|The Courier N° 121 March-april 1990- Dossier Refugees - Country Reports: Botswana - Zambia (EC Courier, 1990, 104 p.)|
Africa-Caribbean-Pacific - European Community
Three months after the signing of LomV and with continued upheavals in Eastern Europe and encouraging developments in Southern Africa, the Joint Assembly and the ACP-EEC Council of Ministers met, within a week of each other, in the Pacific- firstly in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), then in Suva (Fiji).
Meeting point: Manuel Marin
Manuel Marin, Vice-President of the European Communities has been in charge of Development for sixteen months. He has already taken up strong positions on a number of issues: on structural adjustment (a horrible notion) and on the moderating role the Commission can play on the subject, on ACP debt and the relatively simple solution to the problem as far as debt to the Community is concerned, on the consequences of the Single Market of 1992 which may be a gamble but not an inevitable peril, on human rights and the need to tread warily on the subject, on programming which must be carried out fully.
BOTSWANA: Botswana used not to be considered as an outsider, even, in the race for development, yet today it is seen as one of the African countries which gives rise to real hope of progress. Its recipe for success, as its leaders explain and as can be observed, lies in the careful management of its natural and financial resources in the frame work of a long-term economic strategy.
ZAMBIA: Long bound up with the fortunes of copper. Zambia is now living the bitter experience of a single mineral-producing and highly centralised economy. Copper, the price of which is determined by exogenous factors, has proved to be a fickle friend. Nevertheless, economic development, through the countrys enormous agricultural potential, could still take off. Given new breath.
Exodus: the phenomenon is as old as the hills, and the solution as elusive as ever. Refugee numbers have doubled in the 1980s while funds for their care and resettlement have been halved. Our Dossier looks at an issue which the UN High Commissioner for Refugees believes could endanger future world security.
A non-interventionist concept of development
It is more than a year now since Courier readers were introduced to Manuel Marin, responsible for Development and Fisheries in the new Delors Commission who took up his post in January 1989. When he first visited ACP House, Mr Marin said he was fascinated by his new duties- something which seems to have lasted in spite of the very cliff cult year of his baptism of fire with the LomV negotiations-and interested in management and action. In this interview, the Commissioner discusses his positions and intentions with The Courier.
· Mr Vice-President, you have already had several opportunities to comment on the innovations of LomV. Are there one or two which you are particularly keen on and are maybe thinking of following up personally?
- At least two of the innovations are fundamental, I think, and one of them is the duration of the next Convention. In the world we live in- and I mean an international situation of the kind we are experiencing today and the very far-reaching changes occurring all over the planet- the fact of having a Convention like Lomlasting 10 years, gives a stability of the sort you dont find in any other institutionalized system of cooperation or international relations. Whatever happens and whatever doubts may crop up any day, with 1992 and the opening up in the East and so on, the European Community is going to guarantee its ACP partners at least 10 years stability with an agreement that must work. Another of the most important innovations of the fourth Lomonvention is the way the European Economic Community is going to intervene in the structural adjustment process currently going on in most of the ACP States. Those, I think, are the essential new points, one offering a guarantee of stability and the other giving the the Community the opportunity to step in, together with, but maybe in a different way from, the other international institutions working on structural adjustment.
Solutions for debt
· We will get the opportunity to talk about structural adjustment again later, but there is another area in which you have been very clear about wanting to commit yourself personally and that is debt. How, practically and precisely, do you see your personal involvement here?
- As you know, after the Brazzaville meeting, we tried to find a
Community answer to ACP debt. We embarked on a series of discussions in the
Council of Ministers to decide on the perennially difficult question of whether
this is something the Community is actually entitled to talk about. There was
absolutely no question of a peaceful debate on the subject during the
spite of the fact that the ACPs officially asked for one at the Ministers negotiating session here in Brussels in June. And there we drafted a declaration and a general article on debt, above all to give these countries the opportunity both for coordination in the international fore which discuss debt and for technical aid. That is the most we were able to obtain in the internal negotiations in the Community. My intention is to take the matter up in conjunction with the European Parliament. In April, as you know, Parliament will, if things proceed as normal, be giving its assent, its formal position on LomV, and I make no secret of the fact it will be going a lot further than the Council of Ministers and even the Commission in looking at the debt issue, because there is a consensus on this in the House, and all the political groups think something has to be done.
So why do I intend to open the discussion once more? Because I believe it is a fairly easy matter to organise a solution for ACP debt to the Community, first of all because it is a public debt, unlike other debt which is private. In our case, the Community debt depends on the EDF budget and could perfectly well be reintroduced into our system of structural adjustment without any particular problems for the Member States, because a large part of the debt which the ACPs now owe is usually paid back to the Member States which originally supplied the EDF funds. So we ought to start with a proper analysis of the characteristics of this debt, which is very small overall, and see how we can update it and get it back on our present programme circuit. And if we present all this to the Member States by the spring, it could well ultimately do something about the tension in the Council of Ministers. The official explanation of all this, you see, is that it is very dangerous for the Commission to run an operation of the sort I have just described, because no other multilateral cooperation organisation has done that sort of thing for debt before. But it doesnt carry any weight, because what I intend to do is no more than each Member State has done or could have done bilaterally. Are the Member States justified in preaching international financial orthodoxy to the Commission when they have all done far more for their former colonies or other countries with which they have special relations than we want to do?
· You said yourself that the Community debt was small and that it was a public debt. You want to go even further, in fact, dont you? As you said just now, what you want to do is to plead for the ACPs in international negotiations on debt and give them technical assistance. What sort?
- Thats a very important question for authorities like those in some of the ACP States- although of course some ACPs are better armed than other. It isnt so easy to come up with a proper technical position for whole negotiations on, say, the rescheduling of a debt or some particular problems to do with the international bodies. And there, I think, we can provide technical aid so these countries are in a better position to negotiate with the Bretton Woods institutions or the Club of Paris or any other international group. We at the Commission are willing to do this job and I think it is a field in which we really can help the ACPs.
1992 - risk but not an unavoidable danger
· Can we move on to a subject which you have dealt with in several of your speeches, trying to reassure the ACPs about the effect of the Single Market. Can you give us details and say just what you think the problem is and whether the ACPs really are wrong to be worried?
- No, I dont think they are wrong, strictly speaking. I think that the frontier-free internal market of 1992 could well carry a risk of marginalisation for the Third World and I am not the only one to say so. Its a fairly common feeling. But what I cannot accept- and I think people quite unjustifiably link different problems here- is the idea that a more united, politically stronger Europe which plays an international part with more united and more structured institutions will automatically forget its responsibilities towards the Third World. History suggests the opposite- when Europe has flourished, it has played its part and the consequences have been favourable for the Third World. In a situation of economic growth, everyone cannot reap the same benefits, of course, and the ACPs do have problems of structure and internal organisation which can well create difficulties for them. But the responsibility is shared. They too must make an effort to make the most of the advantages which the frontier-free internal market is going to bring about. So I shall make a clear distinction here between a thought for the future, that I dont think a united Europe will have negative consequences for the Third World, and, second, the fact that I am, however, willing to discuss the consequences of the internal market in economic terms.
· Mr Marin, what bothers your ACP contacts is that they have the impression that they will be over looked in the intense internal drive to prepare for the big market of 1992. Let me take one specific field, immigration. 1992 will mean a vast opening of the frontiers for the Europeans, for the Twelve, but what is going to happen to the ACPs and their immigrants?
- Thats one of the most delicate issues for the moment and one which I think it would be fair to discuss with the ACP countries themselves. But they are not things which are normally dealt with by the Council of Ministers. There are special groups for practical cases, the Schengen Group, for example, which discusses all the problems of European visas, residence permits and so on. There are two possibilities for 1992. Either we guarantee economic growth for the Third World too or the people from the Third World will come here and live with us. That is one of the unavoidable consequences, I believe. You arent going to have a world with a European Community with an average per capita income of $7000 or $8000 or $9000 and a Third World with an average of $600 or $800.
· Yes, but will Third World immigrants be able to come, particularly if the Europeans open their doors wider to the East Europeans?
- Theyll come anyway. If we dont guarantee stable economic growth for their countries and they see they are being marginalised by the internal market, then obviously they too are going to want to have the advantages of Europe and theyll come, theres no doubt about it. And if, as some say, we want a socially stable situation, well have to help them and find a different way of working with them, on the basis of other transfers, and that will maybe lead us to a promising dialogue with these countries on what, ultimately, our conception of the future should be. That has nothing to do with the ACPs. In southern Europe, for example, there will be 2 million fewer Portuguese, 4 million fewer Spaniards and almost 8 million fewer Italians by the year 2000, because the demographic chart is in free fall. But there will be 140 million people in the Maghreb and do you believe that they are going to sit quietly at home waiting while we develop and turn into an increasingly efficient, wealthy society?
· So you think that the present system of preparation for the internal market of 1992, with its reflection and discussion...
- ...is short of an external element, clearly. As I see it, its fundamental. What we cant do is dally with the contradiction of success becoming our own enemy. If we make a success of it and everyone wants to come here to the Community, our success must also be the source of new responsibilities, otherwise there will be obvious pressure on us. And it will be fair pressure too. Thats why I think these are the issues we really have to discuss with the ACP countries, and the Third World in general, in the coming years.
Apartheid and human rights
· There is one issue which you have just been involved in, South Africa- we have just heard about Mr Mandelas release- your mission there being your first after the signing of the Lomonvention. Does this mean that your top priority among the ACP partners is this region and that you think that this is where the most serious problems lie? And do you hope to monitor the situation in this region personally?
- I was enormously interested for two reasons. I wanted to see just how far the structural changes which had just occurred in the East had affected certain parts of Africa which had been war zones as the result of East-West antagonism. We have seen conventional warfare, in Angola and Mozambique in particular, reflecting what was internationally known as the Brezhnev doctrine. Its risky to stand up to the South Africans and the Great Powers have intervened when movements have occurred here and there. The peace pross in the region began a few months ago. We have seen historic changes in the East and I think we are beginning to see historic changes elsewhere too, in Africa, for what the apartheid rme has done is to take the first step towards its total abolition. I went out there, first of all, because I believe that, when it comes to human rights and historic problems, the end of apartheid is a central factor in the history of Africa and the Black Africans. That is not to say that they have absolute, or the only, priority as far as I am concerned. Its just a problem of our times. And if there is a multiracial South Africa, the effects it could have in a very important part of Africa, southern Africa, will clearly speed up the peace process in Angola and Mozambique.
· LomV has a long article on human rights, which is far more than the previous Convention had. Do you really think that the European Community can do anything here?
- I think it can, but I have a non-interventionist concept of development. When it comes to human rights, I believe we must be clear enough about what we mean to say: Watch it, thats not right , tactfully and carefully at a given moment, without being accused of interventionism or trying to meddle in peoples internal affairs. The fight for human rights- I dont mean political systems, because things sometimes get muddled here- is a universal fight and I would call for respect for human rights, for life and for freedom of expression, without any qualms whatsoever.
· Do you mean to say that the Community could only be what you call tactful and careful with a system where human rights were being flouted and go on giving economic and financial aid to the country in question? Or would we just give emergency aid and humanitarian assistance?
- No, we would carry on with our compromises- although thats not an expression Im very keen on. What I mean is that, where human rights are concerned, I think we can be demanding. The only thing is that, for reasons of tradition and culture and tribal organisation and even perception of reality, the expression of the spirit of participation of the citizens of Africa does not always entirely tally with our systems of formal democracy as we know it with the bicentary of the French Revolution. I got some interesting answers about the system of political parties and the unions and the problems of distribution of power and so on during my recent trip and I think our margin of assessment must be much broader. I shall not confuse the fight for human rights and such theoretical or practical discussions as we might have on the system of power or the institutions. What I mean is that Montesquieus concept does not necessarily have to be the be-all and end-all of our political stance on any given rme in Africa.
· But you will still try and apply pressure discreetly, wont you, if human rights are being flouted somewhere?
- I did so recently. If human rights are being flouted, there must be not qualms about saying so. That doesnt mean Im going to make an announcement to the sound of trumpets. If you want to be efficient, then I think is it better to go about it carefully and I said as much to the European Parliament.
· Arent you shocked by the Joint Assembly having ACP representatives who are not MPs?
- No, Im not, not at this stage in Africas institutional development. You cant lump countries which were only decolonised a short time ago together with those with well-oiled structures and hundreds of years of experience- and what experience! Because we are highly satisfied to be Europeans now, we should never forget that the shaping of Europe involved what were sometimes horrible wounds. I think we have to see all that in its historical perspective.
Now Ive just returned from Mozambique. I talked about institutional and political matters with President Chissano, who is going to call free elections next year, in 1991, and we spent some time quietly discussing whether a single party or a multi-party system could be applied in a country which you knew to contain something like 60 different cultural and tribal organizations. Age, the village elders, women and children all have a cultural part to play and it is not the same part they would have in Europe. So people will react maybe in the light of instruments and views of life which do not specifically tally with the way we see our democratic system- which is not to say that there will not, practically speaking, be a place for human rights, for respect for life and freedom, for the right to travel freely, to enter and leave a country and to have your own ideas and not be followed by the police, and so on... These are thing which can perfectly well be maintained. The only thing is that application and the definition of the institutions will be expressed differently.
Credit and structural problems
· Can we go back to LomV? About a year ago, you publicly announced that you had a target figure for the new Convention- and it hasnt, alas, been attained. Do you think this LomV financial deficit, as it were, is important or will we do much the same thing with less money?
- We wont do exactly the same thing. I asked for ECU 12.8 billion and we ultimately got ECU 12 billion. I wanted more, to compensate for the internal market and to prepare and prime the ACP structures, so that these countries could adapt better, given that some of them have economies with structural problems that are very difficult to handle. But the extra ECU 800 000 wasnt granted, alas- although you still have to bear in mind that the Member States financial effort is the biggest ever made in development cooperation so far. We are going to work with ECU 12 billion for the ACPs. You hear a lot about the East, but what actually is the budget for it this year? ECU 300 million. And what about the Commissions recent decision scheduled to go before the European Parliament? Its for ECU I billion by 1992. These are the figures. I dont want to enter into any comparisons of East versus South, because I think the Community has a universal responsibility. But for the time being, we have the biggest development cooperation budget there is.
To take your question, is this money enough to solve the Third Worlds problems? My answer is no, it isnt. But let me explain. Was Lomoney designed to solve all the Third Worlds problems? The answer, again, is no, it wasnt. Our aim, inevitably, has to be limited and we cannot claim to do it all. The Community is the most reliable associate the Third World countries have and they say as much, so they have confidence. They think other international donors and they say so in private- are more erratic but that, here, in fact, years of work have shown that there are reliable people who both give and deserve confidence. The Commission delegates in the field are usually reputable people who are recognised and appreciated because they do a good job. And sometimes, at the last minute, the eleventh hour, we have to play the part of the institution which makes a huge effort that other people either cant or wont make, or that, quite simply, we have to agree to it because we have a completely specific system of relations with the Third World, which means we are always in a very delicate position- that of the friend whose bell people ring when they have major problems.
· The Commission was that friend because it had a human face. It had it for years, but isnt it going to lose it now, with structural adjustment? At the beginning of this interview, you yourself said that structural adjustment was one of the things you found not only most innovatory, but most interesting and one to which you were going to commit yourself personally So, first of all, does the amount earmarked for structural adjustment in LomV, yet again smaller than the figure originally announced ECU 2 billion was mentioned, although we ended up with ECU 1500 000 - seem to you to be enough nonetheless?
Secondly, will this figure really mean the Commission can have the famous autonomy it claims to have vis-is the Bretton Woods institutions? And thirdly- this is an administrative question, but it has to be considered does the Commission have the human resources to get this part of the Convention going?
- Youve put your finger on it. I shall take your three questions one at a time. First of all, I think we can play a central part in the structural adjustment process in the future and that part is the one we want to play as a moderator in negotiations with the IMF and the IBRD whenever an ACP country wants this. LomV hasnt begun to be implemented, but there are ACP States already asking the Commission to do this- and it is something we want to do. Do we have the money to do it? Our strength isnt the Lomoney. Thats only relative. What counts is the institutional weight of the European Community. But it mustnt be seen as a fundamental source of antagonism with the Bretton Woods institutions. Coordination is called for, coordination on reasonable foundations.
A role as moderator
There is one thing you mustnt forget and that is that, if we can inspire confidence in the Member States of the Community, which are very well represented at Bretton Woods, we really can play the part of moderator for the ACPs - and they certainly need us to. When we signed the Convention, there were already 32 ACP countries undergoing structural adjustment, with significant problems, and these 32 countries are automatically entitled to the extra aid we shall be giving for the structural adjustment programmes. There are already a dozen other Lomountries negotiating directly or more or less agreeing to shadow programmes, so, within a year or two, you will be seeing how LomV has to handle these problems on a more or less generalised basis in practice- in spite of the unpleasant and ill-accepted idea of structural adjustment. Does this mean, as the European Parliament suggested only the other day, that we are going to follow the IMF slavishly and line ourselves up with it? Only time can tell what the effect of our intended part will be. I want to negotiate permanent systems of contact with the IMF and the World Bank, so we can do our best without renouncing what the Community believes to be just, fair and reasonable.
· Nonetheless, Mr Marin, you are going to come up against the problem of the Commissions shortage of specialised staff!
- We are going to get organised. We are going to organise economic analysis. I have had a data sheet drawn up analysing the 32 structural adjustment programmes run in those 32 Lomountries and, when I publish them, youll see that the cure is always the same monetary policy, balance sheet, civil service, liberalisation and privatization. If we reconvert and tackle the economic problems reasonably, confidence is called for. It can be done. If macroeconomics are called for, then we will have macro-economics. Its not as complicated as people say, although I believe the first steps will maybe cause problems. But they have to, as youve got to learn.
· Couldnt this conversion go a little bit further? Because one conclusion you might draw from the structural adjustment programmes is that its wonderful for the European producers but maybe not so wonderful for the ACP producers.
- Thats a question which some Ministers have already talked to me about. As you know, the other day, the Dutch Minister, Mr Pronk, told the SADCC Conference that he accepted that kind of cooperation provided it was all done on the basis of mixed firms, joint ventures in which ACP companies could have majority holdings in the cooperation operations. Thats a system which is worth looking at, I think, because your question is absolutely pertinent otherwise, and in fact what we are going to do is bring fresh money into our export circuit, thats all. Is that development? You may well ask. We are going to start by seeing whether we are capable of organising all that. The second stage is to see what the real repercussions are on the development of these countries. And there you have the absolutely fascinating business of developers ideas versus anti-developers ideas- but thats another story. Even if we do our utmost to rationalise these economies, unless we can find a development model, even just a primary industrial system, whereby the countries can flourish, obviously they will never lay the foundations of a feasible future. They have to be helped.
One has to think about fundamental issues
· In a completely different sphere, culture, one African Ambassador recently told a press conference that very few people- they could be counted on the fingers of one hand- in the Commission were interested in cultural affairs. Are you one of them and what do you intend to do in this field?
- The Commissions efforts are perhaps not fully appreciated. We must render unto Caesar what is Caesars and we must give credit to the Commission where its due, particularly since there are great opportunities to develop cultural cooperation and, say, get the various ACP art forms better known in Europe. I have just seen some splendid things in southern Africa, Makondorks of art in Mozambique and stone carvings in Zimbabwe. For the future, my intention is to think about the role of the ACP-EEC Cultural Foundation and how to get highly qualified people more involved in what we do for cultural affairs, along the lines of what happens at the Rockefeller Foundation in the USA and the European Cultural Foundation and so on. Why dont we get big European firms to sponsor tours of Africa by Claudio Abbado, the conductor, for example? I have already contacted one or two. And we must think about possible repercussions in the industrial sector... Theres another issue to take up there, you see.
· And youve just taken up another one, programming, saying that you wanted to speed up the Lomrogramming, havent you? Isnt that provocation, when LomII is far from having been spent or even committed in some countries and LomV is even more complex than LomII?
- True. Provocation is what Im after! But we cant spend two years negotiating the LomV indicative programmes and I intend to have it done by November. The responsibility for any delays in implementing LomII is shared and so I shall be strict with everyone in the future, with ACPs and Commission alike. My slogan is get the maximum with efficiency and skill. One has to go quicker, to think again about how the procedures can be shortened. The ACPs capacity for absorbing external financial cooperation varies widely, it is true. Its a very delicate matter. Things are going to be very difficult over the next few months, but it shouldnt stop us from thinking about the fundamental issues. Why did Mr Carrington say that the 80s were a lost decade? This is something we should think about and maybe discuss with leading figures from outside, as the same people cant do it all, not the everyday tasks and the future planning. But I find the present period fascinating, and while I am sure that the year 2000 will be the start of great things, the decade of hope is beginning now.
The creation of the Single Market in Europe in 1992 coincides with the 500th anniversary of another feat of European expansion- the discovery of the Americas by Columbus in 1492. The development of the Caribbean has been profoundly marked by its contact with Europe.
Among the more durable imports from Europe has been a tolerant and open political system, and an alert and self-conscious labour movement to protect and defend the rights of those who work for others, the working class. In October 1989, a conference was convened in Port of Spain, Trinidad, by the Confederation of Latin American Workers, the Caribbean Workers Council, The University of Latin American Workers, inviting experts and trade union leaders from the Dutch-, English-, French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean as well as representatives from the Community, CARICOM and numerous other regional and international organizations. The theme of the conference was Europe 1992 and c its impact on the working class of the Caribbean and Latin America. The article which follows is from the speech made by one of the delegates, Paul Nehru Tennassee, from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The European Single Act is ushering in a new era which will have all-encompassing implications for the Caribbean in general and the working class in particular.
This assumes critical dimensions in view of the fact that, today, the policy-makers of Europe belong to a new generation who have no allegiance to and whose conscience is not bothered by the psycho-sociological traumas of Europes past. Similarly, they consider irrelevant the arguments that the historical sins of slavery, semi-slavery, indentureship, or colonialism are factors which should influence Europes relations with the Third World. The notion of a unified world market encompassing all nations and based upon neo-liberal, economic philosophy is becoming widely accepted as the new gospel. This is the content of the pervading ideology at this present conjuncture in world history. Geo-economics is fast replacing geo-politics in the emerging new order.
Caribbean States in the medium and long term face five options. Either we withdraw and fall back on subsistence economies reminiscent of the pre-Columbian era; intensify emigration to North America; survive with the tenuous development of the informal economy; declare the Caribbean the tourist resort of the world and ensure that it becomes merely that; or plan, integrate, retool and assume full responsibility for Caribbean societies in the 21st century.
The Caribbean working class and Labour Movement which have played a progressive and constructive role in forging formal democracy and political independence must now emerge from its passivity in the light of the many changes which are occurring. Leadership at this point in time is crucial. We must go beyond the traditional rhetoric associated with the darker days of our history and the mimicry of imported slogans. The new challenges of today demand the redefinition of the nature and role of the Labour Movement and a genuine commitment to Caribbean integration.
European/Caribbean relations have been defined by Europeans. They have been the pacesetters. There were the exceptions at unique historical conjunctures like the period during the independence movements. Internal developments of Europe determined, by and large, the nature of Europes external relations. Thus European Caribbean relations have evolved in function of Europes reality, needs and interests and in the context of global developments. Europe views the Caribbean as part of the Third World and within the USAs natural sphere of influence. In spite of all these complexities, in the post-independence period European/Caribbean relations have been forged in a manner which have been beneficial at least for CARICOM countries.
The overall view of the Secretariat is that the Caribbean will have to identify opportunities in the larger EEC market, organise production and be capable of dealing with marketing arrangements.
The implications of the European 1992 Single Market for the working class has to be understood in the context of its impact on the Caribbean as a whole. In the short term, the chances are very good that the Caribbeans access to a protected market will be granted in LomV. However, it is quite clear that in the medium and long term, we will be on our own. This is an unenviable position given that, in the politics of spheres of influence, Europes interest is Africa. It seems that the neo-liberal economic philosophy will hold sway until at least the first quarter of the 21 st century. It simply means that during that period Caribbean economies will be at the mercy of the free market which is characterised by intense competition.
This new development is also influencing new changes. For example, there is a recognisable shift in the economic sectors in northern countries. The service sector is emerging as the dynamic source of new employment. This shift has increased the demand for the intellectual worker rather than the manual. Productivity, at the same time, is emphasised as the key to effective participation in the market. These new pressures on the working class and the Labour Movement, when compounded with the impact of IMF structural adjustment programmes, place labour between the devil and the deep blue sea. The challenge, therefore, is for Caribbean societies and the Labour Movement to re-organise the very basis of Caribbean nation-states.
Recommendations for Labour
In view of these changes, what are the alternatives available to the Labour Movement?
Trade Unions must re-assume an active and dynamic role in influencing national development. Unless they become part of a rational response to the changes occurring, trade unions will intuitively resist change and their activities will be reactionary and counterproductive. The classical trade union must embark on a programme for its self-transformation. The changing composition of the workforce demands that the farmers, young workers, retired workers, women workers, intellectual workers, unemployed and the forces in the informal economy be organised. This means a transformation from the trade union to the Workers Movement.
The Labour Movement has to go beyond collective agreements. It has to conceptualise an alternative economic strategy and struggle for it. As governments surrender to the IMF and as competition intensifies in the post- l 992 period, the pressures on labour will increase. In this regard, labour urgently needs to recognise that the state does not have a monopoly on wisdom and that state ownership cannot be supported blindly. At the same time, labour must not surrender to the market. While productivity is to be recognised as a key to any alternative development strategy, the incorrect definition which emanates from structural adjustment programmes must be resisted. In the latter context, productivity is being defined as longer hours of work for comparatively lesser returns. To counteract this view, the Labour Movement has to link productivity to human resource development which includes the constant acquisition of skills and revitalisation of the work ethic. Time management and the productive use of time as opposed to longer hours are also key elements. In direct contradiction to the popular view that productivity is related to longer hours, studies have shown that productivity increases where there are improved working and living conditions, job enrichment, and generally when workers are motivated and happy. In this context, human resource development activities are central to increased productivity.
Additionally, research has further revealed that workers who perform their functions under rigid conditions tend to suffer from psychosomatic and stress-related illnesses which have a direct impact on productivity. This is evidenced by absenteeism, high rates of turnover, poor industrial relations, occupational accidents, low work ethic, tardiness, and use of drugs. This issue of productivity is but one of the areas which require a renewed outlook by the Labour Movement.
The time has also come for us to take the initiative and take an active interest in key issues in every sphere. Labour has to recommit itself actively to integration. If, for example, there is disagreement over the model of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) union, then the Labour Movement must formulate its own model and campaign for its acceptance. It is now urgent for the Labour Movement to initiate a campaign for one coherent labour law. This will ensure that, for example, if a factory is closed in St Vincent over payment of the minimum wage it cannot be reopened in Dominica or St Kitts because there exists a state sponsored moratorium on trade union activities.
Finally, as part of its preoccupation, the Labour Movement also has to review its leadership and communication skills so as to ensure its relevance to the changing realities. We have to take advantage of new technologies, access information bases, and develop the sophistication to handle a new breed of bureaucrats, technocrats and entrepreneurs. Traditional styles may be useful but their limitations far outweigh their usefulness.
Recommendations for the Caribbean
The Labour Movement, employers federations, political parties, religious bodies and other organisations must pressure Caribbean Governments to transform CARICOM from merely a secretariat which prepares papers and organises conferences. It will be impossible for Barbados or St Vincent and/or any other single CARICOM member state to respond effectively to the implications of the Single European Market of 1992. There has to be a Caribbean response. CARICOM must therefore be given the power, authority and an enforcement mechanism to institute meaningful changes. Measures ought to be taken from now to cede to CARICOM the responsibility for foreign affairs, trade, aid, investment and development.
The expansion of CARICOM to become truly Caribbean will make a significant contribution in multiplying the economies of scale. In this regard, support should be given urgently and actively to Suriname, the Dominican Republic and Haiti to become full members of CARICOM.
One of the major industries which will come under increased pressure in the post- 1992 period is the oldest industry in the community. The sugar industry is destined to disappear in Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica and St Kitts unless a shared and common diversification programme is undertaken. Why cant we establish a Caribbean sugar industry? Sugar can be transformed into numerous products. Research and development resources, if pooled at the Caribbean level, can open new possibilities for the industry and the community. Extensive research has already been done in this area both regionally and internationally.
There is urgent need to formulate a Caribbean Economic Strategy as an alternative to the total dependence on tourism or the surrender to the IMF under the pretext that there is no alternative. The recent study which emanated from UWI entitled Caribbean Development to the Year 2000 should not be placed in the library to acquire dust. In putting it to use, we must strike a balance between macro- and micro-economic policies. While it is perhaps necessary to establish the groundwork to stimulate and attract foreign investment, it is equally important that we promote viable, grass-root economic enterprises. This can include a role for the Labour movement and other social partners. Governments cannot merely put things in place and fold their arms and wait on the investors to come. What will happen if they do not? Did the United States of America, Japan or Formosa put things in place, fold their arms and wait? While we are waiting, the rate of unemployment is moving beyond 30 % and the cost of servicing Caribbean debts is gobbling up our earnings.
I wish to propose here, too, that another key component for an alternative development strategy is the need to implement a coherent human resource development programme. As pointed out earlier, the competition in the world market is centered on productivity. This means that our Caribbean workers have to become highly skilled and must produce quality goods which can meet the stipulated tests and standards to gain entrance into markets like Europe. To achieve this, our educational system has to be transformed so as to become directly linked to the world of work. As a matter of fact, it might be more useful to speak of human resource development instead of education.
The Caribbean has always upheld the view that foreign companies should come and invest. What about us establishing a Caribbean Company to develop a new pole of economic development? For example, a Caribbean Company can invest in the Essequibo of Guyana and embark on the project of creating a Caribbean City. In colonial times, it was a few merchants in Amsterdam or London who pooled their capital in companies like the Dutch West India Company and established the economic basis of countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
To respond adequately to the European Single Market of 1992, the Caribbean will have to generate the political will to embark on new and bold initatives. Support should therefore be given for a Caribbean parliament but not one extracted from the national parliaments. It is important to imprint on the minds of the members who are elected to the Caribbean parliament that they are elected to think Caribbean.
A Caribbean parliament also requires the establishment of a single Caribbean Elections Commission to organise and supervise elections. There would be no need for 12 separate commissions. Those of us committed to reigniting the will and vocation for Caribbean integration must now campaign for one Caribbean Elections Commission to be put in place.
The Caribbean Labour Movement gave leadership in the past and concretely contributed to the achievement of formal democracy and political independence. Our traditional European connection after 500 years will now be radically redefined. We will have to swim or sink. The trade unions cannot, like ostriches, hide their head in the proverbial sand. The world is changing constantly. It is, therefore, necessary for us to take note and implement new strategies for the transformation of the Labour Movement and the Caribbean societies as a whole. If not, we will become obsolete like the medieval craftsmens and merchants guilds in Europe, when at the emergence of capitalism, they failed to transform and move forward. As for the Caribbean Community. the European Single Market of 1992 is an opportunity for us to finally stand on our own and construct the solid foundations of a Caribbean nation-state based on substance and not fiction.
Development is a long-distance race, President HouphouBoigny of CdIvoire used to say, and you dont see the results until it is over. And the development race certainly is not over, but after several decades, it is reasonable to say that Botswana is running well and that, if it keeps the pace up, it could be among the winners at the end of this decade.
This is the spontaneous impression given by Botswana and its leaders and, first and foremost, by the capital, Gaborone, only a short time ago little more than a sizeable provincial town lost in a vast territory. The one or two traffic lights, the one international hotel and the handful of properly-maintained administrative buildings were just some of the signs of the provincial nature of the town, but now, four years on, Gaborone not only plays its official part as capital and port of entry, but is an active centre of a fast-expanding national economy too. The signs of the boom are there for all to see. The British Airways DC 10 from London is full and only a few people now adhere to the tradition of getting off in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, leaving the rest of the passengers, Botswanans, businessmen and tourists from Europe and elsewhere, to go on to Gaborone.
But what stands out even more than this is the everyday life and activity of Gaborone, of Lobatse (south of the capital) and even of Maun in the heart of the Kalahari, showing just how much the economy has expanded in Botswana, the poorest country in the region when it became independent 24 years ago. In Gaborone, traffic signs have sprung up at every crossroads, there are 10 times as many cars, most of them Japanese, as there were not even five years ago and- something really new- there are traffic jams. The speed at which people now travel about the capital is a sign of the intense economic activity, evident in the extensive development of the industrial estates south of Gaborone. And the well-stocked shops, the splendidly laid-out business quarter with its pedestrian precincts and organised car-parks and the delight on every face leave no doubt as to the fact that shortages are no long part of Botswanas vocabulary.
Another tangible and universal sign of the nations sustained economic growth is the building sector- if the building trade is doing well then so is everything else, as they say, and the truth of it is borne out here in Gaborone where the real estate boom is attracting many a construction firm to the country. Fine pieces of architecture are turning the capital into a modern, peaceful town. There are administrative buildings (the new Office of the President, for example) and there are houses and hotels (one being built with EIB part-financing is scheduled to open in August for the 10th anniversary of SADCC) and the policy behind it all is such as to preclude the architectural anarchy and land speculation typical of times of economic ease.
The reasons for Botswanas economic success are simple- political democracy and financial orthodoxy on the part of the State (see interview with the Finance Minister). The multi-party system, the authorities maintain, is the only efficient way of organising State and society and having an administration and a Government devoid of corruption and able to ensure the proper functioning of a liberal economy like ours , they say in Gaborone. Political democracy and economic and social progress go hand in hand in the manifesto of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has been in power since independence and just won the 1989 elections too. We didnt come to power to fill our pockets up, said one of the oldest members of the Government who negotiated or signed several of the Lomonventions, including LomV. Our job is to run the affairs of the nation for the good of all. And in this Government philosophy which Sir Seretse Khama, the first President of independent Botswana, adopted in 1966, the management of natural and financial resources has been the cornerstone of the countrys economic policy- a particularly strong concern at the beginning when even the hope of any income was very slim.
The discovery of major mineral deposits, especially diamonds, after 1966 brought glittering prospects. Since then, economic development has meant careful management (in the words of Minister Mogae) of the considerable resources accruing from the diamond trade. The gradual and almost parsimonious use of revenue enabled the various teams in power over the past 24 years to run a sound budget policy, typically with a surplus and very small debts and debt servicing in relation to the States borrowing capacity. The effect on economic development was immediate. The 70s saw rapid growth, with GDP expanding at the rate of more than 10% p.a., and per capita GDP went from $110 in 1970 to more than $900 in 1981. But Botswana, unlike many other countries in the Third World, resisted the temptation to jump feet first into an all-out import policy. We didnt want to expand distribution without expanding production, one official told me. And financial stringency gave the whole of Botswanas economy a balance of payments surplus over a long period, mainly thanks to extra exports and a huge influx of private capital into the mines. This financial wellbeing helped the country to cushion the blows of the sudden collapse in the price of diamonds and other metals in 1981-82, the main result of which was a 2 1% cut in export revenue at a time when the boom of the previous years could do nothing to help reduce imports which were tied mainly to investments. The trade and services deficit increased considerably and there was an overall balance of payments deficit for the first time in 10 years. Reserves fell to less than four months imports at the end of 1981 where they had regularly covered more than five months of the States external spending before. The economic tension due to reduced mining revenue and the attendant drop in State income was very high and the Government coped with it, not by taking the easy way out and borrowing outside, but by trying to bring the various economic aggregates under control with monetary measures, especially higher interest rates, tighter consumer credit, wage freezes and a 10% devaluation of the Pula, the first since 1975, in mid-82. A large cut in the State budget went with this.
The results of such stringency were quick to appear and, combined with the opening of a new, and what is now the biggest diamond mine at Jwaneng, they made it possible to get the export trade off the ground again. By early 1982, less than two years after the big depression, Botswanas economy was back on the move. Payments were balanced by early 1983, the current account deficit came down from 22% to only 6% of GDP and there was an insignificant budget deficit of 4% of GDP.
The Government has been drawing the dividends of its careful economic and financial management for eight years now. Growth is continuous and most of the economic indicators are improving all the time. Monetary reserves reached P4291.8 million ($2.4 billion) in 1988 and per capita GDP practically doubled over the period, from $900 in 1980 to $1600 in 1989.
But the sustained boom has its limitations. First of all, the countrys main resources, diamonds, are irreplaceable and expected to run out soon although operators are optimistic about the prospection that is going on particularly in the Kalahari, while the authorities are much less convinced of the importance of diamonds to the economy (currently 80 % of national exports, as mentioned in a later article). Second, it is the towns, starting with Gaborone, which have reaped the main benefits of the strong economic growth ( 13 % p.a.) of the past 15 years and so many people from the rural world have moved there, attracted as they are throughout Africa by the idea that it is easy to find better-paid jobs in the public and private sectors. So, with about 160 000 people working in mining (5000-6000 jobs) and the other formal sectors, the question of unemployment is still a crucial one for the Government. Although Botswana is more aware than other African nations that a vast administration is inefficient and does nothing to help unemployment, it has not so far found a way to stop over-enthusiastic staff expansion in the public and semi-public sectors. Neither farming, into which the State is ploughing a lot of money, nor processing, which the Government sees as the most promising growth sector, seem on the face of it able to play the hoped-for front-line role in the national economy. Farming, of course, particularly the livestock sector (3 % of exports), could well be dynamic with a return to better climatic conditions and if substantial financial and technological resources continue to be ploughed into it. But industry will find it difficult to break through, because manufacturing is limited by the fact that there are few raw materials and the country is landlocked and by the economic power of Botswanas neighbour to the south with whose agricultural and industrial products it would be in unequal competition.
The absence of diversified sectors for productive investment is also the reason why the bulk of Botswanas enormous reserves has been placed on the international financial market as a hedge against inflation and a source of extra revenue. This does not deprive Botswanas financial system of all its qualities. These qualities, which are its strength, include the tax policy which has made it possible to keep inflation relatively low and stable (8.4 % in 1980 and 10.4 % in 1989).
One of the main challenges facing the Government in the coming years is how to give the country the infrastructure and services it needs to develop the labour-intensive productive sectors and to create lasting jobs for a working population which is expanding at the rate of 3% or 4% p.a. and seems very vulnerable to the changing economic and political situation in South Africa. It also has to do something about the shortage of qualified labour, which considerably confines the capital absorption capacities and reduces and even stems investment- serious constraints as far as the growth of the productive sectors is concerned. More than P200 million is scheduled to go into the development of communications in 1990.
The Government of President Quett Ma sire is aware of all these difficulties, most of which are the result of the positive trends in the economy, and it has major assets of three kinds to cope with them.
First of all, there is the gradual training of the national labour force, with the accent on quality rather than quantity and on good relations between employers and employees. So, although there are plenty of advantages for the expatriates, they are not the privileged people keen on their prerogatives found in some other countries and relations between expatriates and nationals tend to be friendly, with very little tension.
Second, the Government has introduced a policy of financial assistance for medium-sized businesses. This, brought in back in 1982 when the cracks were appearing in the economic boom, is aimed at helping medium-sized firms which can create jobs and lay the foundations for a diversified economy and lasting expansion in Botswana.
