The current course of the talks on economic partnership agreements (EPAs) is particularly destructive for low income African countries and may contract democratic space in such countries even further.
Respected Ugandan political economist Yash Tandon has added his voice to the call for a moratorium on the negotiations between African countries and the European Union (EU) on the trade deals known as economic partnership agreements (EPAs).
(IPS/South Centre) The last G8 summit (Hokkaido, Japan,July 7-9) sat in judgment over the democratic credentials of the government of Zimbabwe, but it had itself no legitimacy. The G8 had no choice but to bring the matter to the Security Council of the UN. And there the West lost: China and Russia vetoed, writes Yash Tandon, Executive Director of the South Centre, Geneva. The G8 is no longer even the seat of the powerful. It is a club of the six richest Western countries -France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, United States and Canada, plus one rich Asian country (Japan), plus nearly rich Russia, a former Communist country that was admitted in 1998, but still sits, uncomfortably, in the margins of G7. As it turned out, the so-called G5 developing nations (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) that were invited to Hokkaido as observers, declared that they had no particular appetite for a pre-cooked dinner in which they had no hand in preparing. They constituted themselves into the coalition of the unwilling, and issued their own Political Declaration. On the matter of climate change, for example, they placed targets for the developed countries, calling for quantified emission targets for these countries under the Kyoto Protocol after 2012, \"of at least 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 2050, by between 80 and 95 per cent below those levels, with comparability of efforts among them\". What is needed is a radical reform of the Security Council of the UN, not a patch-up job of the G8 that should, by now, dissolve itself. It does not constitute the international community that it thinks it does.
(IPS/South Centre) There is much to celebrate in the growth and development of the South in recent years, from the ability of certain Latin American countries to avoid dependence on the North to the growth of the economies of certain Asian countries whose increasing sovereign wealth is now being tapped to bail out distressed banks in the North. While there are signs of growth in Africa too, the continent is worse off than the rest of the South, writes Yash Tandon, Executive Director of the South Centre. In this article, Tandon writes that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are not being met, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where at the current rate universal access to a minimum set of social services will only be achieved in 2108, almost a hundred years later than the target date of 2015 set by the MDGs. The risks of not acting are grim. We may witness increasing misallocation of global resources, a growing financialisation of the economy and greater risk of systemic collapse, an increase in what is most accurately described as a recolonisation of Africa by welfare and aid agencies, and increasing migration from the South to the North, and within the South from the poor to the rich countries, as a response to economic distress arising from marginalization and climate change.