Africa: Globalization Statements/Links. 04/16/00

Africa: Globalization Statements/Links. 04/16/00

Africa: Globalization Statements/Links
Date distributed (ymd): 000416
Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide
Issue Areas: +economy/development+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains several recent statements concerning issues of economic globalization: (1) excerpts from the speech by South African President Thabo Mbeki at the Africa - European Union Summit in Cairo, (2) a press release from the G-77 Summit in Havana, and (3) the statement endorsed by Mobilization for Global Justice protesters now in Washington. It also contains links to many additional web sites dealing with these issues, compiled from lists by the Foreign Policy in Focus project and the Institute for Global Communcations.

A posting also being sent out today contains recent documents on Africa/European trade relations.

The recently released report of the US International Financial Institution Advisory Commission (the Meltzer Commission) can be found at:
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APIC Note: Pan-African Global Links

Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan-African Insights on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle and Liberation, by Bill Sutherland and Matt Meyer (Africa World Press, 2000; ISBN: 0-86543-751-3) was featured at a gathering in Washington last week hosted by the Africa Policy Information Center, the Institute for Policy Studies and Vertigo Books. The book features reflections on almost 50 years of Sutherland's dialogues with African leaders, from the time preceding Ghana's independence through later years in Tanzania.

Early in the book, Sutherland recalls arranging the invitation to Ghana's independence celebration for the young African-American preacher Martin Luther King Jr., and how they heard Kwame Nkrumah shout as the British flag was lowered: "Free at Last, Free at Last." In the concluding pages the authors argue that "In a world of globalization, the Pan-African movement must also be global ... must unite with other movements seeking peace and justice.

Ask for the book at your local bookshop, or order on-line at



Cairo 4 April 2000

[full text available on South African government web site --]

Integrating Africa Into The World Economy

This historic Summit Meeting has convened because Africa and the European Union need to establish a strategic partnership. ... At the centre of that system must surely be the voluntary agreement among us that all of us have a common obligation to end poverty and underdevelopment on this Continent. ...

Why should the EU be interested in Africa's sustained development and modernisation!

I can think of a few reasons.

One of these is that it is morally and politically right that the EU should be interested to assist in ending poverty and underdevelopment wherever they occur.

If we are wrong, we are ready to be educated out of our misconceptions.

Another of these reasons is that the fight against poverty in Africa is also a fight against such epidemics as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases.

The struggle against poverty is also a fight against genocide, war and instability.

We believe that Europe cannot be indifferent to the death of millions, whether through hunger, disease or war, simply because those who are dying are doing so outside the European continent.

The third reason is that any serious reflection on the future of the world economy and therefore the living standards of the billions who inhabit our world, will show that a strategic shift towards a significantly larger world economy can only be achieved as a result of raising living standards in the countries of the South, and therefore the radical expansion of the world markets for capital, goods and services. ...

It is because of this that our new partnership also speaks directly to Europe's own interests.

Our two continents have been in constant interaction even earlier than the age of the Roman Caesars. Very often that interaction brought for us bitter fruit.

This historic coming together of Africa and Europe on the banks of the eternal Nile has the possibility to take decisions that might mark the beginning of a new process of interaction among ourselves and a new epoch in the evolution of human society. But it also has the possibility to be remembered as a moment when a critically important opportunity was missed and human hopes were betrayed. ...

Some of the central points we would like to make ...

First, as has been the case throughout human history, capital investment is central to Africa's economic growth and development.

Secondly, Africa requires ample supplies of capital to provide for infrastructure, industrialisation, and the overall modernisation of society.

Thirdly, one source of this capital is domestic savings.

Fourth, most of our countries are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty and lack of capital.

Fifth, a good part of the required capital must therefore come from abroad.

Sixth, governments and international organisations, such as the European Union, have to play an active role in Africa's necessary efforts to overcome general backwardness and economic underdevelopment.

As Africans, we seek agreement with our valued European interlocutors that all these propositions are obviously correct. Such an agreement would be a necessary first step in a long and difficult journey that we cannot but travel together.

