Yaoundé Declaration

Meeting of the Socialist International Africa Committee, Yaoundé, Cameroon, 30 June - 01 July 2000

The Socialist International Africa Committee, at its first meeting of the millennium in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 30 June and 1 July 2000, examined the pace of the democratisation process throughout Africa, the existing conflicts and threats to peace and stability on the continent, and the ways and means to fight poverty, and declares:

1. On the Democratisation Process

Considering that although the circumstances in which the principles of democracy are applied may vary due to local realities, these principles remain universal in every case;

Considering that the wind of democratic change which started blowing at the beginning of the decade of the 90s has produced mixed results in Africa like the laudable democratic alternance in Senegal on the one hand, and the total blockage of the democratic electoral processes in countries like Cameroon, Togo, Guinea and Equatorial Guinea, for example, on the other hand.

The Committee

• congratulates the people of Senegal for their political maturity and more especially the Socialist Party of Senegal for gracefully recognising and accepting democratic alternance;

• condemns in the strongest terms regimes which have done everything possible to stall the democratic process in their respective countries;

• demands of them to immediately put in place the necessary institutions and mechanisms that will ensure and guarantee the holding of free and fair elections, namely:

- a neutral body with legal and financial autonomy to ensure the transparency and credibility of the electoral process;

- the full and equal participation of all citizens of all sectors of society, including women and youth;

- equal access to the public media;

• demands the establishment of special legislation spelling out the rights and duties of the opposition;

• calls on the socialist family, especially those in government to exert maximum pressure on those African governments that are still insensitive to democratic principles and values;

• categorically rejects the idea of an African, Asian or European version of democracy if it does not conform to universal democratic principles.

2. On conflicts and Threats to Peace and Stability in Africa

Taking into account the decisions of the XXI Socialist International Congress in Paris last November;

Recalling the Dakar Report on the typology and resolution of conflicts in Africa;

Considering the blockage of the democratic electoral processes in some of the African countries, the breakdown in the social and political order in others, and extreme poverty in Africa;

The Committee

• reaffirms the recommendations regarding peace and conflict resolution of the XXI Congress of the Socialist International;

• recommends the creation and the implementation of mechanisms for prevention and management of conflict;

• declares that peace is not only the absence of conflicts;

• reaffirms that democracy, good governance and social justice are necessary conditions for peace;

• calls on the Socialist International family to mobilise all its resources worldwide to help promote peace and relieve suffering in Africa.

3. On the Ways and Means to Fight Poverty

Considering that the causes of poverty vary from country to country;

that the weight of the debt burden virtually paralyses any form of development;

the need to eliminate all forms of corruption;

that current economic ties of most African countries with the developed world should not be based on a dependency relationship;

that structural adjustment plans have exacerbated poverty.

The Committee

• strongly advocates the putting into place of a global strategy of development based on democracy, good governance, decentralisation and an effective participation of the population at all levels;

• strongly recommends that each country concerned should work out a specific programme of development and to fight poverty;

• considers that the present debt alleviation policy proposed by international financial institutions is falling short of expectations;

• is concerned over the basis on which some countries have been declared eligible for the debt alleviation programme;

• reaffirms that one of the major criteria for eligibility should be good governance and democracy;

• recommends that development aid should be exclusively people oriented;

• recommends the creation of an International Fund Against Poverty;

• recommends that economic ties should be based on a mutually beneficial partnership. In this respect the Cairo Summit constitutes a good beginning.

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