Last but not least, the authorities say, is the very nature of the political and economic system. Democracy, they repeat endlessly in Gaborone, means that the excesses of uncontrolled power can be contained and restricted as far as possible, thereby ensuring that everyone gets the best conditions of operation of the liberal economy. The Government of Botswana indeed feels that only a liberal economy without too much social distortion can lead to the development and overall progress of society. And, going beyond this domestic political and economic choice, Botswana is an example of what a low-resource country can achieve by going for sound management of whatever revenue it has. Foreign observers think that this country could well help moderate and stabilise the young democracy of independent Namibia too, and play a key part in the relatively near future in the political and economic changes that are bound to occur in the region when apartheid disappears from South Africa.
The Head of State, Quett Masire, received The Courier at the Office of the President, a sober and beautiful two-storey building where he occupies the first floor. He replied to, and expanded upon, some of The Couriers questions. The first concerned his explanation of the economic success of Botswana, which was considered one of the poorest and least promising economies at the time of its independence in 1966 and is today a country in blooming economic health. Since independence, the President said, growth in GDP and per capita incomes have been rapid. There is no single key to the success that Botswana has enjoyed. It results rather from a combination of policies and the mining sector has played the role of catalyst in the rapid growth of Botswanas economy. The strategy, the President explained, had been to obtain large returns from the mining industry and to re-invest those returns to improve the living standards of those who do not benefit directly from mining sector activities.
Other sectors, including construction, trade, manufacturing and transport have also shown remarkable growth. This growth reflects Government policies in each sector and the Governments commitment to maintaining a healthy investment by sound and prudent economic management.
A major achievement has been the maintenance of a high level of economic development not only measured by economic growth, but by provision of essential services and infrastructure in rural areas. This has occurred despite difficult conditions in the world economy and in neighbouring countries. We have been able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and maintain a stable economic environment and strong balance of payments position. This has facilitated the expansion of investment and economic activity, despite the periodic severe drought conditions. said President Masire.
But a diamond-based economy is not forever . Instead, President Masire considers that the post-diamond phase of Botswanas economic development will depend to a large extent on the success of the strategy of obtaining a high rate of return from mining.
The prospects for the immediate future, in terms of aggregate economic growth are somewhat different from the previous experience. We do not expect any major mining project that generates significant Government revenues. As such, mineral sector growth is expected to be very modest. But as the mineral sector contributes a significant proportion of total gross domestic product, the average growth rate is expected to decline from the high levels experienced in the past. We still however expect an increasing real GDP per head because other sectors, like manufacturing and agriculture, are expected to continue to show significant real growth.
Our economic policies need to be carefully devised, managing financial resources is prior to economic and social progress felt President Masire. Therefore the economic problems likely to face Botswana over the medium term are generally determined by factors beyond our control. The reliance of the economy on the mineral sector renders it very vulnerable to external market forces. In addition, our economy is subject to recurring droughts and critical water shortages.
Our geographic position is such that we have to use transportation routes and systems in neighbouring countries to reach sea ports, and instability in these countries has serious and unpredictable repercussions on our economy. Our economic policies need to be carefully devised to take as much account of these factors as is possible he added.
In the very favourable economic situation of Botswana, it is also evident that, from now on, the countrys major development problem will be diversification. The government intends to tackle this, and above all, convince foreign investors to put their money into Botswanas economy. And this is how President Quett Masire sees it. My Government , he said, has always been aware of the economic shortcomings of an economy, like ours, that is dependent on one or two export commodities. In this regard, our deliberate strategy of re-investing mineral revenues in other sectors of the economy like manufacturing and agriculture and putting in place conducive policies and incentive packages to encourage domestic entrepreneurship and to attract foreign investment is an effort to reduce this dependency, thus diversifying our economic base. A lot of effort is required to attract foreign investment and many factors, both economic and political, and especially in developing countries, play an important role in attracting foreign investment. The investors are not only interested in the economic viability of the ventures into which they want to put their money. But they also pay more attention to political stability in the country, foreign exchange regulations, the size of the market, etc. Although Botswana is lacking in some of these factors, we still consider it an attractive country for foreign investors. In addition to the various incentives under the Financial Assistance Policy which include cash grants, five-year step-down tax holidays and cost deduction for manpower training and liberal foreign exchange regulations, Botswana offers investors political stability. To this end, foreign investors are not only guaranteed repatriation of the capital they brought into the country and the return made on such investment but they are also assured of a calm political atmosphere for as long as they remain in Botswana. As indicated earlier, my Government does not see foreign investment as a substitute for local efforts in our development, but as supplementary to local initiative.
Regional integration: a long-term objective
SADCC is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It has been an excellent start to the creation of a large regional market in southern Africa; but would not the differing economic and monetary systems of its member states constitute a serious obstacle to the rapid achievement of its major objectives? Not really, said President Masire who felt that although the economic systems of the SADCC countries may differ to some extent, the economies of the nine countries have a lot of similarities which facilitates cooperation. Like most developing countries, they are mainly exporters of unprocessed raw materials and importers of manufactured goods. They also have a number of resources in high demand such as oil, precious and base metals, and so on, but none of the nine economies has a large enough market, a sufficiently diversified economy or commands adequate resources to underpin the development of a modern industrial economy. That is why one of the development objectives of SADCC is to forge links in order to create a genuine and equitable regional integration programme. We therefore believe that the differences in our economic systems, where they exist, are not a major hindrance to the achievement of the SADCC objectives.
In terms of the differing monetary systems we are convinced that although harmonisation is essential it can only be pursued as a long-term objective. Once the countries of the region have increased trade amongst themselves and have been integrated in other sectors, it will become necessary to harmonise monetary systems. This, however, takes time, as experience in other regional groupings shows.
But there could still exist a problem of survival for SADCC if South Africa gets rid of apartheid, since the only reason for not trading and cooperating with South africa would then be removed... One should be aware, said the President, that our economies in the whole region were geared to go through South Africa. Therefore we have to diversify our roads to the outside world even if South Africa was the friendliest of countries. Whatever were to happen we should have alternative roads to South Africa.
Moreover the SADCC Member States would be able to trade among themselves. And to do so there must be communications to facilitate the process of carrying out business. To that extent we are developing alternative roads. We wont do it overnight; it will take time to achieve.
Yet when South Africa becomes democratised and becomes one of us in the region, we hope to receive her into SADCC so that rationalisation of industries and other things that greater economies like those of Europe have found necessary to come together will mean we should come together and look at the pattern of a regional economic entity rather than a group of states inimical to one other state in the region. These are non-tariff and administrative barriers to economic relations. But financial and monetary constraints can constitute a major obstacle. I would think speeding monetary integration within the SADCC region would help promote trade and economic cooperation among the Member States.
I also think that speeding up monetary integration within the SADCC region is an inevitable outcome of meaningful trade relations, said President Masire.- Even the EEC is getting to grips with this problem and to quote a French saying, a fools experience is a wise mans lesson we shall learn how the Europeans have gone about it and probably ours will be an easier task, he again felt.
The situation in South Africa: Sweet-sounding words
Botswana is more geographically exposed than a number of Frontline States but it has never failed in its support for the struggle against apartheid. And indeed it has suffered for having adopted such a firm position vis-is the South African government. Now that President de Klerk seems to be exciting less hostility than any of his predecessors, President Masire pays great attention to the situation in his southern neighbouring country and remains reasonably optimistic as to Mr de Klerks policy. Quett Masire feels in spite of our vulnerable position, we have never hesitated to say that apartheid must go and that it should be replaced by a democratic South Africa. We oppose apartheid because it is immoral and unjust, and is the root cause of problems in our region. Until it is completely dismantled, we can never have peace in this region.
The route to acceptance
The new South African President says that he wants to create a new South Africa through negotiation. He talks of a five-year programme to create a democratic South Africa. These are sweet-sounding words which we hope can be translated into action. We can only urge Mr de Klerk to move resolutely and dismantle apartheid. This is the only route to South Africas acceptance by Africa and the international community.
As far as the new Lomonvention is concerned, President Masire recalled the particular significance to Botswana of the beef arrangement. He said he hoped Bostwanas, as well as ACP quotas as a whole, will be increased and also the levy abolished.
Interview by L.P.
Dr Chiepe is one of the senior ministers of the Botswana Cabinet. As Minister of External Affairs she has taken part in, or led, major discussions in international fore in which her countrys, as well as Africas, interests were concerned. In that respect she has followed the LomV negotiations. Coming back to the difficulties faced by the ACPs and the EEC this time to reach an agreement, Dr Chiepe felt that negotiation is a matter of give and take, not just take. One cannot expect one party to just give, give or the other to take, take, take she added. This offers some guidelines for the future.
Now that the new Convention is signed and is about to come into force in a few months, how does Botswanas Foreign Minister see ACP and EEC cooperation? And over and above that, Africa and the world situation? Here are her replies.
· Dr Chiepe, you have been responsible for Botswanas foreign affairs for several years. Would you explain the essential characteristics of Botswanas foreign policy in Africa and in the world?
- Our foreign policy depends on our domestic policy. Our domestic policy is that of peace and harmony and development, resolution of conflicts by peaceful means and noninterference in other countries affairs. Now we carry that into Africa and the rest of the world. To develop we have to be free and this is why we have been very active in assisting, or supporting, all those who needed freedom. Self-determination is very important.
· Namibia is about to become independent in the first half of 1990. How do you see the role of an independent Namibia in the region?
- It is going to be a very important role. If you look at the map of Africa, you will see that we have a very long border with Namibia. So it is very important to us as a neighbour, but it is also important to the whole region. In this troubled region, in which we have apartheid South Africa, we hope the example of Namibia is going to assist things in South Africa. There have just been elections in Namibia, free and fair; the results have been accepted by Namibians and the international community. Namibia has now embarked on working on the new constitution. It will not be a SWAPO Constitution. It will be a Namibian Constitution for all Namibians and we are very, very pleased about that and we hope that the example of Namibia as a multi-party, multi-racial state will be very good for South Africa. Now South Africans can have no excuse whatsoever.
· How do you see the present indications of change in South Africa? Do, in your opinion, the recent moves made by President de Klerk represent a sincere step towards a solution to apartheid?
- They point in the right direction, but it is too soon to pass judgement. They point in the right direction and we hope some of the useful noises that he has been making will be translated into real proper negotiations. He has released some long-term prisoners and he has allowed peaceful demonstrations. We hope this is just the beginning and hopefully he is going to negotiate with the majority people of South Africa and this will lead to peace and development and free elections.
· How confident are you about this?
- I am confident that the time has come for changes and I dont think that South Africa can continue adversely the way it is.
· The ACP Group has been working for about 15 years now. Do you think that the organisation, us it exists today, is suited to the kind cooperation the ACPs intend to continue to undertake with the Community?
- I think it is suitable. I think where we are in agreement we should go ahead, and where there is need for improvement, both sides should be prepared to see how they can cooperate to bring about improvement, particularly in implementation. Sometimes things are agreed, but the implementation is so slow that it militates against the very reason for having those provisions.
· Your partner, the EEC, is undergoing a reappraisal in its relations with Eastern Europe, which itself is in the throes of rapid and far-reaching change. Do not not feel that these developments risk directing attention away from Africas economic problems, or, in other words, is there not a risk that the Community might take its eye off the Lomall?
- Left to chance, that would be the situation. Of course we are very happy with what is happening in Ease, tern Europe and we hope that they will succeed in reorganising themselves, becoming democratic and so forth. Western Europe should be in a position to assist these countries, but it shouldnt be a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul. They should have Eastern European countries play their part. This should not minimise what we get out of our relationship with the EEC.
Perhaps now that, with the improvement in relations between the superpowers as far as the arms race is concerned, some of the resources which now go to arms and ammunition and all that could go towards development, and therefore Europe will be in a position to assist in the development of the ACP countries, as well as to assist the Eastern European countries.
· Do you think that Africa, itself; c an anticipate positively what is happening in Eastern Europe to prepare itself cooperate in other aspects than it has been doing so far?
- I think we shouldnt just sit back and hope everything
will be done by the EEC. We should be
prepared to play our part, even among ourselves, to strengthen South-South cooperation.
· More precisely, how do you appraise Botswana and EEC cooperation?
- We do have very good cooperation bilaterally, Botswana and the EEC, and we are very happy. I know that during the negotiations in Luxembourg, one of the things which really concerned Botswana has not been resolved and that is the beef quota. However the EEC has, as its reason for refusing to increase the ACP quota, our previous performance, but we feel it is wrong because we had a six-year drought and we cannot be blamed for that. We are doing everything possible to improve things and the EEC knows this. We hope, in the end, the ACP quota on beef will be increased.
My complaint about slowness of action is with regard to SYSMIN. It takes a long, long time. The EEC has said the funds were provided and the ACP countries have not used the funds. The ACP countries, including Botswana, feel that once the approval has been given, it takes even more time. We applied for SYSMIN funds for BCL in Selebi Phikwe, and after two years approval was given in July this year. We still havent had the agreement for financing to start. Now, this facility is like first aid, when somebody is knocked down by a car; you want quick action and if you start asking questions, asking the colour of the car that knocked the person down and the registration number of the car, the patient may die- and whilst there must be procedures, I think that these procedures must be implemented swiftly, especially where approval has been given, and I hope our application will soon have a result.
Interview by L.P.
Mr Festus Mogae is an Oxford-educated economist. He held important positions in national as well as international affairs (World Bank) before joining the Cabinet last October, heading one of the most delicate departments of Botswanas economic development policy: the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
· Minister, Botswanas per capita GNP is now $ 1600, which is the fourth highest in Africa, after Libya, Gabon and South Africa. To what do you attribute this achievement?
- Well, there are a number of factors. One is, of course, that we were lucky with the discovery of minerals, which we have managed, some say conservatively- we say prudently. We also have had relative peace. Certainly, within the country, we have had peace and therefore although we didnt have the technical know-how and we still experience skilled manpower shortages, we have nevertheless been able to promote investment in the mineral sector and have been able to attract private foreign investment in that field, as well as foreign experts to work in our country. We also must acknowledge, of course, that we have received relatively generous financial assistance and from the OECD countries, both bilaterally and multi-laterally through the Lomonvention arrangements, so I think these are all the factors that have assisted us in achieving what we have achieved so far.
· In his address at the Opening of Parliament on 6 November, the President stressed the Governments intention to manage the mineral boom that is presently, as you mentioned, a feature of the Botswana economy. What measures does the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning see as being necessary in this regard?
- The important thing, of course, is to realise that the mineral boom can go away as it came. The minerals are here, admittedly, but the markets are elsewhere. With developing countries we always have this problem that even when the resource is there the markets can disappear, though the problem of remunerative prices of commodities remains. That is one problem that Botswana faces. In the Ministry of Finance, our problem and responsibility is to try to point out to our population, our parliament and to our colleagues in the Government that of course, what you call a mineral boom, (we say disposable revenues at present) must be managed prudently and used for investment, rather than consumption so that when harder times come, we can have something to hold on to. Really, in the Ministry of Finance we see our problem as trying to convince the rest of the nation that this boom, which we are lucky to be experiencing at present, may be temporary, and therefore that the few resources we have now should be put into alternative investment in agriculture and industry.
Population growth and job creation
· The outstanding economic success of Botswana has not prevented unemployment from emerging as a severe problem. Great stress has been placed by the Government on the need for enhanced job creation in Botswana. Would you care to comment on the measures the administration is taking to overcome this problem?
- Yes, there you are, you have hit the nail on the head, this is one of the problems that we face, together with other developing countries. Of course, it is not easy to create many jobs and one of the problems we are facing is a very rapid growth of population. It is not often realised, but we here who are planners are acutely aware of that problem. Our population growth is estimated at between 3.3 and 3.5 % That is very, very fast. We of course now have primary health care throughout the country and our infant mortality has dropped substantially, as can be shown by the report prepared by UNICEF. We are building schools, both primary and secondary, and education is free. But even when we do provide the social services, we have a problem at the end of the line, and this is the school-leaver problem. We have to do our best and find jobs for these people, which is why we are looking towards private foreign investment. We have generous allowances, we have various programmes like FAP- FAP is an arrangement whereby if a private foreign investor comes here and creates jobs we will give him a grant for each job created. We are trying to liberalise our work permits and licensing arrangements precisely to try attract private foreign investors for purposes of job creation in industry where we do not have the technical know-how. Really our hope lies there, and of course we are doing something about it. We have the Botswana Development Corporation which goes into partnership with foreign and other investors who try to create jobs, which is why a number of enterprises here are partly-owned by the Botswana Development Corporation. It is not because we have either nationalised or bought the shares, it is just because the Corporation started those things with private foreign investors, and these are some of the measures we are taking.
· National Development Plan 6 foresees certain principles- rapid economic growth, social justice, economic independence, sustained development. Does National Development Plan 7, presently under preparation, foresee any changes in these orientations?
- No, those are our long-term objectives. They are in all our plans, all our plans aim at rapid economic growth, all our plans will continue to recognise that economic logic must be tempered by national justice, all our plans must recognise the problems I have outlined, of rapid population growth, of the need to create jobs for the many, because you cannot have social justice if there is a great deal of unemployment. No, these are our long term objectives and they are not easy, they cannot be attained in any one plan period, they basically remain. We may succeed to lesser or greater extent during a particular plan period, but they remain the long-term objectives. The need for rapid growth is precisely because of the fast population growth and social justice is required if our present relative peace and democracy, which we have succeeded in having so far, in the last 23 years, is to continue. There must be social justice, so income distribution is an important element there. The most feasible way of having equitable distribution of income is to have as many people as possible doing something for which they earn income themselves, and not expecting handouts from the Government, which the Government cannot afford anyway.
· What aspect of the LomV Convention coming into force in a few months do you see as particularly significant for Botswana or for Africa as a whole?
- We have followed some of the discussions, but again, like our
objectives, really the series of Lomonventions have similar importance for
us. We value the resources we are able to get under the various arrangements,
but since you asked which is the most significant thing, really its a
package deal we value all the components of. We value access to the markets of
the EEC, we value the financial assistance we get through the EDF and also the
European Investment Bank, we value the commodities stabilisation schemes, such
as STABEX and SYSMIN, but I suppose for Botswana what is particularly important
of course is the access to EEC markets. As you know up until recently, our
second most important export was beef. For the time being it has fallen to third
place, partly because of the drought where livestock was reduced by the
drought and secondly the increase in copper/nickel prices, two to three years ago, has meant that copper/nickel has become number two export in terms of value. But for a long time it was beef, therefore we value access for our beef to the EEC which arises from our association under the Lomonvention. SYSMIN is another case in point. I have said the present boom can go away as far as we are concerned, as rapidly and as suddenly as it came, and when that happens of course we would need to be assisted, otherwise we would have tremendous disruption of the few programmes we have. Whatever modest programmes we are undertaking would be seriously disrupted if there were not assistance to see us over the hard times because of the volatility of commodity prices, and therefore the commodity stabilisation schemes and access itself are all very important. But, as I say, it is a package. We also value the financial assistance, some of which we use for technical assistance to do various studies which are badly needed here.
Interview by L.P.
Diamonds still hold pride of place in Botswanas economy, as will be shown later. Ordinary people often associate diamonds only with two places: the mines where they are found and the jewellers windows where they are displayed to their best advantage. But the fact of the matter is that diamonds go through a number of stages between being dug from the earth and becoming a girls best friend.
Orapa House (the name is taken from one of the countrys three mines) is a large, modern ten-storey building entirely occupied by Botswanas diamond industry. One wing houses the administration, while the other, placed on a north-south axis to receive the maximum amount of natural light, houses the technical equipment for working the gems. Diamonds are classified from the three mines. Three floors are reserved for stones from Jwaneng; four floors for diamonds from Orapa and one floor for stones from Lethlakana mine.
The diamonds from each mine are stored apart from each other to facilitate the evaluation of production levels and qualities from each mine.
But while everybody knows that diamonds are forever and that they represent the pinnacle of beauty and high value, most people do not know how to select them, or what points to look for. Here are some pointers on how to evaluate them.
Quality. There are five natural types of diamond. After sorting, those with the highest polish profile are considered the best. Others, the broken ones or clivage are considered ordinary. The internal quality is then checked to ensure that it is clean or whether it has coal characteristics.
Colour. This is very important in determining a stones value. There are six colours: black, white, green, grey, pink and blue. Blue and pink are the rarest... and of course the most expensive. There are thousands of ways of judging dimensions, colours and quality in diamonds. The largest one on display in Orapa House is a black diamond weighing 255 carats (a carat is 0.2 grams) which comes from the Orapa Mine.
Diamonds in Botswanas economy
Botswanas three diamond mines produced in 1988 a total of 15.2 m carats of diamonds, making Botswana the worlds third largest producer (by volume) after Australia and Za. However, in terms of value, Botswana is now the Western worlds most important source of gem diamonds. The 1989 figures were expected to be similar to 1988 production.
Botswanas diamond production in the 1988/89 fiscal year brought in P1400 million by way of dividends, royalties and taxes, accounting for 60 % of all Government revenues. Diamond exports for 1988 were P1963 million, accounting for 73% of total exports in that year.
Skilful development and management of this great resource has provided an engine of growth for the economy... It has enabled Botswana to achieve and sustain over the past 20 years one of the worlds highest economic growth rates, reaching 12 % in 1986.
This remarkable feat for an arid and developing country was achieved despite a severe six-year drought and a locust plague which decimated crop production and led to a substantial reduction in beef exports- Botswanas second major source of foreign exchange after minerals.
With the slump in coal and oil prices which has weakened the immediate prospects for the development of the countrys substantial coal resources, and the large debt burden at the copper-nickel mine, the vital importance of the diamond industry to Botswanas economic survival cannot be overestimated.
Indeed, income from the sale of diamonds is the key reason why Botswana is almost unique among developing countries in having no debt problems. Instead it enjoyed a balance of payments surplus of US$ 380 million in 1988, and has been able to build up foreign exchange reserves of US$ 2217 million (equivalent to 28 months of import cover at December 31, 1988), which enable it to maintain a liberal foreign exchange regime and provide an attractive investment climate.
Revenues from the sale of diamonds have been carefully used to fund infrastructural development projects, agricultural programmes to assist the drought-stricken rural population, and investment in human resources. The Government has been able to finance business development schemes which are expected to create more jobs, and to sustain a programme of free education for most Botswana children.
In his 1987 budget speech, the then Vice-President and Minister of Finance and Development Planning said that Botswana had entered her 21st year of independence as one of the success stories among the developing countries. Between 1965 and 1984 the per capita growth in Botswana was one of the highest in the world at 8.4% per annum. One has only to tour the country and compare the provision of services, such as education, health and transport, to the situation that existed at the time of independence to see that the benefits have been shared among all Botswana. These successes in the provision of services and the growth of employment have been achieved despite periodic severe drought.
Botwanas three diamond mines are owned and run by Debswana, a company owned jointly by the Botswana Government and De Beers. It was incorporated in June 1989 to develop the Orapa deposit which had been discovered by De Beers geologists in 1967 after 12 years of prospecting. Orapa, initially designed to produce 2.5 million carats a year, went into production in 1971. Subsequent expansion has boosted output to 5.5 million carats a year. The second mine, Letlhakane, came into production in 1977 and now produces 750 000 carats annually. In 1973 geologists made their third and most important discovery, the Jwaneng kimberlite pipe. Production at Jwaneng, today the richest gem diamond mine anywhere in the world with an annual output of 8.9 million carats, began in 1982 when it was described by President Quett Masire as not just any new mine, but a gem in the world of gems which would place Botswana firmly in the first rank of diamond producers.
With annual diamond production rising in only 14 years from 2.3 million carats to 15.2 million carats, Botswana has become the most important gem diamond producing country in the world.
Recognition of its pre-eminence was provided in July 1987. In exchange for its diamond stockpile (accumulated between 1982 and 1985 when the international rough diamond industry was in acute recession) Debswana acquired a substantial amount of cash, 20 million shares in the De Beers Consolidated Mines (about 5 % of the company) and two seats on the boards of De Beers and its London-based international rough gem trading arm, the Diamond Trading Company.
This marked the first time any producer outside South Africa had been allowed to acquire a stake in De Beers and is solid testimony not only to Botswanas role in the world diamond industry, but to its determination to exploit that role to the full. The size of Debswanas holdings and its presence on the De Beers board ensure that it will henceforth play a part in framing international diamond marketing and development policies commensurate with its importance as a leading diamond producer.
The necessity to protect the source of its wealth from fluctuations in the international diamond market was also the key to Botswanas decision to sell its entire production through the Central Selling Organisation in London which markets some 80% of the worlds diamonds and maintains relative stability in both price and supply.
Botswanas diamonds are, however, first sorted and valued in Gaborone by a Debswana subsidiary, the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company, which currently employs 470 Batswana. These skilled sorters classify the diamonds into over 5000 different categories according to shape, size, colour and quality. Independent experts appointed by the Government check the sorting and valuation of the production before it is sold in Botswana and sent to the Central Selling Organisation in London.
Botswana has, however, taken additional steps to protect its diamond income from market fluctuations which, in recent years, have impoverished other developing countries with a similar dependence on a single commodity. Through its exclusive sales agreement, Botswana has ensured that, even in a severe market depression, it would be assured of a certain minimum level of sales through the operation of a quota system based on the level of Debswanas contribution to the world wide intake of the Central Selling Organisation. This system helps to ensure the stability of foreign exchange earnings and the security of employment in the mines.
The careful exploitation, development and marketing of Botswanas major resource has done more than ensure a sound economic future for the country: it has also helped to reduce its dependence on neighbouring South Africa enabling it, for example, to leave the Rand Monetary Area- and to play a leading role in the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) whose aim is to secure the economic development and independence of the Frontline States.
Although Botswanas economy has been diamond-dominated for the past two decades, the cornerstone is livestock, which the people see as a social rather than an economic activity- hence the importance of the figures about it and the place it occupies in the economic debates of the Government itself and between Government and opposition parties. Botswana has 3.5 million head of cattle (more than double the population), its Agriculture Minister confirms, and 85 % of them belong to people living in rural areas. Everyone in Botswana, whatever his walk of life or responsibilities, starting with the President of the Republic himself, feels a social obligation to keep animals. Size of herd obviously depends on wealth and the 110 biggest ranches (0.2% of breeders) apparently have as many cattle as the 29 000 or so small herdsmen who make up 55 % of the breeders.
But this division between big and small breeders is of no serious concern to the Government, since there is little distortion in either revenue or marketing between the various owners, 70 % of butchers meat being supplied by the small ones and only 20-30 % by the big ones. The State has prevented the sector sliding under the exclusive control of the big breeders by decentralising the slaughterhouses, thereby cutting the high cost of rail transport (P60 per head) to Lobatse, south of Gaborone. So although livestock, especially the butchers meat side of the trade, only accounts for about 5 % of the nations exports, no other sector figures so large in the social life of the nation- which is why the Government is anxious to increase the part it plays in the economy and, most important, rationalise the activity of the producers and create a genuine international reputation for Botswanas meat.
The social status of the herd is being overtaken by economic considerations, the Agriculture Minister told me, which is why we should be expecting an increase in productivity and in the revenue which is often reinvested in other sectors of the economy and also helps improve the standard of living in rural areas, Mr Kwelagobe added.
The Botswana label
What the people who are thinking about the future of Botswanas economy, particularly livestock, the soundest sector, are hoping for is for Botswana to mean a good product and high quality to the consumer. And with this in mind, the Government, the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) and the various livestock societies forming the Botswana Cooperative Union are running a number of schemes. They are separate, of course, but coherent and coordinated so as ultimately to achieve the same end result- that of making sure that Botswana joins the company of reliable exporters of beef and veal.
It is the States policy to create the ideal conditions possible for optimum development of the nations herds, to protect the natural environment and to abide by international veterinary regulations, particularly those of the European Community- for whose benefit the Government has just launched a real Operation Charm to win markets (see map with comments and box on livestock societies and the Vaccine Institute).
The Botswana Meat Commission
The BMC, an industrial and commercial undertaking situated in Lobatse, south of Gaborone, is technically in charge of meat marketing, handling meat from slaughter through marketing. There is always scepticism about developing countries ability to export major, sensitive consumer products such as meat into the international market. What problems does this create for the BMC? We have no problems exporting our meat, Director David Finlay said. On the contrary, our current European Community quota of 18 916 tonnes needs to be increased. But the Community does not see fit to grant the request from the Government and the BMC for the moment, as only 15% of the quota has been filled in past years. Of course, Mr Finlay maintains, this is because of the lengthy drought during this time. In 1988, for example, the abattoirs in Lobatse and Maun handled something like 135 000 cattle, which would be only 50% of capacity in a normal year. With a return to better weather, Mr Finlay is convinced that the BMC will meet its quota- which, at all events, will be increased by at least 3000 tonnes, if only as part of the quota transfer within the six ACP exporters (currently Botswana, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Swaziland, Kenya and Namibia, once independent).
This is particularly plausible, Mr Finlay feels, with the Community fixing a new 41 000-tonne ceiling for meat in LomV and Botswanas main competitors not being in a position to meet these commitments immediately. He also feels that, if the new abattoir being built with EEC help and the one in Francistown were to operate below the projected capacity of 280 000 head of cattle because the quota was too small, it would be a loss for the Community and Botswana alike. But he does not believe this will happen, having two reasons for being optimistic- the Communitys 41000 tonnes and, most important, the fact that LomV is to last 10 years, making for better investment programming and a more suitable marketing strategy.
The Community market represents 70-80% of Botswanas meat exports and gives the best financial returns. But, Mr Finlay says, this does not mean that we have just to ship into Europe the amount of our quota and receive the money in return. Botswana has to negotiate and sell every kilo of its 18916 tonnes of meat. Why such precision? Well, the BMC Director says, a lot of people imagine that good trade agreements are all one needs to export. But one still has to sell, because its not the clients who sign the agreements; clients are individuals or companies with other, competing offers. So there are two essential conditions to comply with- one must have a good product, the best one possible, and one must be able to sell it. And the BMC does both, the Director says, thanks to its more than 50 years experience in the meat trade.
The BMCs marketing skills mean that it can keep its head above water on the European market and, above all, obtain other outlets. It also exports to South Africa, for example, and to Rion (its third customer, with 2200 tonnes), which is not included in the quota in spite of belonging to the European Community, and to Singapore, Hong Kong and Mauritius. It also sends preserved meat products to Zimbabwe and Za.
Its marketing know-how has also enabled it to diversify its activity by placing funds profitably (buying capital in insurance companies) and signing a Zimbabwe meat marketing agreement with the Harare Government. This agreement is by no means prejudicial to our interests, David Finlay maintains. There is no competition between the two countries products, Zimbabwean meat being of first class quality and comparable to that of Botswana and the market being such as to be able to absorb both.
Employment and income
In spite of the drought-related decline in exports and meats low percentage of the nations total export revenue, the BMC is still Botswanas most important provider of income and employment. With 1840 on the payroll (2000 with the opening of the Francistown slaughterhouse) in 1988, it distributed P 83 million ($ 41.5 million) out of total profits of about P 150 million ($ 75 million).
So a close look at livestock and the meat industry shows the major role the sector should be playing in Botswanas economy with a move from social to formal activity, once the diamond era is over.
Veterinary disease control zones
One has seen the importance of livestock, socially and economically, in the life of the people of Botswana and the increasing part it has to play in the modern economy. And to pave the way for the replacement of mining, mainly by the meat industry, the Government has produced a veterinary map of the country with the aim, inter alia, of meeting the demands of the veterinary check on exports to the Community.
Dr M.G. Mosienyane, the Head of the Veterinary Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, explains how this map works. The idea is to restrict contact between animals in the wild (buffalo, for example) and the cattle, so as to prevent the spread of disease (especially foot-and-mouth) and to develop water boreholes along the east-west routes the animals take on their seasonal moves across the Kalahari. The Government has now laid down the different activity zones in the Kalahari, with help from the EEC. Zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13, for example, which are those from which the meat exported to the Community comes, comply with the EEC veterinary regulations. Zones 5 and 6 are buffer areas where none of the cattle are vaccinated and none of the meat can be exported to the Community. Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4 have foot-and-mouth disease and, although the cattle there is vaccinated, none of the meat can be exported to the Twelve and zones 14 and 15 are the sites of the Botswana Meat Commissions slaughterhouses.
The rest of the territory is made up of the stock-free zones where 17% of the land is reserved for wildlife.
Botswana, as a major meat exporter, has always been aware of the need to maintain strict health controls on its livestock population. In that part of Africa, foot-and-mouth disease has been endemic for a long time. First described in South Africa at the beginning of the 18th century, it was effectively identified as such in the 1930s and three different strains were brought to light. The viruses are called SAT1, SAT2 and SAT3 because of their origin (SAT standing for Southern African Territories).
Mr Mogotsi, Director-General, and Mr Guilloteau, Technical Director of the Botswana Vaccine Institute, explained that the fight against foot-and-mouth disease went back as far as the early 1950s and, since 1964, had included vaccination among other measures. It was discovered, though, that the vaccines available on the market (especially the Kenyan vaccine) were not effective against the vectors of the SAT virus, and in 1977 the Botswana government decided to set up the Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI), with the assistance of Laboratoires Meux of Lyons (France), whose objective was to make vaccines from local strains. This objective was swiftly achieved.
The vaccine was soon required in neighbouring countries which also had foot-and-mouth disease. Above 80% of the vaccine is now exported, mainly to countries in the SADCC region. Countries delivered to are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa and Burundi. On average it produces around 10 million monovalent doses a year. This is far below the production capacity of the plant which produces 21 million monovalent doses a year. This year it plans to sell 13.5 million doses, of which 11.3 million will be sent to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has had several outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease since April 1989.
The Institute has been appointed regional co-ordinator for control of foot-and-mouth disease, and has been officially designated the regional reference laboratory by OIE in Paris.
In 1985 the Institute successfully embarked on the production of the rinderpest vaccine. Though technically successful, it has turned out to be commercially unsuccessful, with Tanzania being the only customer. The Institute is capable of supplying the greater part of the continent with the vaccine. There is a contract signed with the EEC for BCI to be the emergency vaccine bank for the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign. BCI has the capacity of supplying about 2.5 m doses of rinderpest vaccines per month.
As in the past, the EEC has offered financial assistance to the Institute. This year it acquired new laboratory equipment and a cattle truck through funds provided by the EEC.
A few years after it was opened the Institute started to lose money. It resorted to loans obtained locally from Government and externally from the European Investment Bank for its survival. The last two years were good years for the company. It was able to meet its financial obligations including servicing of loans from the companys financial resources.
The Institute has a staff complement of 88 employees of which six are expatriates. Most of the training of the local staff is on the job, but for advanced laboratory technical training staff are sent to the Institutes technical associate- the Institut Meux in France. Training in other fields e.g. engineering, is done at the local institutions.
Botswanas whole economy is based on mining- principally diamonds, which make up 73% of the nations export trade- and on livestock. Diamonds and the Governments rigorous approach to income management have enabled strong economic growth (an average of 13 % p.a.) to be maintained for almost two decades and, perhaps to put the country at the head of that group of rare ACPs today with above-zero growth.
The three major diamond mines turned out 15.2 million carats (I carat=0.20 gr) in 1988, bringing in dividends, royalties and other taxes worth P 1400 million ($ 700 million), 60 % of the States total income, and growth, still based on diamond production, continued at the rate of 8 % in 1989.
In many countries, an economic boom of this kind would have triggered excessive and often unproductive spending, culminating in damaging budget cuts when incomes plummet. But although Botswana is almost entirely dependent on its mines, which provide very little in the way of stimulus to the rest of the economy, it is still a marked exception to the rule in that it made a real success of the period of great prosperity by speedily taking various adjustment measures in 1981, one of them being to channel a substantial part of the mining revenue into a special long-term investment fund. But the most important factor was that Botswana, unlike other countries running trade surpluses, devalued the exchange rate of its currency in real terms by about 42% in 1980 and 1987, to avoid any unfavourable effects on its economic diversification strategy. For however lucky Botswana may appear with its substantial mining sector, representing 45 % of GDP, it only employs something like 10 000 out of a population of about 1.2 million. So economic diversification is currently one of the Governments major concerns and a gamble that has to pay off. Over and above financial policy, which is aimed mainly at broadening the base of national production, it works along two lines.
Firstly it aims to create new, essentially productive sectors in which mining revenue could be invested to create a proper industrial network for the nation and jobs for the tens of thousands of- often unqualified- youngsters leaving school every year. When he was still the countrys Vice-President and Minister of Finance, Peter Mmusi made a speech to Parliament on the 1990 Finance Law, saying just how important it was to diversify the economy, in particular by encouraging private firms. As the following interview makes clear, Mr Mogae, his successor, thinks that Botswanas development is moving on to a phase calling for enough imagination to find fresh driving forces for the economy. This is particulary important bearing in mind that, although there is no problem about increasing expenditure in the short term, new sources of financing will have to be found for enlarged State spending in the long term, unless the existing sources of revenue are increased. Although both operators and prospectors are fairly optimistic about the future of mining, the Botswana authorities are unwilling to put all their eggs in one basket and are not just counting on diamond earnings for their medium- and long-term economic plans, particularly since international diamond price trends cannot be controlled and some forecasts suggest that production will be exhausted in the near future.
Since climatic conditions are not very good, agriculture is not, on the face of it, the first area in which to concentrate in the drive for economic diversification, yet the Government does see it as having an important part to play. In spite of the long period of drought of the past few years making all agricultural planning very difficult, we have studies to suggest that we could develop this sector here in Botswana, Minister Kwelagobe maintains, claiming that maize, sorghum, millet and beans, the subsistence crops of 70% of rural families, could be profitably developed. In his 1990 budget speech to Parliament, the former Finance Minister hinted at the prospect of genuine improvements in the nations agricultural performance when he pointed out that, in 1988, a very wet year, output had been up at the 100 000-tonne mark (almost twice the normal harvest), which was 50% of the countrys needs, as against the usual figure of only 10%. Mr Mmusi concluded that if more than the present 350 000 ha were to go under crops, Botswanas farm sector could contribute greatly to diversifying the economy. And it might be possible to bring in irrigated export crops such as cotton, sunflowers and groundnuts in the near future, particularly in the southern Okavango (Kalahari) with the dam to be built at Selebe Phikwe, as throughout the country the opportunity for rainfed and irrigated crops was minimal.
However, although farming is not helped by Botswanas natural conditions, herding is a great success- and a unique one in Africa, as will emerge from the analysis of this sector. Botswana is the only country which can regularly meet the stringent technical and veterinary requirements of the European and international beef and veal markets at the present time.
It would be wrong to assume that Botswana has famine. It has fewer problems of malnutrition than any other southern African country prone to drought, in fact because the food security programme it set up in the 80s has enabled it to wipe out malnutrition in the under-fives and considerably reduce general dietary shortcomings- which were indeed only moderate even during bad periods of drought. So although self-sufficiency is not on the cards for Botswana for the time being, in farming as in other fields, the Government is conducting a remarkable policy to develop the nations potential.
Botswana is slowly but surely shaping its image- not just an economic one, but a tourist image, too, that will make the country one of the most sought-after places for holiday-makers in the whole of Africa. And the progress and success of . the tourist trade are all the more encouraging in a country which is one immense desert, for the Kalahari dominates Botswana, the useful part of which was for years only Gaborone, the capital, and the surrounding area. But Botswanas Kalahari is nothing like the Sahara or even the Namibian Kalahari made famous in The Gods must be crazy, some of which was filmed in Botswana.
Botwanas Kalahari is no ordinary desert. A visit will convince the tourist of the extraordinary wealth of the countryside where beauty beckons with every prospect of relaxation and the discovery of wildlife. So, whether one reaches the Kalahari from Gaborone or Zimbabwe or Namibia, a variety of colourful scenes await the visitor.
