Africa Policy Publications

Africa Policy Publications

AFRICA POLICY PUBLICATIONS ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Fromuwvax!!!!sgiblab!sgigate!sg i!cdp!woa Fri Apr 23 10:19:19 CDT 1993 Article: 14450 of soc.culture.african Path: uwvax!!zaphod.mps.ohio-!!sgiblab!sgigate!sgi!cdp!woa From: The Washington Office on Africa Newsgroups: soc.culture.african Date: 22 Apr 93 12:28 PDT Subject: Africa Policy Publications Message-ID: <> Sender: Notesfile to Usenet Gateway Nf-ID: #N:cdp:1471700332:000:11685 Nf-From: cdp.UUCP!woa Apr 22 12:28:00 1993 Lines: 228


The Washington Office on Africa (WOA), a lobbying organization, was founded in 1972 by a coalition of religious denominations and trade unions. The Washington Office on Africa Educational Fund (WOAEF) was approved as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1978. The mandate of both organizations was to support the movement for freedom from white- minority rule in southern Africa, and to serve as a resource for the broader anti-apartheid network, including churches, unions, other anti- apartheid groups and a wide variety of other non-governmental organizations.

Since 1990 the Washington Office on Africa has expanded its scope of work beyond southern Africa to issues affecting grassroots African interests throughout the continent. And the WOAEF has been transformed into the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), also with a continent- wide mandate.

APIC will provide new resources for building a wider public constituency on African issues. In particular, it will

* identify critical policy issues in U.S./African relations; * bring in diverse perspectives from African and North American grassroots groups and scholars as well as govern- mental and non-governmental participants in the policy process; * make information and analysis accessible to a broad range of U.S. public constituencies.

Later this year we expect to be able to provide occasional shorter documents on-line through posting to Peacenet and other electronic bulletin boards and conferences. This initial posting is to introduce us, and to announce several of our publications we think are of wider interest to the Africa constituency.


**Africa's Problems....African Initiatives** brings together, in a convenient and readable format 48 pages in length, three major policy documents that have emerged in recent years out of extensive discussion among African leaders, intellectuals, and grass-roots groups. They reflect a growing consensus that Africa's problems need creative new solutions that stem from Africa's people.

*The African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programmes (1989)*, the *African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation (1990)*, and *The Kampala Document: Towards a Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (1991)*, are fundamental documents outlining alternatives to past policies and to the rigid prescriptions of international financial agencies.

**Africa's Problems....African Initiatives**, edited by William Minter, includes abridged versions of all three documents. It is designed as a reference for scholars and activists, and as a resource for courses in African and international studies. Published September 1992. Price $5/copy.

(2) *The Bush Legacy and Southern Africa: A Post-Cold War Balance Sheet* The Winter 1993 issue of **Washington Notes on Africa** systematically examines the record of the Bush administration on South Africa and the southern African region, including Zaire, Angola, Malawi and Mozambique. Bush policies favored the new-look apartheid regime under President de Klerk, and found excuses for dictatorial U.S. clients such as Mobutu in Zaire and Savimbi in Angola. The Bush legacy still weighs heavily on the future, because of the accumulated problems and because there are real doubts how extensively the Clinton administration will simply follow in the same tracks. Price $1/copy.

(3) **Apartheid's Legacy & Southern Africa in the '90s**. A reflective look at the still burning issues involved in the transition from apartheid to democracy, as well as the long-term problems confronting South Africa and the southern African region. Topics include: Violence and the Rule of Law, Democracy and Participation, Development and Relief, Equity and the Challenge of Poverty, Regional Cooperation. Price: $2.00/copy. Fall 1991.

Please make checks payable to APIC, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 112E, Washington, D.C. 20002, (202) 546-7961. Add 15% for postage and handling.


Summary description of documents in **Africa's Problems...African Initiatives** follows:

The *African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programs for Socio-Economic Recovery and Transformation (AAF-SAF)* originated from studies by Adebayo Adedeji and other economists at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, in Addis Ababa, and was originally presented as a proposed framework in July 1989. Intended as an alternative to orthodox prescriptions presented by international agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the draft was welcomed as "a basis for constructive dialogue" by the United Nations General Assembly in November that year. Only one country, the United States, voted against the resolution.

