Declaration of Dakar
XXVI Congress of the Socialist International, Madrid
25-27 November 2022
Hosted by the Socialist Party of Senegal, the Africa Committee of the Socialist International met in Dakar on 28-29 October 2022, at the invitation of its President, Dr. Bokary Treta (Mali, RPM).
This SI meeting in Africa offered an opportunity for member parties present to discuss the current political situation and foreseeable future developments in the different countries, along with the economic and social consequences.
Wide-ranging and detailed discussion saw the Africa Committee look at how the democratic process on the continent had been undermined by coups d’état or terrorism, among other threats. These difficult situations have occurred against a background of persistent economic stagnation, poverty, ecological shocks fuelled by climate change, and weak South-South trade flows.
The impact on vital issues as education, health, the precariousness of youth, the phenomenon of clandestine immigration which fills the African countryside and indisposes Europe, the increasingly unsatisfying role of women in politics and government, not to mention the high inflation that has followed the Ukraine war.
Given all this, the Africa Committee decided to bring a number of its concerns to the attention of the Congress of the SI, so as to further mobilise the great socialist family, changing attitudes and culminating in formal resolutions or even bold initiatives at bilateral and multilateral levels.
This move by the Africa Committee should be all the more welcome for the SI’s having always championed social issues, democracy, peace and development.
The values central to our identities as social democrats and progressives have inspired the International’s initiatives across the world.
Today more than ever, the SI must remain faithful to its credo and to this admirable political approach.
The topics that follow have gained the sustained attention of the Africa Committee, which asks the Congress to address them.
1. On African politics, democracy, peace and multilateralism
1.1 The continent has for decades faced political crises and recurrent conflicts. Lasting peace has been difficult to achieve, with the continent racked from one end to the other by coups d’état, war and terrorism (Egypt, Libya Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Guinea, Ethiopia, DRC, Rwanda, Nigeria, Cameroon, etc.).
Yet democracy cannot prosper without peace!
Development and economic growth, too, of course demand peace. Quite apart from the fact that democracy is making little headway at national level, thanks to the political élites, it has to be recognised that peace is global, or else it is not peace!
1.2The African economy has much to offer the world, with its vast potentials and its numerous younger generation, vibrant and avid for science and technology.
However, the Covid-19 crisis was the unfortunate occasion for rich countries to withdraw into themselves. At the start of the pandemic, Africa waited a long time before receiving the first vaccines intended for their populations. This lack of capacity in Africa and this lack of essential solidarity at a crucial moment should make everyone reflect on the reality of our ties and our commitments. However, disease knows no borders. This example, badly experienced by Africans, should invite a sudden change in relations between Nations.
The partner political powers as well as the large financial conglomerates should henceforth choose the policy of win-win and sustainable development of African countries. Otherwise, we would see the inexorable spread of poverty, the affirmation of violent solutions to the detriment of democracy and the continuation of migrations with disastrous consequences for both the North and the South.
Resolution 1: Faced with the seizure of power by weapons which tend to return, the African member parties of the Socialist International, particularly those in power, are challenged by the observable deficit of democracy and the rule of law in Africa in general and in West Africa in particular, which appears to be one of the fundamental causes of the political and security crisis situations. They therefore invite regional organizations to carry out courageous and realistic analyses of the situations and to demonstrate firm leadership in the fight against these repeated attacks on democracy, rights and freedoms through rapid and decisive responses capable of creating the conditions for international solidarity;
Resolution 2: the Africa Committee calls on the SI to launch an appeal for the consolidation of democratic advances and for respect for the rules and mechanisms of democracy as the accepted, non-reversible form of government.
Resolution 3: the Africa Committee calls on the SI Congress to put forward a global plan of struggle against poverty, on the model of the Marshall Plan, for a more effective and inclusive approach to the question of the continent. This Marshall Plan for Africa, given the emergency situation, should be designed around programmes agreed with Africa's partners. Sustainable and inclusive development is built on the basis of common interests and solidarity;
Resolution 4: The development of Africa cannot be done without Africa! The SI must therefore carry the fight for the indispensable presence of the Continent in the political and economic bodies which govern the world, particularly on questions of peace and security, the fight against terrorism, the fight against the effects of climate change, and food sovereignty in particular. Thus, development, in a truly multilateral framework, will befor all and with all!
2. On human rights, and the rights of women in particular
Defending human rights, public and individual freedoms, must be our credo as socialist and social democratic parties. Indeed, it may seem that the priority of political stability and the security of the populations in relation to the terrorist threats or wars which hover over our heads, puts the question of rights and freedoms in the background. It is important, even crucial, that respect for democratic institutions remains a priority for our parties and states, given the negative impact of these threats on populations, especially girls and women.
However, it is precisely this fight for rights and freedoms that can counterbalance the appeal of obscurantist or totalitarian ideologies whose sirens are increasingly attractive, especially for the youngest.
