USA: Summit Documents, 5, 03/23/00

USA: Summit Documents, 5, 03/23/00

USA: Summit Documents, 5 Date distributed (ymd): 000323 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +US policy focus+ Summary Contents: This set of two postings on the National Summit on Africa continues the series of three posted in February by APIC. Please note that, as has always been APIC's policy for this electronic list, the responsibility for the views expressed is that of the original source of each document. As the guidelines posted on APIC's web site indicate, "selection of a document for reposting implies that it is considered a useful resource for wider public debate, but not necessarily that APIC endorses all the views expressed in reposted material." Neither the previous postings nor the two today should be misconstrued as an "APIC statement."

As a matter of record, APIC has not made and does not yet have a formal statement of opinion on how the important dynamic of the National Summit on Africa process should continue in the future. This is far too serious and complex a subject, involving not only the responsibilities and directions of many different groups, but also many individuals around the country and indeed around the world, for us to reach quick conclusions or prematurely adopt firmly defined positions. APIC is convinced that the primary arena in which such a position should be defined is among the very diverse strands of concerned people who have been engaged in the Summit process at many levels.

APIC's electronic distribution list is not the appropriate vehicle for continuing these important discussions. For the ongoing debate -- to the extent it is available on-line -- we recommend two primary sources. One is the Summit web site ( The other is an on-line discussion entitled "Africa Matters," initiated in December with a core group of many summit delegation chairs, and opened to the public following the summit. This forum -- -- is available on-line for sign-up and viewing of the archive at To sign up by e-mail, send a blank message to us-afr-network- If there are other such public fora that are open to a wide audience, please let us know and we will find a way to insert a notice of their existence through the distribution list or the Africa Policy web site.

This posting contains the Summit's Top Ten Action Priorities, just released, as well as excerpts from statements by the three co-chairs of the Michigan delegation and by a co-chair of the New York delegation. For additional comments by other co-chairs and delegates, see the Africa Matters discussion. A full version of the remarks excerpted here is available at:

The other posting sent out today contains a letter from the Board chair and president of the NSOA.

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National Summit on Africa: Top Ten Priority Recommendations

National Summit on Africa E-mail: Web:

During the National Summit, delegates deliberated and adopted the following 10 priority recommendations ... for immediate action, and to serve as the anchors to the National Policy Plan of Action for U.S.-Africa Relations in the 21st Century [to be available at on April 5, 2000.]

Economic Development, Trade and Investment, and Job Creation:

1. The U.S. should take the lead in providing prompt and meaningful debt relief for Africa by forgiving all Africa public sector debt owed to the U.S. The U.S. should also support and encourage the favorable renegotiation, restructuring or cancellation of African debt held by private and multilateral creditors, as well as that held by other creditor nations.

2. It is absolutely necessary for the U.S. to stimulate direct trade and investment between Africa and the U.S. because without it democracy will fail and the human needs of the people cannot be met. This should be done with particular emphasis on small- and medium-sized businesses between Africans and African-Americans. There must be support for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act in order to foster trade and investment in Africa and enable African countries to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with the U.S. so as to accomplish these goals.

Sustainable Development, Quality of Life, and the Environment

3. In the interest of sustainable development and the goals of self-sufficiency and economic independence in Africa, the U.S. should support and strengthen access to potable water and waste management; the prevention, control, and eradication of infections and diseases through the use of non-traditional, traditional, and herbal medicines. Prevention of all major diseases in Africa should be supported in partnership with African governments, civil society and non-governmental organizations, the private corporate sector and other multi-lateral and bi-lateral donor agencies. Moreover, the U.S. must champion debt cancellation so African governments can redirect those resources toward these efforts. The U.S. should work collaboratively with organizations in Africa to support efforts to provide disability, refugee, and mental health services. HIV/AIDS should be given special emphasis. These collective actions will also ensure the future of Africa's children.

4. The U.S. should invest in and support African initiatives to provide basic necessities through the development of sustainable infrastructure. Addressing these issues requires commitment to human capital, gender issues (with emphasis on women), education, capacity building, participatory development involving the inclusion of non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and reliance on expertise from Africa, as well as establishing linkages with African-Americans. All existing and future U.S. government projects, U.S. non-governmental organizations and businesses should adhere to the same environmental protection standards that they would need to meet in the U.S. and should be required to sign on to a list of principles that promote sustainable utilization of land, water, forest, wildlife, marine, biodiversity, and coastal resources. The U.S. should strictly enforce the prohibition of transporting, selling and dumping of toxic and hazardous substances. Therefore, the U.S. through its Department of State, agencies, and Congress can play key enhancing roles by: 1) increasing the foreign assistance budget; 2) sustaining and expanding information technology infrastructure 3) using its relational leverage with other donors to boost the livelihood of grassroots communities; and 4) supporting efforts at land reform which sustains small holder agriculture and food security.

