Meeting of the Socialist International Africa Committee, Praia, Cape Verde, 30-31 October 2000
The Socialist International Africa Committee met in Praia on 30-31 October 2000 and took note of the deliberations and decisions of the Committee when it met in Dakar, Bamako, Maputo, and Yaoundé, as well as the deliberations of the Socialist International Council which met in Brussels.
The Africa Committee considered that these decisions continued to be relevant and pertinent, and that all the relevant bodies should assume full responsibility for their commitments, and therefore recommends that the Socialist International Council, at a meeting due to be held in Maputo on 10-11 November, should take certain decisions with a view to their immediate implementation.
Democracy, Stability and Development
The Africa Committee is pleased to note that the winds of democracy continue to blow across the Continent and, in particular, note the speed with which the transition process and the democratic movement have taken effect in Cape Verde, Benin, Morocco, Senegal and Niger. The Africa Committee welcomed the victory of democratic forces in the recent elections in Côte d’Ivoire, which are a decisive sign of how public opinion among the African peoples is keen to preserve respect for public freedom, for law and order, and for the correct functioning of democratic institutions, as much as the consolidation of the rule of law, all of which are indispensable conditions for the future development of Africa.
Africa and Development
The deliberations of the Africa Committee focused on the responsibility which Africans must assume to set a framework for the acceptance by the international community of a world-wide commitment to development in Africa. The recommendations on Development in Africa, as set out in the paper ‘Together for the 21st Century’, which were adopted during negotiations about the renewal of the Lomé Convention, and approved in Cotonou, contain the crucial points of the African position. They continue to be relevant and pertinent as a frame of reference for the development which is being envisaged, that is, one with a human face, directed towards the satisfaction of the people’s needs for education and health, and access to essentials such as water and energy, as well as the preservation of social stability and fundamental environmental issues.
This agreed document, also outlines those conditions necessary for commercial and technological exchange, and exchange which favours economic ties among the African countries and paves the way for Africa to benefit from the process of economic globalisation process.
The Committee defined the conditions which must be met before development can take place and the responsibility incumbent on Africans if a democratic rule of law is to be established, as well as public liberties and law, and the consolidation of democratic institutions, thereby allowing for the participation of citizens and the normal alternation of democratic parties in the exercise of power. Similarly, it is important for Africans to promote a culture of tolerance and dialogue, with political parties having a crucial role to play in the learning process about democracy in our continent.
The experience gained thus far with regard to regional and sub-regional integration needs to be re-analysed with the aim of identifying the successes achieved within existing structures and of finding new directions which will enable us to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalisation, to favour further development in Africa. The Africa Committee welcomed the initiative of the African Union, concerning the fact that it is a long-term project, and that the steps taken should be carefully considered so as not to put into question the sovereignty and political stability achieved so far in many countries.
The deliberations of the Committee with about conditions which must be present if development is to take place have emphasised the importance of political and administrative decentralisation, carried out within a democratic context mindful of the law, as a means whereby development can be encouraged and made more of a reality for African peoples.
Development is incompatible with political instability and particularly the situation of permanent conflict which, unfortunately, is what is happening in Central Africa, and which shows no sign of ending. The Committee therefore considers it a matter of urgency that ways be found of resolving the present crisis, and related conflicts, thereby allowing lives to be saved and allowing the people to avoid suffering; to do this, it is necessary to bring about a close partnership with the European Union.
Africans must take on the great responsibility of creating the conditions which will allow for the creation of stability, good governance and the struggle against poverty, which will happen as a result of the obligatory inclusion within the State budget of funds designed to achieve that end, the prevention of corruption and fraud in the electoral process, all of which are indispensable conditions for the democratisation process in Africa.
The International Community and Development in Africa
The Africa Committee insisted on the need to repeat that development on the African Continent must be able to count on determined co-operation from the international community, such as was demanded at the Cairo Summit, which was serious when it called for the cancellation and transformation of debt, as well as the support for projects which target poverty and AIDS in Africa, and in transforming negotiations with the World Trade Organisation, so that there will be more opportunities for Africa rather than simply another limitation to development. In terms of the prevention of conflicts in Africa, the Committee insisted once more on its proposal for an arms embargo, since this is a necessary condition for the creation of peace and stability on the African Continent.
When most European countries, the main economic partners for Africa, are governed by social democratic parties, it is essential to reinforce international solidarity by fostering development in a decisive and concrete way on the African continent.