The Africa Committee of the Socialist International, hosted by the Socialist Party of Senegal, met in Dakar on 19-20 June 2009.
Under the main theme of "From a time of crisis to a new era of inclusive partnership", the debates covered three themes:
A. The African response to the global financial crisis and policies to promote the Agreements for Economic Partnerships (APE);
B. Restoring the democratic project in Africa to prevent the danger of despotism;
C. Involving Africa in a new global democratic governance.
At the end of in-depth and productive discussions, the meeting has agreed:
The Committee takes note of the failure of the neoliberal, economic policies in Africa and in the world and considers it is urgent to redirect the policies that follow social democratic options.
In Africa, the financial crisis, which has economic, social and even political consequences, affects particularly purchasing power, commercial exchanges, financial transfers, foreign investments and public assistance to development. It is therefore necessary to formulate efficient solutions for these problems, either in the near future or at a later date.
In this context, the African response to the crisis could include:
- measures of financial stabilisation and an economic re-launch that protects and stimulates consumption, savings, investments and support of the economy;
- regulatory measures for the financial system in the region as a whole and in the sub-regions (West Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Austral Africa and Central Africa), that harmonises growth levels and sustainable development. In this context, it is most important to favour integration, especially, by means of production, as this will help attach value to the Continent’s huge natural potential.
- measures for the promotion of a diversified partnership between emergent countries and deprived nations, internal and external, that re-launches the basic sectors that support growth (education, health, agriculture, water, energy, et.), and optimises sectors with a high technological and scientific value.
The APE must, starting from the premise that by themselves they do not produce development, integrate solutions that centre on:
- the reworking of multilateralism based on an efficient awareness of the concerns of African and European parties;
- the strengthening and success of sub-regional and regional integration;
- the partnership is the winner – to win as the objective of the APE.
B. Restoring the democratic project in Africa to prevent the danger of despotism:
Democracy in Africa is in danger as a result of pseudo-democratic tyrannies that are kept in power because of the perversion of democratic values such as the frequent manipulations of the norms of accession and the devolution of powers, and the a phenomenon in some states where designated heirs are installed in the public and political scene with the aim of preparing or organising "by electoral means" a succession to power. This picture is made worse because of the breakdown of electoral systems that suffer from a deficit of trust and credibility and from a resurgence of military coups that interrupt the democratic processes.
In face of all these dangers, it is urgent to restart the democratic project in the African continent around themes of peace and stability. In this context, it is important to work for the promotion of a truly democratic culture, adopting shared values, accepted and respected by the political actors, the citizens, the judicial power and the media. The building of this democratic awareness involves the promotion of citizenship, to favour citizens’ responsibility and education.
It is equally important to complete the institutionalisation of political power in Africa for, to achieve a real separation of powers within the state as well as the separation of the state and all other institutions and forces that inhibit the democratic mechanisms.
In addition, a certain number of fundamental demands must be integrated to give sense to the notion of good democratic governance:
- the free exercise of individual and collective rights and freedoms;
- the independence of judicial power and of magistrates who should not be submitted to any pressure of the executive power and who should not fear for their careers and their lives because of the sentences they pass;
- the organisation of elections, free, transparent, at regular intervals, on fixed dates;
- the implementation of mechanisms and procedures to secure the institutional system;
- the establishment of dialogue as an instrument for anticipating political crises and pacifying political space;
- the involvement of women and youth in political life;
- the promotion of a democratic culture through education on citizenship and human rights.
C. Involving Africa in a new global democratic governance:
The evidence shows that the old institutions and the old regulations do not any longer help to face the changes in the world. Even when the signs of these changes are apparent, it is urgent to reform the world governance in order to engage its attention in world challenges, in particular new challenges (terrorism, climate change, nuclear proliferation), that require a multilateral approach.
The establishment of this new democratic governance at world level requires of clearly identified pillars. The continent, at the same time as making efforts to be a model of democracy, must make its weight felt in order to demand a new world governance based on:
- the re-definition of an ethical and philosophical basis that puts the economy under the control of politics and in the service of humanity;
- the adoption of new mechanisms that enable the "common good" and the development of world spaces for debates open to the non-state actors, accepting the idea according to which world democracy must not exclusively be organised around the representation of the states;
- Regional representation in international institutions that favours the presence of Africa in its institutions.