Fly west or north-west from Gaborone in a twin-engined light aircraft and you can see the open-cast copper and nickel mines at Selebi Phikwe and the sodium mine at Sua Pan where a Government project could mean exports of more than 250 tonnes of soda and some 700 000 tonnes of salt to the region in 1991, particularly to South Africa. And with an experienced pilot, you can fly low (a dozen yards) and see hundreds of pink flamingos at Makgadigadi.
A stop-over in the heart of the Kalahari at Maun, a little aerodrome where the many take-offs and landings are choreographed like a ballet, shows just how many visitors there are. In the restaurant, too, there is no mistaking the varying origins of the tourists. There are Europeans, of course, Germans especially, and Americans and South Africans, who apparently prefer Botswana to their own national parks, which are highly sophisticated and not nearly so natural.
Press on towards Moremi in the Okavango and see the countrys vast range of tourist attractions unfold before you, encampments where well-appointed lodges offer visitors the rare opportunity of seeing rhinoceroses, elephants and all the beasts of the savannah only a few yards away.
And when the wildlife palls, there are cruises. Surprisingly, there are rivers crossing the Kalahari here and there, winding through the papyrus, particularly in the Okavango Delta, and boat trips are a chance to spot the many crocodiles and admire the thousands of species of birds which live in this seeming paradise.
Instead of spending hours cruising around the river network, you may prefer to fish for the tastiest of foods, helped by natives who are highly skilled in identifying aquatic animals and speedily recognising the different types and the sex of birds.
And after the Delta, there is the heart, the very centre of the Kalahari. The plane lands on make-shift strips where the pilot takes his bearings from a Canadian recluse in a Range Rover and lands under the amused gaze of some springboks. These southern African antelopes (also called gemboks), with their elegant hides and bearing, can stand great heat and go for several days without water and they are the dominant feature of the central Kalahari, in Xaxa for example, where, believe it or not, a team of prospectors from De Beers, the diamond giant, has pitched its tents and set up its machinery, a strange contrast amidst the antelopes.
Botswanas tourist potential is considerable and the sector could make a major contribution to the diversification of the economy. The Government is particularly aware of this and has recently brought out a draft paper on tourism and earmarked P 500 million ($ 250 million) over a five-year period to channel into basic infrastructure and facilitate private tourist investment. Germans and Americans are already settling in the Okavango region.
But tourism means protecting the natural environment and the wildlife (see box). This activity is an industry which should prevent the destruction of the countrys ecology says Trade and Industry Minister Kedikilwe.
Wildlife is an important aspect of the natural heritage of Botswana. This is evidenced by the provision of up to 17% of total land area of this country to wildlife in the form of game reserves and national parks. The economic importance of the resource is definitely great, but it still has to be quantified in real terms. Wildlife is the centre for tourism in most African countries and it is well known how important tourism is to the national economies of those countries. The uses of wildlife include traditional hunting, recreational hunting, trophy dealing and sales, and catering for tourists. It is on the basis of these uses that the contribution of wildlife to the economy of Botswana can be assessed, but this can still be improved by including better wildlife management and game ranching.
During 1983/84 the veterinary department financed a water survey study in the Central Kgalagadi game reserve followed by the drilling of about six boreholes by the Department for Wildlife. The conclusion of the study was that it was necessary to provide water for the wildlife in their places of residence. At the present moment, the Veterinary Department maintains a borehole at Ngwasha in the Nata area used specifically to pump water into an open shallow well for the purposes of watering wildlife. Buffalo and elephant have come back from across the border in Zimbabwe to drink in this area. These are a few examples of how the Veterinary Department values wildlife to confound the criticisms that arise both locally and from abroad.
Ivory exports. It should also be pointed out that since 1973, as Botswana realised the extent of the diminution of its elephant herds, it banned all trade in ivory. This policy has had as a result the increase of the herd. Now with 66 000 elephants, Botswana does not consider that it would be unsound to aim at a cull of 5% per annum, said the Minister of Commerce and Industry. This is why the total ban on ivory trade should not be applied to Botswana Mr Kedikilwe added. And he felt the ivory trade total ban policy should be selective so that countries like Botswana with a careful policy can continue to export ivory.
The livestock societies
The livestock societies grouped together to form the Botswana Cooperative Union, have a very important part to play in organising the countrys cattle markets. They have both to ensure the quality of their members stock and get the cattle to the slaughterhouse. Here they may well have to compete with individual business-men who go and buy the animals, direct from the herdsman and sell them to the Meat Commission, a system of marketing which has more drawbacks for the small herdsman.
This is why the Botswana Cooperative Union (BCU) helps organise marketing, keeping the costs between the herdsmen and the Meat Commission, Botswanas biggest cattle buyer, down to a minimum. Not only does the BCU offer veterinary services, it also provides its members with facilities for shifting and identifying the cattle and storing them in pens near the slaughterhouses, incidentally making for more flexible management of the societies cattle quotas, and negotiates the purchasing price for animals with the Meat Commission on its members behalf. It was set up, with 70 societies, in 1970, was marketing 15% of the nations herd by 1980 and 22% by 1989.
Although the BCU is an independent confederation, it still gets technical assistance from the State and from organizations such as the EEC, a position which its Director, Aaron Ramosako, is anxious to maintain.
The Republic of Botswana
582 000 km
1 211 816
3.3-3.5 % p.a. (dropping to 3.1 % by the year 2000).
Gaborone (capital) - 112 000 inhabitants. Selebi-Phikwe (47 000), Lobatse (26 000) and Francistown, Palapaye, Jwanang and Orapa.
GDP (Pula million):
3269 (1989 estimate) = $ 1 634.5 million.
Per capita GDP (1989):
US $ 1 600.
Meat, diamonds, copper, nickel carpets, textiles, totalling (fob) P 2 663.8 million in 1987.
Food products, energy, chemicals, timber and paper products, textiles, equipment totalling (cif) P 1 572.5 million in 1987.
Main trading partners:
the European Community (mainly the Federal Republic of Germany and the UK) 84%; Africa (especially South Africa) and the rest of the world 16 %. South Africa is the main source of imports.
Total external debt (1987):
$ 514 million ($ 17 million in 1970 and $ 152 million in 1980). Botswana
neither borrowed on the private capital market nor used IMF credit facilities over the 1970-80 period.
5.2 % of GDP in 1987.
P4291.8 million ($2.4 billion) in 1988.
Source: World Bank and Botswanas Central Statistics Office.
by Jean-Paul JACQUEMIN
The EEC funding of development projects in Botswana has been continuously increased from Lom to LomII. And so has European Investment Bank lending. EDF financing of 19 million ECU in Lom increased to 23 m ECU in LomI to reach 30 m in LomI.
Whereas under Lom and II, emphasis was put on very small-scale and scattered projects, LomII financing concerns major sustainable economic sectors (livestock, land conservation) as well as infrastructure and education. This article concentrates on the LomII programme under implementation.
The National Development Plan (NDP 6) 1985-1991 established four main planning objectives: rapid economic growth; social justice; economic independence and sustained development. The EECs programme of cooperation with Botswana is primarily targeted upon support for the last of these key objectives: sustained development. To this end, in consultation with the authorities, LomII resources have been made available on the following basis:
Focal area for concentration- It has been decided, with the Government of Botswana, to devote 90% of LomII resources to the development and conservation of natural resources, the geographic area of concentration being the north of the country.
Objectives of the Lomll programme
The following integrated approach has been adopted:
- sustainable use of natural resources, including soil, livestock, wildlife and water,
- strengthening and diversification of the agricultural sector in order to improve the level of food self-sufficiency and to increase small and medium farmer production and income,
- balanced development of livestock farming in order to:
(a) improve economic use of livestock,
(b) enhance benefits for the small cattle holders,
(c) obtain an improved balance between livestock breeding and the protection of the range,
(d) avoid overgrazing and overstocking, conservation and economic utilisation of wildlife in order to arrive at a balanced development between livestock and wildlife, support for village water supply systems, training in sustainable resource utilisation.
The LomII programme in brief
In response to the foregoing objectives, the following projects are being financed by the Community:
Initial measures for the conservation of the Kalahari Ecosystem (ECU 2 000 000)
The project includes three major components: first, the supply of essential equipment to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), secondly, support for the DWNPs Water for Wildlife Programme and thirdly, technical assistance in the form of a wildlife ecologist for the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Support for the conservation of natural resources
Besides a project under Lom and II to finance a Wildlife Training Centre in Maun (opened in 1989), and in addition to the Kalahari Ecosystem project, the EEC is active in various ways in the area of conservation in Botswana:
- technical assistance for the preparation of the National Conservation Strategy (a fundamental building-block to NDP 6),
- support through technical assistance and funding of operating costs to various conservation societies, financing of a study to ensure the sustainable gathering of wild silkworm cocoons.
Rural water supply
Following the Lom1 water supply project in Palapye, the EEC is funding technical assistance to help implement the Governments Drought Relief Programme (DRP).
Towards the end of 1989 a project valved at ECU 2 000 000 was set up to provide sanitation to the township of Serowe. This is a co-financing action with the Federal Republic of Germany.
Support to the arable sector in northern Botswana (ECU 3 000 000)
Aimed at increasing the countrys self-sufficiency in food grains, the project consists of two major components, the establishment of an agricultural research sub-station and the preparation of a master plan looking at alternatives for the sustainable use of the black cotton soils of the Pandamatenga pans, 400 km north of Francistown.
National food grain study (ECU 210000)
This study, recently completed, helps to provide a background for policy-making with a regard to increasing the countrys food self-sufficiency.
Livestock marketing development (ECU 2 895 000)
Although data is limited, the 1978/79 National Migration Study found that almost half the national cattle herd is owned by 7 % of rearers and that 45 % of rural households (80 % of the population) owned no cattle. The Botswana Cooperative Union (BCU) is an organisation set up to aid the mass of the rural population who are outside the cattle economy to obtain income from the marketing of small stock. With a view to combating rural poverty, the Community is financing, through BCU, a project which seeks to increase the off-take of sheep and goats. In so doing the action will also reduce localised over-grazing. Technical assistance is also provided in the form of management support to BCU.
While forestry degradation in Botswana is not as severe as in many African countries there is, nevertheless, an absolute need to return to sustainable utilisation. To this end the EEC is financing a two-pronged project. ECU 300 000 for training at both certificate and diploma level and ECU 750000 to supply technical assistance to the Forestry Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Training in sustainable resource use (ECU 4 500 000)
Channelled through the University of Botswana, this programme has four components:
- Technical assistance (3 posts plus equipment) for the Pre-Entry Science Course (320 students in 1989),
- Ground water training course,
- Environmental research grants,
- Technical assistance for Botswana Agricultural College (3 posts).
Besides being focussed on sustainable resource use, the project goes to the heart of Botswanas major challenge for the 1990s- the training of skilled manpower.
Kasane airport (ECU 6 000 000)
Situated in the extreme north-east of Botswana, Kasane Airport constitutes the major infrastructure project financed by the EEC under LomII. Co-financing has been arranged with the Governments of Botswana and Italy.
The airport, which will be able to receive medium-size passenger aircraft, will assist Botswana in promoting its up-market tourism industry. The facility will serve to integrate the Chobe Game Park into the regional tour circuit, which includes the attraction of Victoria Falls (Zambia, Zimbabwe) and the Okavango Delta (Botswana).
Outside the area of concentration of LomII resources, the Community is financing a training programme centred round desk-top publishing at Botswanas National Museum. The project also provides technical support for the Museums publication, The Zebras Voice, a cultural organ aimed at the young people of Botswana.
Projects in preparation
As can be seen from Table 3 there remains some ECU 9.6 mio of LomII resources yet to be formally committed. The greater part of these funds will be used to finance an integrated wildlife tourism package. This action will support a comprehensive approach to the development of Botswanas natural wildlife resources in the Chobe National Park and Ngamiland.
Trade and tourism cooperation
Trade expansion is related to attracting external investment finance which in turn, along with tourism, is seen as the dynamic in job creation in a diversified economy- -the bedrock of Botswanas future.
In view of the importance of trade and tourism, a substantial programme, (ECU I 100000) in support of these sectors was financed by the EEC under LomI. These funds have served to carry the programme through to the end of 1989. A feature of particular note is the international trade and tourism fairs component of the trade programme. Botswanas mixed economy, freely convertible currency and competitive investment incentives have created a vigorous private sector. This dynamism is reflected in the high level of representation of businesses at international fairs. The Botswana stand, which is frequently financed by the EEC, is always assured of support.
SYSMIN (ECU 21 650 000)
Botswana played a major role in negotiating the terms of the LomII Sysmin facility. In 1989 it resorted to the mechanism itself on behalf of BCL Limited (Bamangwato Concessions Limited). BCL works a nickel/copper/cobalt deposit at Selebi-Phikwe in north-east Botswana, producing some 50 000 tonnes of matte annually. Employing some 4 000 workers, BCL constitutes the economic base of the town of Selebi-Phikwe (population 45 000).
Table 1: National Indicative Programme - Lom
Although an efficient producer, poor metal prices current in the mid-1980s combined with a substantial debt overhang, prevented BCL from making investments in mine development. The Sysmin resources will be used to rehabilitate the mine and also, most importantly, to aid the economic diversification of the Selebi-Phikwe region, reducing its dependence on mining.
EEC regional projects relating to Botswana are, for the most part, undertaken under the auspices of SADCC. Botswana is the SADCC Sector Coordinator for Agricultural Research for which the executing agency is the Southern African Centre for Cooperation in Agricultural Research (SACCAR) located in Botswana.
Two research projects are underway under LomII:
- Regional Grain Legume Improvement Programme (Cowpea Research) ECU I 500 000
- Regional Resource and Training Centre for Land and Water Management ECU 2 480 000.
European Investment Bank
The EIB has been extremely active in Botswana, a total of ECU 64 500000 having been made available through various instruments from its own resources. The sectors of activity supported cover agriculture, electric power, industry and water supply.
Table 2: National Indicative Programme - LomII
Table 3: Other Interventions - LomII
We Zambians were born with a copper spoon in our mouths President Kaunda used to say to underline the importance of red gold to his countrys economy. The curse of copper, the distinguished French agronomist Renumont called it, going one better. The Zambians still have that spoon in their mouths 26 years later, and copper has shaped the whole of the countrys political, economic and social life. It was wanted by the colonialists, it created the wellbeing and even the majesty of Zambia in the past and it is losing it today- a situation which can be understood by looking at the role red gold has played in the history of Zambia, at the development of its prices and at the way the whole development policy has been conditioned by the mines.
It is from Ndola, the capital of the Copperbelt, and moving on to Kitwe, Chingola, Konkola and Nchanga that the profound realities of the economy and maybe some explanation of the origins of President Kaundas policy can be found.
In northern Zambia, by the Shaba region of Zaire, an area of some 6000 km² contained what was the fourth biggest copper deposit in the world. It was the empire of British South Africa (BSA), which handed over the working of it to two companies. The revenue was taken a long way from the country, then called Northern Rhodesia, but it was still copper, the only product in which the administrations of the period took any interest, which shaped the whole history of what, in 1964, was to become Zambia. Economic and urban development largely followed the railway, which penetrated the south in 1904 and was extended to the Katanga (now Shaba) frontier in Za a few years later. In 1935, the capital was moved from Livingstone to the more central Lusaka on the (mainly ore-transporting) railway line to the Copperbelt. The Copperbelt mines constitute the main sector of Zambias economy and are the Governments main, if not only, source of export revenue and the capital and all the other important centres have developed around the station and other routes to this focus of the mining industry.
So although Zambia is the most heavily urbanised country of Africa, with more than 50% of its estimated 7.5 million people living in the towns, it still has no real dynamic commercial or industrial centres along the transnational highways which cross the main parts of its vast 752 620 km² territory. This may also be partly due to the fact that the economy has been focused on just one thing, external requirements, and that, in 1964, on independence, any attempt at breaking with the neighbouring country to the south would have stifled the economy of the new State, whose only access to the sea was indeed through its neighbours (some were still colonies), some of which were hostile at the time. So no sector which would have made it possible to start moving away from the long-standing mono-product economy in fact grew up around the copper industry. The production figures, of course, could well have created euphoria and even justified illusions about the nations economic potential and, between 1964 and 1973-74, Zambia indeed had one of the most prosperous and promising economies, growing at the rate of at least 12% p.a. It had good reason to think it was rich. But for how long?
The question did not arise. It seemed superfluous, even, when confidence abounded and the mines were so generous. With more than 721 000 tonnes of copper every year and first-class production of cobalt, zinc and lead, Zambia was one of the worlds biggest exporters of these very remunerative minerals. So generous mines and a generous heart were what determined the nations whole political and economic philosophy.
A humanist democracy
President Kaunda described Zambian democracy as being, first and foremost, the replacement of the old colonial society with a new society based on the concept of humanism, which meant placing man as God made him, at the very centre of all things. We want man to be unfettered in any shape or form by what he builds around himself, he explained, and he had therefore indentified those forces that worked against mans happiness - including exploitative international capital . Such was the theory which had to be put into practical effect.
The first economic step of Zambias humanist democracy was to bring under national control the nations natural resources- i.e: its one resource. In 1968, for example, four years after independence, the Government decided to take a 51 % stake in the countrys 25 biggest private firms as part of the Mulungushi reforms. And in early 1975, the Zambian leaders were also put at the head of the ZCCM, the new mining company formed by the merger of the two firms running the countrys mines. A single mineral marketing company, the Metal Marketing Corporation of Zambia (Memaco) was set up at the same time.
The economic developments
In the euphoria of independence when the coffers were full, it was thought that the Zambian economy had to break with the so-called capitalist exploitation , straight and problem-free, which had dogged the people in the colonial era. The external reserves of the new sovereign State were an estimated $2-3 billion in 1965, a fortune certainly, but the people who lived there were poorer than the country... The Zambian in the street, the Government thought, could not get rich by himself, so the State had to help him by taking charge, appropriating all the wealth and redistributing to it to the people. The idea was kindly welcomed in some Fabian circles and by indulgent partners- without any thought as to whether it was the sort of kindness that kills in the long run.
But cracks soon began to appear in a welfare state dependent on an economy which relied heavily on just one product, copper. Copper production declined over a 20-year period, from 721000 tonnes in 1969 to about 500000 tonnes, 70% of the original figure, in 1989, and wild variations in the prices on the international markets drastically reduced the income of both the State and the population. Per capita GDP went from US $682 in 1980 to $387 in 1985 and $257 in 1986 and has probably declined further over the past four years with the worsening economic crisis, inflation (about 170 % p.a. and 160 % for top earners) and the huge external debt (upwards of $7 billion) which would cost the State 83 % of its export revenue in servicing if it paid it back. Zambia has the biggest per capita debt in the whole of Africa - $930 as against $260 in Za and $480 in Sudan- and it is therefore comparable to middle-income countries such as Brazil, which has a per capita debt of $880. The Zambian debt, mainly contracted on a commercial basis when the per capita income was particularly high, shows that the countrys poverty today is one of the consequences of yesterdays wealth. Copper, with its plentiful earnings of the 60s, led the Government into extraverted consumption, but it is also a fickle friend, dependent as it is for its prices on a large number of exogenous factors over which the State has no control. This essential sector of the national economy apparently only brought in $ 1.2 billion in 1988-89 and there is about $25 million to subtract from this for ZCCM expatriates salaries and other external services. The whole mining industry employs 64 500 people, with expatriates representing 1.7%.
Is copper levelling off?
These are not the only pessimistic figures. There are others- the foreign exchange wage bill (30%) and capital expenditure (40%), totalling 70% of mining revenue m operating costs. But since the State does not always pay up in time and the projected foreign exchange allowances, production and particularly the equipment- a large and increasing number of machines are being cannibalised to repair others- are badly affected.
The financial handicap is not the only one. Mining could also fall off rapidly when the copper runs out and all geological studies run to date suggest that both the deposits and the grade of the ore are levelling off fast. Technicians and managers in the field in the Copperbelt say that Zambia still has mineral reserves, but not enough to produce 500 000 tonnes p.a. because of the low grade-although it is higher-grade ore than in Zas mines, they told me. This is no consolation to Zambian miners, who are aware that their mineral resources will soon have run out, Francis Kaunda, President of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines confirmed. And his opinion is particularly important because he is at the head of the key firm in the Zambian economy, ZCCM indeed being the sole supplier of foreign exchange in the development model used since independence. There is a close linkage between ZCCM and the economy of the nation, Francis Kaunda emphasized, albeit reflected in a strong dependence on the mining companies. The Government is preparing to handle the decline in mining activity, he added. But how?
First of all, Francis Kaunda said, you have to bear in mind that there are two periods in ining life, the first determined by the size of the reserves and equipment and the second, an economic one, conditioned by the infrastructure. If we take the first period, we can continue mining until the end of the next century. But considering the second phase under the present level of production, we can only think about the short term , which implies cutting the costs to fit with lower production. And the accent indeed should be put on this second period, which in this country is strongly determined by the foreign exchange problem. The use of foreign exchange by ZCCM is affected by the nation, Mr Kaunda said, and if ZCCM could dispose of all the foreign exchange it earns, it would be able to carry on mining without any difficulties. This is where the shoe pinches in mining and the Zambian economy in general. For the foreseeable future, Mr Francis Kaunda said, the ZCCM remains the main foreign exchange earner of the nation... and we know that the more the nation relies on ZCCM, the greater the risks it may run . ZCCM minimum reserve requirements for 1989-90 (i.e. April 1989 to March 1990) are $ 479 million and assuming we get half this amount, he emphasised, the production will suffer.
The close link between ZCCM and the nation can also lead to lively polemical arguments between the State (the Government and the Party) and public opinion. In November 1989, for example, Zambian TV reported on Parliaments debates about the Governments purchasing of Toyota vehicles for leading figures in its Inside the Parliament programme. In view of the focus on these transactions on television and in the newspapers, I put the question directly to Francis Kaunda, who denied that there were as many cars or as much spending as that. Because the Government did not have foreign exchange, he pointed out, ZCCM became a channel to borrow from lenders. The Government will pay back the amount to ZCCM, which will reimburse the creditors in turn. He also said that utility vehicles accounted for a total of $ 10 million of the vehicle bill. All this shows how sensitive public opinion is to the foreign exchange issue, a real nightmare in Zambia , where such things as the shortage of food products and the decline in education and health exacerbate some feelings about the Government.
If alternatives could be found to the economys extreme dependence on copper now, while the infrastructure is still operational, Mr Francis Kaunda said, that would facilitate the transition to diversification. Take Chile, which was 90 % dependent on copper revenue 20 years ago- almost as in Zambia- and now it relies for its foreign exchange only for 40 % on copper. The Chilean mines are still doing well because the country does not depend on copper to finance its economic investments, he emphasised. Although it would be as well to know whether the two countries economic policies are in fact comparable...
They did not make hay while the sun shone
However, in looking at Zambias economic development- one of decline of the resources and revenue of the copper industry- development priorities and the use of the States financial resources (i.e. investments) constitute a major element of appreciation which cannot be separated from the other causes of the crisis. As a recent World Bank/Government document on Zambias economic and financial policy framework in 1989-93 said, Zambia experienced a sharp turnaround in economic fortunes in the early 1970s from which it has not recovered . Between 1970 and 1986, a secular though erratic decline in copper production combined with 80 % deterioration in the terms of trade contributed to a one-third drop in real GDP per capita. And, it continued, the financial policies over this period were geared to maintaining consumption levels and living standards by anticipating a recovery in copper exports. But in the absence of any sustained recovery, the policies resulted in large budgetary and external deficits, a rapid build-up of external debt, and distortions in the savings/investments patterns. So the savings ratio to investments dropped, fixed investment shrank from about 30% of GDP in 1970 to around 10% in 1986, while diversification out of the mono-product copper economy was hindered by insufficient incentives for non-traditional exports, price controls, subsidies and reliance on exchange rate and trade restrictions .
Poverty in Zambia is an unexpected consequence of its initial wealth, a farmer from Batoka south of Lusaka felt. He sees economic subsidies as the main cause for the Zambians finding it difficult to bring about recovery themselves. How can you subsidise a whole nation?, he wondered. The whole population of Zambia (age over 40) has been spoiled from Day One by the subsidies... None of the active population has ever been used to work hard and this is why they did not make hay while the sun shone, he felt, with pure peasant wisdom. And President Kaunda now admits: We subsidised consumption instead of subsidising production.
The oil crisis, the decline in raw material prices and IMF-World Bank policies have all had their turn as the main cause of Zambias economic problems and, since 1987 in particular, the Government has agreed to reorient the economy to make a success of structural adjustment and take the needs of the low-income and vulnerable groups of the population into account. It has embarked upon a new economic recovery programme (NERP) with results that are good but nonetheless lower than expectations, particularly as regards improvement by the use of own resources .
Zambia is setting up an efficient policy of economic rationalisation with the help of the World Bank, the IMF and other funders, such as the European Community. In September 1989, the Government put an end to a three-year rift over reform policies with the Bretton Woods institutions and, in an agreement with the IMF and the World Bank in July 1989, accepted the suggested plan of economic reforms from these two international financial organisations. The agreement covers macroeconomic policy reforms, sectoral adjustment programmes and parastatal restructuring, public expenditure programming and control and measures to protect the most vulnerable groups of society during the structural adjustment period (see President Kaundas speech).
Decontrol by confidence trick
The first steps to be taken under this agreement were the devaluation of the Kwacha (the national currency) from K 10 to K 16 per US dollar and the removal of controls on all prices except maizemeal, the Zambian staple, which will also go up with a reduction in its State subsidies. Maizemeal prices have indeed gone up substantially, particularly because of what the consumers sarcastically refer to as a confidence trick, whereby the bearers of subsidy coupons are unable to redeem them because stocks have run out or the date of validity is past or because they have more coupons than their family is entitled to. This covert liberalisation of maizemeal prices means the Government can avoid having to rescind the measures, as in the Copperbelt in 1987 when the sudden price surge led to uprisings in which 15 people were killed.
Other Government measures include a 50% increase in civil service wages, a necessary departure in a period of heavy inflation (more than 170 % for the middle-income bracket), and a higher bank rate to try and contain household consumption and reduce inflation through better control of the money supply. However, it is by no means easy to get control of the money supply in Zambia, as it is not always clear how many banknotes are in circulation, particularly since the parallel exchange market does far better than the banks ( US $1 = K 35-40 on the parallel market and K 16 at the official rate).
Although the IMF and the World Bank suggest that resuming cooperation relations with them is a basis for dialogue on Zambias urgent problems, this does not currently mean that the country is eligible for the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility or for rescheduling of the $ 7 billion debt. Both institutions in fact felt that Zambia had to take another important step forward and pay them its arrears of about $1 billion ($820 million to the IMF and $180 million to the Bank).
The Work Bank felt that the Governments recent actions were encouraging , but also that the challenges and risks were formidable and should not be underestimated. Zambias economic distortions are numerous and deep-seated, it said, and the outlook for its major export product, copper, is not good; the financing required is large and skilful economic management will be called for over a long period.
So the answer to Zambias economic problem is not copper, but agriculture and industrialisation, where potential is great.
The Interim National Development Plan was launched for the period I July 1987 to December 1988. The underlying message was a reorientation of the economy in a way that best achieves structural adjustment while bearing in mind the basic needs of those in the lower income bracket.
How did it work? Last year, in June, President Kenneth Kaunda addressing the nation, explained the Plan. This is what he said:
I must point out that the Fourth National Development Plan launched in January 1989 carries on the need to continue meaningful economic adjustments and at the same time take into account the social aspect of adjustment. It is still the intention of the Party and its Government to continue to find ways and means of making the economic adjustment process bearable, particularly to the vulnerable sections of our society.
With this approach to economic policy formulation, we have already made considerable progress. In 1987, when the New Economic Recovery Programme was initiated, gross domestic product grew by 2.2% in real terms. This has risen to 6.7 % in 1988, with agriculture growing at 21 % and the manufacturing sector at 15%.
The significant growth in agriculture is attributable to incentives the Party and its Government have put in place such as increased producer prices; timely provision of inputs; availability of credit and foreign exchange; adequate provision of extension services and improved marketing. Good weather conditions also complemented the efforts of the farmers. Record harvests were scored in maize, our staple food, sorghum, cotton and tobacco.
In the short period, Zambia has moved from a maize deficit country to a surplus and net exporter of maize.
The encouraging performance of the manufacturing sector is attributable to the deliberate policy by the Party and its Government to increase allocation of foreign exchange to this sector. This led to increased industrial capacity utilisation. The role of FEMAC in achieving this objective has been positive.
Mineral production has remained at reasonable levels. This has been achieved through the rehabilitation programme which ZCCM has implemented.
Non-traditional exports have picked up and reached US $ 118 million in 1988 compared to US $80 million in 1987. This is an encouraging outcome. However, more still needs to be done in this area of our economic activity.
Subsidies on consumption have been reduced. The savings achieved through this reduction will be channelled into productive activities.
The transport sector which had virtually collapsed in 1987 showed signs of recovery in 1988. Public transport has started to ease with the importation of buses and mini-buses by United Bus Company of Zambia, Mulungushi Traveller and the private sector. This programme is continuing and it is my hope that the problem will be contained soon.
In the health sector, the supply of drugs has improved considerably. Essential drugs are now readily available at most of the hospitals, clinics and rural health centres. This has been achieved despite the economic constraints the nation is facing.
I should hasten to say that, notwithstanding these encouraging developments, there continues to be a number of problems militating against a sustained economic recovery and diversification of the Zambian economy.
Unemployment has remained high with formal employment stagnating at below 360000 for over a decade now. Inflation is raging on and the latest estimates for 1988 put inflation at 70% compared to 60% in 1987. The fiscal deficit in 1988 stood at 12% compared to 14.6% in 1987. The deficit recorded in 1988, while lower than in 1987, exceeded the budget target of 9.5%. The increase in the deficit is partly explained by the exceptionally good performance in the agricultural sector, particularly in maize production which entailed a large outlay in the handling of subsidies. The Party and its Government are nevertheless determined to bring down the deficit even further. The growth in money supply, which was above 60 % in 1988, is another source of worry. The debt burden continues to grow, largely on account of high interest charges that these debts attract.
After many years of inadequate rainfall we must thank God that there had been good rains for two consecutive seasons. However, the heavy rainfall experienced in the last season caused considerable damage to the roads and dams and indeed reduced the output in agriculture, particularly that of maize. As a result the yield of maize will more or less be at the 1988 level.
Consumption has remained high, representing 80% of gross domestic product, while investments have been declining. The causes of this imbalance are the high rates of inflation, negative real interest rates and lack of adequate foreign exchange.
The foreign exchange shortage has become one of the major constraints in the economy. The major source of foreign exchange is still copper, which accounts for over 90% of all foreign exchange earnings up to the end of the next century, albeit on a progressively reducing scale. However, the economic life of our mines based on existing infrastructure is limited to between 15 and 20 years.
The more the country looks to copper as the major source of foreign exchange, the more the economic life of the copper mines will be shortened. It is therefore desirable that each company strives hard to boost non-traditional exports and earn some foreign exchange. Only in this way will we be able to extend the economic life of our mines beyond 20 years.
The non-mining parastatals and the private sector utilise more foreign exchange than they generate. This is an unsatisfactory position. Both these sectors should take up the challenge of boosting non-traditional exports. Non-traditional exports should in the medium term be enhanced not only to fill the gap that will be left by earnings from basis of known copper ore reserves, copper but to levels that can mean-Zambia can continue to mine copperingfully sustain the economy.
Zambia: historical indicators, 1970-86
Lusaka is one of Africans best-known capitals. Is this a reputation or legend such as Chicago, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lagos and many another city have fashioned for themselves over the years? The image of Kenneth Kaunda, that veritable apostle of peace in Southern Africa, has of course rubbed off on Zambias capital, but, independently of KK, as he is familiarly known, the citys reputation is becoming something of a legend in the economic and social crisis which has been particularly acute for the past 10 years. Many an angle on Zambias problems gives an inaccurate view of the reality, as is clear when one arrives in Lusaka and brings an attentive eye to bear on the country, on Zambian society now, in contrast with what it used to be. The difference is striking.
Only one or two nationals and travellers from Europe now come to Lusakas once-busy airport. Flight arrivals and departures in the ACPs tend to attract huge crowds of people who think planes are really spectacular and this used to happen in Zambia. But in late 1989, alls quiet at Lusaka airport- to the left, a twin-engined army aircraft painfully preparing for take-off, to the right, two uniformed men, one of them armed but apparently not convinced of the usefulness of his weapon, and outside, nothing like the feverish activity of the airports in central and western Africa. And a little further on, beyond a vast, deserted parking lot, under a slightly cloudy sky, sprinklers gently water a green, English-style lawn in the heat. This is always the scene at the airport at this time of the year and the beauty of it all is even more apparent from the air.
The town centre is a few miles away down a fine, open road like a race track before the flag. Putting ones foot down is a temptation- but resisted with the appearance of the wrecks by the side of the road and the mangled cars abandoned on the highway itself. Spare parts are a problem here. They cost a small fortune. A set of headlights, for example, costs K 10000 ($ 600) and a tyre K 5 000 ($ 300)- the first sign of the extent of the economic crisis here in Zambia. And indeed not only here. The many wrecked cars in most of the ACP countries show that the difficulty of keeping large numbers of vehicles on the road is considerable and often out of all proportion to the real needs of the individual and the economy.
In Lusaka, the crisis has had profound effects downtown and in other areas. There are not the people in the streets there were 10 years ago, day or night, and even the Cha Cha Cha Road, the citys red light district, is no longer busy and bustling the way it used to be. Zambians still do their traditional rounds of the bars, of course, but custom is dwindling and the atmosphere is not what it was. The pubs called clubs here- are the best place to take the social temperature of the nation. The Zambians have not yet got over the social consequences of the crisis and it is obvious. They look grim, was the way one Britisher, come to visit a friend and potential partner in joint ventures, put it. Economic difficulties often hit harder in the towns than in the country, but they have affected a particularly large number of people in Zambia because the population is a highly urbanised one, indeed the most highly urbanised of the whole continent, and the effect is felt from Lusaka to Livingstone, in the Copperbelt, in Kabwe and in Chipata and Luangwa, in the eastern province, too.
Lusaka to Livingstone, for example, is a 500 km drive through uninterrupted savannah with no incentive to stop. The only breaks in the monotony are the townships (Chilonga), places like Mazabuka, a tiny little town where the 10 000-hectare Mazabuka Sugar Estate factory spews thick columns of smoke into the heavens, and Monze, whose claim to fame is, alas, a hospital where 50% of the patients have AIDS, the disease which is the scourge of the late 20th century. Sometimes customs officers appear, because the Livingstone road is the main highway between Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and it runs along the railway line between the Copperbelt and Johannesburg in South Africa. Livingstone is still a straggling town whose main attraction is the spectacular Victoria Falls on the Zambezi between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the bridge between the two countries, with its one international hotel and its railway museum. It has not progressed since the colonial era and at the Fairmount and North Western hotels, once said to be the pride of the local hostelries. there is no longer anything but the signs and the odd drink to be bought in settings that bear no relation to their former glory. The crisis has hit here, too, and the one or two tourists pass through quickly, leaving little money behind them.
Family life and social relationships hit
The economic figures (on inflation, debt, unemployment and so on) may well not mean much to many Europeans, but here in Zambia, they caused 15 deaths three years ago- the equivalent of 300 deaths in Venezuela with its debt of $ 34 billion. The economic crisis is beginning to have very profound effects on Zambian society, as I heard from an expatriate who has been living in the country since independence in 1964. Everybody here has had a rough deal, especially the middle-income workers who are used to luxury goods. One of the results of this is that Zambias social relations are developing in a way that is much closer to that found elsewhere in Africa, a much more self-interested way . Why should this be? Because What characterises Zambians more and more today is the collapse of family life and unregulated social relationships the expatriate said, maintaining that he feared for the future of the country which he said he really loved.
His point of view is clearly not unrelated to the realities of the crisis, but it is more a reflection of the behaviour of people in Lusaka and maybe the Copperbelt than the way of life of the Zambians as a whole- as is clear from the peasants living a long way from the main urban centres.
What do Zambians themselves think? Most of them are resigned to living through the crisis although there are those want to understand it and its effects. Any profound and lasting economic crisis will inevitably shake the socio-cultural foundations of society, a Zambian manager at the mining company in Kitwe, told me. And Kenneth Kaunda took an entirely new line in a speech he made in 19X9 when he said that the deterioration in our standards of living, the poor state of our economic infrastructure, poor standards in our health and education institutions, rising unemployment, rising crime rates, black marketeering, smuggling, acute shortages of consumer goods, and low productivity, were all leading to more poverty for the Zambians. And this poverty, the Zambia Daily Mail said recently, has also resulted in the country losing about US $ 300 million to unscrupulous businessmen who are under-invoicing exports, over-invoicing imports and selling foreign exchange on the black market. But who are these businessmen? An interesting question- which the newspaper fails to answer.
Penury may also he a source of income...
Health and education reflect a countrys economic mood and since in Zambias case generosity is no longer the order of the day, there are far-reaching consequences for the education, training and health of the population.
Education was one of the Governments priorities on independence in 1964, in particular because very few men or women had been trained before that time and the authorities, which only had a pool of 100 university graduates and 1120 secondary school diploma-holders to work with, embarked upon a huge programme of nationalisation and Zambianisation of managers. The training process was speeded up by making education free, so that everyone, regardless of the familys rung on the social ladder, had equal access to it. But after 10 years or so, during which the system ticked over fairly smoothly, galloping demographic growth, dwindling financial resources and a lowering of teaching standards silted up the workings of the educational machinery. The result, especially before the economic crisis worsened, was a constant increase in the number of Zambian youngsters sent abroad (to Europe and to neighbouring countries such as Zimbabwe) to study at all levels at their parents expense.
Today, the problem is such that the Government has decided to bring in a three-shift system in the primary schools to try and ensure that all children of this age can be taught. But it is a makeshift solution, as the school day now only lasts about three hours.
A decline in quality
And then there are the costs of schooling. Public finances by themselves are no longer adequate to cover educational spending and free education is now a myth, as the Government is asking for contributions from parents and local authorities alike. Local communities will be expected and encouraged to play a more active role in the construction, operation and maintenance of the educational institutions so as to relieve Government of part of the budgetary burden is how the document which the Government and the IMF-IBRD produced on economic policy in 198993 puts it. For the Government both wants and is determined to reverse the decline in the quality of, and access to education, particularly in the very, poor urban and rural areas.
However, since the requirements of education cannot be reduced to a minimum, the private sector did not wait for the change in official Government policy to set up private establishments, such as the International School of Lusaka, the American School (not open to Zambians) and many others, with annual fees of $300-800 (K 5000-14000), which are very high for a Zambian to pay, and even $4500 at the American school.
But, typically of a situation of this sort, the high cost of the education is not reflected in the standard of the teaching and the level in some of Lusakas private secondary schools can be three or four times below that of the most average of European establishments. The situation is even more critical in the nations primary schools, where the obligatory uniforms and leather footwear represent outlays- and worry- for many families, which tend to be large and unable to afford to send their children abroad. A pair of leather shoes costs K 1000-1200 and the average wage is K 1500-2500 ($94-156 approx.).
The university, comfortably situated on a fine campus, is faced with a similar financial problems, coupled with graduate under-employment and unemployment.