Peace and Security

5. The U.S. should support United Nations and regional organizations' peacekeeping and conflict prevention efforts in Africa, including timely financial and logistical support. The U.S. also should fully pay, without conditions, its current United Nations dues and arrears and its assessments for peacekeeping operations.

6. The U.S. should increase financial, technical, and logistical support for African and multilateral initiatives and institutions (including civil society) aimed at crisis prevention, conflict resolution, peace enforcements, and humanitarian assistance. Any action should incorporate an intensive education program. The U.S. should increase efforts to enact the optional protocol on child soldiers; to protect African citizens against conscription, to inform American consumers of the origins of African products and resources in order to prevent the sale of those products from financing war, conflict, and corruption. The President should immediately sign, and the U.S. Senate should ratify, the Treaty to Ban Landmines without reservation. The U.S. should expand financial support for mine clearance, victim assistance and rehabilitation, environmentally sensitive de-mining, and landmine awareness. The U.S. should end all production and sales of landmines and should support international initiatives to make producers of landmines financially accountable for property and human losses therefrom.

Democracy and Human Rights

7. The U.S. government, public and private sectors should make the promotion of democracy and respect for human rights central to their policies towards Africa. The U.S. should increase support towards existing and emerging institutions that do not violate human rights. U.S. foreign assistance including trade benefits, security assistance, finance, and logistics should be available on a preferential basis to those that respect human rights. This assistance must include human rights training. To this end, the U.S. should be committed to bringing all Americans, particularly African Americans, to the forefront of discussions, planning, and implementation of all initiatives.

8. To promote African democracy and human rights in this era of globalization, the U.S. government should require U.S.-based corporations and international finance institutions, particularly the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, to advance these goals in policy and practice. A corporate code of conduct must make democracy and human rights central to doing business in Africa. The charters of international institutions should be amended so that they can no longer offer support and legitimacy to illegitimate governments, and to democratize the institutions to allow for more African representation. The U.S. should support Africa's quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, should triple the number of African refugees admitted to the U.S., increase aid to 0.7% of GNP, and ratify all pending human rights conventions.

Education and Culture

9. The U.S., including African-American educational institutions, should seek equitable partnerships with African professionals, institutions, and communities to include opportunities for international exchange, training, research, technology, knowledge transfer, information sharing, and arts and culture. The U.S. should fund and support efforts of all countries to provide basic education, all types of literacy programs, and HIV/AIDS education for children (particularly girls) adults, and persons with disabilities.

10. It is imperative that action be taken consistently and accurately to educate the U.S. public on Africa through mass media, cultural institutions, and school curriculum. The U.S. must encourage African ownership while discouraging multinational institutions from destabilizing, displacing, or competing unfairly with indigenous media. Policymakers must 1) promote change in American knowledge and attitudes toward Africa; 2) emphasize Africa's role in the history of global civilization.


Letter from Michigan State Co-Chairs

March 5, 2000

To: Dr. Leonard Robinson, President and CEO, The National Summit on Africa; Dr. Herschelle Challenor, Board Chair, The National Summit on Africa

From: Rev. Mangedwa Nyathi, Co-Chair, Michigan Summit on Africa, Executive Director, Agape House, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. (313) 861-1200, Fax: (313) 861-7896

Ms. Salome Gebre-Egziabher, Co-Chair, Michigan Summit on Africa, Education Equity Consultant, University of Michigan (734) 763-2137, Fax: (734) 763-2137, e-mail:

Ms. Iva Smith, Co-Chair, Michigan Summit on Africa Education Equity Consultant, University of Michigan (734) 763-9910 , Fax: (734) 763-2137, e-mail:

We ... write to congratulate you on all the arduous arrangements and long hours of labor that we know that you and the staff invested in creating all this activity for us. ...

We do plan to continue our work as the Michigan Summit on Africa in ways yet to be determined ...

We shall be eager to receive the revised National Plan of Action and to hear of the plans of the National Summit on Africa for implementing our plan of action and policy agenda.

Participants in the Michigan Summit on Africa have a long history of working closely with a variety of organizations that have labored long for Africa here in Michigan - especially with TransAfrica, the American Committee on Africa, the Africa Fund, Washington Office on Africa, Africa Policy Information Center, as well as with some others.

The pro-Africa movement here in Michigan, which has many accomplishments including passing more state sanctions laws on South Africa (3) than any other state, has benefitted in many ways from the work, staff, and support of those organizations over several decades. We were encouraged to join the Summit effort and to build our own Michigan Summit on Africa in large part because we saw some of those organizations joining the Summit three years ago.

Therefore, now we are very concerned to learn how the Summit effort, as was promised to them and us, will feed into and work closely with all of those organizations and will not lead to their demise by competing with them. ...

In addition, we are assuming that any plans will be provided to and debated by the state delegations that constitute the base of the Summit effort to date. ... We believe that it is important that full debate and democratic decision-making inform not only the development of the Draft Plan of Action but also the purposes, structure, and operating principles of any organization which extends the Summit process beyond May 31, 2000. ...


