SI Africa Committee meets in Praia, 30-31 July 2012
The Africa Committee of the Socialist International met in Praia on 30-31 July 2012, hosted by the SI member party, PAICV.
The themes under discussion were the following :
1. The financial crisis : the outlook for the region and the global context;
2. Working for peace and multilateralism : overcoming conflicts in Africa;
3. Advancing and strengthening democracy in the continent and overcoming authoritarianism
About the financial crisis : the outlook for the region and the global context
The Africa Committee has noted with concern the persistence of the financial crisis and the serious consequences already in evidence with the slowing down of growth in the African economies, which represents a gloomy perspective for world development and entails high risks for the region, especially due to the possibility of a general contraction of the global market and the reduction of trade, of financial flows and investment. These are consequences which have repercussions on the job market and may increase poverty and lead to widespread political instability.
The Committee underlines the need to respond to the financial crisis in Africa with policies that help the strengthening of growth and investment - and the consequent job creation – and not only with budgetary austerity measures, especially if these have as their main objective the elimination of the positive effects of policies favouring education, health, social protection and housing.
The Committee also examined the financial crisis from the standpoint of the capacity of endurance of the African economies, where many countries have been able to maintain significant levels of growth. This demonstrates the real possibility for Africa to make of the crisis an opportunity to transform and develop its natural resources in order to fight against poverty, increase earnings, promote the expansion of African markets and create new margins within the world economy.
To achieve this, Africa needs to demonstrate high levels of good governance, to have strong institutions, to ensure a good management of natural resources, and, above all, to implement policies of poverty reduction which have as an objective not only social justice, but also economic growth, the strengthening of their position in the world market and the improvement of the quality of life for African women and men.
To do this, the African states must be able to further speed up the process of regional integration and to work for the creation of infrastructures and complementary mechanisms for African economies, advancing the sustainable exploitation of mineral resources of the continent.
The Africa Committee congratulated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on her election to the presidency of the Commission of the African Union, and hopes to develop close working relations with this organ of African political life.
Working for peace and multilateralism : overcoming conflicts in Africa
The Committee received a report on the security crisis in Mali, one of the current African conflicts. The Africa Committee invites all countries to work for peace improving political and economic governance, in order to carry on the effective control by the states of their territories, within the principle of sovereign borders. The Committee has recommended multilateral cooperation to ensure national unity, indivisibility of the territory and geo-strategic issues, as well as a relentless war against terrorism, transnational organised crime and drug trafficking.
The Africa Committee called for a return to peace and stability in relation to the existing conflicts in East Africa, especially in Somalia and South Sudan.
The Africa Committee of the Socialist International calls for the reestablishment of democracy in Guinea-Bissau and urges the international community and the regional organisations to act decisively in supporting the prompt return to normal functioning of the democratic institutions of the country. The Committee expresses its full solidarity with the people of Guinea-Bissau and our member party, the PAIGC, a central actor in the democratic life of the nation.
The committee urges Morocco and the Polisario Front to continue to negotiate a peaceful and lasting solution to the Western Saharan conflict under the auspices of the United Nations and reiterates its support for the rights of the Sahrawi people to self-determination as expressed by the SI Council ın Athens last year. The Socialist International will continue to work with all actors in favour of democracy and human rights.
Advancing and strengthening democracy in the continent and overcoming authoritarianism
The Socialist International Africa Committee appeals to go beyond the appearances of a democracy that limits itself into party pluralism and freedom of the press, to become a true democracy based on the pacific alternance of power and on good economic governance.
The Committee calls for a deepening of freedoms, particularly religious freedom, the absence of which is often the cause of pogroms and conflict in the continent.
The Committee reiterates that the practice of seizing power by force is totally unacceptable and condemns the coups d’Etat that have taken place in Guinea-Bissau and Mali. The Committee demands the immediate return of constitutional order in these two countries.
The Committee heard with interest the interventions of different member parties about the internal situation in their respective countries, and will continue to closely monitor developments therein. The Committee expresses its serious concern about the way in which elections are organised in Equatorial Guinea, and the manner in which political opponents are treated, and wishes that the next elections be organised and carried out in more credible conditions of freedom and transparency.
Finally, the Committee expressed its gratitude to the host party, PAICV, and its leader, José Maria Neves, for their fraternal welcome and the provision of working conditions for the meeting in Praia.