The Africa Committee met in Praia, Cape Verde on 30-31 October, hosted by the Partido Africano da Independencia de Cabo Verde, PAICV, and chaired by Ousmane Tanor Dieng, (PS, Senegal), Chair of the Committee. The meeting focused on the contribution of the Committee to the discussions on the main theme of the forthcoming Council in Maputo, 'The way forward for Africa: A worldwide commitment for development, peace and democracy', and on the Socialist International Campaign 'Making the fight against poverty in Africa an urgent priority'. The Committee also received reports on national situations of countries in the region. The Committee adopted the Praia Declaration and resolutions on the situation in Angola and Côte d'Ivoire.
THE PRAIA DECLARATION
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.
RESOLUTION ON ANGOLA
The Socialist International Africa Committee, meeting in Praia, Cape Verde, on 30-31 October 2000, noted with satisfaction:
- the reduction of warlike actions in the Republic of Angola, thanks to the efforts made by the Government for the destruction of the war apparatus of the armed bandits;
- the action of the UN Sanctions Committee which seeks to prevent all those who continue to support and collaborate in the war effort of the armed bandits, in flagrant violation of the relevant UN resolutions;
- the efforts of the Angolan government to help people displaced or affected by war who need urgent humanitarian aid.
Faced with this situation, the Socialist International Africa Committee:
- applauds the efforts of the MPLA and the Angolan Government to make peace in the country with a view to normalising the life of the people, to economic and social development, and to the strengthening of democracy;
- supports the efforts of the MPLA and the Angolan Government to ensure the carrying out of the Lusaka Protocol, the re-establishment of the authority of the State and the destruction of the war apparatus of the armed bandits;
- calls on the international community to support the Angolan Government in its aid efforts to the Angolan population displaced and affected by war, and;
- finally, the Africa Committee urges all members of the Socialist International to organise actions of solidarity with the people of Angola, under the leadership of the MPLA, with a view to obtaining the rigorous application of the United Nations resolutions, the deliberations of the SADC, OAU and other international institutions.
RESOLUTION ON CÔTE D’IVOIRE
The Socialist International Africa Committee, meeting in Praia on 30-31 October 2000, having examined recent developments in Côte d’Ivoire:
• Salutes the maturity of the people of Côte d’Ivoire who, at risk to their own lives mobilised to defend democratic principles, and succeeded in upholding the will of the majority in their rejection of the illegal attempts to deny the true outcome of the Presidential elections;
• Congratulates the Côte d’Ivoire Popular Front, FPI, and reaffirms its full support for and confidence in the leadership of our comrade President Laurent Gbagbo, in his determination to set the course for complete stability, national unity and the reinforcement of democratic life in Côte d’Ivoire;
• Calls on the political forces in Côte d’Ivoire and the international community to support the process of strengthening the democratic institutions of the country as well as the national political dialogue for stability and the economic development of Côte d’Ivoire and for the betterment of its people;
• Underlines that these developments in Côte d’Ivoire reflect the determination of the peoples of Africa to stand up for their democratic values and rights.
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