The Dakar Declaration

for the total unconditional cancellation
of African and Third World debt

adopted in Dakar Senegal on December 14, 2000

50 Years Is Enough newsletter, April 2001


We, participants at the Dakar 2000 meeting for the Cancellation of Third World Debt, representing African people's civil societies, supported by civil societies from Latin America, Asia, Europe and North America, from the analysis of the debt issue, of structural adjustment plans (SAPs) and development realize that:


I . Third World debt to the North is at once fraudulent, odious, illegal, immoral, illegitimate, obscene and genocidal

2. Countries of the North owe Third World countries, particularly Africa, a manifold debt: blood debt with slavery; economic debt with colonization, and the looting of human and mineral resources and unequal exchange; ecological debt with the destruction and the looting of its natural resources; social debt (unemployment; mass poverty) and cultural debt (debasing of African civilizations to justify colonization)

3. The debt structure and its computation are beyond the debtors' control. In effect, since 1988, the increase in the sub-Saharan African debt is due for 65% to arrears on amortization and capitalized interests. This shows that the debt burden has become more and more unbearable for the populations

4. Debt and structural adjustment plans (SAPs) constitute the principal causes for the degradation of health, education, nutrition, food security, the environment and socio-cultural values of the African and Third World populations

5. Debt and SAPs are the cause for the aggravation of unemployment, the destruction of families leading to the rise of delinquency and prostitution, the worsening of women's socio-economic conditions and daily life, the ecological degradation of the continent and wars with their cohorts of refugees and displaced persons

6. The fall in the incomes and purchasing power of African workers and producers has necessarily negative repercussions on economic growth in Northern countries, and therefore on the rise in unemployment and exclusion

7. To the brain drain, one can add the emigration of Third World vital forces to the North, with all their mafia-like consequences: generating, laundering and circulating dirty money, illegal drug, human organ trafficking, prostitution, weakening of innovative and entrepreneurial capacities

8. Debt and SAPs weaken Third World countries by exposing them to unequal trade and to the ravages of deregulated financial markets.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the trade agreements imposed by the United States and the European union aim to further weaken Third World countries

9. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the governments of G7 countries refuse to cancel the debt because the latter is a mechanism allowing them to impose policies consistent with their interests and their control over the Third World

10. Debt is a neo-liberal mechanism aimed at promoting the interests of transnational corporations, and for this reason, there is collusion between the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization

11. Africa is not immune to economic disorders provoked by international financial speculations

12. Our struggle is similar to those of Seattle, Washington, Prague and Nice


Therefore, conscious of the necessity of a solidarity among progressive social forces from the Third World and the North: NGOs, Labor Unions, Peasant Organizations, Women's and Youth Organizations, Religious Organizations, Cultural Workers and Actors, Communications Professionals, we participants at Dakar 2000:

Declare that the right to development and the eradication of poverty is people's fundamental right.

Condemn the constitution and accumulation of Third World debt, by Northern countries, with the complicity of the former's rulers


And Demand:


from Northern creditors (financial institutions and states):

* The unconditional and immediate cancellation of Third World debt in its totality

* The end to the economic and financial exploitation of Africa and the Third World by the abolition of the Bretton Woods institutions which, contrary to their mission, have only succeeded in spreading poverty and increasing inequalities

* The restitution of the amounts that have been unduly received

* The compensation of the African and Third World people for the human, moral, physical, material and environmental losses they suffered due the debt burden, SAPs and the spoliation of their wealth ° The democratization of the functioning of the WTO

* The institution of a tax on capital movements to help citizens (Tobin tax) from African and Third World Countries' Heads of State: ° The outright repudiation of debt without warning and delay

* The establishment of a Repudiation Front to resist and fight back the pressures and sanctions which could result from this policy ° The rejection of SAPs

* The restoration in their place of genuine, equitable and sustainable development policies respectful of human rights, workers' rights, and based on popular participation. This means promoting the Lagos Plan, the African Alternative Framework to SAPs, the Abuja Treaty, the Arusha Charter as alternatives to SAPs

* To behave as genuine defenders of their people's interests and care about the future of current and next generations, particularly of women and children

* To establish a sincere dialogue with their civil societies

* To put an end to pseudo -ethnic and -civil wars and conflicts maintained with the debt at the expense of social spending and productive investments

* To promote the mobilization of endogenous financial resources through internal savings to finance development before resorting to external "aid"

* To display a greater cohesion in the negotiations with international financial institutions, regional organizations (for instance, the European Union) and the WTO.


from Third World Social Forces:

* To resist the pressures and hardship imposed on them by transnational corporations, in collusion with the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO

* To fight back the pressures and be in the forefront of the offensive for social struggles from which will emerge alternative strategies

* To impose on their governments the implementation of concrete and workable solutions to the debt problem and to the negative impact of SAPs

* To impose their participation in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of alternative policies and programs to SAPs

* To demand from their governments the institution of social dialogue and the right to control as a governance method

* To set up independent national commissions on ill-acquired wealth and create a synergy among them

* To organize into national, Pan-African and international coalitions with the people of the Third World and progressive forces from the North

* To build an African People's Consensus to face up to debt, to trade and financial policies that constitute the neo-liberal framework imposed by the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and the G7 countries

* To build that Consensus from the bottom up, based on the concerns of the people

* To educate the people on the causes of their poverty and support popular resistance movements

* To support the establishment of popular resistance movements within an endogenous development framework, suited for our countries, for our continent

* To organize them into a powerful regional network to strengthen the African People's Consensus

* To coordinate these activities at the continental level to ensure a stronger coherence

* To coordinate the progress of the African People's Consensus with the struggle of worldwide progressive forces


from African intellectuals, researchers and academics:

° To further commit themselves to the search for alternative solutions based on our socio-cultural values of solidarity and from our own resources

* To make their works more visible and accessible to social actors ° The African experts who worked for international institutions should make their experience and relationships available to the African civil society in order to strengthen its capacity

* To formulate and compel our States to implement our own paradigm based on people's interests and positive African values


from African labor unions:

* To unite into a continental and international coalition with workers from Asia, Latin America and Northern countries for the total and unconditional cancellation of African and Third World debt


from women's organizations, African youth, artists and sports people:

* To organize into national and Pan-African coalitions and join the other actors for the success of the struggles, the search for, and the implementation of, alternatives to SAPs and to the Washington Consensus


from NGOs supporting development:

* To contribute to the economic literacy of grassroots communities and promote the conception and dissemination of appropriate pedagogic tools ° To contribute to education for justice and to education for development according to the recommendations of the Dakar conference on education for all


request from Northern countries' progressive forces:

* To step up the pressure on international financial institutions and their States

* To intensify in their countries the campaigns for a popular movement in favor of the abolition of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO and the end to their interference in the internal affairs of Africa, Asia and Latin America

* To strengthen their solidarity with the progressive forces and the people of Africa and the Third World.

50 Years is Enough

Reforming the System

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