Health standards have suffered from the crisis, too, and ailments like diarrhoea and malaria have become endemic. The development and resistance of the various strains of malaria have put it at the top of the list of the five most prevalent diseases in Zambia, the Head of Public Health at the Ministry said. The exact figure of malaria victims is not known, Dr Ben Chirwa said, but the situation has deteriorated over the last few years. The advantage, of course, if it can be put that way, he went on, is that many of these endemic diseases can be cured if you have the means of getting the medicines and developing a policy of prevention. The Government plans to cope with the decline in public health by taking extensive measures involving transferring new resources to the rehabilitation, consolidation and maintenance of facilities. The situation in some hospitals and dispensaries is such that staff are having to re-use certain equipment (such as delivery gloves and syringes), which are then sterilised by boiling- which does not necessarily guarantee a high standard of treatment. The non-governmental organizations could help us, said a nun who is a doctor in a number of dispensaries in some of Lusakas poorest suburbs.
One syndrome may mask another..
AIDS, the acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome, is also one of the major concerns of the Zambian health authorities and of the State itself, as it is everywhere else. But, the heads of the medical services say, the HIV virus is being propagated in conditions which could well increase the dangers of contamination. Although the worst-affected groups are those with sexually-transmitted diseases (STD), those who have had blood transfusions and the babies of infected parents, another section of the population running the gravest danger is the teenagers ( 15-30% of HIV-positive patients?), because of the high-risk behaviour of some Zambian adults. Dr. Ben Chirwa, who is also director and coordinator of the national AIDS control programme, says that here in Zambia, definitely there is what you might call a sugar-daddy syndrome, where you find older people have a tendency to go for sexual relations with younger girls, teenagers particularly, a phenomenon which is discussed in both medical circles and the Lusaka newspapers. Therefore there is a potentially greater risk of transmitting the infection to younger girls Dr Chirwa concluded. An example of unreasonable behaviour whose syndrome may well mask another syndrome, AIDS.
Ultimately, the risk to young men (in the 20-25 age-group) is greater too, as they are the natural partners of these girls once they are post-adolescent.
Of course, the WHO officer in Lusaka says, there is no point in getting more alarmed about Zambia than other ACPs like Barbados, which has the highest rate of AIDS victims and carriers in the Caribbean (figures as of 31 March 1989), or African countries on a line between Congo and Malawi and crossing Zaire, Burundi, Rwanda and Zambia. And the Zambian Government should be congratulated for its open-minded approach to the AIDS issue.
However, the economic consequences of a high rate of HIV-positive youngsters are more serious for the country in the long term, they say in Lusaka. And, given the conditions described, when these young people reach the age at which they should be going to work, they will already have AIDS and be unable to take over from the older workers if nothing is done about the problem- which is why special attention has to be given to this aspect of transmission of the virus.
And the huge efforts which the WHO, the European Community, bilateral aid and the Government itself are making to control AIDS are beginning to bear fruit, particularly in the field of sexually-transmitted diseases.
Zambias economic problems have long been focused on copper, probably because it has shaped the countrys history. Yet Zambia is more than just a mineral, however important that mineral may be in the lives of the people. It is a large country with a small population and its natural conditions are particularly good when it comes to switching from the production of a single mineral to a diversified industrial economy with farming as the driving force.
Agricultural development is the most promising way of righting the national economy. In 1984 and 1985 it was the only sector with positive growth (up to 9 % even, in 1985), doing far better than all the others. The land is fertile, there is adequate and reliable rainfall, there is a varied tropical climate and the countrys agricultural potential is as good or better than that of neighbours such as Zimbabwe, Za and, to some extent, South Africa. And the moderate average temperature means that most tropical and some temperate products can be grown here.
However, this potential has been ignored or under-exploited since independence, partly because of the predominance of copper (90 % of exports) and partly because of an inefficient and discouraging agricultural organisation and marketing system. Exchange rates kept artificially high have encouraged the consumption of cheap imports, while local products at consumers level have been heavily subsidised by the Government, which fixed low prices for the producers to ensure an inexpensive source of staple agricultural products. So following the first changes to the agricultural policy in the late 70s (to cater for the oil crisis and the decline in copper prices), agriculture accounted for an average of 17 % p.a. (about 2 % of export revenue) in 1984-88, although it employed 50% of the population, the other 50 % being in the towns. It is thought that urban drift could reach dramatic proportions if rapid steps are not taken to improve rural living conditions and make farming attractive to people from the towns. Agricultural prices, transport and an unsecured land tenure system are just some of the major constraints on the development of Zambian farming. And although the National Agricultural Marketing Board (Namboard) and the Provincial Cooperative Unions distribute most of the inputs (fertilizer, seed, etc) and provide most of the marketing services, there are still major financial and logistical difficulties to cope with.
The Kabwe peasants
We visited the small peasant producers of Kabwe, in the Central Province, in order to get a better grasp of the difficulties facing Zambian agriculture, and discussed the life of a smallholder with a family from Lifwambula.
They talked about agricultural prices. We dont understand any of the price fixing machinery, the head of the family said. A bag of fertiliser cost K85 in 1988, but it went up to K385 (a 353% rise) in one go in 1989. A bag of maize (90 kg) went up to K 125 from K 108 (16%) over the same period. How can the producer pay for all the inputs he needs per unit with K 125? they wondered. There is LIMA bank, the farmers bank, of course, and this typical peasant family applied to it for a loan, but they told us the bank had run out of money, the man said, resignedly. Yet the headlines in that weeks papers were all about the Governments release of K1 billion to help the peasants through their bank. Maybe. But, as a technician who has been working in the region for 15 years asked, when will they get their loans, if they are ever granted?
One of the first results of all this is that the peasants tend to reduce their acreage. The farmer in Lifwambula was planning to go down from 30 acres (about 15 ha) to 20 acres (10 ha), particularly since it was already time to sow and the 1988-89 harvests delivered to the cooperatives between May and September had still not been paid for. The State, through the cooperatives, owed this small Kabwe village peasant K 75 000 for the 600 bags of maize he had delivered at K125 per bag. The farmers need the money to buy the inputs which, to cap it all, the State wont let the cooperatives supply for anything but cash, he said.
And not only is there a financial problem. Transport, too, is a serious handicap to economic and social life throughout the country and a genuine cause of discouragement and maybe bankruptcy for the small peasant. At the end of 1989, there were still 50 000 bags (4 500 toones) of maize from the 1988-89 harvest in Lifwambula and 49 000 (4 410 tonnes) in Chowa, stored in sheds built by the European Community, or piled up on wooden supports, prey to insects and the elements.
The situation is much the same in the livestock sector, too, although the rearers could well think they are better off than the rest of the farmers. Cattle prices tend to revolve round the beef prices, a Batoka farmer explained, and since with 2 kg of feed you can put up 7 kg of beef, at K 30 per kg,- the daily wage of a manual worker herding is doing better than the rest of Zambias agriculture. And it is in livestock that the big farmers are investing the most and having the greatest success with their move to change Government policy through the action of their organisation, the Commercial Farmers Bureau (see interview with Director John Hudson).
How do people manage with wages ever more inversely proportional to the cost of living? People dont shop according to their budget because of inflation, which is approaching the Latin American rate, one expatriate employer said. And there will be no solution, they say in Lusaka, until the economy provides its own answer through the machinery of supply and demand and a proper financial and monetary environment.
The sleeping giant of African agriculture
This is the title of a brochure from the Commercial Farmers Bureau and it is by no means just a partisan opinion by people wanting to be judges in their own case. All the analyses by international organisations agree that Zambias agricultural potential is one of the best in Africa and that it is this sector as a whole that will make it possible to right the economy.
But this means removing a number of constraints to do with financing, marketing and the system of land ownership- - which is as uncertain as the system of price fixing. Investors need to feel some confidence in State policy and the laws governing land usage, John Hudson said, but this is not yet completely the case, particularly when it comes to land ownership. Other important measures should be taken, too, particularly to do with small producers, agricultural credit facilities and the development of the extension services.
John Hudson said that the Government had begun to move in the right direction. Zambia is one of the last farming frontiers in the world. It has enormous potential. It could become the breadbasket of South-central Africa he maintained.
It is up to the Government now to create the conditions for the success of the sector which is the key to Zambias economic recovery.
In this interview Mr Hudson outlines the commercial farmers analysis of the agricultural development policy.
· You said Zambia has great agricultural potential, but it only has 1.5 million hectares, or 6 % of the total of 25 million hectares, now under cultivation. Why?
- Well, there are several reasons for this, some of them historical. But basically, Zambia has been distracted from agriculture by the presence of very valuable mineral deposits, principally copper, on which this country relied for many years for its foreign exchange (and also government revenue).
This was the case really until the mid-70s, by which time the world price of copper began to fall and oil prices began to rise. And it also came to be realised that the copper deposits would not last for ever and in fact would run out by the end of the century. And so, really, from those years there was greater realisation of the need to develop agriculture and also, I think, the realisation of the enormous agricultural potential that there is, and which had never been fully developed in the past.
· What is the situation today? Before the mid-70s, 1 understand, the government gave priority to the state farming system...
- When the Government had decided that more attention had to be paid to farming, the initial reaction was to set up a number of large state ranches and farms in various provinces in the country. In fact, the results did not match the expectations. They then turned to the private sector and realised that the provision of suitable incentives and, particularly, better producer prices and certain tax concessions was the best way of getting the production they wanted.
· How many states farms are now operating in Zambia?
- Im not exactly sure, but I think one or two have actually started, and they only have a very limited scale and are run by the Zambian National Service. But there are, of course, some much more successful state enterprises run by Zambia Agricultural Development Ltd., which has large cattle ranches in Southern Province and Northern Province, and I think some in Central Province. That is a parastatal company, not a direct government agency.
· But do the ranches, or lets say cattle, take priority over food production?
- Well, I dont think its true to say it takes
priority over food production. Its an alternative to food production and
supplements it. Beef, of course, is a form of food. But there is a choice facing
every farmer, and to some extent, every government, and that is whether grain
be fed directly to humans in the form of meal or bread or whatever it may be, or should it be fed to livestock to produce beef and other meat.
And theres still a certain tendency in government circles here to feel that grain should be reserved for human consumption rather than fed to cattle, but because of the rather low producer price of maize, in particular at the moment, some farmers find it more profitable to feed maize to their livestock rather than to sell it to the government marketing agencies, and this is the situation were in at present.
It is unusual to have beef shortages...
· Nevertheless, beef prices are still very high in Zambia. What is your view about this?
- The price of beef is a very interesting illustration of how a free market price operates. Until about 1970, the price of beef was controlled by government legislation at a level which was not an incentive for farmers. The result was constant shortages of beef and the necessity to import beef from Botswana to make up those shortages. Early in the 70s, the government decided to de-control the beef price and to ban imports from other countries. The result was that the price shot up initially, but as resources were attracted into the beef industry, the price fell back again to a much lower level because of the additional supplies that came onto the market, and since that time a very thriving beef industry has been built up in Zambia. It is very unusual to have beef shortages and they only occur, possibly, because of localised restrictions on cattle movement due to disease outbreaks, and we have in fact now developed an export industry for beef. A good deal of beef is being exported.
· To which countries?
- To Za, Angola and Gabon, largely. We cant export to the EEC because of the presence of endemic foot-and-mouth disease here. But the fact that the market was free to respond to supply and demand meant that we have become self-sufficient, and not only that, supply and demand are being kept well in balance with seasonal fluctuations, so successfully in the case of beef that the price of beef has risen much less than the prices of almost any other foodstuff in the country since the early 1970s- even rolled meal. Rolled meal has gone up more than the price of beef even though it is price-controlled. So, in real terms, the price of beef is lower now than it was in the 1970s and we always quote this as an example of the benefits of a free market and the evils of price control.
· How many commercial farmers are there in Zambia compared to other neighbouring countries, for instance?
- It depends on how you define a commercial farmer, and theres a good deal of argument about that. The definition we usually take is a very rough one- a farmer who is cultivating more than 40 hectares of land. But this is not a really satisfactory yardstick because its possible to be a highly profitable commercial farmer on very much less than that if you are farming intensively, for example, poultry, or pigs, or irrigated vegetables or fruit. But, on that basis, I suppose there are between 500-600 commercial farms, ranging from the 40-hectare level right up to big estates. In Zimbabwe, for example, there has been far more farming development in the past and I think the number of commercial farms, in the sense Ive mentioned, probably runs into several thousand. In Malawi, there are far fewer. There are some large estates for tea and tobacco and cotton and sugar, but very few large commercial farmers in any other sense. In Tanzania, I think there are some fairly large state farming concerns, but generally speaking its overwhelmingly a peasant operation there.
· What do commercial farmers produce?
- Well, almost any sort of crop can be grown in Zambia, both tropical and temperate. The main crop has always been maize and that counts today for about 70% of the cultivation done in Zambia.
· Compared to the needs of the country, is that enough?
- In recent years weve had some good seasons and quite an increase in the planted acreage and we have achieved self-sufficiency in maize. If we had another bad year, or the price was found unattractive, as it has been in this current season, that may change.
· Apart from maize, what other crops are we talking about?
- Well, I should say after maize, the biggest crop is probably soya beans at the moment. These were introduced only about 10 years ago on any scale in Zambia and there has been a very steady increase in production. We are now about half way to self-sufficiency and we hope to achieve that very soon. Groundnuts are substantial, so is sunflower; coffee is increasing and almost all are exported. Coffee is expanding fairly rapidly and although the present level of world prices has been a bit of a setback, I think expansion will continue, though at a rather lower level.
Farmers feel that, ultimately, the price will pick up again and we do produce a particularly good variety of coffee in Zambia. It is Arabica and its quality and flavour command quite a good premium on world markets. So were rather better off than the people who are producing Robusta coffee.
· Is there a wheat problem in Zambia?
- There is, indeed, a problem of wheat. The fact is that Zambia is quite capable of producing all its own wheat requirements and exporting wheat. Wheat grows exceptionally well here under irrigation and even to some extent under rainfed conditions. In 1990, local production, though increasing very fast will not meet more than about half the requirement. There will be a shortfall.
A painfully slow pace
· Transport and storage- what repercussions do you feel because of the shortcomings of these two?
- We have probably fairly adequate storage overall for the maize crop, but it is located in certain central points, mainly along the railway line, but also in some provincial centres. The problem arises because a lot of maize is produced in very remote rural areas and it is extremely difficult to organise transport to collect it from these places and bring it in to the storage areas before the rains start.
There are a number of reasons for this: due to foreign exchange shortages, the size of our transport fleet has been going down over the past line. few years as vehicles wear out and are not replaced or spare parts cant be found, and so our transport fleet is no longer really up to the job, though it could probably do it even at the present, reduced level if there was greater efficiency in loading and off-loading and turning it round. But the pace of this is painfully slow.
· Under LomII, we put emphasis on agricultural anti rural development . How did that work here?
- I think a lot of your aid to Zambia has been very positive. You have sent us funds for agricultural inputs, fertiliser, machinery and equipment, drugs and vaccines and so on. This is precisely the sort of aid that is most useful to us. It enables us to produce ourselves instead of relying on the outside world for food and we feel the EEC attitude is very positive.
· So other donors should do the same?
- I wish they would follow that line.
Interview by L.P.
Map of Zambia
752 620 km².
7.5 million (estimate mid-1988).
3.7% per annum.
53%, increasing by 6.6% per annum.
Lusaka (capital, 870 000 inhab.); Kitwe (472 000 inhab.); Ndola (443000 inhab.); Kabwe, Mufulira, Chingola, Luanshya, Linvingstone (98 000 inhab.).
(kwacha): at current prices 18 080 million (1987); it amounted to k 12 954 in 1986; at constant (1980) prices, 1986 GDP was 3 209 million kwacha.
GDP per capita:
2 487 kwacha; at constant (September 1989) prices: $ 156 and at 1988 official rate of exchange it was estimated at $ 538.
Copper (90%); cotton, coffee, tobacco (total 2%) and some stock farming products to Za and Gabon.
Food crops, equipment.
Main trading partners:
EEC Member States, USA.
$ 7 ten; it was $4.354 bn in 1987 (22% of GDP).
83 % of export receipts.
Currency Unit Zambian Kwacha (K).
US$ 1.00 = K 6.33 (Quarterly average for July-September
K 1.00 = US$ 0.16.
As of October 1, 1985, the value of the Zambian Kwacha was set by a weekly foreign exchange auction conducted by the Bank of Zambia. The following are average annual exchange rates for selected years. But since two or three years ago a fixed exchange rate had again been adopted.
K 1.00 = US$ 1.40
K 1.00 = US$ 1.55
K 1.00 = US$ 1.27
K 1.00 = US$ 1.15
K 1.00 = US$ 1.08
K 1.00 = US$ 0.80
K 1.00 = US$ 0.56
K 1.00 = US$ 0.37
K 1.00 = US$ 0.06
Source. World Bank.
Cooperation between the EEC and Zambia has developed considerably since Lom took effect in 1975. The Community let the country have something like ECU 348 million in grants, emergency aid and indicative programme, Sysmin and NGO contributions under the first three Conventions- EDF aid worth ECU 183.6 million for the indicative programmes, for example, and ECU 83 million for Sysmin- and there has been ECU 77 million from the EIBs own resources on top of this, bringing EEC aid to Zambia in 1975-90 up to about ECU 425 million. Regional organizations such as the Preferential Trade Area and SADCC, of which Zambia is also a member, received assistance from the Community too, so EEC aid covers a vast area of the nations economic and social development.
It was in 1982 that the Commission, of the European Communities announced that Zambia was in the first group of countries which the EEC would be joining in new schemes to help right their food imbalances and assist the development of farming and the rural world by helping devise a food strategy and giving the authorities assistance with running it. The Community has been giving the Government its support in the shape of food aid ever since. For various reasons to do with the economic situation, this has not reduced the need for European food aid- and President Kaunda has even said it tended to discourage the Zambians from making an effort to improve their agriculture. Yet food aid has been very useful to these people.
Sysmin, the Lomining support system, has made a major financial contribution to maintaining and developing Zambias copper and other mineral industries. Copper makes up the bulk of the countrys export earnings and a combination of lower world market prices and dwindling production hit State finances hard. Sysmin has been a great help in keeping Zambian mining afloat since October 1981 and Francis Kaunda, the head of ZCCM, stressed the importance of this Community aid, which has made it possible for the company to handle its equipment and management problems. By early 1990, the Community had ploughed something like ECU 83 million into getting Zambian mining off the ground again.
The Community has always attached a lot of importance to agricultural development and it gives assistance with every aspect of food production and livestock throughout almost all the countrys nine provinces. And there have been projects too, often very large ones, such as the Maize Development Project (Kabwe, Centre Province) involving 35 000 km² and 30 000 smallholders.
The Community wants to develop vast areas and grow maize, the Zambians staple food, by improving the extension service, using draught animals and providing technical assistance and follow-up for the smallholders in this area.
The cost of this, ECU 13.154 million, is being covered by EDF (ECU 12.350 million) and the Zambian Government.
The Community is helping in the livestock sector too, with a financial contribution to a big (9070 hectare) dairy ranch in Batoka. The idea here is to improve both the farmers income and the diet of the rural population and it is working, as the scheme brought in ZK 3 213 246 (about $ 201000 at the official exchange rate in September 1989) for an outlay of ZK 1 515692 ($95000) in 1988. And there were expected to be similar developments in 1989, in spite of a fivefold increase in the price of inputs due mainly to inflation and the devaluation of the kwacha.
Other aspects of Community aid
Zambias external payments problem led the Community to speed up both commitments and financing, payments going up from ECU 21 million in 1987 to ECU 25.5 million in 1988. And about ECU 20 million have already been committed for the special import programme in 1990.
On the health front, Zambia will be getting about ECU 1.5 million of the ECU 35 million the Community is earmarking for AIDS control in the ACP States.
The Community as such is one of Zambias biggest providers of aid and is seen as such by the Zambian authorities. Figures for this aid are set out in the tables.
Summary of Community financing in Zambia (4th, 5th and 6th EDFs)
The 4th, 5th and 6th EDFs totalled ECU 191.4 million, divided as follows: 4th EDF ECU 45 100 million, 5th EDF ECU 58.00 million, 6th EDF ECU 88.3 million. The situation as of 23 March 1990 was as follows for the 5th and 6th Funds, the 4th being virtually closed.
5th EDF programmes and projects financing and 6th EDF programme and projects financing
SADCC the Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference- is to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year, when it will acquire its tenth Member State (Namibia), and the celebrations coincide with what is surely a turning point in the history of the region. Founded in 1980- in the very hall, the Mulungushi Hall in Lusaka, where in February this years Consultative Conference took place- the first decade of the organisations existence was dominated by the struggle by its Member States to achieve economic liberation. Kenneth Kaunda, Zambias President, recalled in his opening address to the 1990 conference all the objectives that the organization had then set itself. In addition to the lessening of economic dependence (particularly, of course, on South Africa), the nine Member States set out to forge links to create regional integration, to mobilise funds for inter-state and regional policies, and to act together to secure assistance from cooperating partners in carrying out the strategy to be developed for economic liberation. That strategy, in the early 1980s, had centred on the rehabilitation and creation of infrastructure with an emphasis on transport, communications, civil aviation and energy. Over the last three years, priority has been given also to issues relating to the promotion of trade, investment and production in the region. The strategy for the second decade - and the chosen theme of the 1990 Conference- will give priority to creating an enabling environment for the development of enterprise, skills and productivity.
A nightmare decade for Southern Africa was how Peter Mmusi, Botswanas Vice-President and Chairman of the SADCC Council of Ministers, described SADCCs first ten years, when developments in Southern Africa were dominated by issues of political liberation and race. Nevertheless, Mr Mmusi said, the initial scepticism with which the establishment of SADCC had been met had proved unjustified and the predictions of its early collapse had not been fulfilled. SADCC had spent ten years foundation-building, and had emerged from the decade dented but undaunted .
Though the purpose of the Conference was rather to look at the challenges and responses in the SADCC region in the 1990s and beyond, there was, inevitably, a measure of retrospection. Politically, the 1980s had opened with a major independence- that of Zimbabwe- and so, too, would the 1990s, with the successful implementation of the UN Security Councils Resolution 435 on Namibia. That left South Africa as the only country in the region not yet enjoying majority rule, and even there was movement: in dramatic fashion, on the second day of the Lusaka gathering, came news from Pretoria of the partial lifting of the state of emergency, including the unbanning of liberation movements such as the African National Congress (ANC). On the negative side was the fact that for two Member States- Angola and Mozambique the 1980s had been dominated by conflicts which had not only created immense human suffering but which had, also, of course, vastly undermined efforts at development. Destabilisation, in one form or another, was claimed to have cost 1.5 million lives in the region as a whole, and to have destroyed property and infrastructure worth an estimated US$ 60 billion. But SADCC, it was acknowledged, had greatly contributed to creating and consolidating a sense of community and common interest in the region, and the political will amongst Member States to pursue in this direction was evident.
A fragile success emerging
Economically, achievements had been mixed. The region as a whole, with a population of 75 million, has a GDP of about $ 25 bn- the equivalent of half that of Portugal. Only two Member States had recorded positive per capita income growth during the 1980s, though the picture since 1988 had been more encouraging. Then, for the first time in the decade, income had risen in the region as a whole, and the signs were that this trend would continue in 1989, with an average regional GDP growth of some 4.5 %. SADCC has made a good beginning, Edward Jaycox, the World Bank Africa Regions Vice-President affirmed, adding however a note of caution: We must not exaggerate these positive signs. More needs to be done, and the emerging success is fragile.
That success had been achieved in what President Kaunda described as a hostile international economic environment... characterised by a deterioration in the terms of trade... declining foreign exchange inflows... and a worsening debt situation. Investment had declined since the early 1980s, with the 1987 rate merely half what it had been in 1970. Unemployment also, was becoming an ever more serious problem in the region, President Kaundasaid, particularly amongst its youth. There was a need to create jobs for more than I 000 school-leavers every day- an impossible task.
Grant aid to the region, however, had doubled over the decade, reaching close to $ 3.4 billion in 1988 (see Fig. 1)- a testimony to the growing confidence on the part of the donor community that funds allocated to the SADCC region were being put to constructive use. This, then, was the political and economic backcloth against which the 1990 Consultative Conference took place, with the SADCC Member States acutely aware that the challenges facing the region in the 1990s would be radically different from those of the 1980s. In terms of the global economy, new configurations were emerging- the European Single Market of 1992, the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the Pacific Rim trading bloc. Then there was the whole question of the break-up of communist rule in Eastern Europe, opening up as it would yet further North-North trading opportunities, Many donors felt constrained to reassure the SADCC countries that their assistance to Eastern Europe would not prejudice aid flows to the developing workd. The West German representative made no secret of the heavy pressure on his Government, indeed its moral obligation, to assist East Germany, in particular, but repeated Chancellor Kohls confirmation that that assistance would be in addition to and not in place of aid to the Third World. The events gave cause for great optimism in the SADCC region. After all, said the United States representative, If the Berlin Wall can come down, who is to say that the walls of apartheid cannot also be brought down?
A major challenge - the prospect of a democratic South Africa
This, of course, is the factor which, above all, will determine the future of the SADCC regions economy. If its Member States are to prosper, the motor for growth must come from within the region itself. (Full and lasting peace in Angola and Mozambique would also give a major boost to the regional economy). Democracy in South Africa in the 1990s was a distinct possibility, and Manuel Marin, the EECs Commissioner for Development, was amongst those to suggest that SADCC should be thinking about how a democratic, multiracial South Africa could contribute to the region and how SADCC could benefit from this.
He was also of the view that the time was ripe for SADCC to take on a greater leadership role, bringing together, coordinating and dynamising the factors that make for development in the region. It was, he believed, time to begin coordinating certain macro-economic aspects of national policy-making within a regional framework. If these issues of enterprise and productivity are to be seen in a regional context, then there is need for harmonisation, or at least coordination of national policies .
Strengthening the institutional framework
This would, inevitably, have a bearing on the institutional framework which, it was recognised, would need to be reassessed in view of the new challenges facing the region. As the Conference policy paper pointed out; Whatever institutions were adequate for dealing essentially with loose coordination of efforts may not be adequate for handling the more intricate problems of the 1990s.
The annual Consultative Conferences (which are not, strictly speaking, pledging conferences though they have tended to play this role) precisely fulfil the catalytic function for which they were designed. They do bring together, coordinate and dynamise the factors that make for development in the region and they do so in a pretty impressive fashion. No less than 33 cooperating governments were represented in Lusaka- and at high level- as were some 29 international development agencies. Before, during and after the plenary sessions (essentially a succession of speeches by the cooperating partners- national and international expressing their priorities or concerns for the SADCC countries development) small groups gather both formally and informally to discuss possible project funding or to sort out problems of implementation. This getting-together of SADCC secretariat officials, Member States government representatives and SADCC cooperation partners from, literally, all over the world facilitates encounters that would be time-consuming and expensive to organise otherwise, but which undoubtedly smooth and speed up the actual accomplishment of SADCC programmes. (The Programme of Action currently comprises programmes in the field of energy, food, agriculture and natural resources, industry and trade, manpower development and transport and communications. In all some 490 projects are involved, costed at US$ 6.3 bn though funds have not been identified for all programmer).
But the big speeches are. of course, vitally important, because they enable the SADCC countries to gauge the feelings of the donor community as to how the organization is performing (the Executive-Secretary, Simba Makoni, and the secretariat came in for much praise), where improvements could be made and what its future strategy should be.
Enterprise, skills and productivity
There was unanimous support for the priority given to investment in human resources, particularly in the development of skills as a prerequisite for greater entrepreneurial activity and higher productivity. The SADCC region was not without natural resources- indeed it has very considerable agricultural and mineral potential- but the potential of its greatest natural resource, its people, remained largely unfulfilled. In its second decade, the Member States realise, new challenges (not least, the increasingly competitive world market) would make it more vital than ever for the region to create its own wealth, attracting investment in productive activity and ensuring that the necessary skills were available, at all levels, to make growth sustainable.
Lynda Chalker, the UK Minister for Overseas Development, congratulated the SADCC Member States for focussing on the right issue: development from within. And Jan Pronk, her Dutch counterpart, also welcomed the fact that the strategy for the 1990s set out to construct the building beginning with the foundations, not with the roof. The representative of Japan, too, had good reason to commend human resource building as the key to development and modernisation, and Edward Jaycox, of the World Bank, suggested that expenditure on human resource development should double from present levels to reach 8-10% of sub-Saharan Africas GDP by the year 2000.
The role of the Community
The Communitys position was put both by the Irish Ambassador in Zambia (whose Minister, representing the Presidency of the Council, had been forced to leave for a vital vote in the Irish Parliament) and by Commissioner Marin. He stressed, in particular, the need to create a new climate., for industrial development and private investment to ensure the benefits 3 of a viable and dynamic private sector, and pointed to the ways in which the newly-signed LomV Convention- and the European Investment Bank could help the SADCC countries attain their objectives. He also noted that the European Community had offered more than mere words in support of the victims of apartheid, and that much of the considerable funding channelled to appropriate organizations in South Africa had gone to educational and training programmer. The Commission welcomed the stress on human resources and heartily agreed with the implied view that development means the valorisation of the human factor, both as a means and as an end.
Vital concerns: population and the environment
Both the Swedish and Norwegian ministers, Lena Hjelm-Wallen and Tom Vraalsen (the Nordic countries are premier donors to the SADCC region) were anxious to know how women- who make up 52% of the workforce- were to be integrated in the efforts to modernise trade. The Canadian government representative, Walter McLean, also questioned how much closer the SADCC countries were to involving women in the development process. How much training was on offer, for example, and how many scholarships had been awarded to women for higher education?
Maintenance was another of Minister Vraalsens concerns, and he suggested that a survey of the maintenance of SADCC infrastructural projects might usefully be conducted, the findings of which would make a fit subject for debate at the 1991 Consultative Conference. He was among many, too, to place supreme importance on environmental considerations. No other issue , he asserted, can claim higher priority.
A major environmental concern, raised by a number of cooperating partners, was that of population growth, currently averaging 3.3 % per annum and putting an added strain on the regions already strained financial and ecological resources. Only in the last two years of the 80s had economic growth kept ahead of population growth.
The SADCC countries are, of course, acutely aware of the problem: It is impossible to improve standards of living, create jobs or ensure adequate socio-economic facilities such as schools or hospitals at current rates of population growth.... The danger of over-exploitation of the environment they warn, often as a result of population pressure, should also be a matter of great concern to the region, and they call for policies and programmes that address this most sensitive of development issues.
With the anniversary conference drawing to a close, and donors reaffirming continued strong and generous support to SADCC, the Chairman pointed to the various celebrations that would take place in the region throughout the year - not least that to mark the independence of Namibia and its joining of the SADCC group. SADCC, its Member States and the cooperating partners all expressed their readiness to assist the new nation, and the announcement that (the then) President-elect Sam Nujoma had offered to host the 1991 Consultative Conference in Windhoek was enthusiastically received. Ten years on, with ten members, with much achieved and more remaining to be achieved, SADCC in 1990 is coming of age.
Myfanwy VAN DE VELDE
SADCC, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference, is a regional organisation now comprising nine Member States- Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A tenth country, Namibia, is expected to join after its independence in April 1990. The organisation was formed in April 1980 in Lusaka, Zambia.
Coordinating responsibilities for projects and programmes are assigned to individual Member States by sector, and are as follows.
Allocation of sector coordination to SADCC Member States
The SADCC Secretariat is based in Gaborone, Botswana, and its present Executive Secretary is the Zimbabwean, Dr Simba Makoni.
The present status of SADCC project financing by sector is as follows:
SADCC project financing status by sector - (Amounts in million $)
In a recent issue of The Courier (N° 118 of November-December 1989) we outlined Community relations with Eastern Europe. Even as the issue went to the printers, the facts contained in the article were wrong- overtaken by events. On 9 November 1989, the East German government changed, Honecker giving way first to Egon Krenz and then- in a caretaker role- to Hans Modrow, who was himself replaced after the March elections by the Christian Democratic Union. In Czechoslovakia, the years end saw the elevation to the Presidency of Vaclav Havel, a dissident playwright who had been in prison earlier that year. In Bulgaria, Todor Zhivkov was elbowed aside by Petar Mladenov, a reformer who, at the time of writing, was hard put to maintain himself against a democratic opposition. In Outer Mongolia, Stalins statue was pulled from its plinth in Ulan Bator, while in Romania, the dictator Ceauscescu and his wife perished in front of a firing squad as the National Salvation Front put itself at the head of the people who had risen in revolt. Inside the Soviet Union, political events of the first magnitude continued to follow each other, to the accompaniment of what can only be described as tribal warfare on the fringes of the Soviet Union. Even as this is being written, events are taking place which will make this introduction outdated, irrelevant and OBE - overtaken by events. In a dizzying whirl of political change, one thing remains tolerably certain: the commitment of the Group of 24 to help Eastern European countries who are pursuing political and economic liberalisation, and the position of the Commission as the lynch-pin of the world communitys efforts.
The Group of 24
The Group of 24 was set up in the aftermath of the July 1989 Summit of the worlds industrialised countries, known as the Summit of the Arch because of its location in Paris on the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, 14 (to 16) July. By I August the first coordinating conference of the Group was held, on the basis of the declaration made in Paris on 15 July: We, the Heads of State and Government of our seven countries and the representatives of the European Economic Community, reaffirm the overriding and universal importance which we attach to freedom, democracy and the furthering of human rights. We note these same aspirations for greater freedom and democracy showing themselves in the East. The people, and particularly the young people there, reaffirm their attachment to these values and are demanding a pluralist and democratic society... We offer the Eastern bloc countries the development of balanced economic cooperation on a sound commercial basis which would be compatible both with the security interests of each of our countries and with the general principles of international trade... We recognise that the political changes which are taking place in these countries (Poland and Hungary) will be difficult to under take without economic progress. Each one of us is ready to support the process and to provide, according to the needs and in a coordinated fashion, economic aid aimed at transforming and opening their economies in a durable manner. We think that each one of us should target aid to these countries in such a way as to maintain the pace of reform by inward investment, creation of joint ventures, transfer of management responsibilities, professional training and other operations which could contribute to the development of a more competitive economy... To this end, we request the Commission of the European Communities to take the necessary steps in agreement with the other Member States, and to associate with this move, apart from those participating at this Summit, all interested countries....
By I August, the interested countries numbered 24. And at the first meeting, participants were asked to submit to the Commission, within 30 days, summaries of their bilateral programmes with countries of Eastern Europe (at that time, and indeed, at the moment of writing, still officially restricted to Poland and Hungary) and their concepts of future concerted action, notably in the following areas:
- supply of agricultural products and the use of counterpart
funds for Poland;
- investment, venture capital information and joint ventures;
- management and professional training;
- additional possibilities for Polish and Hungarian exports;
- environmental cooperation.
The economic and social background
Perhaps it would be as well to describe the economic and social background a little, to explain the priorities adopted by the Group of 24. Poland, and to a lesser extent Hungary, were both victims of centrally-planned, state-controlled economic systems, in which private initiative and, even more, private ownership of any economic tools were strictly outlawed. Along with a one-party political system, there was a one-ideology economy: a central Ministry set targets for the number of, say, shoes, to be produced and this target was passed down the line to the factories. At the same time, perhaps, another Ministry issued a target for the number of cows to be raised for slaughter, and this target, too, was passed down the line to the state farms. If the number of cows to be slaughtered was less than the number of skins needed to make the number of shoes, the decision on what to do went all the way back to the top. If the number was greater? the skins hides would rot, because the shoe factory was interested in meeting the target not in making more shoes. After all, it would neither profit from more shoes made, nor lose by fewer (so long as the loss could be blamed an supply problems). It meant that production of goods was governed by bureaucratic goads, that quality, efficiency and inventiveness were at a discount and that workers invented the slogan They pretend to pay us, so we pretend to work. The result was that the goods produced were unsaleable abroad (there is a whole series of jokes about Eastern-bloc motor cars!) and increasingly unpopular at home. Even in the agricultural field, there was so much mismanagement, that Poland stood in urgent need of food aid. It was not aid to save lives, but to save reform processes. It was judged necessary to put food back into the shops so that popular discontent would not cause the fall or retreat of the new noncommunist government and the return of the country to draconian one-party rule.
Investing in the future
As for investment, the industrial side of these economies was based on outdated equipment (some still in use dating from before the 1914-18 war!) and working methods, on an ignorance of the real cost of inputs (they were simply transfers from one Ministry to another), on a crumbling infrastructure and appalling working conditions: life expectancy in Poland has actually fallen over the last two decades. Hence the need to invest in new equipment which is more efficient and environmentally sound; to train managers to be managers and not mere transmitters of orders downwards and excuses upwards; to research into what is wanted and in the way it is presented; to seek markets abroad and realistic pricing and financing at home. Without this stimulus, the system imposed by an ideology and maintained by a self-interested oligarchy of bureaucrats, would continue to produce nothing but raw materials for export and low-quality goods for home consumption.
And finally, as regards the macroeconomic picture, there is urgent need to cope with debt, inflation and monetary overhang (the term for an excess of cash which is barely convertible and which is chasing too few consumer goods or other areas of investment) Poland and Hungary, though their economies are in different conditions, have both agreed to the need for structural adjustment and reform of government financing.
And what of the leadership in Poland and Hungary? The Group of 24 first met on 1 August 1989 and has conducted further meetings on 26 September, 24 November, 13 December 1989 and 16 February 1990. The Foreign Ministers of Poland and Hungary have addressed the Group, outlining their governments economic and social policies, on 13 December 1989. According to Gyula Horn, Hungarys Foreign Minister, The main directions of our economic measures, envisaged or already introduced, are these:
- promoting property reform, broad privatisation and the expansion of private property and developing ownership schemes for institutional investors;
- we have started to reappraise the role of the State and its withdrawal from business decisions, to generally liberalise and deregulate the domestic economy; to dismantle the barriers to market development and to devise modern rules to govern anti-monopoly competition;
- opening to the world economy, liberalisation of foreign trade and foreign investments, and switching the major intra-CMEA transactions of Hungary to convertible currency accounting;
- establishing the missing institutions of the market through state initiative and support;
- creating the social policy institutions, with a relative degree of autonomy, of a modern welfare state;
- strengthening local self-government enjoying wide-ranging autonomy.
And, in summing up, he added I must stress that the innovative arrangements do not serve, in our case, the salvation of the present Government, but rather guarantee a peaceful transition to the rule of law. This will enable the political leadership to emerge after the free elections to start working free from paralysing pressures .
Food aid and agricultural reform
The response by the Group of 24 to this heavy challenge has been selective, but weighty. Priorities have been drawn up for both Poland and Hungary. In Polands case, the most immediate priority has been food aid, and by 16 February 1990, ECU 380 m worth of food aid had been mobilised and largely delivered, including 562 000 tons of maize, 200 000 tons of barley, III 500 tons of sorghum, 73 000 tons of soya meal, 10 400 tons of meat, 5 000 tons of vegetable oil, 4 500 tons of butter, 3 500 tons of oranges, 500 tons of cheese and 270 tons of milk powder. New requests, especially for wheat flour, amounting to over a million tons have been made, and the Community is mobilising over half of this.
