|The Courier N° 143 - Jan - Feb 1994 Dossier: Fighting Poverty - Country Report : Niger (EC Courier, 1994, 96 p.)|
Best wishes for 1994
What sort of a year was 1993? Overall, it is difficult to say. A number of ACP countries - notably Angola, Liberia, Rwanda, Congo, Zaire and Haiti - continued to face very serious problems. In others, such as Burundi and Nigeria, the situation deteriorated. But in Madagascar, Niger, Malawi and elsewhere, there was good progress on the democratic front.
The Courier's eleven Country Reports in 1993 highlighted examples of nations that are striving for change, working to promote democracy and introducing reforms aimed at getting their economies back on track. So there are grounds for hope.
Elsewhere in the world, the problems of Bosnia and Algeria - to mention just two - can hardly be ignored. Yet Mandela and De Klerk, Rabin and Arafat, Israel and the Vatican all managed to find common ground. Reconciliation is in the air in Cambodia and a glimmer of light dawned in Northem Ireland. Looking at inequalities in the economic and social sphere, the gap between different parts of the world and within countries continued to grow. Social and political conflicts created whole new groups of 'outcasts' and swelled the ranks of the refugees, with the mass movement of displaced peoples across frontiers. Unemployment rose in both developing and industrialised countries, as well in those stat. whose economies are in transition. Faced with this reality, decision-makers and those who work in the field grappled with the problem of devising a new approach to development the Courier did its best to keep readers abreast of the new thinking in its three dossiers on development and cooperation, factors in development and development policies.
In the field of ACP-EC cooperation, the two big events were the preparation of the LomV midterm review and the birth of the European Union, the latter event resulting, of course, in a change of title for our magazine which will henceforth be called the 'ACP-KU Courier'. This change coincides with our 30th anniversary, for it was in 1963 (under Yaound) that the Courier first appeared. Initially, it was called 'The Courier of the Association' and ran to a mere eight pages. The aim was to provide an information link for people receiving grants from the Community and those attending the training courses and conferences which it sponsored. The early Courier pioneers - de la Parra, Soff, de Briey and Bolomey - were soon to show their mettle. From a publication which only appeared at irregular intervals with print-nun of some 2000 to 3000, by the end of the first decade, the magazine had evolved into a fully-fledged journal. In 1973, it took a big step forward when Alain Lacroix took over the editor. ship and inspired the team to broaden both the content and the sources of information, particularly on the ACP side. In the post-Lacroix era, Fernand Thurmes and Marie-Hne Birindelli each made a distinctive contribution to the magazine's development and today, The Courier has arrived at a readership of almost 300 000 in more than 140 countries.
With the change of title goes a change of look; a move to a dearer typeface and more up-to-date style of presentation, which we hope will make the journal easier to read.
There are one or two changes to the content too. The 'Meeting Point' is still with us of course, but the focus in the future will not just be on leaders and experts. From time to time, we will also be asking people with appropriate first-hand experience for their views. The former 'ACP' and 'ACP-EC' sections have been combined and the 'Europe' section will be expanded to give better coverage to events in the new European Union. And recognising the diversity of our readership, 'Culture and the Arts' is broadened and renamed 'Culture and Society'.
These are more changes of style than substance, however. The Courier's bask task, which is to provide news and information about 'developments in development' has not changed and we shall continue to carry out this role, discussing general and subject-oriented development issues in the light of current events.
In 1994, along with the Commission and the Member States, we shall be focusing on the priority development cooperation questions-tackling poverty, demographic issues, the private sector, public health, education and training. There will also be a major dossier on the European Union after Maastricht. Although we are an institutional publication, we shall continue to strive for greater credibility, obtaining our information from a wide variety of sources and leaving our readers to judge for themselves.
Dominique DAVID, Editor