According to the World Bank, whereas in 1980 the total debt stock of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries, the overwhelming majority of whom are African, stood at about $59 billion, by 1997 it had increased to $201 billion. In the same period, the debt service paid had similarly increased from about $5.9 billion to about $8.7 billion. (World Bank, Global Development Finance 1999).

To emphasise this point, we must note that a good number of our countries are net exporters of capital. For example, in 1997 countries such as Tunisia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe were such net exporters of capital, if we compare 'resource flows' with 'trade flows'. (UNDP Human Development Report 1999). It is clearly absurd that poor countries should have the obligation to export huge volumes of capital to countries which have the capital that would help to end the poverty and the debt which cause many of our countries to be defined as Highly Indebted Poor Countries.

This is another conclusion on which we seek agreement with our valued EU interlocutors, namely, that this situation is absurd and untenable.

The 1999 UNDP Human Development Report says that official development assistance has declined by almost a fifth in real terms since 1992. (UNDP op cit. p11.) The World Bank reports that in the period between 1992 and 1997, this assistance specifically to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries declined from about $13 billion annually to $11 billion.

Once again, we seek the agreement of our EU partners that this trend is unquestionably wrong and morally unsustainable and must be reversed in the opposite direction.

According to a 1997 UNCTAD survey, among other things, 26 of the 32 least developed countries in Africa had liberal or relatively liberal regimes governing the repatriation of dividends and capital. (UNCTAD, Foreign Direct Investment in Africa: Performance and Potential, 1999)

In addition, since 1990, profit levels of foreign companies in Africa has averaged 29 per cent. Since 1991 these levels have exceeded all other regions of the world.

In 1998 the World Economic Forum also reported that in much of Africa progress had been made in other areas that are important for the creation of a climate conducive to foreign direct investment.

These include trade liberalisation, the strengthening of the rule of law, improvements in legal and other instruments as well as the telecommunications and transport infrastructures. But despite all this, and with the highest number of least developed countries, Africa's share of foreign direct investment flowing to developing countries declined from more than 11 per cent in the period 1976-1980 to 4 per cent in 1996-1997.

Once again, we seek the agreement of our European friends that extraordinary measures will have to be taken to encourage larger FDI inflows into Africa.

As a Continent, once more we commit ourselves to take additional steps further to enhance the investor-friendly climate, including the critically important issues of peace, stability, democracy and an end to corruption, matters that will be addressed later during our meeting. ...

It would clearly be a matter of common cause among us that relative to the European Union, Africa remains an exporter of primary products and a continuously diminishing player as a trading partner.

Among the issues that are central to addressing this situation, are the inflows of capital of which we have spoken, especially into the area of manufactured goods and modern economic sectors.

The UNDP reports that within the OECD, excluding the United States, the percentage of Internet users is 6.9. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this figure stands at 0.1 per cent, far below the world average of 2.4 per cent. (UNDP op cit p 63)

This illustrates graphically the need consciously and in an organised manner, to address the issue of the transfer of technology as an essential part of achieving Africa's development.

The consequence of such development must necessarily be easier access of our products into the EU markets, covering both agricultural and industrial products.

We are certain that our European interlocutors who have gathered with us here in this ancient African city will agree with us that all these propositions are not only correct, but must also constitute an important part of the common effort to achieve Africa's development.

Accordingly, unless we are told we are wrong, we have every reason to believe that we share a common resolve to ensure Africa's integration in the world economy in the ways we have indicated.

We speak specifically 'of the ways we have indicated' because the reality is that Africa is and has been integrated in the world economy. The fact, however, is that this integration has condemned our Continent to poverty and underdevelopment.

We have put forward a few propositions about which agreement should be easy to reach because they are neither original nor contentious.

Were we to endorse these simple propositions, we would necessarily have to take the next step of agreeing that we should then jointly determine the ways and means by which we would translate these propositions into reality. ...



Press Release, 10 April 2000

For more information, contact the Executive Secretary of the Summit, Mr. Mourad Ahmia, South Summit secretariat, Havana International Conference Center, Room 1105, tel: +537/282.786, fax: +537/288.655; or visit our Web sites: or

[APIC note: at the time of this posting, the final G-77 summit declaration was not yet available on the G-77 web site. However, an article in the Washington Post (April 16, 2000) noted the leaders called for "a greater voice in global economic decisions, increased aid ..., and the cancellation of unstainable debt." Summit spokesman Arthur Mbanefo of Ngieria told a press conference, "I, for one, support the demonstrators." Host President Fidel Castro of Cuba called the global gap between North and South "a new apartheid."]

