ATN Members Meet to Brainstorm on How to Re-Build African Civil Society Advocacy on Trade and Development Issues
Members of the Africa Trade Network (ATN) and allies working on trade and development related issues in Africa converged to brainstorm on how to rebuild the coherent voice and effective presence of African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). This brainstorming meeting which was organized jointly by Third World Network – Africa and SEATINI Uganda took place from 6th up to 8th September 2022.
While giving his remarks, the Head of Programs at Third World Network – Africa, Mr Tetteh Hormeku, emphasized the need to identify strategic starting points and clarifying on the agenda of work.
‘‘The once coherent voice and presence of African CSOs at critical trade policy sites has waned. There is need to regroup and re-ignite efforts towards reclaiming CSO position in trade advocacy,’’ Tetteh Hormeku said.
Ms Jane Nalunga, the Executive Director at SEATINI Uganda stressed the need for Africa to locate itself in the shifting global dynamics. She added that global shifts limit or impose on us policy choices.
‘‘It is important that our voice as Africa is heard loud and clear. Let us fight for our continent and future,’’ she added.
The Coordinator of SEATINI, Southern Africa, Mr Rangarirai Machemedze observed that Africa is not fully in control of the agenda for development. He further emphasized that those in control of the agenda are the multilateral financial institutions and other lenders.
‘‘We need to break free from the dictates from the West. African countries should invest in key institutions and sectors that are capable of addressing the challenges we are facing,’’ Rangarirai said.
Ms Chenai Mukumba, the Policy Research and Advocacy Manager at the Tax Justice Network Africa stressed that Domestic Resource Mobilization is the most sustainable way to finance our development.
‘‘It is important for us to have a conversation about alternatives to the current ways of working because something that is very clear is that, the statusquo is not working. One of the things that COVID-19 brought to the fore is that African countries do not have the capacity to support the most marginalized and vulnerable within our societies,’’ Mukumba said.
Participants recognized the fact that there are new and emerging issues in trade and development and thus the need to collectively define the agenda of work on the same. ATN members also recognized the need to have a conversation in the context of the broader issues on trade and development in Africa.
At the end of the three-day brainstorming meeting, ATN members resolved that there is need to promote Africa’s structural transformation and building inclusive and people-centered productive capacities in Africa.