WDM in East Africa: reports from the World Social Forum and Tanzania

Thursday, 25 January 2007

WSF Reflections: A Tanzanian view

The World Social Forum that started last Saturday, January 20th 2007 in Nairobi Kenya was a long awaited event in the history of Activism and the Civil Society Organizations at large. Though it has not been the first of its kind, it attracted the attention of many, around the world.

Most of those who were waiting eagerly for it wanted see if such a big event could be hosted successfully in Africa, and in particular East Africa!
Despite some deficiencies in the logistical arrangement, the Forum has been a big success in its content.

Having more than 70 topics being discussed, proposals being made and Networks being formed and launched, the event inexplicably marked a start of a new step in activism against all forms of injustices in the world today.

From the Tanzanian side, one of the remarkable milestones for the Civil Society activists and the general public in Tanzania is the Formation and Launching of the African Water Network (AWN). Formed by more than forty founder Organizations and Networks from across Africa, including Tanzania, the Network made clear its main objective from the beginning – and a principle for all who would like to join – that it exists to Fight Water Privatization in ALL its forms. Tanzania, being one of the Victim countries of the IFIs’ conditionality to privatize the water services provision has also a special interest in pushing for this principle.

Apart from the water issues, the event also featured critical discussions on the Rights of the Minorities, African Struggles against poverty and International Trade – with much focus on the WTO, WB, IMF and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). On these issues, the participants – the people – made it clear also in their discussions and proposals for actions that they are totally against the efforts being made by the Northern Countries through these institutions and initiatives as they are intended to increase their chances of exploiting the already impoverished countries of the South.

In brief, the World Social Forum has shown really what the people – who are otherwise not given a chance to speak at the International Forums and Events – have in their hearts towards the status of the World. All that transpired at the forum from the beginning to the end has been in a very direct and clear manner an explicit expression of the people’s desire to see the dream of an alternative World coming to reality.

Written by: Mussa S. BILLEGEYA,
Coordinator of the Water Campaign (Tanzania) and Member of the Steering Committee of the Africa Water Network (AWN) P.O Box 31147, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255 22 277 4581
Mob: +255 755 069 877

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