Africa: OAU President on Globalization, 02/23/00

Africa: OAU President on Globalization, 02/23/00

Africa: OAU President on Globalization

Date distributed (ymd): 000223

Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide

Issue Areas: +economy/development+

Summary Contents:

This posting contains several articles from the Algerian News Agency (, reporting recent statements by the Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is also the current president of the Organization of African Unity. The highlight is President Bouteflika's statement at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Summit in Bangkok (, in which he spoke out forcefully against marginalization of Africa in globalization arenas dominated by rich states.

The agency also quoted President Bouteflika's comments on the summit meeting between the European Community and the Organization of African Unity, to be held in Cairo in April, and his message to the National Summit on Africa in Washington, held simultaneously with the global Bangkok event. [APIC will be posting more later related to the National Summit, once post-summit documents are available. The best coverage and links on the summit can be found at the Africa News web site (]

The Third World Network ( also highlighted President Bouteflika's remarks, terming them "a comprehensive analysis of the plight of Africa and a devastating critique of the response to it by Western governments."

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President Bouteflika, as cited by Third World Network

"Once we attained independence, African countries, sad to say, chose the wrong development model. Those that chose socialism or the free market failed equally. There was a lack of executive personnel, services, infrastructure. It was disastrous. There was a general imbalance at every level."

"The international economic order kept the African countries as suppliers of raw materials and as markets for manufactured products. By deregulating trade and bringing in competition when the forces in the North and South are so disproportionate, it is obvious that Africa is absolutely out of the race."

"But what are the 33 countries that have benefitted [from debt relief so far]? We have written off the debts of the countries that are bankrupt and that cannot pay. ... We are looking at a macabre scene of someone visiting a dying man and telling him 'you can die without debts, you can die happy because you do not have debts to pay.'

The debt problem will not be solved this way. We knew the 33 countries could not squeeze anything out anymore, anyway."


News Summary: 19 February 1999


UNCTAD/10th session: Globalisation: President Bouteflika warns against a definitive marginalisation of Africa [excerpts]

"A vibrant Speech" such was the title used by the state run daily El Moudjahid which writes "In a draft copy of the so-called Bangkok Declaration, President Bouteflika expressed hope of easing poverty and improving security by "creating a fairer and better world economic system" that would allow the world's poorest countries to "raise their standards of living and lead a full and decent life", a final declaration is expected to be formally adopted when the conference ends Saturday.

For the paper, it is a message where "distress and hope" are mingled, described by observers as "very important" and "very positive" for it makes the debate on major issues progress. ...

For El Chaab, the president's allocution focused on finding ways for the world's 48 least-developed countries to benefit from increasing globalisation of the world's economy. The draft declaration acknowledges that, "Globalisation can be a powerful and dynamic force for growth and development" and recognises the global economy presents "opportunities as well as risks and challenges."

Speakers at the conference have included UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, the director-general of the World Trade Organisation Mike Moore and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Michel Camdessus. According to the report, a major UN trade conference will today (Saturday) adopt a modest plan of action aimed at nudging governments into reviving stalled global trade negotiations. Delegates late Friday hammered out a consensus among about 160 members but developing states failed to extract fresh concessions from rich nations on key issues of market access and agricultural subsidies.

For the paper, the president's allocution brings a breath of hope and concern and calls for an urgent consideration for a possible commitment by developed countries to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for essentially all exports" by the 48 poorest countries, Algerian press quoted.

According to El Moudjahid, "the Bangkok meeting, which is considering the possible perils of economic globalisation, is the first global trade conference since the disastrous WTO summit in Seattle", adding further "the developing countries which felt threatened by "globalisation" for the UN agency to increase its role in formulating a new "international financial architecture, instead, the document called on UNCTAD to "contribute to the debate on issues related to the strengthening and the ongoing reform of the international financial institutions".

Under the title "Algeria Rejects Blackmail", Le Quotidien d'Oran writes "with his usual direct language style, Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika denounces on behalf of his African counterparts the policy of the big and powerful countries vis-a-vis the developing countries in particular Africa".

Le Jeune Independant says on its turn "President Abdelaziz Bouteflika did not hesitate to accuse the rich countries by asserting that we are making a new map of the world in which the African continent has been deliberately dropped".