Letter from New York State Co-Chair

From: Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Ph.D. E-mail:

To: Leonard Robinson, President, and Dr. Herschelle Challenor, Chair of the Board, National Summit on Africa

March 20, 2000

This is a response to the email of March 7, 2000 [note: the full text of that note, including the points Dr. Okome refers to below, is also being sent out today, and is archived at]

... Since I am the "delegate from New York" that was referred to in the letter, and I am a Nigerian, I will respond to some issues that were raised in the letter.

I requested and got the permission of the Board of the National Summit on Africa on February 20, 2000 at the final plenary session of the summit, to address some concerns that I had. In my statement, I expressed my commitment to the process of the summit, acknowledged, and recognized the hard work that it took to put together a process as significant, broad, and momentous as the summit. I offered the comments that I made in the spirit of a genuine desire to suggest that some attention need be paid to several areas. I felt that transparency, accountability, democracy and dialogue were being neglected. ...

It is disheartening that I am being dismissively referred to as the "delegate from New York" when the board had as a condition to allowing someone to speak, that the person be the chair of a state delegation. I am Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of African Studies and Political Science at Fordham University and co-chair of the New York State Delegation.

If we have a democratic process in place, individuals that are involved in this process ought to be able to raise issues of concern to them. The concerns raised ought to be treated seriously. The letter of 3/7/2000 implies that there is only one possible interpretation to the impact of trade, that any trade is good trade, and that Africa's problem arises from a lack of trade. There is a difference between fair trade and free trade. If the trade bill that is endorsed is one that again, makes Africa vulnerable to the vagaries of the international trade system, what would be the difference between this new trade initiative and all others engaged in previously? ...

To address the part of the letter that states: "The allegation that the National Summit is 'being hijacked by a leadership with a corporate friendly agenda' or will be dominated by corporate interests is silly at best. ... "

Chevron in Nigeria has produced oil and made immense profit in an area that became environmentally degraded as a consequence of the actions of oil producing companies including Shell and Mobil. The company has interfered in local politics in a manner that intensified ethnic strife and caused many deaths and loss of property. Even a penny is too much to accept from such a corporation. ...

see Human Rights Watch, "The Price of Oil at the website: ... For my open statement to the Nigerian government and Chevron, see ...

To assure us "that we will consult with a cross section of State Chairs and Delegates ..." is again, to indicate that the opinions of some are more valuable than those of others. The number of delegates and delegates at large and state chairs is small enough that everyone ought to be consulted. If such consultation is what is implied, all the better.

To promise us that "in concert with plans to restructure the Board of Directors, we will reserve six Board positions for one representative from each of the six regions. ..." is also to be selective in the determination of whom the board finds worthy of consultation. If everyone was good enough to participate in this process thus far, they ought to be included and consulted hereafter.

The letter also states: " ... we do feel constrained to provide some observations on a recent electronic article by Jim Lobe and Jim Cason, which contained several false statements and half-truths."

None of what I said was either a false statement or half-truth. ...

Your mail said: "... In 1992-93, 62.4% of all drug traffickers arrested at JFK International Airport were Nigerian. Illicit drugs interdicted through these arrests were headed for the streets of our inner city communities and constituted a threat to U.S. national security. In 1993, Leonard Robinson, while working for the then law firm of Washington & Christian, the firm, with the encouragement of U.S. authorities, agreed to assist the Government of Nigeria in establishing a drug interdiction program ... "

I will only address the part of this quote that relates to the Nigeria drug problem. If we all treat the global political economy as one system, we will see the direct linkage between huge debt, Structural Adjustment Problems and the increased participation of marginalized people in third world countries in desperate activities including the drug trade, mass immigration to unfriendly climes and locales and increases in social problems within the domestic systems of debtor countries. This happened in Nigeria, it happened in Russia, it happened in Colombia. If 62.4% of the drug traffickers arrested in the airports were Nigerian, it could well be a case of profiling. If the customs profile in such a manner that Nigerians are targeted, then most of the people caught in their dragnet will be Nigerian. Most Nigerians in the US are hard-working, honest people who have contributed immensely to the economic and social well-being of the United States. Their contributions remains ignored, and/or trivialized.

The point of this discussion is to let you know that all the while, Nigeria was involved in trading with the world. As a matter of fact, the US is one of its largest trade partners. However, the nature and form of trade was not beneficial to the overwhelming majority of Nigerians. Today, just any involvement in trade is not enough. ... Fairness in trade entails a serious commitment to corporate responsibility and a serious commitment to economic and social democracy in African countries. ...

One can still be committed to ensuring that Africa gets on the policy agenda and be open to dialogue that is conducted in a transparent, equitable and democratic manner. ... I am committed, and I acknowledge your hard work. However, I would suggest that the board institutionalizes a mechanism to address issues that are brought to its attention.

Thank you.


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 23:47:46 -0500 Subject: USA: Summit Documents, 5

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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