From the 20th to 25th January 2006, more than 100 000 participants drawn from diverse regions, professions and cultural backgrounds around the world will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, for The 7th World Social Forum.
The forum, an initiative of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, was mooted way back in February 2000, when French and Brazilian opponents of free-market policies of the neo-liberal globalization met in Paris to re-ignite the momentum of the great 1999 Seattle protest against the World Trade Organization.
For Africa, this will be a good opportunity to solve both trade and other development disputes within and without the continent. The forum also presents a chance for Africa to negotiate with other nations of the world, not with a begging bowl, but as an equal trade partner with products to offer.
Questions still linger in Africa on how the very able continent has failed to develop home grown solutions to issues despite all the assistance it gets from the so-called development partners. To questions such as: How did Europe eradicate Malaria? How did America do it? How are other countries able to produce surplus food and provide quality education to their citizens?, The forum provides an opportunity for the continent to imbibe and Africanize the solutions, without re-inventing the wheel.
Africa should guard against falling prey to manipulated lobbying ochestrated by eco-iperialists operating from a position of plenty, as was the case in the 2001 WSF forum, where activists invaded and destroyed plantations of experimental transgenics of the Monsanto Enterprise.
Of course, Africa should settle for the long-term and strategically position herself to strike business deals.This will be achieved, argue the authors in this issue, if the continent's mindset towards wealth creation changes.
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