Africa: NGO Statement to Denver Summit, 4/9/97

Africa: NGO Statement to Denver Summit, 4/9/97

Africa: NGO Statement to Denver Summit

Date distributed (ymd): 970409

WOA Document

The following is the Executive Summary of a statement drafted by the NGO Africa Trade Policy Working Group. The working group is a coalition of Washington, DC-based non-governmental organizations.

The working group has argued that trade initiatives must be part of comprehensive social and economic development efforts if they are to achieve broad-based, sustainable economic growth. The group's statement identifies key elements of a comprehensive policy. It is addressed to the leaders of the industrialized nations who will be meeting in Denver, Colorado, June 20-23.

The full statement is available on the World Wide Web at:

A text version may be obtained (in two parts) via e-mail. Send the message "send denver" to Please type it exactly as written, as that will facilitate a reply.

Organizations are encouraged to endorse the full statement or to issue parallel statements. If you are interested in endorsing the statement or suggesting changes, please write to Doug Tilton ( The drafting committee will consider suggested changes until April 30. The deadline for endorsements is May 15, 1997.

For additional background on the G-7 summits, see the extensive on-line guide, including links to other sites, at the University of Toronto G7 Information Centre (



Executive Summary


Africa is poised at the brink of a "second independence," a wave of political, social, and economic change which may enable her peoples to transform societies distorted for generations by colonial conquest and superpower confrontation. The United States and other industrialized countries must discover ways of facilitating African efforts without imposing their own agendas. In anticipation of the 1997 Economic Summit in Denver, Colorado, we urge the participating leaders to be guided by the following general principles in their consideration of policies affecting African nations:

* Recognize responsibility, interdependence, and shared interests

Assistance should not be seen as "charity." The legacies of colonialism and the Cold War have given unique dimensions to the social and developmental challenges which African countries face. Former colonial and Cold War powers must acknowledge a moral obligation to assist Africans in overcoming these obstacles. At the same time, we must recognize that in an increasingly interconnected world, a peaceful and prosperous Africa is in the best interests of all nations.

* Support African initiatives

Africans are involved in an impressive range of initiatives, often at the community level, to tackle local social and economic problems. The primary objective of industrialized nations should be to support and facilitate African initiatives; enhance local institutional capacity for policy research, analysis, and design; strengthen local control and transparency of program implementation and management; and encourage the emergence of regional networks.

* Give priority to economically poor majorities

The vast majority of Africans have limited economic resources. Policies and program should be explicitly designed to promote broad-based economic growth and address the needs of the poorest and most marginalized sectors of African societies. They should focus on creating opportunities for people, individually and collectively, to utilize their non-financial resources to achieve economic advancement.

* Emphasize sustainability

Sustainability must become a central criterion for the assessment of all economic and social policy, not just in Africa but around the world. Sustainable human development improves living standards for all people on a stable and equitable basis while protecting the environment and resource base for future generations.

* Coordinate and consult

Africa policy development within industrialized nations should be serious, systematic, and informed by African perspectives from a broad cross-section of social and economic sectors. Policy makers should emphasize coordination, not only within their respective governments, but also among governments both G-7 and African and between governments and multilateral institutions in order to promote strategic and effective deployment of resources.

* Adopt a holistic approach

Africa policy should be holistic and integrated, maximizing the complementarity of programs and minimizing the risk that initiatives in one realm will be thwarted by actions (or inaction) in another. Comprehensive policy must blend a range of instruments including aid, trade, investment, and debt reduction. In addition, it must recognize the need for interaction among economic, political, and social initiatives, and carefully assess the differential impact of such initiatives across lines of gender, ethnicity, class, location (urban/rural), productive sector, etc.

* Challenge stereotypes

Officials of industrialized nations must reexamine their own assumptions about Africa and must also challenge their citizens to do so through extensive public education. Africa policy should be designed to highlight the continent's diversity, combat stereotypes, and promote creative and varied interaction between the peoples of Africa and other continents.

In addition, we offer specific recommendations to G-7 leaders and US officials in particular with respect to debt, development aid, food security, trade and investment, and conflict resolution. These include:

Policy Development


Acknowledge and strengthen emerging regional networks within Africa and build their policy research, design, and analysis and management capacities around permanent and accountable local institutions and personnel.



Recognize the HIPC Initiative as a valuable step forward and enhance its relevance and effectiveness, in particular by increasing the resources available for debt reduction and accelerating the implementation schedule. The Initiative's impact on Uganda, the first beneficiary nation in Africa, has been disappointing, due to the small amount of funding being spread over a period of three years.

Development Aid


Reaffirm the continuing need for development assistance that is focused on poverty reduction, supports efficient and sustainable programs, enhances local and popular control over development agendas, and promotes gender equity.

Agriculture and Food Security


Support research and investment to enhance Africa's agricultural capacity while continuing to provide aid to meet food security goals. Fulfill commitment to implement fully the Marrakesh Decision to protect food security in nations adversely affected by the Uruguay Round amendments to GATT.

Trade and Investment


Introduce new mechanisms to promote trade with and investment in African nations in ways that are explicitly designed to reduce poverty, provide benefits and opportunities to the most economically marginalized groups, build reciprocal relationships, and promote regional networks.

Conflict Resolution


Expand dialogue with African nations to identify the most appropriate ways for industrialized nations to facilitate African peacekeeping initiatives; endorse a comprehensive global ban on anti-personnel landmines and a Code of Conduct for arms sales.

Drafting Committee: Ray Almeida, Bread for the World * Maura Browne, Africa Faith and Justice Network * Carol Capps, Church World Service/Lutheran World Relief * Marc Cohen, Bread for the World Institute * Jo Marie Greisgraber, Center of Concern * Mark Harrison, United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society * Elena McCollim, Center of Concern * Terence Miller, Maryknoll Justice and Peace Office * Aliyah Nuri, InterAction * Gmakhan Sherman, Church World Service/Lutheran World Relief * Douglas Tilton, Washington Office on Africa.


Message-Id: <199704100310.UAA20022@igc3> Comments: Authenticated sender is <> Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 23:09:48 -0500 Subject: Africa: NGO Statement to Denver Summit

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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