On the broader agricultural front, the Commission is seeking to stimulate agricultural production, partly with the use of counterpart funds generated by the sale of food aid, partly by furnishing inputs and technical assistance. At present, the furthest advanced programme is that concerning plant protection involving supply of products and technical assistance to protect cereal, sugar-beet, potato and rape crops. The costs are estimated at around ECU 50 m. Another programme envisaged concerns the supply of animal feeds for about ECU 20 m, while a third programme, currently being studied concerns the supply of second-hand farm machinery to the under-mechanised farm sector. The counterpart funds generated by food aid sales have reached 400 billion Zloty and a Counterpart Fund Foundation has been set up to finance the following:
- quantitative and qualitative growth of agricultural
- development of agricultural and food processing;
- development and improving productivity in commodities and turnover in procurement, transport, storage and trade;
- multidirectional development of production of inputs for agriculture and food economy;
- development of infrastructure and improvement of the standard of living in the countryside;
- training of farmers and specialists in modern methods and technologies of production, storage and agricultural and food, processing.
Between 70 % and 80 % of the counterpart funds will be available, through the banking system, for credits to persons and institutions investing in the above areas and the rest will be invested to replenish the Foundations funds. Up to the time of writing, some 30 bn Zlotys have been earmarked for various projects and 4 bn Zlotys have been set aside as a contribution to a rural water supply scheme.
Reforming the finances
Over and above matters of immediate concern, like food aid, or even longer-term matters like agricultural credit and assistance, there is a pressing need to reorganise the financial and organisational basis of the economy, including agriculture. Thus, in the wider context of institutional reforms, in both Poland and Hungary, emphasis is being placed on privatisation, attracting investment finance from abroad and lending to economic operators at home. In Poland, a multi-annual privatization programme is being planned and this will be overseen by a privatisation agency. In both countries, banks and investment companies are needed, and stock exchanges are planned. The Group of 24 has already put together ECU 735.75 m in possible and firm commitments, on both grant and loan bases, for investments, joint ventures and industrial development credits, for Poland and Hungary.
In terms of project finance, the EEC is proceeding with the creation of a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development which will dispose of ECU I bn-worth of loans to the two countries, while the World Bank expects to have reached the $1 bn level by the end of 1990. Japan is putting $1 bn forward in the context of both investment and structural adjustment loans, and the EEC has further earmarked ECU 300 m in grants for projects for 1990 in various fields.
In terms of public finance, there are two distinct areas: contributions to Polands Stabilisation Fund (which now stand at around $1000 m) and to a possible Hungarian structural adjustment facility of which $400m has been agreed by the Community, and export credits, subject to a variety of criteria, which total around $ 3.5 bn for the two countries. All of this money is destined to enable the two economies to emerge from the fantasy world of state accounting and nonconvertible currency transactions into the harsh, but real, world. The Stabilisation Funds aim is to service and reduce foreign debt, while the export credits are aimed at helping both countries to earn the foreign exchange they require for the future. Credit alone could not achieve this: as External Relations Commissioner Frans Andriessen said on 13 December when addressing the Group of 24, Important actions have been taken by the 24 to improve access to their markets for Polish and Hungarian exports. Most members of the 24 (including the Community) now offer Most Favoured Nation treatment and are extending the benefits of their generalised systems of preferences to Poland and Hungary. The Community has abolished or suspended quantitative restrictions and made concessions on agricultural products of particular interest to Poland and Hungary. Over and above these vast sums, destined to take these two countries into the world trading and financial system, are smaller sums aimed at repairing the physical damage and educational gaps caused by 40 years of ideologically-based one-party rule. True to its materialist creed, socialist economics, using wasteful and damaging means, caused some of the worst pollution problems anywhere in Europe, atmospheric (sulphur dioxide emissions) water (heavy metal content) and land (destruction of forests by acid rain). As long as the credo of maximum production (however wasteful) held sway, nothing could be done to halt the destruction of the environment and the deterioration of public health - not to say the gradual ruin of beautiful old cities like Cracow whose stones were eaten away by polluting acids. Now, the Group of 24 has committed around ECU 160 m to environmental clean-up.
Human resources - unlocking the doors
And the human cost must be counted too. Although in material
terms, life in Poland and Hungary might have seemed merely a shabbier version of
life in the West, two whole areas, one moral and one material, were simply left
out of the equation. In moral terms, Poland and Hungary were not states of
law and there was little or no freedom of opinion or expression. The
formation of clubs and societies which ran themselves was dangerous to
public order as was the dissemination of any views which diverged
from those held by those in power. Thus there was no
such thing as industry, there was only socialist industry , no such thing as geography , only socialist geography. In brief, there is a great need for students and teachers and people from all walks of life in those countries to interact with their counterparts in Western Europe, to learn about the way politics can operate, how to form small, autonomous clubs and societies, how to conduct the affairs of a corporation or society in a normal manner. And, as well as this moral dimension, there is the material one. Management, finance, administration, applied science and technology, business studies, environmental sciences, European languages, applied economics, agriculture were all subjects either neglected or subjectively and partially taught. Yet if these countries are to succeed in the modern world, they will have to learn the techniques associated with it- packaging, marketing, accountancy, public relations, stockbroking, environmental health, and so on, which simply did not exist in socialist economies.
The Group of 24 sees this area as a vital one, and commitments and near-commitments of nearly ECU 240 m have now been made, covering not only the more technical aspects mentioned above but cultural cooperation, legal training and support for democratic institutions. (It is hardly surprising that, after 40 years of one-party rule, few people can remember the details of the democratic process).
The Community has made its own very special contribution to the problem of human resources. It is setting up a European Training Foundation, with the active participation of the Group of 24, which could serve as the technical clearing-house and organisational base for the various training activities envisaged. Although the Foundation would be financed from the Community budget, as a Community agency, the Commission envisages that it should be designed to permit the active participation of, and receive financial contributions from, other countries of the Group of 24. The Commission envisages that private industry and foundations would also be able to contribute to such cooperation.
And for 1990, the Commission has launched TEMPUS (Trans-European Mobility Programme for University Students) with a budget of ECU 20 m, expected to rise to a total of ECU 107 m by end-1992. This scheme is analogous to the intra-Community ERASMUS scheme (described in The Courier N° 105, September-October 1987) through which, in 1989, over 30000 students and professors were exchanged. Poland and Hungary attach high importance to youth mobility and exchange, and the previous experience of the Commission in this field (not only ERASMUS, but also the other, related, programmes COMETT, SCIENCE, SPES, YOUTH FOR EUROPE and LINGUA) makes it the ideal operator for a scheme which will have many common features with existing programmes and share the technical resource base with them. A separate but similar scheme to ERASMUS will give it the flexibility to associate private foundations, industry and governments of the Group of 24 in sponsoring or financing exchanges. The first years budget will enable TEMPUS to finance ECU 7 m-worth of participation in joint European projects, 700 one-term study periods, 500 visits, 300 teaching/training periods and 625 placements in 1990.
To achieve this massive work of coordination, planning and execution, the Commission has created a task force inside the Directorate-General for External Relations. It is called PHARE- the French for lighthouse- which is the acronym for Assistance for the Economic Reconstruction of Poland and Hungary and which was first used to denote the whole operation confided to it by the Paris Summit. By the time this article is printed, it will probably have to take into consideration requests from East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Romania. It will be managing, or coordinating, a budget of billions. It will be engaged on the task of transforming whole nations. The PHARE task-force is little more than 30-stony. It was an excellent choice of acronym. PHARE is a lighthouse, a beacon of hope to nations emerging from 40 years of near-darkness.
Refugees have existed since long before the days of Moses in Egypt, and for long after. They will, in all probability- because human nature is what it is- always exist, shifting in numbers and in geographical concentration, seeking protection from war, persecution, political or religious repression, natural disaster, hunger, poverty...
Those who accept them within their borders are not always those best placed to offer comfort: those who are best placed are not always, collectively, generous or willing in their support.
In 1990 the toll of refugees worldwide stands at 16 million- double that of a decade ago- and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the premier refugee assistance organisation, finds itself able to spend only half as much on care per refugee as in 1980. Successful repatriations, such as the one in Uganda featured in this Dossier, will become increasingly difficult to undertake unless additional funds are secured, and even the most fundamental of refugee holding operations are likely to be jeopardised if the crisis is not resolved.
Meanwhile, where are the worlds refugees, what rights do they enjoy, and what is current thinking on how the refugee question should be tackled? Where is the dividing line between a refugee and an economic migrant? How are refugees cared for, and is that care to be seen as charity? Would more be achieved if an appeal was made to donor self-interest?
What is the outlook for refugees and displaced persons in Africa, in particular? Have there been bright spots in an incontrovertibly gloomy decade? How does Europe deal with asylum-seekers and refugees from the developing world, and what does it feel like to be a refugee from the developing world in Europe? Will Europe, with the democratisation of its eastern flank, cease to be refugee-producing?
These questions, and some of their answers, form the substance of this Dossier. The refugee issue is a vital one to developing and developed countries alike one which the world in general has every interest in resolving. To ignore it is to compromise our future.
by Michel MOUSSALLI
The aim of international action in favour of refugees is to provide them with protection and assistance and, in cooperation with Governments and organisations concerned, seek lasting solutions to their problems, so that they can cease being refugees as soon as possible and be able to lead a normal and dignified life again. A refugee ceases being a refugee as soon as he can return, freely, to his own country or settle in and take the nationality of his host country.
That, in simplified terms, is the mandate which the UN General Assembly entrusted to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 1950.
It was discharged fairly normally for the first two decades. But, in the 70s, crisis situations and regional conflicts began to increase and intensify, creating ever-larger numbers of refugees, with no foreseeable solutions to their problems.
And the International Community, which alone can supply the High Commissioner with the means to perform his functions, was beginning to show signs of lassitude in face of constantly expanding and seemingly never-ending assistance programmes.
With the spectacular developments and daring political initiatives which have taken place over the last three years, it now appears that the world is at lust to emerge from this infernal cycle and that peaceful solutions will finally bring to an end the tragic stagnation of so many refugee situations.
So, with hope returning and solutions in sight for refugees in hitherto irrevocable situations, it may be useful to briefly describe the main situations of refugees in the world, outlining their principal characteristics and future prospects.
Refugees in the world today
There are currently more than 15 million refugees in the world within the competence of UNHCR. To provide them with international protection and assistance, UMICR maintains 127 offices spread: over the five continents.
1. In Asia
a) The Afghan refugees
The Afghan refugees are the largest group of refugees in the world today. About 5 million of them (a quarter of the national population), found a generous refuge in Pakistan (3 million) and in Iran (2 million). Nearly all of them have but one wish- to return home in freedom and dignity. This idea seemed unrealistic barely three years ago, but now, thanks to the good offices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, it has become a clear possibility strongly encouraged by the whole of the international community. The difficulties created, however, by all these years of war are still considerable and constitute serious obstacles to the return of the refugees.
For its part, UNHCR is ready to prepare and facilitate the return and reintegration of the Afghan: refugees and is already present in Kabul and in other regions of Afghanistan as a member of the team of the United Nations Coordinator for Afghanistan, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan.
b) South-East Asia
The main groups of refugees in South-East Asia are the Vietnamese ( 114 000), the Cambodians (17 000 in the camps and 300 000 on the border) and the Laotians (68 000). Cambodian and Laotian refugees have found shelter primarily in Thailand. The situation of the Cambodians on the border between Cambodia and Thailand has been extremely precarious so far.
The situation of the Vietnamese refugees calls for particular attention. Traditionally, refugees find shelter and protection in countries near their own, but, for the first time in the history of refugee movements countries of South-East Asia refused to welcome the Vietnamese refugees who fled in their thousands when the war was over, claiming that the war in Vietnam was a Western responsibility. Some countries even pushed refugees back to die out at sea. At that stage, the British Prime Minister suggested an international conference of South-East Asian and Western countries. The Conference was held in Geneva in 1979 under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and it led to a compromise, with the South-East Asians agreeing to give temporary asylum to the Vietnamese refugees and the Western countries responding by agreeing to do their utmost to offer a permanent home and integration in their societies. In an outburst of exceptional solidarity, more than 1 200 000 refugees have since been welcomed in most of the Western countries.
In view, however, of the growing concern which several countries felt in recent years towards the continual departures from Vietnam, and their fear that some of these departures were motivated by economic reasons UNHCR, in cooperation with the countries of the region and other countries concerned, took steps to propose a review of the whole issue in order to find the most appropriate solutions. Thus, in June of last year, the second international conference on Vietnamese refugees was held in Geneva and a global plan stating what needed to be done was produced (now commonly referred to as the Comprehensive Plan of Action ). A turning point in the matter was no doubt Vietnams formal declaration that it was willing to welcome back refugees who wanted to return to their country of their own free will. The situation in Hong Kong was carefully examined and it was decided that everything should be done to encourage voluntary repatriation (almost 1300 Vietnamese have taken advantage of this so far and a further 2000 have said they would like to). So far the boat people had been generally accepted as refugees without going through a formal screening procedure. It was now decided to fix a date- 15 March 1989 after which all new arrivals from Vietnam would have their request for asylum examined to see whether they in fact qualified for refugee status. Procedures to this effect would have to be established in cooperation with UNHCR.
People who were not deemed to be refugees would, in principle, be sent back to Vietnam, a provision which provoked heated discussions, as the USA did not want to see any forced returns before I January 1991, whereas Vietnam stated that such returns should not take place before I October 1990. The United Kingdom wanted to be able to send non-refugees back immediately, but ultimately came round to the Vietnamese position. However, the US position on the date was firm and UNHCR was given the delicate task of handling the problem.
UNHCR has been present in Vietnam for many years now, both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and will be glad to play its traditional role in the voluntary repatriation of refugees and in their reintegration, in safety and dignity, in their own country.
There also exist strong hopes for a political solution to the Cambodian problem thanks to the withdrawal of the Vietnamese troops and to the initiatives of various countries and of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This political solution is keenly awaited by the unfortunate Cambodian populations on the border, who are constantly prey to all kinds of pressure and have been hoping, for more than 10 years now, to be able return home unhindered.
c) The Sri Lankan refugees
Violent conflicts between the different communities in Sri Lanka sent thousands (130 000) of the countrys large Tamil minority to India, mainly to the State of Tamil Nadu where the Indian Tamils live. As many as 80 000 fled to the West. Talks have been going on between the various parties in the conflict, with Indias help, for some years now, and they have recently produced a number of agreements which, it is hoped, will bring peace back to the island. Some 43 000 Tamil refugees have already left India and gone home to Sri Lanka and UNHCR has opened an office in Colombo and four sub-regional offices in Mannar, Jaffna, Trincomalee and Rameswaram to help the authorities in their reintegration.
2. In Africa
Another part of the world with particularly serious refugee problems is Africa and, first and foremost, the Horn (Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia) and the Sudan. More than a million Ethiopian refugees have found asylum in Somalia and the Sudan, almost 350 000 Somalis have gone to Ethiopia and there are almost 450 000 Sudanese in Ethiopia and Uganda. And in West Africa, nearly 130 000 Liberian refugees flooded into neighbouring Guinea and Ivory Coast in the first few months of this year.
The largest group of refugees in southern Africa comes from Mozambique. There are more than a million, 850 000 of them now in Malawi. Then the Namibians, who mainly sought shelter in Angola. And lastly, in North Africa, mainly Algeria, there are the 165 000 Sahrawis.
The past three years, mercifully, have seen the voluntary repatriation of 300 000 Ugandan refugees from South Sudan and Haut Zaire, and of almost 54 000 Burundis, who had taken refuge in Rwanda following events which attracted serious attention in Belgium.
The most spectacular event in Africa in 1989 was, undeniably, the Namibian peoples opportunity to choose its own destiny, under the auspices of the UN, following agreements with South Africa, Angola and other countries directly involved. Under the auspices of the special representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Namibia, UNHCR organised the return of more than 43 000 Namibian refugees, most of whom found refuge in Angola. After more than 15 years of incessant work, it was a source of profound satisfaction to UNHCR to see such a happy ending to a refugee situation.
A political solution also seems to be underway in the Western Sahara conflict thanks to the efforts of the OAU and of the UN Secretary-General and, above all, thanks to the conciliatory climate which has been created between sister countries in North Africa. A political solution will no doubt enable most of the Sahrawi refugees to return home.
Other refugee situations in Africa do not, alas, seem to be developing well, in spite of efforts of various Governments and of the OAU. The international community will have to remain watchful for some time to come, providing relief and assistance to the unfortunate victims of conflicts in these regions.
3. In the Middle East
The main refugee groups in the Middle East are the Iranians, the Iraqis and the Lebanese. Most of the Iraqis have taken refuge in Turkey, in Iran, in some Arab countries and in the West, while the Iranians have gone to Turkey, Iraq, the Gulf countries, Pakistan and the West and the Lebanese to the Arab countries and the West.
A cease-fire agreement between Iran and Iraq, under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the UN, on 20 August 1988 halted the mortal combats which had shed blood throughout the region for almost 10 years. It is strongly hoped that the end of the fighting should facilitate the return of those who were forced to flee the war.
The most intractable problem in the Middle East, is, however, that of the Palestinian refugees, about 2 800 000 of them, living mainly in the Arab countries. A special UN organ, UNRWA, which provides a considerable amount of relief and assistance, was created for them in 1949 by the General Assembly, with the agreement of all the parties involved. Palestinian refugees may be under the protection of UNHCR when they are outside the UNHCR zone of operations. This is without any doubt one of the most tragic and most complex refugee problems of our time and one which continues to seem insoluble, in spite of the many initiatives taken by the international community and by countries concerned.
4. In Latin America
The main groups of refugees in Latin America are in Central America and Mexico: refugees from Guatemala mainly in Mexico, refugees from Salvador mainly in Honduras and Nicaragua, and refugees from Nicaragua mainly in Honduras and Costa Rica. About 125000 are assisted by UNHCR, although the number of people who have crossed an international border in search of refuge has been estimated at almost 900 000.
Many States in the region have taken various initiatives to consolidate the peace process in Central America. It is in this context that an international conference, initiated by the UN Secretary-General was organised by UNHCR with the help of UNDP. It was held in Guatemala in May 1989 and provided an opportunity to examine the various aspects of the refugee problems in Central America and Mexico and the best ways of dealing with them. A plan of action was adopted and a monitoring system was devised, in cooperation with the Office of Secretary-General of the United Nations, UNDP and UNHCR, to follow up on its implementation and on the contributions required.
The rate of departures has considerably diminished and we are beginning to witness movements of voluntary repatriation to Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. As a result of the voluntary return to Salvador of almost 7000 refugees in the first months of this year, the Colomoncagua camp in Honduras was closed down after 10 years of existence. The recent events which have taken place in Nicaragua, with the support of all parties involved, will no doubt encourage further repatriation to Nicaragua (12 000 people went back in 1988 and 1989) and there is now good hope that the general causes of tension which have created refugees in this region will gradually fade away.
5. In Europe
Refugees from Eastern Europe have been arriving in Western Europe ever since the end of World War II. Most of them have emigrated to the USA, Canada and Australia, but some have preferred to stay in Europe and settle in their new communities. The last mass arrivals were the 200 000 Hungarians in 1956-57 and the 80000 Czechs after the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Particular emphasis should be placed on the exceptional efforts of Austria, which initially bore the brunt of both these movements.
There are almost 800000 recognised refugees living in Western Europe today. The vast majority are East Europeans, but more and more people from other parts of the world have come to seek asylum in Europe over the past few years. Whereas in the early 70s, an average of 13000 people, per year, mostly from Eastern Europe, were requesting asylum in the whole of Western Europe, and almost all were recognised refugees, there were about 189 000 asylum seekers in 1987, 290 000 in 1988 and an estimated 318 000 in 1989.
At the same time, the rate of recognition of refugee status dropped considerably and increasing numbers of economic migrants, who cannot enter Europe through normal immigration channels, try to get round the problem by claiming to be refugees. To compound the problem, criminal traffickers exploit these situations by selling at exhorbitant prices alleged safe passages to the West.
More than 60 % of asylum seekers arriving today in Europe are from the Third World. Between 1986 and 1989 the main groups to arrive in Western Europe are estimated as follows: 140 000 Turks, 120 000 Poles, 106 000 Iranians, 60 000 Yugoslavs, 45 000 Sri Lankans, 37 000 Lebanese, 30 000 Ghanaians and 27 000 Zaans. In most of these cases, the rate of recognition of refugee status under the 1951 Convention has been very low.
The exceptional situation of two European countries- the Federal Republic of Germany and Turkey- is also worth noting. As well as receiving more and more people applying for asylum under the 1951 Convention, the Federal Republic of Germany also had, over this period, to take in and integrate a far larger number of people of German origin from the various countries of Eastern Europe. And Turkey had to host successive waves of people fleeing from the troubles and the deadly fighting in the neighbouring countries. Although Turkey has not yet extended the application of the 1951 Convention to non-European refugees, it had to devote considerable resources to cope with all these arrivals without all the help it needs from the international community.
It may seem surprising that, given these figures (15 million refugees in the world, with 800000 of them in Europe), Europe should be facing a profound crisis over asylum and refugees. 318 000 asylum seekers in Western Europe in 1989 of whom very few will actually be given refugee status may indeed indicate a worrying increase in numbers. But how many people realise that as many asylum seekers often arrive in just one country of the Third World in one month?
But the crisis in Europe is serious. It is in fact the worst situation which UNHCR has had to handle since it was first set up in 1950, because it affects the countries which have been the main supporters of humanitarian action in favour of refugees across the world and because anything which appears as a weakening of the humanitarian traditions of European countries will have serious consequences for refugees in other parts of the world.
Main characteristics of the different refugee situations
A brief analysis of the essential characteristics of the various situations of refugees in the world today will perhaps enable us to better identify the actions required and the possible solutions.
1. In the Third World
1. In general, one of the main characteristics of refugee situations in the Third World is that they often concern mass movements of rural populations, completely destitute, who meet up, on the other side of a border, with rural populations who have only slender resources themselves. And it even frequently happens that when they cross a border, refugees find that the populations they meet have themselves been displaced within their country following various disasters and are also totally destitute.
2. In these situations, the most immense urgency is to find shelter, food, water and medical care- needs which the Third World countries are not always in a position to provide, in spite of all the sacrifices their populations are prepared to make to help the refugees. In such cases massive aid from the international community is vital. Without it, whole regions would be prey to chaos, famine and epidemics.
3. National administrations in the Third World do not often have the means of looking at the mass arrivals of hundreds of thousands of people individually to decide whether each should be allowed onto the national territory. So a group which turns up at the frontier is generally admitted in its entirety. There are however situations where countries systematically turn away anyone seeking refuge.
4. The admission of refugees in Africa is considerably facilitated by the fact that refugees often find their own ethnic group on the other side of the border.
Definitions of the term refugee
1. Any person who:
as a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return.
The 1951 (Geneva Convention.
(The Convention was adopted to resolve a specific situation which, it was assumed, would be of limited duration- that of facilitating the resettlement of persecuted persons who were victims of the Second World War. So as to remove the restrictions imposed by the inclusion of the date, 1st January 1951, a protocol to the Convention was adopted in 1967 extending the term refugee to all persons answering the definition contained in the 1951 Convention, without any reference to a cut-off date or a specific geographical area).
2. Any person who:
owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality.
O.A.U. (Organisation of African Unity) Convention, 10 September 1967
5. Most Third World countries are in no position to absorb permanently such large refugee populations. Refugees in the Third World are thus rarely able to obtain the nationality of their host country.
6. The best solution for rural refugees, and the one to which they all fervently aspire, is to be able to return home as soon as circumstances allow.
7. Voluntary repatriation is therefore the only conceivable solution for the vast majority of refugees in the Third World. In the meantime and until such voluntary repatriation is possible, the lives of the refugees have to be organised in such a way that they become self-sufficient and are not constantly dependent on other peoples charity.
8. Sometimes, alas, particularly in South-East Asia and Central America, the refugees are confined in camps where they are unable to cater for their own needs.
9. The circumstances which bring about mass exodus are generally the result of acts of violence caused by serious internal upheavals, civil wars or foreign wars. The departure of urban dwellers, cadres, civil servants, individuals and small groups is often due to the violation of human rights leading to persecution and oppression. In general, the refugees who come to Europe belong to the latter category and the solution for them may be either voluntary repatriation or permanent integration in their new communities.
10. With the exception of refugees from Vietnam, the Middle East and Sri Lanka, very few refugees leave their region of origin. Urban refugees frequently have serious difficulties in surviving in the urban centres of the Third World and, unless they are able to earn a living on the spot, they will spare no effort to reach a country where they hope to find peace and prosperity.
11. The growing economic problems of many countries in the Third World compel an ever greater number of nationals of these countries to improve their way of life by moving up to the industrial world. Traffickers exploit these situations by setting up clandestine routes to the industrialised countries and recommending that economic migrants pretend to be refugees fleeing persecution.
2. In the industrialised countries
1. In the vast majority of the Western nations, asylum seekers are granted refugee status after an individual examination of each case according to a procedure laid-down by law. If they are refused refugee status in the first instance, they can normally appeal to another body.
2. Once recognised, they are legally entitled to reside permanently in the host country and, in particular, to earn income and enjoy the benefits of the countrys welfare system. They may obtain the nationality of the host country in accordance with its laws.
3. Asylum seekers, while awaiting a decision on their refugee status, are usually given basic social assistance but are not always allowed to carry out a remunerative activity.
4. The criteria for recognising status are those enshrined in the 1951 Convention. Thus persons fleeing countries with violent situations endangering life or physical integrity are not, necessarily, recognised as refugees if those situations do no correspond to the 1951 Convention definition. However, all the Western countries agree that such persons cannot be forcibly sent back to their country of origin and they are granted temporary residence permits usually issued on humanitarian grounds. They are often referred to as de facto refugees.
5. The 1951 Convention does not stipulate that Contracting States are to grant asylum to recognised refugees. However, in practice, all Western States (which have ratified the 1951 Convention) agree that recognition of refugee status should lead to permanent residence.
6. The recognition procedures, which should not normally take more than six months, have become far too slow because of the increase in the number of applications and the inadequacy of the means at the disposal of the authorities responsible for dealing with them. This leads to delays of several years during which the asylum seekers live through terrible anguish, often at the expense of the host countries and communities, where they represent a considerable charge on the welfare budgets. It is estimated that 500 000 people are awaiting decisions on their applications for asylum at the present time.
7. Lastly, it is very difficult, both humanely and practically speaking, to send a person away whose refugee status has not been granted after three, four or five years of procedure, even if such person cannot be allowed to stay for one reason or another.
8. In fact, one of the essential characteristics of these situations in the West, is that persons who are not allowed to stay go underground, remain in hiding in the country or move into a neighbouring country to try their luck again. Because of their irregular situation, they become marginalised and provoke fear and rejection around them.
9. Faced with increasing arrivals and overloaded procedures, most of the countries in Europe reacted haphazardly, by taking unilateral measures to make the conditions of access to their territory more stringent - without always taking into account the specific situation of a refugee as distinct from that of an economic migrant. It became important for any country not to be more accessible than its neighbouring countries. In this process some of the basic principles of refugee protection, which had been so carefully established over half a century, were seriously threatened.
10. Against these worrying tendencies the European Institutions reacted vigourously. Both the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have adopted various resolutions and recommendations over the past few years, denouncing the new practices and calling on Member States to do their utmost to respect their humanitarian traditions and the obligations to which they have subscribed.
11. Consultations have begun at various levels in Europe to take account both of these concerns and of the forthcoming abolition of the internal frontiers of the European Community due to take place in 1992. These necessary and useful consultations have so far covered practical, often highly technical aspects, usually linked to asylum procedures, the immigration issue and border controls. The participants involved in these discussions are normally representatives of the national authorities in charge of immigration and alien control.
General considerations and outlook
1. In our modern world, it is no longer possible politically, economically or morally, to live introspectively, ignoring what happens elsewhere. In particular, it is no longer possible for the countries concerned to try and deal with the refugee problem unilaterally without any consideration of the consequences for the rest of the world.
2. Although the current technical consultations going on in Europe are both necessary and useful, they are inadequate. Basic answers must be found to the key issues facing the States and the International Community. This will ultimately contribute to the strengthening of humanitarian principles and of the institution of asylum. To find the right responses to the different stages of the problem, then every aspect of the whole refugee-asylum issue has to be studied thoroughly, from appearance through evolution to solution.
For instance: What are the root causes of refugee movements? What actions, what means are required to prevent the emergence of such causes? What is the role of the political and humanitarian organs of the international community in the prevention and elimination of these causes? What action should be taken to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of refugees? What should be done to ensure a fairer system of distribution of costs and greater regional and international solidarity in order to better help the countries whose geographical or economic situation is such that they are subject to massive influxes of refugees? What are the best ways of harmonising asylum policies and making them fairer and more effective? What policies are required to facilitate the integration of those refugees who do not want to return home? Finally, what is the best approach to solve the situation of persons who are refused refugee status after detailed examination of their case?
3. The broad humanitarian vision required to undertake such an exercise can only be provided if leaders of States, at the highest political level, are aware of its far-reaching importance and decide to give their full support to its implementation.
4. The chances of success would be far greater if Europe, with its regional structures, could demonstrate that it is unanimous in wanting to bring the full force of its political, economic and moral weight into play to facilitate the solving of these humanitarian problems in conformity with its humanitarian traditions and its historic responsibilities.
5. It is not in the States interest to try to devise solutions in secret. In democratic countries, only open debate and the cooperation of humanitarian organisations will provide the necessary support needed to achieve the desired objectives.
6. Events of recent years indicate greater dnte in relations between States and, therefore, may lead to a reduction of the regional conflicts which are the main cause of refugee exodus. This atmosphere of dnte should enable many States Representatives to engage in a dialogue and seek solutions to the problems of refugees more calmly and more thoroughly.
7. The growing economic imbalance between the Industrialised World and the Third World, accompanied by the gradual depopulation of the rich countries and a fast expanding population in the developing ones, is another source of political tensions and upheavals which cause mass exodus. If such tensions and imbalances and departures are to be reduced, then the rich countries have to do their utmost to grant the vital economic aid to assist in the development of the poor countries and ensure greater well-being for their populations. The efforts made by the European Communities, particularly through the Lomonventions, are remarkable in this respect. The measures taken by the industrialised countries in order to reduce the Third World debt are working along the same lines and should be intensified.
8. Refugee problems should not be confused with migratory movements. Practically speaking, however, migratory movements have a considerable influence on the way refugee problems are handled. The fact that economic migrants and refugees have been lumped together has been harmful to asylum seekers and refugees in the West and more particularly in Europe.
9. The spectacular developments in central and eastern Europe are bound to generate major migratory East-West movements in the coming years. It is urgent for the Western countries to devote their full attention to this question and prepare themselves accordingly.
10. Throughout the 1 9th century (when more than 45 million Europeans emigrated to other parts of the world) and a good part of the 20th, Europe was a continent of emigration. It has now become a continent of immigration, a situation to which it has not yet fully adapted.
11. Whereas its population was one third of that of the world in the last century, it will only account for 3% by the end of this one. If Europe wants to survive in tomorrows world, it must try to maintain a minimum of demographic balance. Its political leaders must devise, as a matter of urgency, a long-term immigration policy, carefully thought-out and organised. In this regard, it must be remembered that refugees have traditionally always been, in the long-term, a source of considerable enrichment for the countries which received them.
Refugees, by definition, are men and women who have the courage of their convictions and are profoundly motivated. They thus tend to have the moral resources needed to become active and productive members of their host societies. In any properly thought-out policy of immigration, they constitute precious investment which should not be overlooked.
12. It is important, above all, never to lose sight of the fact that refugees only leave their ancestral lands for compelling reasons. And that they all have but one desire, to cease being refugees and live a normal, dignified life once again.
by Sergio RICCA
What laws and conventions govern the status of refugees? What rights do refugees enjoy in the country of asylum, and what support structures exist to ensure that those rights can be safeguarded? Sergio Ricca looks at these questions in relation to Africas Jive million refugees.
The refugee problem in Africa is alarming, above all because of its dimensions. In 1989 alone, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were nearly five million African refugees, including those in North Africa. One African migrant out of five is a refugee. One refugee out of every two in the world is African. It is also disturbing because of the rate at which the number of refugees is increasing. Accurate statistics are difficult to obtain, but certain indicative figures are available. In 1960 there were 300000 refugees. By 1964, there were 400 000- an increase of 30%. The number doubled in 1967 and reached the million mark in 1970. In the space of 15 years- between 1971 and 1986-the refugee population more than quadrupled. These figures are net and therefore take account of repatriations and naturalisation. (The map on p. 00 shows the current situation in African countries. Ed.)
The problem is also alarming because of the way the refugee population is concentrated. Fewer than half of the African countries are affected by refugees. Ninety per cent of the total burden is borne by a mere 18 countries and 70 % is borne by only 12 countries. The 16 African countries classified among the 25 least developed countries in the world are all affected by the problem. Somalia and the Sudan alone harbour 25 % of the total African refugee population.
Finally, it is alarming because of the meagre relief mobilised for their assistance. An estimated 60% of the total number of refugees receive no aid of any sort and settle independently or join their ethnic groups on the other side of an international border. Subsistence aid for those who receive it- at any rate the aid channelled through the UNHCR- is calculated on the basis of US $ 1 200 per refugee per year. This basic relief is supplemented by medical relief and an allowance for training or occupational integration. Aid in kind in the form of land for cultivation is as unevenly distributed among the African countries as the refugee population itself. The receiving countries bear the burden of this assistance alone. Aid in cash in the form of special subsidies for refugees comes in the main from outside Africa. It is administered by the United Nations- the UNHCR in particular- and numerous humanitarian organisations of European or American origin operating in Africa.
Most African refugees have rural origins. Geographically speaking, their movements are limited and usually involve the crossing of only one international border. The refugees concentrate as near to the point of departure as possible in areas where they can find shelter and a minimum on which to survive. In Africa, refugees rarely migrate to a second receiving country. Western Europe receives only 6 % of world refugees and Europe and America together receive only an infinitesimal proportion of African refugees.
Independence struggles are no longer the main cause of refugee movements. Nowadays, they tend to be generated by conflicts between independent States and by violations of human rights perpetrated by governments or armed groups against part of the national population. Given the numerous conflicts still prevailing in Africa, refugee movements are not likely to decrease in the foreseeable future.
Recognition of refugee status and the law
Legal provisions concerning refugees are contained in international conventions and national laws. The principal international conventions are, firstly, the Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees of 28 July 1951, and its 1967 protocol, and, secondly, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) convention adopted on 10 September 1969 supplementing the two Geneva instruments. The OAU Convention governing the specific aspects of the problem of refugees in Africa, provides that the term refugee (as defined in the Geneva Convention), should also apply to: Every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality.
As well as extending the definition of refugee, the OAU Convention confirms certain principles attaching to refugee status.
Recognition of the status of refugees is a prerogative of States and is regarded as an expression of the national sovereignty of the receiving country. Refugee status is therefore not an inherent right of the individual. It is the sovereign right of States to grant or refuse it. Under the provisions of the Convention, States none the less undertake not to refuse admittance to persons claiming to be refugees. They undertake to investigate their case and, if refugee status is granted, to offer them asylum.
In administrative terms, recognition of refugee status means that the country of asylum issues an identity document and a travel document enabling the refugee to leave and return to the country.
In addition to the above Convention, the OAU adopted two resolutions in 1975 and 1976 recommending that governments show greater flexibility in issuing travel documents and according transit facilities to refugees.
The 1969 OAU Convention came into force in 1974 once it had been ratified by one-third of the member States. However, the OAU has not yet succeeded in setting up a mechanism to assist States in applying it. Under the Convention, persons who do not cross an international border or who leave their country for economic reasons and are unable to return for political reasons are not recognised as refugees.
All African countries but seven have ratified either the 1951 Geneva Convention or the 1967 Protocol. However, only 34 of the 51 countries have ratified the OAU Convention.
In June 1981, a new international instrument- the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights- provided for further protection for refugees, at least in terms of principle, and particularly those fleeing en masse. The Charter goes further than . the Universal Declaration of Human: Rights in that it recognises the collective rights of peoples, including the right to protection against all violations of human rights.
The ratification of an international convention by a country is not enough to guarantee its application. The status and rights of refugees are recognised only if the provisions of international instruments are taken up in national legislation.
The quality and content of the legislation in African countries vary considerably. In certain countries, the absence of instruments distinguishing refugees from other foreign migrants means that the administration operates in a legal void and refugees are assimilated to immigrants in an irregular situation since, like them, they hold no work contract in the host country, or even identity papers.
Some countries such as Benin, Senegal and the Sudan have legislation governing the recognition of refugee status and the issuance of identity documents. In 1968, Senegal created an Advisory Committee, chaired by a magistrate, on Eligibility for Refugee Status. Decisions concerning status are the responsibility of the President of the Republic, but may be referred to the Committee for its opinion. Expulsions must also be submitted to the Committee before being implemented. Once a person is recognised as a refugee, he or she receives an identity document and a travel document in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention.
In Benin, a decree of July 1984 set up a National Refugee Committee responsible for decisions regarding status. The law provides that once refugee status is recognised, the Ministry of the Interior is responsible for issuing identity and travel documents.
In Gabon, an Ordinance of 1976 created a General Delegation for Refugees under the Presidency of the Republic, responsible for the legal and administrative protection of refugees, for collecting and distributing aid and, if necessary, for setting up a number of accommodation centres. In the Sudan, a law of 1967 established a Refugee Committee and set forth a whole series of provisions covering not only status and travel documents but also refugees rights concerning access to employment, education, property and protection against expulsion.
Laws setting out procedures for the recognition of refugee status and the issuance of identity and travel documents are fundamental in terms of human rights. They ensure legal recognition and protection when the recognition and protection that all States owe naturally to refugees are lacking. The host State thus replaces the State of origin so that individuals do not find themselves in a situation where they have no legal personality or rights.
However, the rights and duties of refugees in the host country do not stop at identity documents and status. The question remains as to whether all the other rights pertaining to their day-to-day existence should be assimilated to the rights of nationals or to those of other foreigners with legal status. African legislation as it stands today does not always answer this question satisfactorily. Problems seem to be solved pragmatically, by administrative rather than legislative measures.
Refugees in Africa are treated like ordinary legal immigrants in many aspects of day-to-day life, for example, in access to property, freedom of association, higher education fees (usually higher for foreigners), the protection of intellectual property, the exercise of liberal professions, employment in the public service, and so on.
International support structures
Three institutions or groups of institutions provide assistance to refugees in Africa: the UNHCR (backed up as necessary by the United Nations specialised agencies), nongovernmental humanitarian organisations and the OAU.
The UNHCR is undoubtedly the cornerstone of all assistance to countries faced with refugee problems. Its financial aid to Africa under its general programme and special programmes amounts to some US$ 100 million a year- one-third of the organisations total budget. Assistance takes many forms: organising the logistics of settling refugees in camps; distributing food and initial relief; distributing land provided by the governments of the receiving countries; investigating individual cases and assisting in obtaining recognition of refugee status; attempting to place refugees in employment or educational establishments; and organising repatriation. The UNHCR also provides legal and administrative assistance by co-operating in drafting national laws and regulations which are in keeping with international instruments or by participating in setting up national support structures. If necessary, it can call upon other United Nations bodies for further assistance, such as the World Food Programme (WFP) for food rations; UNESCO for all questions relating to education in the camps; the ILO for the organization of occupational activities with a view to making the camps economically self-sufficient; FAO to assist in cultivating the land provided by the host country; the World Health Organisation (WHO) for advice on public health and hygiene; and UNICEF when equipment and material are needed for the life, health or education of refugee children.
