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Benin meeting of the Socialist International Africa Committee

15-16 September 2003

The meeting of the Africa Committee of the Socialist International was held in Cotonou, Benin, on 15-16 September, hosted by the Social Democratic Party, PSD. The gathering counted with the participation of numerous SI member parties from the region and beyond. (Full list of participants).

At the opening ceremony, interventions were made by the PSD General Secretary, Emmanuel Golou, SI Secretary General, Luis Ayala; First Secretary of the Socialist Party of Senegal and Chair of the Committee, Ousmane Tanor Dieng; and by PSD Chair Bruno Amoussou.

Delegates addressed an agenda which included the International's contribution to the resolution of conflicts, advancing and strengthening democracy in the continent, and, with a view to the forthcoming XXII SI Congress, Committee members lent their perspective to issues of globalisation and governance in preparing their contribution to the Congress. A Declaration of Cotonou was issued by the meeting.


Original: French

The Socialist International Africa Committee held a meeting in Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin, on 15 and 16 September 2003, hosted by the Social Democratic Party, PSD.

Four interventions were made at the opening ceremony:

- a speech of welcome by the General Secretary of the Social Democratic Party, PSD, of Benin, Emmanuel Golou;

- a speech by Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International;

- an intervention by Ousmane Tanor Dieng, First Secretary of the Socialist Party of Senegal and Chair of the Africa Committee;

- a speech by Bruno Amoussou, Chair of the Social Democratic Party, PSD, of Benin.

After the opening ceremony, the Socialist International delegates met in plenary session to tackle the items on their agenda: Resolution of conflicts: the contribution of the International; Advancing and strengthening democracy in the continent; and Globalisation and governance: the perspective of Africa. Following rich and fruitful debate, it was agreed that:

1. Regarding "Resolution of conflicts: the contribution of the International":

The participants in the meeting recognised that conflicts in Africa are of two kinds: those of internal and those of external origin:

- Internal conflicts are generally the result of poor governance, that is an absence of democracy, no rule of law, poor functioning of administration and inequitable distribution of national wealth. Such conflicts may also have economic, ethnic and even religious reasons.

- External conflicts stem above all, in Africa, from border disputes of a territorial, economic or ethnic nature.

In order to forestall such conflicts, the Africa Committee reached a consensus on the need to:

- Propagate the basic values and ideas of the Socialist International, which are: dialogue, the search for compromise, social justice, human rights, redressing inequalities, recognition of the State’s role of arbitration and regulation in protecting minorities, those who are weak or threatened, and the promotion of a fair and equitable distribution of national wealth in a context of basic freedoms.

- Establish appropriate mechanisms for the prevention and solution of conflicts.

- Work towards a more just and fair allocation by the international community and the United Nations of resources destined for conflict resolution, in order to have greater resources available in dealing with crises in the South and in Africa in particular.

- Combat the decline of international law and the marginalisation of the United Nations.

- Make the protection of women and children in war situations a major priority for the SI.

- Involve civil society organisations in the settling of conflicts.

- Where necessary, involve regional and trans-regional political organisations like the Socialist International in conflict resolution efforts.

2. Concerning "Advancing and strengthening democracy in the continent":

The member parties meeting in Cotonou underlined that, in order to achieve these aims, it is necessary to:

- Ensure that modern democratic constitutions are put in place in Africa, and that governments completely respect ideals of democracy, the rule of law, and the financing of political parties.

- Defend the most basic civil rights: the right to education, the right to health and health-care, the right to employment for all, the right to information, the right to fuel and water.

- Defend the principles of equality, fairness and a just distribution of wealth.

- Contribute to political and civic education for all, by means of foundations and other relevant international institutions, and help these organisations to identify the crucial factors and to involve people in their own development.

- Strengthen the mechanisms and management of elections in order to ensure that they are fair and transparent.

- Ensure that the media and the law are independent.

- Promote the economic and social development of countries in the region.

3. Regarding "Globalisation and governance: the perspective of Africa":

and in relation to the main theme of the forthcoming XXII Congress of the Socialist International, the participants highlighted the importance of the following:

- The struggle to democratise international institutions.
Africa should take part in all actions to democratise international institutions.

- The commitment to strengthen the role of the United Nations.
Reform of the composition and mechanisms of the UN Security Council is essential. Africa deserves a seat as full member of the Security Council.

- The promotion of a Council for Sustainable Development, independent of the Security Council.
This Council for Sustainable Development could play a coordinating role in the compromise between priorities for trade, employment and the environment. Africa should be represented on this Council.

- The struggle to reform the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in terms of a change in their economic and social models.

- The encouragement of regional and sub-regional regroupings.
Such regroupings constitute responses to globalisation. They provide intermediate levels of international trade which benefit economic development in Africa.

- Laying a particular emphasis on access to new information technologies as a means of closing the current gap between Africa and developed countries.


President of the Committee
Ousmane Tanor Dieng
(PS, Senegal)

SI Secretary General
Luis Ayala

Paulo T. Jorge
João S. Santos Neto

Social Democratic Party, PSD
Bruno Amoussou
Bani Gansé Biobou
Emmanuel Golou
Patrice Gangnito
Valentin Agbo

Bernard Davo
Charles Djrekpo
Eusèbe Agbangla
Achille Massougbodji
Théophile Montcho
Philippe Afouda
Béatrice Lokoussan
Mathias Hounyo
Marina Massougbodji
Alphonse Sogadji
Clotilde Afouda

Party for Democracy and Progress/Socialist Party, PDP/PS
Suzanne Coulbali

Social Democratic Front, SDF
John Fru Ndi
Augustin Mbami

Ivorian Popular Front, FPI
Pascal Affi N’Guessan
Sangaré Abu Drahamane
Christian Noé
Jeremie Eluh

Social Democratic Party
Steen Christensen

Convergence for Social Democracy, CPDS
Plácido Mico Abogo
Jesús Elá Abeme

Socialist Party, PS
Guy Labertit

Guinean People’s Assembly, RPG
Nanténin Cherif-Haidara

Democrats of the Left, DS
Nicola Manca

Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP
Hamid Ben El Cadi

Party for Democracy and Socialism of Niger, PNDS
Alkache Alhada

Socialist Party, PS
Ana Gomes

Democratic Convention of African Peoples, CDPA
Lucas Afantchawo
Ambroise Koglo

Constitutional Democratic Assembly, RCD
Sadok Fayala

Socialist International Women, SIW
Chantal Kambiwa

Parliamentary Group of the PES
Karin Junker

SI Secretariat
Gabriela Shepherd
Sophie Thérouanne


National Democratic Congress, NDC
Baba Jamal
Kofi Attor

Assembly for Mali, RPM
Abdramane Sylla

Congress of Democrats, CoD
Linus Chata

Kaire M. Mbuende

Democratic Unionist Party of Sudan, DUP
Siddige Ibrahim El Hindi

Other activities

If you are looking for an earlier meeting, please consult the LIBRARY section.