Algeria/Africa/UNCTAD: President Bouteflika's speech in favour of a fairer and more interdependent world

Algiers, 19/02/00 (aps)- President of the Republic and OAU [Organization of African Unity] President-in-Office Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Friday vigorously defended in Bangkok the idea of a globalisation with a human purpose as the only alternative to a fundamentally unfair and far from interdependent world.

Echoing Africa's views, a continent which on its own crystallises the constant aggravation of inequalities, President Bouteflika at no moment did question the principle of globalisation as a stage of the human evolution, but denounced plainly the little attention granted by the richest to the swing of large parts of humanity in poverty, precariousness and ignorance, a direct consequence of the mechanical implementation and without distinction of the logic of the market.

As such, the president claimed, "the mechanisms of international relations should be directed towards the reduction of inequalities, the elimination of misery and backwardness, hearths of frustration and as such of potential violence", even threatening the principle of collective security.

Not taking into account the enormous development discrepancy between an ever dominating North and a South maintained to the status of a source of wealth for row material, what is more, yielded at a cheap price, represents a great paradox in a globalisation process aiming to be a factor for the planet's harmonious progress. This all powerful financial logic, applied in the same way to the whole world, even justified a sudden fall of the governmental aid to development to .22% in 1998 instead of the .70% recommended by UNO for years.

In the name of the market's predominance, the overwhelming majority of the planet's inhabitants found themselves actually excluded from the decision group and held to the one-sided respect of the rules of the market, whereas the promotion of international exchanges of goods and investments is an essential factor for the collective greater comfort. In reality, "a new card of the world has been drawn, where a whole continent as Africa is purely and simply erased", the president would note. Said clearly, the pitiless law of competition, applied on the weakest without nets of protection, automatically excludes the latter from the world process of development.

In spite of Africa's efforts, the poorest of poorest continents, for a better management of its political, economic and security affairs, they will remain, the president would say, "illusory as long as the continent shall continue to undergo the effects of a world environment contributing more than in the past to worsen its backward movement and its difficulties, and to perpetuate the major causes of perversions resulting from it."

Several interdependent exogenous aspects block Africa's development, the eternal deterioration of the terms of trade to start with, due to the chronic instability of the raw material prices, the continent's main and random source of income. In 1998, the drop of the prices of the exported basic commodities generated clear losses estimated at 2.5% of the African gross national product.

Foreign direct investment (FDI), an irreplaceable source of economic development and social progress, remains on its part insignificant in Africa, representing only 1% of the whole of foreign investments in the world and not more than 5% of FDI intended for under developed countries.

The foreign debt, another injury in an already bloodless Africa, benefited very little from suitable treatments from creditor countries, making of so-called countries with intermediate income the exporters of net capital, which is equivalent "by a cruel paradox, to financing the rich by the poor", according to the president.

President Bouteflika on the other hand was pleased with the initiatives taken concerning the debt of the developing countries at the G7 summit in Cologne or at the summit of Libreville and which, even if limited, "translates," he said, "an unquestionable evolution in the attitudes towards the least advanced countries". These initiatives related to the cancellation of the debt of the very poor countries and the president wished that they be extended to the countries with intermediate income.

Finally, and to those who advocate the restoration of democracy and human rights in Africa before any assistance to development is granted, the president wondered, with a certain relevance, whether we could "continue posing good governing as a preliminary to the best dealing with the problems of development, while sapping, by policies of structural adjustment, the minimum of social harmony which supposes good governing."


Algeria/UNCTAD/Session: Total agreement between Africans and Europeans as to the preparations for the OAU-EU summit, President Bouteflika declared

Bangkok, 19/02/00 (aps)- Africans and Europeans reached a "total agreement" on all the points relating to the preparations of the summit due on April 3-4 in Cairo between the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the European Union (EU), on Friday President of the Republic and OAU President-in-Office Abdelaziz Bouteflika indicated in Bangkok.

"All is left is to give to this summit a complete content, important and worthy of what the Euro-African relations could be in the future", the president stressed in a press conference following his speech in plenary session at the 10th United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Mr. Bouteflika first of all recalled that some of the questions related to the summit, on top of which its agenda, resulted in a dialogue between Europeans and Africans.

