of verbal abuse and violent attacks by some elements of the South African population against their fellow Africans from the region and elsewhere on the continent.

We call for carefully planned and just reintegration of internally displaced people resulting from the above deeply deplorable events.

It is also in this context that we participants from all the countries in the SADC region welcome the opportunity to share experiences on our common concerns and deepen our mutual support. Thus we stress that this is a Peoples’ Solidarity Summit and we commit ourselves to make this a real active expression of Solidarity towards each other and a means to ensure that the governments of SADC respond and fulfill the key demands we have outlined here, advance the developmental integration of our region and of the whole African continent.