If one groups together the international non-governmental organisations, the private national bodies and international bodies of a religious nature operating through national agencies, there are some 70 humanitarian organisations engaged exclusively or in part in assisting African refugees.
The shortcomings arising from the lack of co-ordination between the various organisations have always been criticised but never really eliminated. The lack of co-ordination naturally gives rise to considerable waste and duplication of the use of funds. In some host countries, refugees sometimes come to believe that they have a right to assistance and will go to one organisation to obtain something which has been refused by another. The lack of any central co-ordination in the administration of aid may be the reason why certain refugees receive abundant relief and others none at all. The danger for the former is that they may develop a mentality of dependence and lose any inclination to attempt to integrate into the host country.
So far, the problem of co-ordinating assistance to refugees in Africa remains totally unsolved, and it seems that only the authorities of the countries concerned are in a position to solve it.
National support structures
There are three aspects to the task facing any national institution that has to deal with refugees on its territory: a political aspect, an assistance aspect and a protection aspect.
The political aspect involves defining national policy bearing in mind the implications of the refugee problem for relations with neighbouring States and the international community. The policy is then implemented by means of legislation and regulations which govern the treatment of refugees and programmes of action financed by the state budget.
The assistance aspect involves handling emergency relief, organising transit or initial settlement camps (distributing land, planning self-sufficiency, managing health, education and training services), organising the occupational and social integration of the refugees into the national community (managing a grants programme, providing guidance and placement services for education and employment), and managing the financial and material aid provided by other countries on request or spontaneously. The national institution also has to intercede with the responsible ministry to obtain lands for the refugees to cultivate, with the Ministry of Finance to obtain customs exemption for goods imported for refugee relief, or with the Ministry of Education to obtain favourable enrolment conditions for young refugees attending educational establishments.
The administrative aspect involves granting or refusing refugee status to applicants, deciding on the future of those who are refused status (appeal, expulsion), legalising the situation of refugees who obtain status, by issuing identity and travel documents, and working towards voluntary repatriation or organising the refugees voluntary transfer to a country of second asylum.
Ideally, all these tasks should be handled by a single administrative department, but this is rarely the case in Africa. The Sudan, which has 670 500 refugees on its territory (almost 4% of the total population), set up an independent Commission of Refugees (COR) in 1967 to handle all the above operations with the exception of certain legislative or legal matters. It works in conjunction with the UNHCR whose job is made easier by the fact that it deals with a single national body.
In the large majority of cases, there is no single institution responsible for all refugee matters. Refugee management involves as many departments as the administration of the national population. More often than not, national refugee committees or the refugee services set up under the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deal only with questions of status, identity and travel documents and legal problems. This is particularly true of countries where the rights and obligations of refugees are not defined in specific legislation so that, once he or she has obtained refugee status, the refugee is treated like any other legally resident foreigner. When there is a mass movement of refugees across an international border, the host country sets up administrative structures to handle emergency relief.
The organisation of refugee movements
The organisation of refugee movements varies depending on whether the refugees are placed in camps, become integrated into the urban community of the host country, decide- after temporary asylum- to return to their own country or wish to settle in a third country. It is spontaneous asylum-seekers, however, who generate no organisation on the part of the host country, who constitute the majority of refugees in Africa.
Nearly 3.5 million Africans who, in theory, would be entitled to refugee status, and whose situation corresponds to the one defined in all the international reference instruments, are in fact taken in by their own ethnic groups generally living just over the border. They settle among the host population quite spontaneously in accordance with traditions of solidarity and hospitality and make no application to the national administration of the host country for official status or relief.
Spontaneous movements of refugees, a tradition in African societies and one of which they are proud, by definition make no demands on any state administrative department. However, the idea that they place no administrative burden on the host country is not entirely true. The image of refugees welcomed with open arms by members of the same ethnic group on the other side of the border and integrating without difficulty is not always as idyllic as it is made out to be.
Even when refugee settlement takes place peacefully, the State ultimately feels its effects. In 1980, an estimated 70 % of outpatients at the local hospital in Gedaref, the Sudan, were refugees. In Kassala, another border town in eastern Sudan, refugee children accounted for 80% of pupils in certain primary school classes. In the Port Sudan region, refugees who had settled spontaneously in very poor living conditions were allegedly the cause of a wave of violence and crime and therefore met with open hostility from the national population.
It is because of such situations that many host States criticise the fact that international aid for refugees is limited to administering emergency relief to clearly identified groups and makes no provision for the indirect but high costs that have to be borne by States taking in large numbers of so-called spontaneous refugees.
The organisation of group movements
When refugees leave en masse for a neighbouring country, the first administrative problem that has to be tackled is the measurement of their volume, as the estimate of the numbers involved determines the amount of aid to be mobilised. In the past, the numbers were counted by registering each individual at a previously agreed upon and publicised rallying point. But even when the operation was expeditious, the results did not arrive in time to mobilise all the necessary aid. Recently, experiments have been made with aerial photographs and sampling at given points over a limited period in an attempt to obtain a rapid estimate of the number of refugees needing relief.
When refugees arrive in a host country en masse they are grouped together in camps where relief is dispensed. In such an event, there is rarely a case-by-case examination to determine whether or not individuals are eligible for refugee status in accordance with the internationally recognised definitions. The reception authorities, with the backing of the UNHCR, accord prima facie recognition which is tantamount to granting refugee status to all persons belonging to homogeneous ethnic or social groups who are visibly the victims of a specific, known event unanimously denounced by the victims themselves. Collective recognition is considered to be the only possible solution, even if it entails the risk of including a number of persons who are not refugees in the strict sense of the term.
Once grouped together in camps, the refugees go through an individual identification procedure so that food ration cards or vaccination certificates can be issued. Any proof of identity that the refugee can provide is acceptable: identity cards from the country of origin, military service papers, students cards or work certificates. In the absence of official papers, the refugees word is sufficient despite the risks this might involve.
In legal and administrative terms, ration cards and vaccination certificates do not constitute proof of individual refugee status. Even safe conducts or attestations issued by the reception authorities for specific purposes (temporary travel or formalities at a local administrative service such as the post office) are not proof of refugee status. In some cases, official status is not granted while the refugees remain in camps. Often the authorities of the host country are not eager to grant official status because they wish to prevent dispersal of the refugees. They do not even conceal the fact that refugees will only be admitted if they remain within clearly demarcated areas, This attitude generally stems from a fear of exacerbating an already precarious situation in areas such as employment, health and education. It is not uncommon for refugees to defy the rules and leave camp only to be rounded up by the security forces and escorted back under force.
To prevent the camps from becoming mere detention centres for an idle population living on assistance, the national authorities in charge of refugee protection- and they have the unconditional approval of the UNHCR in this matter- try to persuade their governments to seek ways of making the refugees economically self-reliant. The argument that refugees, rather than being a burden on the host country, are potentially a self-sufficient population able to contribute to the general development of the country, is an attractive one in the eyes of the national authorities, and is effective in removing obstacles to the allocation of arable land to the refugees.
The land allocated to refugees is obviously not alienable. It is distributed by the services of the national authority in charge of refugee relief, usually in conjunction with the UNHCR. The plots are generally entrusted to heads of family and account is taken of the natural bonds of kinship and the forms of community organisation of the refugee population concerned.
One way of promoting self-reliance is to encourage the refugees to engage in craft activities. In an attempt to create a viable craft enterprise, many camps set up workshops to train women, who often constitute the majority of the refugee population. Agricultural and craft activities are sometimes combined with remunerative employment in the rural sector when refugee manpower is needed to offset a temporary shortage of national workers in certain agricultural jobs at specific times of the year.
Once the refugee population is economically self-sufficient, international aid is terminated. The authorities of the host country and the international organisations often disagree about when that point has been reached. The international organisations consider that self-sufficiency has been attained once refugees earnings are enough to maintain the same standard of living as when they were receiving aid. For their part, the national authorities consider that in calculating whether or not refugees are self-sufficient, account should be taken of all the indirect external assistance provided by international aid.
Integration into the host community
The integration of refugees into the host community, generally in urban areas, necessarily involves recognition of refugee status, based on documents contained in the file opened for each head of family or individual applicant. In most cases, the decision is taken by the Ministry of the Interior on the basis of an opinion given by the UNHCR after examination of the file.
The examination of individual files consists essentially of ascertaining whether the applicants situation corresponds to the definition of a refugee applied by the government of the host country (generally the one given in the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Protocol, and the OAU Convention). The burden of proof of refugee status rests with the applicant. The material evidence is completed by interviews between the applicant and the officer (national or international) in charge of the file. During the recognition procedure, a link is usually established between applicants and their political and social background. Those who have fled a situation objectively recognised to be a source of discrimination or danger for certain individuals are more likely to obtain refugee status. Applicants who are under no particular threat as individuals may be recognised as refugees if they come from an area or have lived in a context where problems of discrimination have been objectively acknowledged.
Issuance of identity cards and travel documents is conditional upon recognition of refugee status. These documents are the legal confirmation of this status and serve as a residence and work permit. Depending on the legislation, an appeal may be made against the refusal of refugee status before the competent national body in which case the appellant is provided with a temporary residence permit. Once all appeal procedures have been exhausted, applicants who are refused refugee status are encouraged to regularise their situation by other means.
The concepts of refugee status and asylum are not always the same. A country may recognise that an individual is a refugee but, for all kinds of reasons, refuse asylum, that is, the right to reside in the country. Conversely, a country may grant de facto asylum without officially recognising status, generally for reasons that have to do with the relations between the country of asylum and the refugees country of departure.
Official recognition of refugee status does not solve all the refugees legal problems. The host country still has to recognise family status- marriage, divorce and descent. The main difficulties connected with recognition of individual rights have to do not so much with the question of compatibility of the family law of the two countries concerned as with the lack of documentary proof of the refugees family situation prior to departure. If refugees are unable to produce proof of their family status, it is because they had to leave in great haste and did not have time to obtain the necessary documents from their local authorities. Another reason is that civil status continues to be based on custom and usage, and inclusion in the civil register is not compulsory. In such cases, countries where a system of custom and usage also exists often allow refugees to have recourse to the same suppletory decisions as nationals who apply belatedly to the civil registry for certificates.
Education and training assistance is another means of encouraging integration into the host community. Such assistance, which is provided by the UNHCR and numerous non-governmental humanitarian organisations, generally takes one of two forms.
The first consists of providing the host country with assistance to set up training and education centres and train teachers, on condition that the centres take in a certain percentage of students from refugee families. The assistance is generally welcomed and regarded as conducive to the harmonious development of the local and refugee populations and to more successful integration.
The second consists of individual subsidies, generally in the form of study grants to children or young refugees.
Integration by placing refugees in employment receives considerably less assistance. Full-time placement officers or agents from UNHCR representations in the host countries intercede with national administrations or enterprises to plead individual cases and facilitate the recruitment of refugees.
One serious integration problem is the case of refugees who have skills the country could well use but who are confined to camps. In the Sudan, there was for years a shortage of qualified craft workers owing to the departure of vast numbers of nationals to the Gulf States. The shortage could have been filled if there had been a system for registering the qualifications of the refugees in the camps and the necessary machinery for the legal placement of qualified refugees in national enterprises. The difficulty in obtaining proof of their qualifications, the absence of occupational tests and the administrative obstacles preventing refugees from being selected according to their qualifications means that their experience could not be put to good use for the development of the host country.
An estimated 1.5 million refugees have been repatriated since 1960. The largest group to be repatriated in recent years were the 300000 Guineans who returned following the change of regime in Guinea in 1984. There have been other large repatriation movements: in 1971, 150000 Sudanese returned from four neighbouring countries; 70 000 Mozambican refugees left the United Republic of Tanzania in 1975 when their country acceded to independence; in 1980, 110 000 Zairians returned home from Angola; and in 1986, 25 000 Chadians were repatriated from the Central African Republic.
These repatriation movements, along with many other smaller ones, were all voluntary. In fact, many of them were spontaneous, even in the case of registered refugees receiving international aid. The end of a state of war or the disappearance of the cause of the exodus suffice to trigger a return movement. The shorter the period of time since departure, the larger the movement.
In other cases, repatriation is the direct consequence of legal or administrative measures taken by the refugees country of origin. In Guinea, for example, repatriation followed the pronouncement of an amnesty for Guineans living abroad. With the advent of the Second Republic in Burundi, an ordinance was enacted recognising the property rights of refugees deprived of their possessions on departure and organising procedures for restitution and compensation.
In other cases, repatriation is the result not only of a return to the former situation and the adoption of legislation concerning exiles but also of negotiations.
Finally, there is the question of movement to third countries. Burdensharing among African countries- no doubt the most frequently and widely proclaimed principle remains a goal which has never really been achieved. Ninety per cent of African refugees have moved to host countries in large groups, whereas movement to countries of second asylum has always taken place on an individual basis. Insuperable difficulties have prevented mass movements of refugees to second host countries, even when it was clear that they were placing far too heavy a burden on the country of first asylum. For example, for years the numbers of refugees fleeing the independence struggles in South Africa and what was then Rhodesia were quite disproportionate to the national populations of Botswana and Lesotho where they sought refuge.
Reception of individual refugees in third countries is usually organised under the auspices of the UNHCR. The procedure is set in motion every time a refugee can be resettled in a country that can employ him or her. The procedure is often long and laborious and presupposes that the country of second asylum will agree to recognise the applicants refugee status, that the status will suffice to guarantee a written work contract and that the duration of stay will not be made subject to the length of the contract.
But African host countries are often reluctant to apply the return clause (stipulating that the travel document issued to the refugee must enable him or her to return to the country of asylum) to refugees contemplating departure in case it should be regarded as a permanent legal commitment to the refugee.
These conflicting positions constitute an obstacle to the movement of refugees, which can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis for individuals but which prevents the burden being shared among several different countries when groups of refugees are involved.
Thorvald Stoltenherg, the new United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has decided views on his role as High Commissioner, and equally decided views on how the developed world should tackle the- increasingly grave- refugee problem in the 1990s.
A Norwegian national, Mr Stoltenberg was trained as a lawyer, became a diplomat, then a politician, serving as Norways Defence Minister from 1979-81 and as Foreign Minister from 1987-89. In October 1989 he was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations and, barely a month later, was elected by the U.N. General Assembly to his present post.
His task will make heavy demands on his skills, because the UNHCR, which was established in 1951 to aid the millions of post-war refugees and displaced persons, is going through its most severe financial crisis ever. Its core budget for the first six months of 1990 has been cut to $190 million, making its resources per refugee this year a mere half of what they were a decade ago.
The Courier met Mr Stoltenberg at the UNHCRs headquarters in Geneva and asked him first why the crisis had arisen, and what he considered to be its long-term solution.
- As to why the crisis has arisen, I think the shortest way your question can be answered is by referring to the increase in refugees. There were eight million refugees in 1980. Ten years later this number has doubled. There are 15 million refugees in 1990, and the budgets have not followed the increase in the need. The gap between the need and the resources are the drama of our financial situation. When I speak in these terms it gives a completely impersonal impression, but what we are talking about, is actually life and death to these individuals- men, women and children. The financial problems and the cuts in the budget are as dramatic as the consequences for the individual of the push off, of the boat- you know that there are strong reactions by some countries to granting asylum, they push the boats back into the sea. I react also as strongly as to that, but the consequences for the people involved are the same with the push-offs as with cuts in budget. That is some of the background of the situation.
What can we do about it? Well, I have a strategy on five pillars. One, to look into how we can use our resources better. Im confident that we can use our resources better. Ive never been in any institution which cannot do so. Secondly, Im looking for new donors. Thirdly, I will see if it is possible to mobilise private sources. However, we will not do that in competition with NGOs, but rather in close contact with the NGOs. Fourthly, I hope that if we can increase the repatriations, well be able to free resources all over the world. After all, the ideal solution is that the refugees can go back- they want to go back. And the fifth pillar is of course to get more from the traditional donors.
· Is any consideration being given to making contributions mandatory?
- I am personally considering if there are any... what shall I say... more stable ways of getting funds, so that we could know that we have so much every year- so that we can plan more than one year at a time. Now we can only plan from month to month. So far I have not found the key to this, but I think its one of the issues we must deal with, and also by lobbying with the donor countries.
· Is this lack of funds already having a serious impact on your ability to provide such basic services as education or medical care?
- Yes, let me put it very shortly: the needs tell us that we should have about $ 200 million more. That certainly gives you an impression of the size of the problem.
· And your belief is that the programme should fit the needs rather than the other way round?
- Well, I suppose thats not only my belief. I hope that that is the case for all the governments. The ambition must be to meet the needs- but the reality is another thing.
It may be as dangerous to go back to poverty as to go back to political persecution
· What are your ambitions as High Commissioner?
- The important taks is the protection of the refugees, that is what will guide me in my work. Then I hope to be able to experience repatriation, this is an important part of our contribution to the resolution of the problem.
I will try to bring the refugee and migration issue on to the political agenda in the international context, because its not on the political agenda. Its really to a large extent considered as a technical issue and to a certain extent as a charity but not as something affecting the whole international community. But it is, because the refugees under my mandate are basically fleeing political persecution. The migrants basically flee poverty and a poor person is not free either. It may be as dangerous to go back to poverty as to go back to political persecution. While we can meet the needs of the political refugee by asylum, the international community must meet the needs of migration by development policy, because it is absolutely impossible to respond to migration by asylum. But you cannot evade both policies.
· Not all countries of the world have ratified the 1951 Convention and some of those which hare ratified it dont apply it in the spirit. Is it part of your everyday work to try and improve this situation?
- Yes, in both cases. Both to try to have more countries to be part of the Convention and certainly to follow up and contribute to their following the principles. I think thats an important part of my mandate.
· What do you think will he the likely repercussions on refugees coming from the rest of the world-from the developing world in particular-of the recent migrations from Eastern to West Europe?
- Well, first of all, I hope and believe that the immense influx that we have now from parts of Eastern Europe, and particulary from Eastern Germany to West Germany. will level out- -that this will normalise.
As to the preoccupation with the developments in Europe being to the detriment of the North-South issue, it may be the case now -I dont know, but it may be - but at the same time it is quite obvious that the new situation in Europe has immense possiblities, with positive consequences for the South. First there is the chance that Europe will not be refugee-producing. I know that you have a danger of ethnic refugees coming environmental refugees, but there should, as of today, be less reason for there to be political rcfugees. So there is a possibility that we will not be in the refugee business in the long term.
There is also a possibility that we will liberate resources from the immense arms race, that those resources will be used in a more constructive way with positive consequences for the whole North-South situation. So my point is that even if the immediate consequences could be damaging and I stress could be, because I dont know there are at the same time immense possibilities in this development in Europe for the future relationship between North and South.
· So you woul see these developments in a generally positive light?
- I cannot understand why I shouldnt, because I think my job is to look for the possibilities. I could give a beautiful speech on how nothing will work out, but...
· You have to he an optimist?
- Of course, if I was not an optimist I wouldnt be in international relations, I would be home, taking care of my garden!
· To turn to Africa. The 80s inure been an appalling decade for refugee movements in Africa. Are there signs, do you think that the 1990s will he any less awful?
- There are signs, and let me mention them. Namibia is one of them. In Namibia we have repatriated 42 000 refugees, and there may be more. We have possibilities in Southern Africa, in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola... to mention the good side.
The problem is of course one of poverty and the environmental situation, and I think that must be met through development policy and economic policy. I dont think asylum under refugee policy could meet that because this is a question of millions and millions. I think one of the main features of the 1990s could be migration and my worry is that I am not convinced that this is fully understood on the political level. Im not only talking about Africa. Im talking in general. So thats why I feel that its part of my job to contribute to the understanding of this.
· How do you intend to do final:?
- Well, I do it in many ways. One is to be in constant contact with the government people, politicians in government and outside government, and to raise the issue directly. And I hope by these activities to be able to directly contribute to an understanding of this problem.
· You spoke earlier of improving the efficiency of the Organisation. One of the criticisms in the field is a luck of coordination between the UNHCR and all the various other bodies working with refugees NGOs in particular. Do you see ways in which efficiency could be improved?
- Im convinced that efficiency can be improved. That is always the case. That means that better cooperation between the various agencies, both within and outside the UN, is always possible. I doubt that we can come to a situation where we never have these problems. I have been in many institutions, but Ive never been in an institution where you have no problems with other institutions. This is negative, but it also has positive aspects, because it encourages you to do better it creates some sort of competition between institutions.
However, I fully agree that we should do our utmost to coordinate better and cooperate closer and this is the reason why, when I go shortly to Pakistan and Afghanistan, I shall be going with Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, coordinator for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and James Ingram, Director of the World Food Programme. We will go together in order to underline the importance we put on close cooperation and coordination with other organisations, with the governments concerned, and within our organisation. I tell you this because I think this is an example of the importance of coordination and cooperation.
· Are you planning to do a lot of field work?
- I will do my best to reduce travelling because the danger in this job is that you can travel all the time, you can travel continuously, and I think its of imperative importance to be here in the office. This is my first trip- to Namibia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is for two weeks, and even thats much too long. Even if I try to limit my travel, it could still be quite a lot.
· When I asked what you saw us the reason for the present financial crisis you mentioned the great increase in refugee numbers over the past decade. But weve also heard a great deal about compassion fatigue, both on the part of individuals anti, probably, on the part of governments. Is this not also a part of the equation?
- Yes. This is because people regard refugees and refugee work as charity. Its not charity. Its a part of our own future security. If we do not take poverty and political persecution seriously, we will invite for our future world a great deal of violence. We refer to the need to treat refugees with safety and dignity, but it is not only the safety and dignity of refugees which is at stake...
· So you would appeal to peoples self-interest?
- Oh yes. If we dont manage to do that, we will always have these enormous resource problems because, by definition, people are not kind enough. Look at development one of the very few areas where you can measure kindness. I dont think countries will ever come much above 0.35 % or 0.33 % of their gross national product, as development aid, and that means that kindness is not enough. You must understand that its part of your own interest, then there will be enough resources. We rarely had problems with getting the resources necessary for security because it was so obvious to people that it was needed. Normal people understand that security in the 1990s is not only military security, its also a question of social and economic security. And its in this context that I want to place the refugee question. If I dont manage to do that, I shall be very worried.
Interview by Myfanwy VAN DE VELDE
by Dominique BOUTRIAU
Boat people from Vietnam have been arriving on the beaches of Hong Kong, the small British colony in South-East Asia, for more than 10 years now. Until 16 June 1988, they were given the status of refugees, but since that fatal da),, the local authorities, exasperated by the constant influx of Vietnamese, decided, in agreement with with the High Commissioner for Refugees, to grant boat people refugee status only after detailed interrogation to see whether they left their country! for political or economic reasons. Political arrivals are given refugee status; economic migrants are considered merely as asylum-seekers.
For the past year, Mcins Sans Frontis, the European NGO specialising in medical care, has been looking after both the refugees and asylum-seekers.
There are 14000 refugees living in four camps. Most of them have been there for three or four years now, some for as many as nine, and the majority of the children have never known anything else. The standard of hygiene is deplorable. The dustbins are overflowing with household waste and the sewage conduits are blocked. The drinking water points, where thousands of people wash themselves, their linen and their vegetables, are all together in an area of only a few square metres.
Medical care is provided by three of our doctors and two nurses. Overcrowding and lack of hygiene are behind the most common afflictions- scabies, lice, mycosis, skin infections and infectious diarrhoea - and fresh cases of TB are diagnosed every month. Our team is overworked. There are 12 Chinese nurses helping it and we have also asked the Vietnamese to give us a hand themselves, so there are now 60 boat people manning the clinics 24 hours per day, including four doctors (one of them a neuro-surgeon!), three midwives, a dozen nurses and even a dentist. And there are interpreters, pharmacists and more. They all trained in Vietnam, but our team provided refresher courses for them as their memories often failed them after four or five years of forced inactivity in the camp.
Somewhat surprisingly, we see a fair number of people who have burnt themselves with electricity. Two have even been electrocuted. The Vietnamese prefer to cater for themselves rather than go to the camp soup kitchen, but there are no cooking facilities and so they have to use pirated electricity, at risk to their lives. However, things should look up for them, because refugee status means that they will be able to be resetted once and for all, to live freely and decently in a country of asylum, be it Canada, the USA, Australia or Europe. It is up to us to open the door.
Those with no future
The future is far less certain for the 40 000 asylum-seekers, who will in all probability be refused refugee status. These are people who arrived after 16 June 1988... 30000 of them between February and July 1989 alone. The first of them were put in detention centres under the watchful eye of the countrys prison staff, with barbed wire, ditches and everything else to keep them cut off from the outside world. When the centres were full, the next batch were put onto ferryboats at anchor in the port, but it did not take long to fill these up, too, and the last arrivals were sent, temporarily, to the little island of Soko, lost off the coast of Hong Kong. Soko has little or no shelter, no drinking water and no electricity either. Part of it is rocky, but the other part, mercifully, is sandy- a tiny stretch of land 0.5 km by 1.5 km on which 3 000 - 5 000 people live crowded together, although some of them prefer to stay on what remains of their boat anchored near the beach. It is stiflingly hot, 35° in the shade, in one of the most humid climates in the world. People wash in the (very polluted) sea and, as there are no latrines, in spite of a promise from the Hong Kong authorities two months ago, they relieve themselves anywhere. There is no room for rubbish either. And the flies are dreadful...
The Government provides meagre daily rations- one can of concentrated milk for seven people, one can of boiled beans and one of sardines for four, plus two packets of biscuits and 14 grams of peanuts per head. Babyfood is delivered at irregular intervals. There is between a half litre and a litre of drinking water per person per day, which is obviously not enough, particularly for nursing mothers... and Hong Kong is the worlds second biggest financial centre. The automatic response is that of course the boat people will not be staying on Soko for long, only the time it takes to put up other detention centres... but they have been living in these inhospitable conditions for months already.
It is the Hong Kong Government which provides medical care for boat people seeking asylum, but it does not have the staff to cope with the influx (there were 600-1000 new arrivals every day in May of last year). For a year now, Mcins Sans Frontis has been in charge of preventive medicine and the nutritional monitoring of children and there are three MSF nurses running the well-baby services, with the help of a handful of Hong Kong nurses. The working day is hard, as the detention centres are in the most out-of-the-way places and it can take more than three hours per day by boat to get to some of them. Here again, we asked the Vietnamese to help, and health committees have been set up, the boat peoples enthusiasm for helping each other being boundless. We advise the mothers about hygiene and make sure every child is properly fed and gets his vaccines- no easy matter in a prison population which has no idea of what tomorrow will bring and is losing its raison de...
Psychological and even psychiatric disorders are by no means rare. Family planning is a big problem, as although the Hong Kong authorities are anxious to retain responsibility for this, they do not have the staff, so the Vietnamese women have no contraception- as yet. The birth rate is extremely high. In July 1989, fighting broke out and the police guarding the camps brought it under control by force. The toll: one dead, a hundred wounded. MSF drew up the evidence of the violence as a sad reflection of these peoples despair.
Our duty is also- and above all- to remind the West of the human tragedy being played out by thousands of people in Asia today.
Last June, all the countries interested in the fate of refugees in South-East Asia met in Geneva at an international conference called by the UNHCR, an emergency meeting triggered by the latest exodus of boat people and the impasse in which they then found themselves.
Vietnam, where the boat people come from, the countries of South-East Asia, where they flee to, and the USA, Canada, the European countries and Australia, which ultimately take them, were all represented.
The outcome of the conference marks a turning point in the history of this drama. But although the revival of interest in the boat people which it triggered amongst the general public is matter for congratulation, as is the extent of solutions which it sought (and sometimes found), some of its resolutions It will inevitably preoccupy those concerned with human rights in general and refugees rights in particular.
It was the first time that an official conference of the majority of (he worlds democracies had recommended a government, the Vietnamese government in this case, to disc courage illegal departures by its people. The right to free movement is denied in many countries every day, certainly, but these was a difference between it being denied de facto and such a denial being virtually officially sanctioned. Not any more.
The conference agreed to the principle of asylum-seekers undergoing a selection process on arrival in the countries of the China Sea. Experience has shown that very few of them were actually given refugee status after this, or the UN protection and assistance that goes with it, or the right to ask for permanent asylum in a host country.
However, the point is not whether the selection criteria were good or not. Less than a year ago, there was no selection at all. The UN in fact recognises anyone who has fled his country because he was under threat as a refugee. As far as the UNHCR is concerned, a refugee is a refugee de facto and not de jure, so what was the point of changing the rules? Because the camps were overcrowded and the situation was untestable, some will no doubt say, because no one wants boat people any more. True, but did the countries of the world really have to stand back and watch thousands of people being stopped in their tracks as they went on their (maybe ill-considered) way to another life? Did our governments have to agree to them being taken home, if necessary by force?
It seems to us at MSF, who treat the boat people in Hong Kong, that we may have jumped the gun and that not enough consideration was given to other, more complex solutions.
But the Geneva Conference has to be given credit for the UNHCRs call to potential host governments to issue more visas for the boat people. Because if the situation had become untenable. it was because our countries had failed to honour their 10-year-old commitment to take in all the refugees who applied. Gone is the time when Indo-Chinese refugees embarked in their thousands for America, Australia and France. A new humanitarian effort is urgently needed.
There are some days when more than 500 boat people reach the shores of Hong Kong and there are almost 50 000 of these fugitives squeezed into overcrowded camps in the four corners of this tiny country hard up against the border of gigantic China.
The tragedy plays on, to near-total indifference, 14 years after the fall of Saigon. A million Vietnamese have left for the free world in this time, many of them to find a permanent home in the USA, in Europe and in Australia.
But some journeys have been cut short by pirates on the China Sea, with massacre, rape and drowning, leaving burnt-out boats behind them.. as we know...and choose to forget. It is an old story. Fourteen years is a long time and the wave of refugees is bound to have stopped, you think. Yet the drama continues day after day off the coast of Vietnam. The tragedy continues, growing in size and in savagery.
The official figures for 1981-85 are 1376 dead, 2283 raped and 592 women kidnapped- probably sold as prostitutes in Thailand- never to be seen again. Those for 1986 were 21% of the previous years total and those for just the first three months of 1989 already up at 24% And this is only for boats containing survivors. The others, and there are many of them, never appear in the statistics.
But the ordeal its by no means over when fugitives get to the far shores of the China Sea, to Hong Kong, to Thailand, to the Philippines and to Singapore and Malaysia, either, for they are no longer wanted there, in spite of commitments these countries made in 1979 at the International Conference on Refugees in South-East Asia- and which they honoured, with little enthusiasm, until a fear months ago.
And what about Europe, North America, Australia and Japan? They, too, had agreed to take in everyone who fled. But they have closed their doors. Public opinion has grown weary of all the charity and the emotion, of seeing so many pictures of refugees on boats. The trouble is that public opinion and politic fans alike have always seen looking for asylum as synonymous with looking for employment, with the impression that protection from refugees was protection from? migratory movements. Meanwhile, there are 150 000 people rotting in the camps of South-East Asia, their only right that of waiting years for an unlikely visa to open the gateway to life.
Operations Service, MSF
by Hans-Martin FISCHER
A happy ending for most refugees means being able to return to their country of origin, preferably to the homes they were forced to leave, and to live there at peace. This is the aim of returnee programmes, and it is an aim which this particular programme, in Uganda, has very substantially achieved.
By May 1979 Ugandas Liberation War was nearing its end. Tanzanian forces entered West Nile Province and advanced up to the Sudan border encountering only sporadic resistance from the Amin soldiers. During this advance some local inhabitants fled to exile in neighbouring Za and Sudan, but with the Tanzanians providing security and showing less tribal tendencies towards the people in terms of looting and revenge, the area returned largely to normal.
Subsequently, incursions across the border by Amin soldiers and other groups who clashed with Government forces brought widespread insecurity to West Nile. The fighting that ensued caused widespread destruction and panic amongst the civilian population and an estimated 250 000 people fled from the entire region to Za and Sudan or across the Nile to neighbouring districts. Up to 95% of the total population of Moyo district had fled by early 1982.
In late 1982 the Ugandan Army (UNLA) did manage to reoccupy most of the area earlier invaded by anti-Government forces and the opposition elements retreated across the northern borders. In early 1983 the Government of Uganda requested UNHCR to assist in bringing the people back and shortly thereafter the West Nile Returnee Programme, which was to last up to December 1988, commenced. UNHCRs two main implementing partners in the repatriation exercise were the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) who were primarily involved in reception centre administration, logistics, distribution of agricultural and domestic kits and some rehabilitation of infrastructure, and Mcins Sans Frontis (MSF) who were involved in medical screening and assistance to hospitals.
The programme started slowly with returnees coming primarily from Za through the Arua reception centre, and by the end of 1984 only slightly over 25 000 had been assisted to resettle. Most of these had been transported back from exile by UNHCR but others had come on their own, just reporting their presence to the local authorities and to UNHCR.
Two factors: push and pull
The decision whether or not to repatriate depends on two factors- push and pull. The Uganda-Sudan-Za border cuts through various tribal groups so that, for example, the life a Ugandan Madi leads in Sudan is not all that different from the life he would lead in Uganda. He therefore compares very carefully the conditions on both sides of the border before making the decision to repatriate. Is it easier to live in a refugee camp where ones needs are looked after than to return home and start to work again for ones livelihood? The conditions in the home country must be attractive and secure enough to pull the refugee home and/or the conditions in the place of refuge must be sufficiently unattractive to push the refugee back. The push and the pull factors combined to ensure that almost up to 100 000 returned annually from early 1986 onwards. On the push side, escalation of the war in Southern Sudan between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Organisation (SPLA) and the Sudan government placed the Ugandan refugees there at risk. On the pull side the security situation had greatly improved following the NAM/NRA takeover and when a well-developed system of returnee assistance had been put in place.
May 1986, however, saw a situation which stretched the capacity of the implementing agencies and the Returnee Programme to the limit. At the end of April reports reached Uganda that the 17 UNHCR refugee camps on the East Bank of the Nile had been attacked by armed elements and it was known that some 48 000 Ugandan refugees were directly affected and would be forced to take refuge by returning to the West Nile region. In the event, 75 000 Ugandans returned of whom 60 555 crossed the borders in the month of May alone. To appreciate the logistical and other problems involved in the repatriation exercise we focus on Pakele which was until two weeks before nothing more than a village but had now become the reception point for the repatriation exercise. The LWF Project Officer who coordinated on the Ugandan side saw his day as follows:
Its 7 a.m., time to start the machinery. First the lorries have to get on the road. Diesel has to be put into their tanks, damage has to be inspected, logbooks to be filled and driving instructions to be given. Some lorries have to drive to Arinyapi, the holding camp at the River Tete, close to the Sudanese border. One lorry is detailed to collect more hoes, pangas, axes and buckets. Some others will have to take people back to Moyo, Laropi and Dufile. Lets hope the ferry across the River Nile will not break down, otherwise the whole operation is endangered. One lorry unfortunately has a broken spring and has to go into the temporary emergency workshop at Adjumani.
At the moment we have 17 lorries operating in Sudan collecting the Ugandans from various camps, 8 lorries and four of those trucks with trailers we have here in Pakele. The priority is to take the people out of Sudan since their lives are in danger. We have built a shortcut road through the bush in two days, which saves us a 50 km drive. Now the majority of lorries bring the people from their camps through Nimule up to the Tete River. There the lorries are unloaded, and while the returnees cross the river, which is just knee deep, the lorries hurry back to collect more.
This side of the Tete River we have a holding camp. Pit latrines have been dug, watchmen to guard the drinking water section of the river have been employed, a temporary office is operating and we also have a doctor with his staff and basic medical supplies on the spot. Since transport on the Uganda side is limited, the returnees are told to establish themselves for 3- 4 days in Arinyapi. Daily food rations are promised and provided. The people dont mind the delay. The main thing is to be home.
Later on today the LWF statistics office will tell us how many people we have currently in Arinyapi. Yesterday we had almost] 5 000. From Arinyapi the returnees are brought to Pakele Reception Centre. Here they have to pass what we have named the returnee processing machine. Actually it is a timber structure covered with canvas which the people have to pass through. There are various stages. First, one has to be admitted into the machine. The UNHCR office in Sudan makes lists with names of returnees on each lorry. Once the clerk on the gate is satisfied that you are the one on the list, you have made it, you can enter.
The second stage deals with registration. You go to any of the five clerks who will interview you and fill in what is called the family history form. Be careful, never lose this form, because with this form you get a hoe, a panga, an axe and, if your family is large, you will also get a bucket. Maybe, later on, when more relief items and seeds are coming, you can get more, on the same form. After you have got these items, just follow the path so that you get your food. You will get a months supply, that is, 12.5 kg of maize, 3 kg beans and 150 grammes of salt per person.
If you have a young baby you will also get some milkpowder. Now you are through. You can go for a medical check-up if you feel ill. But put your luggage near the signpost of your village. If you want to go to Metu, you go under that tree there. If your place is in Chiforo, move down the road to that family which has all those goats. Once there are enough people, a lorry will come and collect you. Remember, keep that form, because only with this form will you get food for the next half year. Sometime in the next two or three months the doctors will come to your village to check you for sleeping sickness, TB and leprosy. This will be marked on that form. If you dont go for a check-up, then no more food.
In a situation, as described above, the main factors involved in a successful repatriation exercise surface easily. Firstly, the push, pull situation; secondly, the ability of the implementing agencies to solve the logistical and management problems; and finally, the cooperation and goodwill of all parties involved. Donors have to support the exercise financially; UNHCR, having the mandate to find a lasting solution to the refugee problem, has to establish the framework within which its implementing partners can do the job a clear division of work between the agencies avoids misunderstanding. And the Government has to give all the support it can to solve the long list of local problems.
As far as the West Nile Returnee Programme was concerned, the above conditions were met, by and large. Problems were encountered but it was the goodwill and the common objective of bringing the people home which over the six-year programme period allowed the parties concerned to find appropriate solutions.
Rehabilitation and development
Bringing back the people from exile was only the first part of the exercise. Since the whole infrastructure of the region was virtually destroyed, or deteriorated drastically due to lack of maintenance, a massive rehabilitation exercise had to accompany relief efforts. Roads had to be graded, bridges repaired, culverts installed, about 100 primary schools rebuilt, post-primary institutions- some without any intact buildings- reconstructed, old boreholes to be repaired, new boreholes to be drilled, springs to be protected, community centres to be reroofed, health facilities to be rehabilitated, etc., etc. But first the returnees had to resettle and become self-sufficient as quickly as possible.
As the majority of returnees had been in exile for only 4- 5 years, they knew where their farms were and so most returned there directly to start again. Since agriculture is the back bone of the West Nile economy, each returnee family had been issued with a basic agricultural kit consisting of agricultural implements and seeds on its return. Demand existed for further implements and seeds, but normal trade had not developed to meet this need. So a revolving fund scheme, whereby seeds, implements, fishing equipment, veterinary inputs, and after a time grinding mills to be sold at affordable prices, had to be set up.
A significant part of the above rehabilitation exercise- which is still ongoing but now nearing completion- is being funded by EEC in agreement with the Government, with LWF as the main implementing agency.
These rehabilitation efforts had to lead eventually into the third and final stage of the process, the development phase, where, following successful rehabilitation, the once disadvantaged area of West Nile would again be at par with the rest of the country. The West Nile Returnee Programme paved the way for this third phase by involving the people in the rehabilitation effort and by taking steps to ensure that the work started by the implementing agencies will be continued by the people, groups (churches, cooperatives, etc.) and government. For example, when building primary schools, the people of the area participate fully through contributions of locally available materials such as bricks, timber, sand and labour. Boreholes are drilled but at the same time a community-based maintenance scheme is established. Agricultural inputs are now sold through cooperative groups and agricultural extension services have been established. Gradually, more and more responsibility is being handed over to the returnee communities.
A permanent solution?
The people are back and, with a bit of help, they have established themselves and become self-sufficient. Over 300000 are no longer refugees. Yes, for these people a permanent solution has been found. But the problem might arise again. At the time of writing this article Sudanese refugees are camping in Uganda. Only general peace will bring a real and permanent solution to the refugee problem in this region.
The number of displaced persons throughout the world has been estimated at 30 million, at least. Of these, around half are officially recognised as refugees. The other 15 million, since they do not cross an international frontier, remain internally displaced within their own country. The needs of both refugees and internally displaced persons are very similar. Providing assistance to the two groups of people can, though, raise very different problems.
The European Community has built up a certain expertise in providing assistance to refugees and displaced persons throughout the world. In 19X9 almost ECU 200 m was spent on programmes and projects to aid this group of people. As the table opposite shows, this assistance is implemented through a number of different instruments (Emergency Aid, Food Aid, Development Aid, etc.) and by a variety of means e.g. by the Commission directly or in association with international organisations such as the UNHCR, World Food Programme or with Non-Governmental Organisations. In addition to the growth in the volume of aid, the range of assistance available from the Community has widened considerably. Along with emergency aid and food aid, Community assistance has broadened to include post-emergency assistance, i.e. development-oriented projects in favour of refugees and displaced persons. Introduced only a few years ago this longer-term developmental assistance (Article 204 of the LomII Convention for ACP States and the Communitys Budget Article 936 for Asian and Central American States) now accounts for almost 30% of total EC aid to refugees and displaced persons.
This post-emergency aid assistance represents a real effort to bring about some additionality to refugee assistance. The idea behind it, which came from Icara II (the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa), is that, since refugees are forced to spend increasing amounts of time away from their homes, there is a need to develop projects that go beyond the more traditional care and maintenance assistance and from recognition that extra resources were needed to undertake such projects.
The experience gained so far in the implementation of these development-oriented projects has provided some insights into the difficulties and opportunities that arise in undertaking such projects with refugees and displaced persons. Under the LomV Convention, the Commission will be drawing on the lessons from the 70-plus projects so far assisted under LomII so as to try, more effectively, to meet the needs of refugees and displaced persons.
At the early stages of a large movement of people (as a result of war or natural catastrophe, for example) the assistance provided is usually in the form of Emergency Aid. Because of its nature, this type of assistance is of limited duration. Unfortunately, displacements are not always short-term phenomena. Millions of people are forced to spend years away from their homes. Being uprooted in such a manner, these people are denied the opportunity to contribute to their own development and to that of their society, which can result in a huge loss of self-respect and the creation of a dependence mentality. The steps taken by the Community through both the Lomonvention and the Budget are an attempt to help those displaced cope with the trauma of dislocation.
Legitimate concerns of host governments
Ideally, support for displaced persons needs to be viewed from the outset with a longer-term horizon in mind. This is easier said than done. In the case of refugees it can be very difficult for host governments to accept that a large influx of people that has just occurred is likely to be a permanent feature of their country for many years. Even in cases where refugees have been installed in an area for a long period of time, host governments can become concerned when there is talk of development-oriented projects. What does this mean? Is this going to encourage the refugee to settle permanently in the host country? Will this give rise to claims for citizenship? What will be the reactions of local people? These are all perfectly legitimate concerns which those drawing up and financing projects must take into account and address in their design and implementation.
It is very important, then, that in providing assistance to refugees and displaced persons, no unfair distinction is made between these groups and local people. There is no quicker way of promoting resentment than for local people to perceive that refugees are enjoying higher standards of care and assistance than is available locally. In the Eastern, Darfur and Equatorial regions of Sudan, some hundreds of thousands of refugees have settled spontaneously. Unlike refugees in official camps, supported by the UNHCR, spontaneously settled refugees receive little assistance from outside agencies and the consequent pressure on scarce local resources is all the greater. The ECU + 17 m programme that was drawn up under LomII to assist these refugees addresses many of the basic infrastructural problems of the region. The presence of the refugees has therefore had the effect of bringing in resources for the rehabilitation of hospitals, schools, water supply, etc., so that the development needs of the region are being addressed in the context of refugee aid.
Special needs go unnoticed
While the general principle that local people should, wherever possible, share in any project being supported for refugees and displaced persons is applied by the EEC, cases will arise which justify the targetting of particularly vulnerable groups among the displaced population. For example, a large displacement of people may result in traditional family support not being available for the elderly, the young, etc. To undertake such projects, it is necessary to be able to identify particular needs among the group in question. This may not be easy to do. The overall needs of a displaced population can be so great and corresponding resources so limited that special needs often go unnoticed.
Among the refugee projects now being funded in the ACP States, only a handful are oriented towards meeting the special needs of specific groups of the population concerned (women, children, the elderly, etc.). There is little doubt that many more such projects could be undertaken effectively, though having more detailed information about those being assisted would obviously help in identifying special needs. A greater involvement of refugees and displaced persons in the design of projects is a possible way forward, but there are considerable institutional and political difficulties to be overcome in this regard. There is no simple answer. Certainly donors, NGOs and the international community need to be more sensitive to hidden or poorly articulated needs among those being assisted.
Very often, though, the possibility of undertaking developmentally-oriented projects is very limited. It usually arises in situations where there is an absence of land or other resources. In these cases, most effort is concentrated on ensuring the survival of the group in question. This is the unfortunate position of the Somali refugees under UNHCR care in Eastern Ethiopia, who are located in an arid and geographically hostile area. The priority here is to ensure that adequate provisions are available for the 350000 refugees in the area. The possibility of developmentally-oriented projects among such refugees is extremely limited. The security situation in their own country, however, is such that the refugees have little option but to stay put.
Repatriation, the best solution
Repatriation is, not unsurprisingly, seen as the best solution for displaced persons. However, there have been too few opportunities in recent years for large-scale repatriations. From the three or four such exercises that the Community has taken part in, the essential need for advance planning has been recognised. In the case of the West Nile Returnee Programme in Uganda (see Article page 86) there was time to send out experts who could evaluate the skills and needs of the people before they returned home. Examining the scant facilities remaining in their homelands, it was possible to design and implement projects that better met the real developmental needs of the people once they returned home.
Assisting people in their home territory is, in general, a more straightforward exercise. The misgivings governments may have felt about the effects of developmentally-oriented projects with refugees will not generally apply to internally displaced persons or returnees. Developmentally-oriented projects are therefore often easier to undertake, since many of the political constraints that can come into play when refugee issues are being considered do not apply to the internally displaced. Unfortunately, though, there are other problems that arise only too frequently.
In the case of civil war or conflict, however, not all internally displaced people will be able to move to areas where there is either security or sufficient resources for them. This can give rise to a number of particular difficulties. Firstly, there is the question of access. Often it is practically impossible to visit the areas to which the displaced have fled. Sometimes they find themselves in other areas of conflict or are viewed with mistrust by one or other of the combattants in a conflict. If they were to cross an international frontier, they would be afforded the protection and care of the UNHCR. By remaining inside their country, they depend on their own government to provide protection - protection which, in many cases, the government concerned is not in a position to provide. Although the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has a mandate to protect the victims of internal conflicts, this is not always possible in reality. In any event the State concerned may not have ratified the Geneva Conventions, or may decide to ignore their provisions.
This lacuna in international protection and relief for internally displaced persons is being increasingly debated. It is a complex issue, but at its centre is the fundamental point of respect for human rights and the need to ensure that parties to conflicts manifest a sufficient regard for those rights. There are no simple solutions, but is clear that an amelioration in the situation of the 30 million or so refugees and displaced persons throughout the world can only come about through addressing the causes as well as the effects of displacements.
In the new ACP-EEC Convention LomV, the resources that have been made available for development-oriented projects in favour of refugees and displaced persons have been increased. In order to help the Community to make its aid more effective, an independent evaluation has commenced of those projects assisted over the past four years. Under LomII the Community has been deliberately flexible as to the type of project assisted and the level of funding provided (often 100%), so as to build up a broad range of experience and expertise in undertaking such projects. Clearly some streamlining will be needed for projects under LomV. As governments, NGOs and other agencies become more aware of the provisions of Article 204, and its possibilities, so the demand on its resources will grow. What will be important to maintain is the real additionality that such finance can bring to assist the often-limited developmental opportunities for refugees and displaced persons and to try to maximise their effectiveness.
Aid for the self-sufficiency of refugees and displaced persons in Latin America and Asia (1984-89) (Article 936 of the Community budget)
by an African exile in Europe
How can you describe the life of a refugee? You can paint pictures of refugee camps and poverty, of course, and talk about the millions of women and children, those whole populations which one day move off into exile. You can discuss war and suffering. And you can try and count all those members of the human race who are excluded by international treaties from the definitions which may well help get attention for individual cases, but still discount the victims of economic repression and injust policies.
Sharing my experience as a refugee means sharing my innermost thoughts with all those who feel concerned by the problem of refugees as a whole- a way for sensitivity and imagination to contribute to the search for human solutions to what is one of the most acute dramas of our time. And the European Community, of course, which was born of hopes of peace and solidarity, has a special part to play in this by setting an example of particular sensitivity to the problem.
I met my first exile when I was at private school in my home country. He was the grandson of an exiled former king, a proud and melancholy character whose seeming independence and privileges I envied. This coloured my view of refugees, who simply became privileged malcontents in my eyes. I never thought I would become one myself...
It was a painful experience. I went from citizen to subversive and knew prison, flight and exile. Contrary to what you might think, leaving your country is by no means easy. It takes a strong dose of courage and imagination, because, even if- to your surprise- you discover the energy that comes from the survival instinct, the risks are enormous and there is every reason not to believe in the light at the end of the tunnel. Only a tiny minority manage to escape and those with the most resources always do the best.
Exile is hard, even in a country of material comfort, safety and freedom. Only a refugee can understand the trauma of having your body in your host country and your heart at home. Leaving is losing part of your being and it takes great moral strength to hold on to the rest over the years. There are your family and friends, the smells and the colours and everything else which makes the country of your birth the unique and irreplaceable thing it is and this past haunts you, casting a cloud over the sunshine. You feel guilty about those you have left behind, those who were unwilling to go and those whom death has unjustly mown down. Being a refugee is living through the present, but forever with an anguished and nostalgic look over your shoulder at the past. It is having a future hedged round with so many conditions and uncertainties that it is all too often impossible to make plans.
Asking for asylum
When I applied for asylum in one of the countries of Europe, I was distressed by the atmosphere of suspicion at the interview. More than once I had to force back a feeling of revolt when the interviewer sarcastically doubted the truth of my story and asked me the same questions time and time again. He did not seem even slightly affected by the idea that it was a real trial for me to talk about the past or that this attitude brought back memories of interrogations that I thought I would never have to go through again... The frustration and powerlessness I felt at that moment are still very much alive and that is the reason why I volunteered to act as a translator for new arrivals.
The life of a lord
When I arrived at the reception centre, a very old barracks, I soon realised that the battle was not over and that the fight for survival was to be replaced by a fight to get respect for the dignity of the people asking for asylum. Material considerations were less of a problem than the climate of rejection and disdain generated by staff all too often ill-informed about the reasons for our exile. We were labelled criminals, swindlers and adventurers, a potential danger to the economic and social life of the country.
The first two months were very difficult. The centre had only just opened and the lack of organization, the poor hygiene and the problems of 500 exiles from 48 different countries living side by side made for an unhappy atmosphere, to say the least. We decided to try and improve our living conditions and make cohabitation easier by forming a Refugee Association, with elected representative of all nationalities responsible for coordinating the work of the various services with the staff representatives, whom we tried to make aware of the problems through personal contact and reports. Housework brigades kept the centre clean, volunteers disseminated information in the different languages and someone was permanently on duty to listen to people with problems. And so on. And we kept our minds busy with guided tours, music sessions and sport.
Emotions ran particularly high in April and May 1987. The centre was full to overflowing and the plan to allocate refugees to the countrys various communes was not proving as efficient as expected, because most local authorities and public welfare centres selected people according to origin and refused to take in Africans - economic refugees who were said to be difficult to integrate.
Accidents and desperate reactions- going as far as suicide- on the part of some refugees forced us to go on a hunger strike to try and combat such discrimination in the reception of refugees. The solidarity of the local population was particularly strong at this time and a refugee support committee, formed as a matter of urgency by human rights organisations, unions and various cultural, political and religious associations, proved to be very efficient at getting public opinion mobilised and putting it in the picture. With the help of several NGOs and a major newspaper, Amnesty International got more than 700 people to agree to defend their countrys reputation as a place of welcome by making a practical, personal commitment to receiving refugees and integrating them in the communes, to react when arbitrary rejection was imminent and so on. Thus a huge solidarity network saw the light of day- further proof that adequate publicity could have a decisive effect on the reception capacity and the generosity of the population- and a bill restricting the right of asylum due to be voted on in the upper house of Parliament triggered a large number of anxious letters to the representatives of the nation.
Legal refugees...and the rest
The procedure for granting political refugee status turned out to be a very long one and I had to wait for more than two years. However, as it could have been three, four or even five years at the time, I consider myself very lucky. According to the laws of the day, my application had to be examined twice- first of all by the Ministry of Justice to see whether it was eligible and then to check that the application made through the High Commissioner for Refugees was well founded. To start with, my application was thrown out by the first authority on the pretext that I had spent three months in another country before coming to this one.
The solidarity between refugees who have been officially recognised and the rest is worth emphasising. It often results in practical support (with housing and fund-raising) and visits to the detention centres. It is dramatic indeed when someone applying for asylum is deported, sometimes after three years in what he thought was his second homeland, where he has made friends, learned the language and followed courses of study. I remember one family where the four youngsters already spoke the language of the country, standing with their neighbours and friends and the welfare officer, weeping on the station platform- what a terrible waste.
Integrating in the host country
After six months at the barracks, I was relocated in a commune, where my knowledge of the language and my professional training made integration easy- once the political and legal authorities had stepped in to solve the problem of the local authorities refusal to register me.
My experiences at the reception centre led me to work with other exiles and friends from the host country to solve the various problems which refugees had to cope with in the communes, finding accommodation, handling administrative and translation problems, learning the language, breaking down isolation and so on. And we often had to give information to the local inhabitants and neutralise their fears about the refugees, too.
The kindness of local people can be astonishing. One family, for example, has been taking in refugees, regardless of origin, and helping them settle down for more than 10 years now. Many people indeed devote their time and energy to practical schemes for refugees.
I am very often surprised to hear these people thanking us for coming here because they think they are better off for knowing us. Experience has taught me that, if you take the time to get to know someone, you inevitably end up liking them and wanting to work with them and I had very significant experience of this when a teacher who was worried about his pupils being xenophobic invited me to visit his class. He wanted to prepare me for the ordeal and had spent some time describing the negative reactions of these difficult adolescents, but after an embarrassing silence, the atmosphere was so relaxed and pleasant that I though I had gone to the wrong classroom. Some of them even asked me how they could help refugees. Their questions revealed that their prejudices were based on a lack of information, on the exaggerated importance we accord to things which actually affect us, on inadequate data encouraging negative generalisations, on an inflated estimate of the number of refugees here and on the fact that they are all too often presented as a threat triggering inevitable feelings of rejection. The people who shape public opinion have a serious responsibility here and they should provide the population with better information and be more careful about latent hostility to foreigners.
Exiles for Development
People understand the fate of political refugees when they hear about them being physically tortured or put in prison. But these same people are much less receptive to other forms of persecution which threaten relations between peoples and the rules of distribution. Those who do happen to understand shrug their shoulders as if ordinary mortals, mere men in the street, can do nothing to solve a planet-wide problem of this sort. Yet border regulations, economic agreements and international treaties will never do anything either unless they tackle the many causes of exile. But tiny, isolated initiatives, particularly daring ones, can trigger very influential and effective movements. All we have to do is believe in them and channel our time and energy into them.
This occurred with a group of refugees in my reception centre who were anxious for closer development of their humanist values. We had already started approaching Embassies in various countries of the South. Someone who has not forgotten his continent of origin can do anything with a passport in his pocket, and a few months in a country near my own country showed me the harsh reality of what refugees from there had gone through. Together with friends in exile who were also concerned by the deep distress of their brothers, we wanted to form a non-governmental cooperation organisation to do what we thought was necessary. This project, a response both to enforced exile and the brain drain, is intended to enable all those who had had to flee to put their skills, their resources and their knowledge of the countries and their cultures at the disposal of regions near their native lands.
It is generating a lot of enthusiasm. But there has to be a proper structure, backed up by the support and reflection of all those who are interested- and they are of course invited to contact the Exiles for Development association.
by Finn SLUMSTRUP
Though the numbers of refugees in Denmark are small in absolute terms, it is one of the countries of the European Community which has been most open to receiving refugees- indeed something over a fifth of its non-Danish population has refugee status. Though it is typical in many ways in its treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees, in other ways its approach is individual.
This article, from the Danish Refugee Council, explains where Denmarks refugees come from, how they are integrated into Danish society and how hitherto sympathetic public attitudes appear to he gradually changing in the face of rising levels of domestic unemployment.
Of the 5.1 million people living in Denmark, some 145000 are foreigners, corresponding to less than 3 % of the population- a very low figure compared with other European countries. The foreign population can be roughly divided into three groups: 60 000 immigrants; some 55 000 people from the other Nordic countries. the EEC and North America living in Denmark and 30 000 refugees who obtained asylum during the 1980s.
At the risk of being accused of simplification, I would say that when the Danes speak about their aliens, they are thinking of the 90 000 immigrants and refugees, and it is this last category that is of interest here.
All Denmarks refugees share one fundamental characteristic the fact that they were admitted into Denmark because the authorities considered them to fulfil certain conditions of the Aliens Act. But apart from these technical details about their right to asylum, the refugees have so little in common that to characterise them as a group is meaningless. Their common features tend to be of a purely negative nature, i.e. they do not speak Danish on their arrival, they have no home of their own, they cannot earn a living straight away, they have no language in common, they cannot communicate with the authorities of their native countries, and so on.
The refugee has a lot to offer, many qualities which can prove useful to Danish society, but first has to go through his individual integration process, which may be long or short, but which is rarely straightforward. The most striking common feature among the refugees is perhaps their dissimilarity. This assertion may be easier to understand if it is considered that 4863 persons were recognised as refugees and consigned to the Danish Refugee Council in 1989, representing 35 different nationalities and stateless persons with earlier residence permits in nine different countries!
Five groups among our refugees are clearly the largest and include 25 000 persons, the three largest groups being Iranians (7 650), stateless Palestinians from Lebanon (5 200), and Tamils from Sri Lanka (4 600), all of whom arrived during the 1980s. The arrival of 4 600 Vietnamese and 3,500 Poles date further back.
For the sake of completeness it should be added that the number of Palestinians can be increased by more than 1 000 if stateless persons from other Middle-East countries than Lebanon as well as Lebanese citizens are included.
Looking at the movements of the past few months, it emerges that the number of Polish refugees has stagnated. Only 80 Poles were granted asylum during 1989, which is a consequence of the promising political developments in Eastern Europe in general, including Poland. On the other hand, Denmark gave asylum to 272 refugees from Romania in 1989.
The history of the Polish refugees in Denmark goes back to the summer of 1969 when violent anti-Semitic currents forced thousands of Polish Jews to flee, a flight which was made possible if the Jews renounced their Polish citizenship. Most went to Israel, but Sweden and Denmark also received relatively large numbers, and in the 20 years which have followed many Poles have obtained asylum in Denmark. The suppression of the Solidarity movement, in the early 1980s, led to a new wave of Polish asylum-seekers in Denmark.
The first Vietnamese refugees came to Denmark in the mid-1970s the earliest being the 214 Vietnamese children and youngsters who arrived with the Danish journalist Henning Becker in April 1975. A couple of months later, the first 103 boat people were brought to Denmark on a Danish ship that had saved them from shipwreck.
However, most of the other Vietnamese refugees have been accepted into Denmark under the so-called quota agreement with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR) which seeks to resettle the refugees who are living in camps in their countries of first arrival e.g. Thailand and Hong Kong.
In 1989 Denmark decided to increase its yearly quota to 500 refugees. The country also participates in two special agreements according to which refugees rescued at sea, and a few handicapped refugees, are granted asylum. As a result, Vietnamese refugees continue coming to Denmark and in 1989, 645 were accepted.
In 1985 the world witnessed the first Tamil refugees fleeing from the civil war devastating the Northern part of Sri Lanka, and 300 were granted asylum in Denmark. Since then there has been a clear decrease in the number of new, spontaneous refugees. On the other hand, the question of the Tamils right to be united with their families became a hot political topic by the end of 1988 and a large number of reunification applications accumulated. Therefore, the fact that 583 Tamils were consigned to the Danish Refugee Council during 1989, is above all a result of decisions in favour of members of refugees familes.
Number of Palestinian refugees increasing
If the present trend continues, Palestinians will soon be the largest refugee group in Denmark, because the civil war in Lebanon continues to be very explosive and because the number of Palestinians already in Denmark will bring about a certain number of family reunifications. The total of the Palestinian group increased by a little more than 1300 in 1989.
The refugee work-structure in Denmark
Compared with some larger countries, the number of refugees in Denmark is not remarkable, but the way of structuring the work with the refugees from the moment of their arrival is probably rather unusual. There is, for example, the Danish tradition of close co-operation between the State and private humanitarian organisations. Asylum-seekers who come to Denmark and obtain permission to stay during the examination of their case are normally lodged in centres administered by the Danish Red Cross, i.e. a private organisation. The work, however, is financed by public funds through the Ministry of Justice.
If asylum is granted, the asylum-seeker, now a recognised refugee, is offered an integration-programme under the auspices of the Danish Refugee Council (also a non-governmental organisation). The work is financed by public funds through the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The public authorities have realised that, with private organisations in charge of the refugee work, their high motivation and flexibility, particularly in terms of staff, offer considerable advantages both in the quality and the cost of the work. The Danish Refugee Council makes available to the refugees an 18-month integration-programme which is accepted by more than 99 % of the refugees. This means that they follow four daily lessons in Danish and in the social and cultural structure of the country. They are helped to find their own place to live, to plan a training programme and, in some cases, to find a job. The language training is not run by the Danish Refugee Council alone, but some 70% of the refugees attend the language schools of the Danish Refugee Council, while the rest are taught through some of the numerous private educational institutions. Ideally, the education should consist of 20 weekly lessons, but because of reduced grants this number is not attained in all cases. The Danish Parliament has decided on a policy of spreading the refugees as evenly as possible throughout the country, in relation to the local population density, so making the best possible use of the resources available in Danish society. The Refugee Council has accepted this policy, but has also pointed to the fact that if the refugees are forced to spread out, their social network will be extremely fragile. There are refugees living in about 250 of Denmarks 277 municipalities.
The problem of getting a job
It may be difficult to get the refugees a place of their own in which to live, but the difficulty is as nothing compared with the problems in finding them employment. For several years now, the rate of unemployment in Denmark has been 8-9 % of the labour force, and, with more than 250 000 unemployed hoping for a job, it goes without saying that special measures are needed to find the refugees a way into the labour market. For this reason, once the refugees knowledge of the Danish language is satisfactory, the Refugee Council concentrates on placing him or her on a useful training course, because- just as the Danes themselves and the immigrants- the refugees are aware that training is the key to their success on the labour market.
Only a small percentage of the refugees can manage to support themselves when the 18 months with the Council have passed. The vast majority needs public support to continue their studies or must live on social assistance from their municipality. However, the refugees do not represent a great burden on their municipalities during the first six years. In view of the fact that the refugee policy is a result of Government decisions, the State reimburses the municipalities for almost all their expenses.
Public attitudes towards refugees
In spite of the fact that the number of refugees in Denmark is not very large, the relationship between Danes and refugees and immigrants was the subject of heated debate amongst the Danish public throughout the 1980s.
In the course of the first years of the Danish Refugee Councils existence, i.e. from 1956 to 1979, a little fewer than 10 000 refugees were granted asylum. As mentioned earlier, however, their numbers trebled during the 1980s, a heavy increase which was reflected in many ways.
The Aliens Act, which defines the asylum-seekers opportunities in Denmark, was renewed in 1983 after years of committee work, but was amended twice in 1985 and was severely restricted in October 1986.
Refugees have been the topic of the repeated debate in the press and other media and political parties to the left and right of the political spectrum have tried to adapt to the new currents. The public debate about the relationship between Danes and foreigners displays the same passion as in other European countries. Nevertheless, sociological studies show that, apart from a certain period in the autumn of 1986, only 5-7 % of Danes consider refugee problems to be a major political Issue.
Opinion polls carried out in the spring of 1988 and the summer of 1989 indicated that about 50 % of the population have no clearly defined attitude towards the presence of refugees (and immigrants) in the country. Thirty-three per cent have a fundamentally positive attitude, and the rest a negative attitude. The trend between the two polls shows, however, that the clearly negative group is growing, which indicates that Denmark is likely to have the same problems on the agenda in the 1990s as most other Western European countries regarding the relationship between its own nationals and its immigrants and refugees.
In The Courier No. 116, the CTA published an article on the utility and value of beekeeping by the International Bee Research Association. This article shows how the advice can be put into practice.
The buzzing of insects is not incompatible with life on a sub-tropical island. But bees in Jamaica? Long associated with more temperate climates, beekeeping became the object of a Ministry of Agriculture study back in 1981 which went to the Administrative Staff College for a theoretical projection, and by 1983 became the object of a feasibility study. The long gestation period is due at least in part to the complexity of Jamaicas social and economic problems and to the need to harmonise rural development, youth employment, import substitution and good management in the framework. Thus the Ministry of Agriculture was joined by the Ministry of Youth and Community Development in a detailed project presided over by the Planning Institute of Jamaica. A grant- under Lom funding- was sought in 1985 and became effective on I February 1987. The sum involved was ECU 805 000 for a pilot project covering four parishes. A West German consultancy, Atlanta Consult, provides the technical assistance.
Beekeeping is not new to Jamaica. The area chosen for the pilot project- the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth and St Catherine- was selected precisely because there is a history of small-scale beekeeping and because the area has the right sort of vegetation for bees. Indeed, one component of the project, research, has underlined two major advantages for beekeepings future on the island. Firstly, the botanical survey has demonstrated that Jamaica is home to a wide variety of plants which bees seem to like, many of them not yet identified. Of course the verses of childhood depict the bees flitting from flower to flower but poetry cuts little ice in the marketplace. For a long time, monofloral honeys (honey gathered from a single floral source, such as heather) are more highly valued, and the project has stimulated the search for a monofloral source.
The second major advantage for Jamaicas beekeepers is the relative absence of major pests and diseases affecting bees. Indeed, apart from American Foulbrood (normally a disease associated with overcrowding in the hive), none of the worlds major diseases have yet appeared in Jamaica. The project, however, has not rested on the islands laurels in this regard, but is organising seminars and training courses for beekeepers to enable them to spot and resist pests and diseases should they occur.
The project, whose headquarters are at Mandeville in the parish of Manchester, is aimed at creating and reinforcing a number of smallholders, rather than establishing an industry . Two main types of client exist; the small beekeepers, with an average of 45 colonies, whose beekeeping is complementary to other, more lucrative, agricultural activity, and small commercial enterprises with an average of 70 to 90 colonies.
Project co m portents
In order to achieve the objectives (increased honey production through better management with regard to beekeeping and economics) the project includes various sub-programmes:
- an extension programme for new and established
- a credit programme funding the purchase of hives and other apiary inputs,
- a programme providing training (by the extension specialist) for beekeeping extension officers and youth trainers,
- a research programme concentrating on practical subjects that have immediate application to beekeeping management,
- a marketing programme targeted at possible markets and market channels for honey and other bee products, - the organisation of an islandwide Beekeepers Association,
- training young people in beekeeping through trainers and the facilities of the Ministry of Youth and Community Development (under the supervision of the project),
- technical assistance for training beekeeping officers, and monitoring the extension service and initiating a research programme.
The extension programme
There are four beekeeping extension officers, one in each parish. Extension work is mainly done through non-residential courses either at the four demonstration apiaries within the project area or at apiaries of established beekeepers.
The beekeeping extension officers visit beekeepers on a regular basis, in order to
- assess their work progress,
- monitor the use of loans, and
- help to solve problems and provide information on an individual basis.
The project has now about 350 beekeepers enrolled. This means that nearly all the beekeepers in the project area are co-operating with the project.
At the moment the project is preparing beekeeping pamphlets as well as establishing a library of audiovisual materials including videofilms and synchronised slide sets. These are produced in co-operation with the Learning Resource Centre of the Training Division of the Ministry of Agriculture under the supervision of the extension specialist.
The credit programme
As has already been said, the credit programme was designed to help beekeepers to purchase the necessary equipment. However, most of the beekeepers had difficulties in providing adequate security. This led to a slow take-up of the loans. The project management decided to search for alternatives and after evaluating the credit programme, came up with a new design based in principle on ideas and proposals made by the consulting firm, Atlanta Consult, in their project proposal and on a design outline made by the extension specialist.
The new design envisages active participation by the Beekeepers Associations and the establishment of a revolving fund scheme to eliminate the problem of inadequate security.
The training programme
The extension specialist set up initial training in beekeeping for the beekeeping extension officers. This course lasts for seven weeks and includes theoretical as well as practical aspects of beekeeping. Four officers within the Ministry of Agriculture were trained to become beekeeping extension officers.
After the initial training course, follow-up courses are provided by the extension specialist in order to update and evaluate the knowledge of the officers. These follow-up courses are carried out on a bi-monthly basis lasting for three days each. Emphasis is placed on practical matters as well as on the economic side of the beekeeping business.
The beekeeping extension officers in return also provide training to general extension officers, who should have a minimum knowledge of beekeeping.
There is also a part to be played by MYCD personnel in teaching young people beekeeping. Various obstacles however (restructuring of the Ministry, Hurricane Gilbert ) made it impossible for the MYCD to stand by its obligations to the full. The project is now seeking a better design for this part of the programme.
The marketing programme
The marketing programme assessed the possibilities of marketing honey and other products from bees inside and outside Jamaica. The actual, production of honey is estimated at 1000 tons per year. The local market is absorbing most of it as the demand is nowhere near satisfied yet. Exports of honey are only sporadic. In addition, the local market fetches a better price than the world market. Beekeepers therefore are not willing to produce for export.
Other products from bees are not significant at the moment. There is, however, a tendency towards the production of products such as propolis, beeswax, and royal jelly. The project is actively supporting these new enterprises.
The Islandwide Beekeepers Association
The project assisted in organising the establishment of the Islandwide Beekeepers Association. After initiating associations in the project area, preparations were made to give the beekeepers an opportunity to meet and to set up a steering committee to prepare the launching of the islandwide organisation. This islandwide Association was founded in September, 1989, in the presence of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, the Hon. Desmond Leaky, himself a beekeeper.
The management board of the Association has met several times in the meantime and prepared the memoranda and articles necessary to register as an association. Furthermore, they planned several projects to improve their financial basis. The project is funding the association, trying to assist them in their daily work.
In the future, the Association will play an important part in the further development of the project. The project seeks the co-operation of the Association with regard to the credit programme and the extension work.
Ministry of Youth Training Programme
The training programme of the Ministry of Youth and Community Development has been curtailed to some extent as there were substantial changes within the Ministry itself. Furthermore, Hurricane Gilbert (on September 12, 1988) struck down most of the facilities the MYCD was planning to use. Others were needed as temporary shelter for refugees.
It was only possible to train two officers who are now teaching beekeeping to youngsters. A first training session was held and 34 participants received training.
Nonetheless the project wants to change the design of this part of the programme, including the existing efforts in training youths in beekeeplng.
The extension specialist trained the extension officers and established the extension service, as well as preparing the necessary extension materials, especially the audiovisuals.
The research specialists initiated the research programme and were always on hand if there was any question to answer or problem to solve.
The project has submitted to Ministry of Agriculture a request to extend the project for 18 months on an islandwide basis. The time would also be used to develop a second phase programme and prepare the necessary documents.
This proposal was completed in the light of a positive evaluation of the project in September, 1989. The evaluation revealed that the project has established a viable and effective extension service, with a pool of wide knowledge and experience in beekeeping. It was also assisting in organising the beekeepers. All in all, the project had a positive impact on the beekeeping industry as such. This is why the evaluation mission recommended the extension of the project.
The project management believes that beekeeping is a small but very efficient enterprise and business. It helps a lot of people in rural areas in Jamaica to make a better living. The project through its extension service assisted in improving the living conditions of farmers by teaching them better and more advanced methods of beekeeping. It hopes now to continue on an islandwide basis. Will it always be true that Jamaicas honey is too popular at home to warrant an export drive? Perhaps the extension of the programme to the rest of the island will give the outside world a taste of Jamaicas sweet secret.
by Alimata SALAMBERE
In spite of the constantly increasing output of the African film industry, only very rarely is its work seen by people other than specialists and cine-club members.
Burkina Faso is one of the countries most actively involved in promoting its cinema and, in this article, its Secretary of State for Culture, Alimata Salamb, explains why so few African films are distributed in Europe.
If the African film industry is to improve and to develop fast, it needs to be properly organised, the main features of the cinematographic phenomenon- as art means of communication, industry and trade- must be taken into account.
The boost given by festivals such as FESPACO, heightened in recent years by the International African Film and TV Market, has meant that a start could be made on African film distribution. Our film industry is a relatively young one and so it still has plenty of shortcomings and bottlenecks, one of the most obvious being the virtual absence of a market, and there are various types of problem attached to distributing African films in Europe and elsewhere.
It rarely occurs to African filmmakers or producers to start by wondering who is going to distribute the film abroad or to look for distributors and try and involve them in their plans with co-productions and advances on distribution.
The professional European film distribution circuit, protected, indeed virtually reserved, is shared among a number of magnates. Africa badly needs a a powerful voice to defend the interests of its indigenous cinema.
It is the technical, artistic and comercial competitivity of African films which seems to me to pose the biggest problem. Compared to the daily diet of the European film-going public, African films are often technically and artistically mediocre. Screen-play, scenario, direction, picture and sound quality are not up to the standard of the work of European producers, who have years of technical experience and know-how, making African films look like minor works, no more than exotic achievements of little commercial value. This is also why European distributors hesitate to buy African films, deeming them to be beneath their audiences, and explains why only non-professional (non-commercial) distribution networks- the art organisations, film libraries and archives and cultural and international bodies- show any interest.
Directly linked to the problem of the competitive position of African films is that of their promotion and advertising. Because professional film promoters, equipment and money are all in short supply, African films do not get the support they need in Europe. Nor are European critics always favourable either, because they look at African work in the same way as they do European work- if not in a paternalistic light tinged with a search for exoticism. Moreover, the cost of advertising African films often forces European distributors to pocket the bulk of the takings- and the real profits are not always high- so they can only give the most meagre of returns to the African producers.
The almost total absence of protocols on cinematographic exchanges (cultural, commercial and technical) further handicaps the proper promotion of co-productions and the distribution of African films in Europe.
Unhelpful screening arrangements
This legal problem brings various difficulties in its wake to do with the protection of African films on the European market. If it were solved, it would be easier to force people to declare their takings and perhaps lighten the European distributors tax burden, thereby stimulating and encouraging them. To my mind, less tax would also help African films compete better, commercially, with European films.
Lastly, there are a number of technical problems behind the frail toehold which African films have on the European market. They are:
- cinema screening arrangements. An African film will often be screened alongside several very well-known European films in the same cinema complex, thus demeaning the African product- a feeling backed up by social and cultural prejudice about Africa and black peoples in general. It is not uncommon to see African films sharing the same cinema with European films but getting all the poor screening times and thus losing much of their audience;
- language, which is apparently not a major drawback to the distribution of a good film. But sub-titles, which are necessary for most of our national-language films, are a considerable handicap to normal, comfortable viewing and the majority of European audiences have got out of the habit of looking at films of this sort.
When films- like Yennenga- with the supreme accolade of a FESPACO Grand Prix behind them still have distribution problems, it is worth wondering whether producers might not be well advised to develop other initiatives to drum up the distributors interest in films from the southern hemisphere.
African film-makers have always had a distribution problem. Cinema managers can be provided with films in a number of ways, by:
- getting screening rights for a particular period, usually a
maximum of five years;
- (outright or percentage) purchasing and signing a protocol with the producer.
Co-production seems to have been the best way of guaranteeing some sort of outlet for African films so far, as it helps the whole process, production posing its problems long before the question of distribution arises.
The 15-country Inter-African Film Distribution Consortium spent some years trying to bridge the gap, but poor management prevented it from making a success of the job and it is to be hoped that the void it is now leaving, with African film distribution causing increasing concern, will encourage more than one country to get this valuable organisation back on the rails.
The African film industry deserves more than this now that professional standards are actually being achieved. Congratulations are due to Burkina Fasos National Film Company (SCNACIB) for its drive to distribute as many African films as possible, but alongside this and SIDEC, the Senegalese Film Distribution and Exploitation Company, there is only Nigeria, with a population of over 100 million and several hundred cinemas, which can count on its own market.
The problems attached to distributing African films in Europe are, of course, generally the same as in and between the countries of Africa itself. The answer would be to:
- find distributors by offering various incentives. The
distribution aid that goes with some African films in France is one example of
this and it helps the distributor to launch films and gives them a chance of
- run a very dynamic promotion policy tailored to African films;
- protect African films on the European market with:
· bilateral exchange agreements;
· proper, monitored screening arrangements;
· checks on declarations of takings;
· support for the Society of Authors and Composers;
· lastly, as mentioned in relation to the standard of African films, financing of the kind used for economic and industrial projects by such international organisations as the EEC.
Rapid population growth, in a context of scarce material and natural resources, is a common feature of developing countries. It is evident that appropriate and sufficiently productive agricultural technologies are needed urgently. Livestock production strategies and policies are needed which make optimum use of local resources without inflicting further damage on ecological environments already under pressure. However the role played by livestock in the overall farming system has been largely ignored.
Whilst technological transfer involving primarily Western models continues, research into the potential of regional resources is being neglected and social and economic constraints hindering innovative techniques are not being given adequate attention.
New livestock strategies are needed urgently; strategies which do not create import dependence but rather stress local needs, local resources, and identify the potential of indigenous breeds and feed resources.
Livestock and the greenhouse effect
It is generally agreed that the industrialised West has achieved a high rate of livestock productivity by using a disproportionate amount of the worlds resources, particularly fossil fuels, marine fisheries, and protein-rich cakes and meals. The efficient animal industries of industrialised countries would have been much less productive if their access to inputs, derived from fossil fuels, were as limited as those of the worlds poorer countries. Fossil fuels are too expensive for developing countries struggling with limited foreign exchange. Alternative and renewable energy sources have to be found.
Industrial countries are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental threat posed by fossil fuels and they are beginning to look for less destructive industrial and agricultural technologies. Rising world temperatures are causing growing concern and an awareness of the greenhouse effect is spreading. This is seen as a consequence of increases in levels of carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs and oxides of nitrogen. Carbon dioxide and methane are intimately related to plant growth and animal production. Methane contributes to heat retention in the earths atmosphere and reacts destructively with the ozone layer.