"The more Africans emphasised their interest for economic issues, i.e. partnership, commercial co-operation, the transfer of technologies and other capital flows, the more the European Union emphasised its interest for political issues, namely good governing, democracy, pluralism and human rights", he specified.

As many principles to which moreover African states entirely adhere, but which cannot occult the need for dealing with their concerns as regards economic and social development.

We are agreed on a consensual agenda whose heading could be the economic and political issues, he affirmed, specifying that three meetings would be devoted to the former and another three to the latter.

The two sides also reached an agreement on the follow-up mechanisms similar to those existing between Asia and Europe, as well as the summit's periodicity called to be held every three years.

As concerns Morocco's participation, he said that this question was sorted out in that this country will receive invitations from the OAU, the host country (Egypt) and the EU.

In this respect, President Bouteflika recalled that OAU's acting presidency registered with great satisfaction the decision of the Democratic Sahraoui Arab Republic not to take part in the summit's works "as a major contribution for its success".


USA/Africa/Summit: Bouteflika compliments the participating members in the national summit on Africa

Washington, 19/02/00 (aps)- The president of the republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika who is the current chairman of the OAU international body addressed a message of congratulation to the members who are going to participate in the national summit on Africa and which takes place in Washington.

In his message and on behalf of the OAU organisation, Bouteflika complimented welcomed the organisation of such summit, which ails at defending a noble cause: establishing good relations between two different worlds, the United States of America and the African continent.

The message also pledged for the defence of human rights, fostering equal partnership and acknowledging the value of the African patrimony, which can never be neglected or ignored. As a recall, the summit, which aims to educate the American public about Africa and to help guide US relations with the African countries, was opened this morning by President Bill Clinton. UNCTAD/10th session: Globalisation: President Bouteflika warns against a definitive marginalisation of Africa

Bangkok, 19/02/00 (aps)- Mr Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president of the republic, OAU president in office warned Saturday in Bangkok against the risk of a definitive marginalisation of the African continent from the globalisation process underway if significant measures are not taken by the international community in its favour.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who took part in a round table which constituted the crowning of the 10th UNCTAD session pointed out that "Africa because of its economic and social delay started to separate from the globalisation process".

In this context, he recalled that during the meeting of the world trade organisation in Seattle, Africans participated as if they were "non-concerned observers", the debate took place only between Americans and Europeans.

"Globalisation such as it is today profits only to countries which have a material, technological and technical basis", he noted.

"Globalisation towards which we want to go is the globalisation which excludes anybody", he stressed.

Quoting causes at the origin of the present situation in Africa, the president of the republic notably referred to the colonisation which has broken the traditional social structures, involved ethnical conflicts and impoverished countries of the continent" .

But this situation is also due, he added, to the "bad choice" by the African states of the developing systems after the national independence, the lack of supervision, a deficient management of resources, a disastrous management of the state's affairs and a generalised corruption which affected even the lowest social level.

To these multiple causes is added, he said, an international economic order which sees in Africa only a reservoir of raw materials and a market for finished and semi-finished products.

"It is evident that in the frame of exchanges between the developed and under-developed countries, the African continent is out of race", he declared.

Putting a stress on certain dramatic aspects of the situation lived through by Africa, the OAU president in office pointed out that certain countries of the continent, 40 per cent of the population is affected by AIDS.

"There are African peoples which are in the process of disappearing", he emphasised, noting that in the rich countries, peoples affected by AIDS are treated with drugs called of third generation at the time when treatments of first generation are not always available in Africa.

On another turn, Mr Bouteflika dealt with the question of the African debt which constitutes, he noted "the most serious problem" to which Africa is confronted.

While hailing the decisions of the G7 in Cologne, of the recent Libreville summit, of the French president Jacques Chirac and the British premier, Tony Blair, to cancel or to reduce the debt of the African less advanced countries, the OAU president in office called for a treatment of the debt of the African countries with intermediate incomes, enabling them to reach a strong economic growth at the image of the "dragons of Asia".


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:04:49 -0500Subject: Africa: OAU President on Globalization

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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