IMF, World Bank Policies Have "Debilitating Effect" on Developing Countries, Says Chairman of South Summit in Havana

[excerpt: full text on]

Havana, 10 April--The policies of the international financial institutions are having a "debilitating effect" on the countries of the South, said the Chairman of the "Group of 77", the 133 developing countries meeting here this week to discuss globalization and North-South relations, among other issues.

Speaking at a press conference today, Chief Arthur C.I. Mbanefo, who chairs the G77 in New York this year and is Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, added that, coupled with imbalances in the current international financial architecture, the debt burden is causing a "reversal of development growth". For example, he said, "the debt servicing costs of some developing countries are double or more than double their total budgets for social services".

The South Summit will be addressing those issues, among others of relevance to the developing world. "We intend to use this first summit of the G77 as an opportunity to revitalize South-South cooperation so as to enable us to address the challenges of globalization in an increasingly knowledge-based society", stressed Chief Mbanefo.

The Summit, which opened today at Havana's International Conference Center and continues through 14 April, will be the largest gathering ever of heads of state and government from the developing world, with more than 60 such leaders expected to attend. In addition, Chief Mbanefo said, "in a spirit of openness, we have also invited 56 developed countries -- including members of the OECD -- and 85 international, regional and subregional organizations". ...

An "interactive debate" is slated to be held here on Thursday, 13 April, when the political leaders of the third world come together to discuss the four main topics of the Summit: globalization; North-South relations; South-South cooperation; and knowledge and technology.

At the Summit, the leaders are expected to adopt two "interdependent" documents: a "visionary" political declaration, and a programme of action containing the methodology and time frame for the implementation of appropriate policies and strategies arising from the declaration, Chief Mbanefo said.


Mobilization for Global Justice -- Statement

On the occasion of the first meetings of the governing bodies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the 21st century, we call for the immediate suspension of the policies and practices that have caused widespread poverty and suffering among the world's peoples and damage to the world's environment. We assert the responsibility of these institutions, together with the World Trade Organization, for an unjust world economic system.

We issue this call in the name of global justice, in solidarity with the peoples of the Global South struggling for survival and dignity in the face of unjust, imperialistic economic policies. Only when the coercive powers of the international financial institutions are rescinded shall governments be accountable first and foremost to the will of their peoples for equitable economic development. Only when international institutions are no longer controlled by the wealthiest governments for the purpose of dictating policy to the poorer ones shall all peoples and nations be able to forge bonds - economic and otherwise - based on mutual respect and the common needs of the planet and its inhabitants. Only when the well-being of all, including the most vulnerable people and ecosystems, is given priority over corporate profits shall we achieve genuine sustainable development and create a world of justice, equality, and peace.

For updated information on the April mobilizations, visit <>. For background information on the IMF and World Bank, visit <>. 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice may be contacted at <> or at 202-IMF-BANK.


Sources for More Information on the IMF and World Bank
Compiled from lists provided by Foreign Policy In Focus
( and Institute for
Global Communications

2000 Spring Meetings of the IMF/WB

Bank Information Center

Bretton Woods Project

Center of Concern

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Centre for the Study of Global Governance
London School of Economics

Christian Aid

Corporate Watch

Development Gap for Alternative Policies
Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI)

Essential Action

European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD)

50 Years is Enough Network

Financial Markets Center

Focus on the Global South

Friends of the Earth

Global Exchange

Independent Media Center

Institute for Policy Studies

Interhemispheric Resource Center

Jubilee 2000 Coalition (UK)

Jubilee 2000 Coalition/USA

Mid-Atlantic Infoshop

Mobilization for Global Justice

Oxfam International

The Ruckus Society

Student Alliance to Reform Corporations

Sustainable Energy and Economy Network

Third World Network

The Tobin Tax Initiative, USA

World Development Movement


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 22:37:57 -0500 Subject: Africa: Globalization Statements/Links

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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