The *African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation* was adopted in Arusha, Tanzania, in February 1990, at the end of the International Conference on Popular Participation in the Recovery and Development Process in Africa. The conference was a collaborative effort between African people's organizations, African governments and United Nations agencies. It emerged from suggestions by non-governmental organizations to the 1988 mid-term review of the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Develop- ment, 1986-1990 (UN-PAAERD).

*The Kampala Document: Towards a Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa* emerged from a gathering in 1991 that was convened at the initiative of the Africa Leadership Forum. The Forum, a non-governmental organization involving former heads of state and prominent Africans from many countries, is headed by Olusegun Obasanjo. The Kampala Forum, in May 1991, was also co-sponsored by the secretariats of the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.


Excerpts from introduction, by Carol Capps, Church World Service/Lutheran World Relief Office on Development Policy

Taken together the three documents open a window on African views of the root causes of Africa's problems, and more importantly, the keys to solving them. They speak with one voice about the central role of African people in efforts to achieve much-needed political, social and economic change on the continent. Yet each of these documents also makes its own distinctive contribution to development thinking about Africa, complementing and supporting the perspectives of the other two. Each has a somewhat different primary focus -- on structural adjustment, or popular participation, or security.

The unique contribution of the *African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programmes (AAF-SAP)* is its challenge to traditional thinking about structural adjustment as expressed by multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. During the 1980s, multilateral institutions and Northern donor governments pressured increasing numbers of African governments to adopt economic austerity -- or structural adjustment -- programs that emphasized cutting government spending and balancing exports and imports. The conventional wisdom was that such economic belt-tightening measures, though bitter medicine, were essential to economic progress.

AAF-SAP challenged that view, pointing out instead that traditional structural adjustment measures -- such as promotion of export crops -- tend to perpetuate and exacerbate Africa's underlying development problems. It called for linking adjustment to a process of long-term structural change in which human improvement would be the central goal. Its message: "No program of adjustment or development makes sense if it makes people indefinitely more miserable." Three years after its release, AAF-SAP is still the best articulated challenge to traditional structural adjustment programs on record.

*The African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation* had a very different genesis from the AAF-SAP, though the process which generated it also had strong support from the Economic Commission for Africa. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) played a central role in events leading up to the drafting of the Charter. The conference that produced the Charter was proposed by NGOs and jointly planned by NGOs and United Nations agencies. NGOs -- including grass- roots groups -- participated in the conference on an equal basis with UN agencies and African governments. The Charter itself was drafted by a committee of NGOs, UN agencies, and African government representatives.

Of the three documents, the Charter is the closest to being a document of the African people. Not surprisingly, it diagnoses the root causes of Africa's problems as the failure to put people at the center of development. It calls upon various actors -- governments, UN agencies, Northern NGOs, African NGOs, and the people themselves -- to take specific steps to promote popular participation. It includes a definition of popular participation increasingly quoted in other UN documents, by NGOs themselves, and by governments: "Popular participation is, in essence, the empowerment of the people to effectively involve themselves in creating the structures and in designing policies and programs that serve the interests of all." The African Charter is a landmark document: an expression of the will of the African people at a moment in history when throughout the continent "the people" are increasingly demanding a larger role in the important decisions affecting their lives.

*The Kampala Document, Towards a Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa*, in contrast, is a statement of African leaders, including former and current heads of state, that offers an African perspective on security and governance issues. It defines security broadly, linking security to development and regional cooperation. It wears proudly its African origins by grouping its key principles under four "calabashes": security, stability, development and cooperation.

The unique contribution of the Kampala Document is the way in which it relates security and stability to the pursuit of people-centered development. It defines security not simply in military terms, but rather in terms of the ability of the individual citizen to live in peace, have access to basic necessities, and participate freely in governance. The document contains numerous references to popular participation, including a reference to the Charter on Popular Participation. It goes farther than earlier statements of African leaders toward endorsing a cooperative approach to Africa's problems of instability and political repression by laying out basic ground rules for good governance and proposing continental mediation and peacekeeping mechanisms.

Unquestionably, the primary importance of these three documents is that they are a broad-based and internally consistent expression of African perspectives on vital policy issues affecting Africans. I believe their importance extends even further, however -- well beyond Africa. If we are willing to listen, these voices from the African continent could also help those of us who live outside Africa re-orient our thinking toward more creative, people-centered solutions to the development problems of our own societies.

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific