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Governance and the economy

Of all the results of the governance crisis in Africa, the economic crisis has certainly had the most devastating effect on populations. It is also the issue that inspires the most debate on and off the continent. Looking at the economy from the ‘governance viewpoint’ takes one beyond purely technical and economic considerations. Huge social deficits accentuated by policies implemented since independence, Africa’s increasingly precarious position on the world economic stage, deepening poverty for the great majority of populations, corruption that erodes the foundations of the rule of law…all these bring into serious doubt the current means of economic regulation. The food crisis of 2008 and the financial crisis of 2009 focus sharp attention on the need to overhaul the means of regulating the economy on the national and international levels. The construction of a new national and world architecture for economic governance should emerge from a new paradigm that places the values of solidarity, plurality, ethics and sustainability at the heart of economic processes.

The Alliance’s approach to this debate on rebuilding economic governance is to formulate three points that seem vital to Africa today, given its economic configuration (primarily focused on raw materials) and the dominant framework of government reforms (primarily focused on decentralisation policies and local development). These points can be expressed as questions:

  • 1) How can we make sure the means of exploiting and selling natural resources are sustainable and contribute significantly to the economic well-being of local populations?

  • 2) Which agricultural policies and means of organising agricultural markets contribute to true food independence in Africa?

  • 3) Under what conditions (institutional reforms, territorial development) could the decentralisation processes currently in progress encourage the creation of wealth at the local level and contribute to the harmonious and balanced development of African economies?

With regard to all these questions, the Alliance proposes to organise an open and forward-looking dialogue based on the individual experiences of different categories of actors: decision-makers in government and the private sector, partners in development, scientists, trade unions, and association members.