Concerning, in particular, the still unsatisfactory place of African women in society and especially in the spheres of economic and political power, much effort must still be made.
African countries have certainly made progress towards parity in political institutions. Several legislations have integrated full or progressive parity. However, we must continue the fight and make the defence of women's rights, their emancipation and empowerment the priority of our political and social project. Because no democratic construction, no development and no social progress would be possible without the full contribution of women.
- Resolution 5: African SI member parties and governments should work towards the development of UNSC R1325 National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security.
- Resolution 6: the Africa Committee asks the SI to vigorously raise the issue of parity in our parties and in our States in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Protocol to the Charter of Human Rights in relation to the rights of women. In particular, the Committee proposes the establishment of parity at the level of the SI Presidium, as from the Madrid Congress. And the definition of an action plan to support member political parties in establishing parity in their internal bodies.
3. On development and African youth
With regard to the aspirations of Africa’s young people (70% of the population being younger than 35), the Africa Committee believes that they have strong and legitimate claims to education, vocational training, employment and health.
Voices are rising more and more to denounce the paradox of endemic poverty in the potentially richest continent in the world, whose management of natural resources does not benefit its populations. We must change the paradigm in Africa and put human beings back at the center of development.
Satisfying these needs of the youth thus becomes an urgency for Africa and for the world. Indeed, Africa needs its youth to develop, and to retain them it is necessary to be able to offer a dignified living environment, respectful of the rights of individuals and which offers equal access to opportunities for social development, irrespective of their social or ethnic origin, their sex, their family's financial means, their place of birth, their religious conviction, or any handicap.
African youth are the future of Africa and the world.
Consequently, it is useful to configure sectoral plans, projects and programs of governments and institutions, around these essential concerns, by associating the young people themselves.
A significant shift in financial allocations from States and funding institutions is essential in this regard.
- Resolution7: the Africa Committee asks the SI to engage with African States in the defence of inclusive and sustainable development policies specifically aimed at young people as well as new orientations in terms of migration policies. These two projects are two sides of the same coin.
4. On ecological transition
The polluter-pays principle must be implemented on an international scale. The greatest polluters of humanity (95%), that is to say the richest countries (China, USA and Europe) have not respected the commitments of the COP 21 of 2015 in Paris (France).
Africa with 1.7 billion inhabitants and the 7th largest economy in the world, beyond being subject to more shocks than the other continents, is more exposed to the effects of climate change and variations. Yet it is the least polluting continent, with only 4% greenhouse gas emissions.
The African energy sector must therefore follow a low-carbon and climate-resilient trajectory over the long term. In the short to medium term, Africa will continue to deploy renewable and non-renewable energy systems to meet its growing current and future energy demand.
- Resolution 8: The Africa Committee, in these times of climate change, threats to food and energy security, calls on the African Union to establish a concrete continental policy on the rationalization of the management of mineral resources, water resources and of soil, and the promotion of sustainable agriculture and renewable energies for the continent and its inhabitants. The SI Africa Committee calls on the African Union to renegotiate financing for development in Africa, in view of the development gap that the continent needs to catch up.
- Resolution 9: The Africa Committee calls on the SI to support and defend the position of the African Union on access and transition concerning Africa's energy demand in the short, medium and long term, using a combination of renewable energy and fossil fuels;
- Resolution 10: The Africa Committee requests that exchanges with young people from all continents, but also training through Party Schools and ideological and doctrinal seminars, be prioritized in our political agendas to mobilize our populations and our elites around our ideas that bring progress.
5. Countering the retreat of the Socialist International’s identity and values
The Africa Committee has observed that the socialist parties no longer attract the masses as before. Faced with the push of liberal and conservative regimes, we need to recognise that young people in particular are less and less embracing our doctrinal options of social democracy.
The Africa Committee calls for a return to our values in our political choices, first at the level of the SI where the support of parties and movements must be more appreciated, and to retain only truly socialist, democratic and progressive organisations.
The SI must therefore adapt to the new international context. It needs to change paradigm and discourse. For more visibility! More communications! No more lobbying! More ownership!
- Resolution 11: the Africa Committee asks the SI to take positions on current global issues and the challenges facing Africa, while continuing to contribute to all relevant decision-making bodies.
- Resolution 12: the Africa Committee asks the SI to proceed with the elaboration of a political marketing, communication and lobbying plan which will allow the cultivation of camaraderie, solidarity, the sharing of existing solutions by promoting African skills and expertise in the development of nations.
- Resolution 13: the Africa Committee asks the SI to facilitate the networking of SI member parties at all levels for more synergies, and exchanges of experience that can lead to joint programmes of cooperation for development.
- Resolution 14: the Africa Committee asks the SI to proceed with the elaboration of a capacity building plan for the leaders of the member parties.
This must be a line of work at the Madrid Congress, for the mass return to power of the parties and political forces claiming to be social-democratic, the labour movement, the peasant world and the intellectuals of the progressive left.
Done in Madrid on November 24, 2022
The Africa Committee