Herbivorous animals mainly cattle and buffalo, contribute 15-25% of the total global production of methane. With this in mind research priority has to be given to developing feeds for monogastric animals that can be derived from local tropical biomass such as sugar cane, water plants, and forage trees. These feeds use a minimum of fossil fuels and produce negligible quantities of methane.
The methane production factor in herbivorous animals means that ruminants must be given supplements to ensure efficient fermentative digestion. Research is also necessary for a better understanding of factors involved in the accumulation of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere. Agricultural development strategies at national and global level must aim at a reduction and eventual stabilisation of the principal greenhouse gases.
Planning livestock development programmes is critical and requires interdisciplinary cooperation. Action has to take place simultaneously on several fronts. Health, feeding, breeding and socio-economic aspects must all be considered and livestock and crop production must complement each other optimally.
The potential of lesser known species, micro-livestock and wildlife has to be explored and livestock production techniques must be selected which optimise long- and short-term benefits. In developing countries, Multiple Ovulation and Embryonic Transfer (MOET) and animal importation are likely to be less cost effective tools than artificial insemination (AI). AI can ensure genetic improvement and can be used as part of an integrated programme aimed at upgrading calving percentages and increasing survival rates in local herds. Local legislation can play an important role in ensuring the quality of inputs (vaccine and semen) and in setting realistic standards for local products such as meat and milk. Local legislation can also be used to ensure the supply of such valuable inputs as seeds and scientific information.
Research is essential to the future of livestock production in developing countries and one important issue is how to make the best use of animals for draught at the smallholder level. Research is needed on genetic improvement programmes for multi-purpose traits. Studies are needed into animal partition nutrients for work, foetal growth, lactation and the effects of reproduction. Finding the best feeding progammes for adaptation to available local resources are also areas requiring investigation.
The use of local feed resources
The question of feed resources is central and raises the issue of dependence on imported food, feeds and technological inputs. It is important that livestock feeding systems use locally available feed resources. These include feeds which can be produced using alternative cropping systems. Emphasis must be given to management systems and especially to the role supplementary feeding plays in optimising the use made of local resources.
A major problem arises in how to evaluate and use local feeds. Two categories are useful in identifying feed resources. First there are those basal feeds which provide the bulk of the diet and secondly there are those feeds which are high in nutritional content and which can be used as potential supplements.
Basal feeds should be allocated according to digestive requirements: fermentation (feeds rich in cell wall components such as crop residues, agro-industrial by-products and pasture) or intestinal gastric enzymes (sugars and starches such as those found in molasses sugar cane juice, and cereal grains). Supplements are recommended where nutritional deficiencies are likely in basal feeds. These supplements would usually be high in protein, examples being the vegetable protein meals from the oil seed industry, animal protein meals forage trees? shrubs and water plants.
The question of the chemical analyses needed in the initial formulation of diets based on these components is relevant here. Where pigs and poultry are concerned. important factors include protein elements, amino acid content, potential toxic compounds, such as fungal toxins for example and secondary plant components. Digestibility has also to be considered. In preparing ruminant diets attention has to be paid to soluble nitrogen, insoluble protein, rumen degradability, and the efficiency of the rumen ecosystem in relation to a particular feed. Attention must also be given to the rumen ammonia concentrations in animals fed basal diets. In the supplements fed to pigs and poultry, protein and amino acid content, secondary plant components and toxins should be carefully examined. The digestibility of the protein must also be considered. Where ruminant supplements are concerned, the important factors are insoluble protein and digestibility.
In general, it is useful if response curves can be established showing the relationship between levels of animal performance and the amount of the most limiting supplement added to the basal diet. This limiting supplement is frequently either an important or an expensive and/or scarce item. The results of such research will provide essential biological and economic data for future decision making.
Given the high cost of imported cereal grains, research must concentrate on finding an efficient and more cost effective way of using grain. In poultry diets this can be done by using a choice feeding system where whole grain, pelleted protein concentrates and a particle source of calcium carbonate are offered in the same trough. Restricted feeding of grain can be complemented by scavenging for protein and the productivity of free range village birds can be improved by giving strategic supplements.
More effective ways will have to be found of making use of alternative feeds based on sugar derived from molasses, sugar cane juices and starch derived from tubers, bananas, and plantains. More appropriate management systems must also be devised for liquid and semi-solid diets and further developments are needed in methods of satisfying amino acid requirements. Since many alternative diets contain no fibre, studies are also needed into the role of fibre. The question also arises of how best to exploit new sources of protein from trees, shrubs and water plants. Combinations of protein sources which form mixtures of high biological value (vegetable and animal protein) have to be identified, and promising new sources of animal protein, rich in lysine and methionine/cystine, such as earthworms and snails, must be evaluated.
Research in ruminant husbandry should stress the importance of optimising the efficiency of rumen fermentative digestion by maximising the rate of digestibility of fibre and ensuring adequate levels of rumen ammonia. Research is needed to develop response relationships to by-pass protein (locally available) before and after treatment, in order to increase by-pass characteristics. Research must also be done on ways of protecting soluble protein from being degraded in the rumen.
The strategic position of on-farm research must also be emphasised in relation to feed resources. Once knowledge has been accumulated, the quick est way to improve existing techniques is by on-farm experiments. An example of this might be substituting concentrates typical of the present feeding system for strategic supplements (ruminants) or alternative sources of farm produced carbohydrates (pigs and poultry). Their effects can then be monitored.
It is acknowledged that pasture and the role of livestock management require particular attention, especially where problems arise because land has been used too intensively in livestock production. If pasture use on limited land areas is to be intensified, the problem of dry season feed scarcity has to be overcome. Strategies which can make feed available during this period will have a great impact on animal productivity. Establishing banks providing fermentable big-mass, such as sugar cane, and both fermentable nitrogen and by-pass protein, in the form of forage shrubs and trees, is highly recommended.
The possibility of increasing wet season grassland productivity by introducing improved methods of species fertilisation should not be ignored. This would have to be complemented by practices which could ensure the continuity of feed supply during the dry season. Strategic nutrient packages molasses/urea blocks and pelleted by-pass protein could be used as dry season feed. These initiatives would result in a greater degree of self reliance and a reduction in dependence on supplements coming from outside the region.
Finally, a word about erosion. Erosion is recognised as an extremely serious consequence of overgrazing and several measures to combat it are available. These include removing ruminants from areas where erosion is taking place, and establishing land rehabilitation systems based on planting multi-purpose trees. Permanent stable grassland can be encouraged by actively discouraging tree clearing or tree harvesting unless there are tree reclamation or tree re-planting programmes. Finally, where overgrazing threatens, greater use must be made of full or semi-confinement management systems for all classes of livestock.
The gap between workers and thinkers
Technology does not often loom large in The Courier. Yet in societies as extensive and as complex as those of the South- and the North too- the consequences of the gap between the workers and the thinkers are vast.
We used to talk about the technology gap and indeed it is still there, particularly (but by no means only) in the matter of application.
The jobs of assistant surveyor (one years training) and topographical draughtsman (two years) and the professions of land surveyor (three years) and master surveyor (four years) form a branch of scientific and technical training which is never mentioned as a means of bridging the technology gap.
Surveyor covers a wide range of duties. It combines a variety of activities with achievement and responsibility and it is a profession calling for depth, care and meticulousness and an opportunity to wield initiative and put ideas into practice. And, above all, it provides great scope for creativity.
All public improvements of every kind have always been the result of the work of surveyors- who should have an essential part to play both in and for the developing nations, constantly improving the land, the region and the country, as a necessary link between theory and speculation and the work itself.
What do Courier readers think?
Henri Lefort, Brussels, Belgium
The role of the NGOs
NGOs have begun to be viewed as prominent and desirable agents of development in the rural areas of third World countries.
At present, they are said to be graduating from the areas of relief and welfare towards actual development and institution-building.
But what exactly are NGOs? It is intriguing that the concept is girdled with controversy and confusion. To many people, NGOs represent a confused and diffuse universe. They are seen as diverse entities with ambigous characteristics. It is good to note that the confusion and controversy over their definition is a result of their heterogeneity in terms of their origins and activities.
It is our contention that NGOs emerge as an answer to the various problems that hinder people from accomplishing their goals. NGOs, therefore, are a product of peoples perception of a need and their subsequent organisation of a structure to meet that need. In other words, NGOs are organisations set up by people (or by motivations of a single individual) on voluntary bases and committed to the achievement of goals for the benefit of their constituencies.
The debate on the importance of NGOs as agents of development has been focussed on their advantages over other agencies of development. Stressing that NGOs are closer to the grassroots and therefore better situated to appreciate the needs of the local people, some theorists and practitioners of development have called for the NGOs to be vitalised and be given the necessary support. Others have argued that NGOs recognise people as the protagonists of development and therefore involve people at all basic stages of the development projects, with a view to empowering them.
NGOs themselves have claimed that they use participatory bottom-up processes of project implementation and help poor people to gain control of their lives. They work with and strengthen local institutions. Further, they claim to carry projects at low costs and that they are innovative, flexible and experimental.
We need to note that even though the interest placed on the importance of NGOs as agents of development has been increasing, there is very little knowledge about their activities. In Kenya, their role and actual contribution to development has not been properly documented, let alone thoroughly analysed. The actual number of NGOs operating in Kenya is not even known. There also has been no viable machinery to monitor their activities. In reality there has been a lack of reliable data on the extent, location and the exact activities of NGOs.
Surprisingly, scholarly literature on NGOs in Kenya and elsewhere is very thin. Systematic and scholarly study and evaluation of NGOs in Kenya is long overdue and merits even greater attention. Those researchers who have evaluated NGOs role in development hardly circulate their findings. Their results hardly find their way to members of the public, maybe because the: are critical of the NGOs operational styles, or perhaps, they are sponsored and supervised by NGOs themselves.
This lack of research data on their activities has hampered our understanding and knowledge about their operations. Basic issues such as the types of development activities the NGOs are involved in and whether they involve people in designing and implementing projects that reflect peoples priority, call for in-depth research.
There is dire need to question whether NGOs micro-development policies augur well with national micro-development policies. NGOs small is beautiful approach may be militating against the whole concept of national development. Their articles of faith may be facilitating imbalanced rural development.
It is essential to investigate whether NGOs have the capacity to create sustainable projects, and whether they endeavour to create, improve and promote local capacity for self-reliant development. It may turn out that projects initiated with NGOs support are doomed to collapse once the NGO pulls out because the project beneficiaries are not trained on how to maintain the projects and because the NGO does not bother to create the necessary support institutions.
Kanyinga H. Karuti, Nairobi, Kenya
The ACP-EEC Joint Assembly held its first meeting since the signing of LomV in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, in the far reaches of the Pacific, on 19 and 20 March, at the time of two major political events, the proclamation of Namibian independence and East Germanys first free elections for 45 years. So the recent changes in Southern Africa- the liberation of Nelson Mandela and the legalisation of the ANC- and the upheavals in Eastern Europe set the tone, attracting unanimous approval, with the occasional tinge of fear.
It was clear from the word go. In turn, the two Presidents, Leo
Tindemans (Belgium) and Mamadou Diop (Senegal), welcomed the historic changes in
Eastern Europe. Mamadou Diop also expressed legitimate concern about the
European Community looking to these countries and perhaps sacrificing the
achievements of exemplary cooperation with its partners in the South, but his
European opposite number assured him that, although history was certainly
redrawing the lines laid down by World War II and attracting the
Communitys attention in this, it
was perfectly normal. I am sure that our ACP partners understand it perfectly well. Our future is at stake. But is that to say we shall attach less importance to our relations with the ACPs? I should like to tell our partners very candidly that this is not the case- and I see that the means of ACP-EEC cooperation have increased greatly .
There was no difference of opinion on Southern Africa, on which the two co-Presidents share the same joy and optimism... tempered with prudence. They were elated at Namibias independence following elections monitored by the mission which they led in November (Leo Tindemans hoped Namibian MPs will attend the next meeting of the Assembly) and they are cautiously optimistic about the changes in South Africa. The freeing of Nelson Mandela- -at Mamadou Diops suggestion, this got a standing ovation- and the unbanning of the ANC were positive signs, clearly, but apartheid was still there, preventing the emergence of a democratic, non-racist South Africa. This was why the two co-Presidents and later almost all the members who spoke in the debate on Southern Africa were to ask for the international pressure which had helped trigger these beginnings of change to be maintained.
Not only were the two up-to-theminute topics of Southern Africa and Eastern Europe discussed. Another matter, of geographical concern this time, the special situation of the Pacific countries, was also on the agenda and it was something the Joint Assembly, holding the first Pacific session in its existence, could scarcely avoid. And it was the focus of the opening speech of PNGs Prime Minister Rabble Namaliu, the man who signed LomII on behalf of the ACP Group in 1985.
In the Pacific, Mr Namaliu said, countries are all fighting for survival. It is a fight to stop the region becoming the scene of rivalry between the great powers, to stop the environment suffering from nuclear pollution, to stop the pillage of their waters and to minimalise the greenhouse effect.
And during the general debate which followed, three Ministers presented the Pacific case, each one dealing with a specific aspect. Berenado Vunibobo, Fijis trade and commerce Minister, gave an overall picture of the region, Edmund Andersen, the Solomon Islands Minister of Trade and Primary Industry, spoke of fisheries problems and Michael Somare, PNGs Foreign Minister, discussed environmental protection. A number of key ideas emerged from this detailed presentation, first of all regional cooperation, which was vital to this set of small countries with their limited natural resources, poor soil and frequent hurricane damage. So all the barriers to the rapid implementation of Convention-financed regional projects had to be identified and overcome. Another major factor was the need to protect the regions marine resources by banning fishing with drift nets. There is an agreement to this effect, but the three countries which use the method the most (Japan, Taiwan and South Korea) have still to ratify it. Lastly, there is the idea of making the Pacific a nuclear-free zone, but the treaty adopted in the Cook Islands in 1985 has not yet been ratified by any of the major signatories other than the USSR and China. The Pacific ACPs objected to the French nuclear testing in the region and said they were concerned about their part of the ocean being chosen as the ideal place for storing nuclear waste because of the isolation and low population density.
Commission Vice-President Manuel Marin, who is responsible for Development and Fisheries, said that the prospects of greater EEC-Pacific cooperation were very promising under LomV. There had been delays in implementing the previous Convention and the level of commitment was lower than for other regions, in particular because of the difficulty of organising special import programmes, with the distance of the Pacific making for extremely expensive imports from Europe. Mr Marin said he was ready to suggest changing the rule whereby regional projects had to purchase supplies in Europe and that he thought regional cooperation had a great future in the Pacific. It was vital, he thought, in the prevention of natural disasters and the greenhouse effect, in the protection of marine resources, in tourist development and in transport and communications. The European Development Commissioner also suggested that Europe and the countries of the region should get together and harmonise their positions in matters such as the storage of toxic waste and fishing with drift nets- both subjects of discussion in other international fore.
Mr Torres Couto thought that consultation was not enough. The Community had to ensure that the ban on exporting nuclear waste to the Pacific was scrupulously respected. Mr Muntingh condemned Frances nuclear testing at Mururoa, denounced Japan and Korea for their use of death nets and further condemned Japan for its exploitation of the regions forests when its own trees were virtually sacred .
A severe summing-up
In spite of references current affairs and considerations of geography, tradition was respected at Port Moresby and, as usual, the Joint Assembly discussed a general report on the functioning of cooperation under the Convention. The report was presented by Hartmut Perschau and the aim was to suggest one or two guidelines within the framework of LomV to improve the economic and social situation of the ACP States.
The ACPs are now faced with economic and financial difficulties, political ones too, and there is no short-term solution, said the report in its severe assessment of the situation. The problems are of such magnitude that new, and above all, global approaches have to be defined in our development policies. The present crisis, it maintains, is essentially one of macro-economic imbalances, with plummeting raw material prices, a balance of payments deficit, dwindling exports, budget deficits, declining export earnings, heavier debts and debt servicing obligations, an expanding population, inflation, inadequate industrialisation and investment, a capital drain, poor training opportunities, soaring unemployment, greater poverty among the rural population, a rural exodus, expanding slum development, a deteriorating environment, a shortage of energy products and so on. The imbalance is further aggravated by non-economic factors such as armed conflict, increasing numbers of refugees, natural disasters, famine, epidemics and disease (the rapid spread of AIDS for example), all practical signs of the loss of new productive resources to the development process.
The main aim of the new Convention, the spokesman held, had to be to do away with famine, poverty and, most important, social injustice. He suggested doing this by developing the policy dialogue between the ACPs and the Community- the only way, to his mind, of creating the conditions to make a success of the transfer of resources and, therefore, of improving the situation of the majority of the poor populations who were the priority target of LomV. This idea of policy dialogue of Edgard Pisani, the Development Commissioner at the time of the LomII negotiations, was, Mr Perschau thought, of vital importance. But, he warned, it was only meaningful if all the partners were bound to it. The ACPs drive to reorganise was an integral part of it and so was the Communitys assurance about the transfer of resources the elimination of barriers to trade and the solving of the debt problem.
On the subject of implementation of the Convention, the spokesman said that jointly-decided programmes had been done away with because there was no dialogue. Some projects, he said, were studied by consultants at great expense and then abandoned. He asked the Commission to cooperate with the World Bank and the IMF on structural adjustment programmes to prevent the poor being the victims of social injustice once more. Lastly, in the matter of the debt, he said he was pleased that LomV dealt with the question for the first time, before suggesting that, although the EEC and the Member States could indeed help find answers, the ACPs also had a part to play by bringing in better budget policies, cutting back on spending and calling a halt to the drain of mainly national but also foreign capital.
Mr Perschau ended by saying that we have to agree to criticise each other if we are to avoid the same catastrophic balance sheet at the end of LomV. He addressed four questions to the Commission:
1. How much of the 6th EDF has been paid over so far? How do commitments relate to payments? Is it true that only 15 or 20 % of payments have been able to be made and, if so, is this due to the cumbersome nature of EDF procedures or to divergences on project implementation between the Commission and the ACP States concerned?
2. How far has LomII project aid been transformed into aid for imports or support for the balance of payments?
3. What percentage of total project costs is the remuneration of consultants?
4. Is it true that better disbursements come up against problems of implementation in the ACPs because of their economic and administrative structures?
If it is difficult to find new projects that are valid, it would perhaps be more sensible to concentrate on schemes being run at the moment, with particular attention to improving quality, protecting the environment and ensuring training, advanced training and health facilities.
Manuel Marin gave a straight answer on all these points, but first of all, he tried to set the discussions in their proper context. The ACPs are in a bad state, it is true, but LomV is not the answer to all their problems, he said so all those who jump from the Convention to all development issues such as the raw materials slump and the debt crisis should know that such things are beyond the remit of LomLomhe said, is a sound agreement for what it is meant to do - consolidate the achievements of the past, that is to say. Those who think the financial allocation is too small, he said, should realise that this is the highest amount of any multilateral organisation ever, with a 26 % increase in real terms and 40 % in face value over the previous Convention. In comparison, World Bank credits have increased by 16% in face value and 0 % in real terms. And there is no more concessional aid than Lomither, 93 % of which is in the form of grants. However, it must also be realised that the Convention is a subsidiary thing, only an addition to other sources, and that aid from the private sector is vital and that it is the ACPs job to create the sort of conditions which will attract the private investors who would otherwise be looking to Eastern Europe.
Manuel Marin answered Mr Perschaus questions, saying that 73 % of LomII had been committed and that 19% of programmable aid had actually been disbursed by the end of the Convention. He also proposed that a Joint Assembly working party investigate the causes of this non-utilisation of credits in both the ACP administrations and the Commission departments. By the end of February, he said, 35 special import programmes had been run and this was 10-12% of the Convention, but the Commission did not impose these programmes, as the ACPs in fact requested them as an alternative to projects. Technical assistance, it is true, was an important part of Community projects, because it represented 15% of the volume of credits. On the last question, Commissioner Marin said that, although he agreed that the Commission was partly to blame for slow payments, the ACP authorities also had something to do with it. He announced that a study was being run to suggest ways of recycling or re-utilising Community credits ( but the writing off of debts is a magic expression which should be forgotten) and he ended optimistically, saying that the Convention made it possible to face up to the future. The future belongs to the Third World if the Third World wants, he said, attracting applause, the proof that his direct approach was well received overall.
Then, rather as it had done last year in Bridgetown (Barbados) and Versailles (France), the Joint Assembly spent some time following up the Wurtz Report on the consequences of the Single Market on the ACP economies (see The Courier No 114, pp. 2-5). The final version of this report and the proposal for a resolution which goes with it may have won ACP unanimity, but there were considerable reservations from the Europeans. Some of them- Messrs Price, Turner and Verhagen, for example blamed Mr Wurtz, who is a Communist, for impregnating his writing with his own ideology and wanted him to produce a more balanced version. Others, Wynn and Telkamper for example, stressed that this criticism came a little late in the day, as all political colours were represented on the working party and complaints should have been made earlier on. Those who complained about his warnings on the Single Market of 1992 on the grounds that they were tantamount to an attack on this policy were told that the ACPs economies had deteriorated to the point where any further imbalance would be fatal. He had looked for anything that would further complicate the ACPs task in the Single Market, highlighting whatever measures would protect what they had already gained and tackle the root cause of their poverty. As Mr Wurtz saw it, they could afford no more mistakes and it was better to be over-cautious than over-optimistic.
Manuel Marin said he was put off by the overdose of ideology in the discussion of Europe in 1992. As he saw it the Single Market would be neither heaven nor hell. It did involve some risk for the ACPs ( but what progress doesnt?)? but there was still time to make the changes which would mean that such risk could be avoided.
When Mr Wurtz proved willing to compromise on the points at issue, his report was adopted.
The Joint Assembly then heard the two Co-Presidents of the ACP-EEC Council of Ministers, Sean Calleary (Ireland) and Wilfred Grep (Suriname), talk about the features of the new Convention. And then came question time eight to the Council (including what would happen if the European Parliament refused to ratify LomV?. - Well, it wouldnt take effect, Calleary said) and 33 to the Commission, ranging from Stabex transfers to PNG to the Commissions recruitment of social experts, the problem of the refugees of Irian Jaya (PNG) and the locust control campaign in West Africa.
Mr Nordmann then outlined where the commission of enquiry on racism and xenophobia had got since it started work in 1989 (a report is due to be published this year). He said Europe coud not refuse to give guarantees to ACP nationals living in the Community when it was calling upon these countries to respect human rights in the Convention. He thought the Single Market held risks here. Raymond Chasle, the Mauritian Ambassador to the EEC, deplored recent events which had heightened the ACPs feeling of insecurity and Leo Tindemans said he had noticed a resurgence of racialism and xenophobia. As he saw it, the biggest danger was the rampant racialism which poisoned peoples minds and led to explosions like the recent one in Florence. The answer was education, culture. control of migration and a solution to the refugee problem.
Mrs Valent, the Italian MP (who is of Somali origin) called for the setting up of a working party on this, because, she said, everyone was concerned. Mr Melandri thought that the present rural exodus was the result of the fact that Europes wealth is the Third Worlds poverty. There was no point in a defensive policy, he thought, because cultural differences were an opportunity for the host countries. Mr Martinez (National Front) did not agree, calling for the right to identity for his people. And Colette Flesch urged the meeting to react by taking up a political position. Human rights could not be oneway traffic and if Europe objected to the ACPs violating them, it had to agree to reciprocal considerations.
The Joint Assembly then voted on the resolutions - 29 of them on subjects as varied as the implementation of Lomn West Africa and the Pacific, implementation of the African Human Rights charter, the protection of tropical rain forests and the situation of coffee producers.
One of the resolutions invited Nelson Mandela to speak to the (next) Joint Assembly in Rome, scheduled for 24-28 September 1990, or to the (following) one in Kampala, Uganda, in January 1991.
The ACP-EEC Council of Ministers which meets immediately after the signing of the new Convention is traditionally a transitional one, experience of the previous Convention having of course provided matter for discussion and compromise during the recently-completed negotiations and there being nothing to say about the new text, the effect of which obviously has not yet been felt. And the 15th Council session held in Suva (Fiji) on 28 and 29 March, with Irish Foreign Minister Sean Calleary and Surinames Economic Affairs Minister Wilfred Grep as co-Presidents and Manuel Marin representing the Commission, was a transitional meeting in the true sense of the word.
Most of the items on the agenda had to do with subjects which had been dealt with in detail during the negotiations and undergone no change since. But, as usual, no less than 20 of them including reconstitution of the Lom Stabex resources and the fact that 1980 and 1981 transfers were reduced because of inadequate funds- were up for discussion by the Ministers, as they had been for the past 10 years. And what is maybe another tradition was continued by Wilfred Grep, whose lengthy speech at the opening ceremony contained a detailed catalogue of all the ACP claims, including such matters as debt, reactivation of the international commodity agreements, the Sugar Protocol, Stabex, Sysmin, the Uruguay Round, the situation of ACP nationals living in the Community and so on. Mr Grep also looked at the forthcoming LomV programming, mentioning the exchange of views or dialogue... which is the essence of the programming exercise... and should enable the ACP State to decide on its own priorities, stressing economic and social diversification and transformation in the long term - the aim of all the parties involved in programming.
He went on to say that many ACP States are currently embarking on structural adjustment programmes with a view to gearing their economies to long-term development, so, when planning, it is important to avoid sacrificing the focal aim of adjustment to short- and medium-term aims. And here, top priority should go to developing human resources which emphasise the wellbeing of the most vulnerable sections of the population.
Wilfred Grep was preceded by Sean Calleary, who talked about the general climate of the negotiations and the main advances of the new Convention and reassured the ACPs about the future of ACP-EEC cooperation. He said that he believed that completion of the Single Market was a great opportunity for the Communitys trading partners in the developing world, including the ACP States, because it would be a source of economic growth and new trade prospects. And it would not weaken our commitments vis-is our ACP partners .
The recent change in East-West relations had done nothing to alter the determination of either the Community or its Member States to improve their policies of cooperation with the developing countries - which remained a fundamental part of their external policies . We wanted to state, he said, clearly and unequivocally, that our relations with Eastern and Central Europe and the developing nations were complementary. They were in no way mutually exclusive and they derived from a spirit of solidarity, not competition .
Removing the barriers
In this, Sean Calleary was responding to worries expressed a few moments earlier by Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, the Prime Minister of Fiji, who had called on the Community to make sure that the Single Market improved the cooperation established under the four Conventions, criticised the complexity of the Community aid procedures and suggested setting up a joint working party to look into the matter and propose simplifications an idea which Commission Vice-President Manuel Marin first mentioned at the ACP-EEC Joint Committee meeting in Port Moresby a week earlier and had already brought up at the Article 193 Committee the previous day. The rate of disbursement of programmable aid- 19% by the end of LomII was so slow and the ACP requirements were so great that they had to try and locate and remove every barrier to financial and technical cooperation in both ACP administrations and Commission departments. The Commission, Mr Marin said, had already started thinking about this and payments would be computerised by the end of the year. This was a considerable improvement, but there would have to be many more and the joint study which the ACP-EEC Council of Ministers had agreed to launch would no doubt be identifying them. Thus, the Suva meeting will perhaps be remembered a few years hence as the one which triggered the process leading to a noticeable improvement in the rate of disbursement of Community aid.
It was also the meeting which adopted the basic principles for the fisheries sector and agreed on the general rules for EDF-financed works and supplies contracts- a frame of reference on the Council agenda for years.
Lastly, the Council, which will not be meeting again this year, delegated powers to the Committee of Ambassadors to ensure that Namibia can accede to the Convention as soon as it wishes to do so.
The Ambassadors will also have to appoint the heads of the CDI and CTA by 30 June, the Council having been unable to reach a decision on this. The ACPs, who have still not managed to choose between their five present candidates, are claiming the post of Director of the CDI- as is the Community, which has put forward Paul Frix, a Belgian, for the job. Both parties are applying the principle of rotation, which, clearly, does not start at the same time in both cases. The EEC is also linking the appointment to that of the Director of the CTA, which it would be willing to let go to an ACP, provided its own candidate gets the CDI job. The decision will be taken in a month or two.
Following the favourable opinion delivered by the EDF Committee, the Commission has decided that the projects listed below should be financed.
National School of Engineering in Conakry
Grant: ECU 5 500 000
The aim is to consolidate work begun under the 5th EDF at the National School of Engineering (ENAM) in Conakry, by:
- completing the rehabilitation of some of the
- supplying additional equipment and teaching and demonstration materials;
- sending out technical assistance staff to train instructors.
Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development (CARDI)
Grant: ECU 5300000
The programme has as its objective the development of agricultural production in the Caribbean with particular emphasis on import substitution of animal products and staple food crops through increased production by small farmers. This is in keeping with the Caribbean Communitys stated policy in this sector.
A five-year practically-oriented research and development programme emphasising the on-farm application of research finding will be executed in the following fields:
- information and technology transfer
- tissue culture facilities,
- sheep and goat development and pasture management,
- seed propagation for pasture and legumes,
- soil fertility research.
Fertiliser buffer stock expansion
Fifth and sixth EDFs
Grant: ECU 13 950 000
In October 1987, the Government of Malawi and the EC Commission agreed to fund a fertiliser buffer stock to guarantee continued and timely availability in periods of supply disruption and also to improve fertiliser use at grassroots level in normal times. The buffer stock programme comprised the purchase of 70000 m tonnes of fertiliser and the construction of 65 000 m³ storage capacity in three strategic locations.
The expanded programme decided provides for the purchase of an additional 20000 m tonnes of fertiliser, carrying the total volume of the buffer stock up to 90 000 m tonnes. The increased quantity can be accommodated in the warehouses included in the initial programme.
Programme for opening up transport routes in Burundi
Grant: ECU 23 600 000
Special loan: ECU 9 400 000
Burundi is one of the most deeply landlocked countries in Africa; all its supplies depend on conditions prevailing on the various access routes from outside. The aim of this project is the improvement of those conditions as part of a series of complementary operations designed to improve access to countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and eastern Za from the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.
The programme proposes the rehabilitation of national road 1 (RN 1) from Bujumbura up to the frontier with Rwanda, along which flows the entire road traffic coming from those two ports. It covers also the construction of a surfaced road which will form the last stretch (Muyinga-Kobero) of the road (RN 6) linking Kayanga, on the RN 1, with the Tanzanian frontier. The remaining item in the programme concerns work on improving the port facilities and the road freight centre at Bujumbura.
Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles
Regional programme for meteorological cooperation
Grant: ECU 1 000 000
Special loan: ECU 4 000 000
The aim of this programme is to improve detection, forecasting and warning by upgrading the meteorological and telecommunications resources relating to tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean region. The direct and immediate result will be an increase in meteorological knowledge in general and in aid for the development of regional centres and networks for which it will provide equipment; it will also provide training for meteorologists and technicians.
All ACP States
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
Grant: ECU 5 957 000
Budget financing for the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation.
All ACP States
Centre for the Development of Industry
Grant: ECU 9132000
Budget financing for the Centre for the Development of Industry.
All ACPs and OCTs
The ACP-EEC Courier
Grant: ECU I 340 000
The project covers the 1990 operating budget of The ACP-EEC Courier, the journal aimed at providing a flow of information between the ACP and the EEC countries and between the ACP countries themselves.
River Ferry Service
Grant: ECU 600 000
The LomII indicative programme to Guyana earmarks 90 % of resources for the economic infrastructure sector, with the aim of removing constraints on increased production through the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.
In April 1987, the Commission approved a grant of ECU 1.95 m for the River Ferry Service: Immediate Action Programme.
The programme has been split into two phases, with Phase One utilising the ECU 1.95 m available, and covering the rehabilitation of two of the three vessels. Phase 2 will then cover the rehabilitation of the third vessel plus studies of the management and finances of the ferry service.
ACP States of Western Africa
Grant: ECU 7 500 000
The programme is a continuation of an existing programme to prevent the occurrence of rinderpest in Africa.
The programme which also provided for direct aid to countries most affected by rinderpest in Africa has, as it main aim, the increasing of means available for professionals working in livestock development. To this end discussions took place with individual countries on how to ensure better financing of the livestock services.
The project identifies specific actions in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, potentially Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger and Togo.
The action envisaged for financing are as follows:
- continuation of campaigns against rinderpest;
- establishment of livestock development funds;
- encouragement of the privatisation of the veterinary professions and of other functions in the livestock services.
Deep sea fishing fleet development
Grant: ECU 470000
Special loan: ECU 950 000
The subject of the project is the financing of three 24 m fishing boats fitted for catching tuna by drag-line outside the Territorys economic zone, especially in the south, and by long line within the economic zone.
Development of the fishing industry is a priority in the Territorys plan, corresponding as it does to the plans main objectives: job creation, opening up the archipelagoes and developing the primary sector.
Export support service
Grant: ECU 500 000
The project provides for aid in the creation and running in of an Export Support Service (SAE) whose function will be to promote exports of tropical produce.
This operation forms part of the plan to diversify Burundis exports which are at present over-reliant on coffee, leaving the countrys economy precariously vulnerable to the fluctuations of world prices for this commodity.
Farming system support programme
Grant: ECU 13 000 000
The project has been designed as the first stage of a long-term programme for the development of a comprehensive research programme integrally linked to enhanced agricultural extension services. It is a follow-up to the 4th EDF Coffee Rehabilitation Programme. (Doe: UG/615/81-en).
The research programme concentrates on coffee in particular but also on staple foodcrops. Improved extension services will adopt a farming systems approach enabling farmers to take full advantage of the inputs provided through the project.
The primary sectoral aim is to assist smallholders to improve the quality and yields of coffee and other crops in existing cultivated areas.
Fifth and sixth EDFs
Grant: ECU 20 000 000
During 1989, the Government of Zambia has re-established its dialogue with the international donor community and instituted a courageous set of economic policy measures in order to restructure the economy. In order to reinforce and sustain the implementation and success of these policies and programmes, Zambia is in need of urgent, quick-disbursing import support on a grant basis so that supply constraints in the productive and social sectors can be alleviated.
Importers of inputs, spare parts and intermediate productive goods in the agriculture, industry, transport and, especially, export-oriented sectors will be eligible for access to the facility which will be managed by the Ministry of Finance through the Bank of Zambia working jointly with the EC Delegation in Lusaka. Importers of supplies, goods and equipment in the social, education, population and health sectors will also be eligible, in order to enhance the positive effects and protection offered to those vulnerable groups most exposed to hardship as a result of the adjustment process in the economy.
Grant of ECU 24000000 to finance an agricultural import
Grant: ECU 24 000 000
The Commission has just approved a second sectoral programme (SIP II) to help Ethiopia overcome its serious economic difficulties. This will finance inputs for the smallholder sector and support the production of cotton and essential consumer goods.
The scheme, which involves rapid payment of the amount allocated and is based on the foundations laid by SIP I, which got off to a good start, will be completed in 1990. The goods provided under SIP II will be sold to the organisations taking part and the counterpart funds accruing will be used to support coffee production and guarantee the local commitments of the Agricultural Development Programmes- one burden less for the State budget, which will be losing revenue because the climate is unsuitable for coffee marketing.
The inputs involved include fertiliser for the smallholders, various supplies and technical assistance to improve water distribution and the yield of agricultural machinery in the (irrigated and mechanised) cotton sector, spare parts and raw materials for industrial firms producing essential consumer goods such as soap, sugar, extra food and clothing.
After a slight improvement in the economy in 1988-89, Ethiopia is now faced with a number of events which are compromising the improvement. This is interfering with the countrys ability to pay for the essential imports, particularly for the smallholder sector in which large-scale development schemes have just been started with the support of the Commission and other funders. Things are made worse by the impending drought in the North, which will take up existing means for the vital rescue operation. Lastly, the continuing decline in cotton production and the attendant imports are further increasing the pressure on the balance of payments.
These problems are occurring at a time when the authorities are pursuing a policy of economic liberalisation and the agricultural prices and the marketing measures introduced in 1988 are beginning to have a positive effect on food output and farm incomes and several new decrees in other sectors of the economy are being published.
Grant: ECU I 500 000
The purpose of the project is to address the fundamental need of the Solomon Islands land transport system and its interface with inter-island shipping: that is 1) the elimination of the backlog of maintenance and rehabilitation caused by the inadequacy of financial and human resources of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Utilities (MTWU) and aggravated by cyclone damage, and 2) the strengthening of the MTWUs capacity to carry out effective and timely maintenance in the future.
The project comprises four physical investment components with supporting technical assistance (TA). These are:
- the rehabilitation or replacement of selected bridges and
wharves at key locations throughout the rural transport system;
- the selective rehabilitation of the 128 km Guadalcanal weather coast road serving an important copra producing area;
- the construction of a 12 km road on Makira linking a recently established Rural Services Project in the north-west with the existing road network; and
- a labour intensive feeder road construction programme.
Drinking water supply to Aloun el Atrouss
Grant: ECU 3 100 000
The objective is the provision and distribution of drinking water for Aloun el Atrouss, a town of 16 000 inhabitants situated in south-eastern Mauritania.
Two deep boreholes will tap underground water at ±150m to feed a 300 m³ reservoir from which a gravity-fed network of pipes will distribute it to the various districts: to private connections (200 are provided for) and to 10 street fountains. The existing reservoir near the hospital will be put into working order.
Technical assistance will be provided for supervision of the works and providing training courses for those involved in the project.
Grant: ECU 15 500 000
This project involves the improvement and asphalting of the road between Yako and Ouahigouya (74 km). It will complete the link between Ouagadougou, the countrys capital, and Ouahigouya, the main town of Yatenga province, with a fully asphalted road. The section between Ouagadougou and Yako (108 km) was asphalted by means of a project financed by the fifth EDF. This is part of what is known as the fish road, which links up Burkina Faso and Mali via the inland delta of the river Niger, and it plays an important part in the regions trade in crop and livestock products.
Fifth and sixth EDFs
Grant: ECU I 000 000
Special loan: ECU 6 000 000
The project aims to strengthen the regions human resource by increasing access to tertiary education for students from all the regions countries and territories, by providing student accommodation at three major tertiary educational institutions - the University of the West Indies (UWI), the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST) and the Cultural Training Centre (CTC). The present shortage of accommodation acts as a major constraint to attendance by students from throughout the region.
The principal component of the project consist of construction of residential hostels with a total of 1080 beds and daytime accommodation for a further 500 students at the six campuses concerned in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Burundi: ECU 4 million for small and medium-sized enterprises
The European Investment Bank is granting a global loan of ECU 4 m to support small and medium-sized projects in agro-industry, industry, fisheries, mining, tourism and in the transport sector in Burundi.
The funds, from risk capital resources, are advanced in form of a conditional loan, to Banque Nationale de Dloppement Economique (BNDE) for onlending (for 15 years at 2% per annum), for equity participations (up to 25 years at I %), or to finance studies (up to 10 years at 1 %)
The loan will be the fourth in Burundi under the Third Lomonvention.
Central African Republic: ECU 10 million for electricity supply
The EIB is providing ECU 10 m to finance the rehabilitation and extension of electricity supply facilities in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
The funds, from risk capital resources provided under the Third Lomonvention and managed by the EIB, are being advanced to the State, which will use ECU 6 m to participate in the equity capital increase of Soci dEnergie Centrafricaine (Enerca) and will onlend ECU 4 m to Enerca in the form of a convertible loan. To the extent that the loan is used to finance equity it is granted for 25 years at I %, to the extent that it will be onlent the terms are 20 years and 2 %.
The EIBs contribution is part of a wider scheme to increase power generation and distribution, mainly by developing hydro-electric resources; it comprises the construction of a flood control dam, the rehabilitation of two hydroelectric power stations, the installation of a new 5MW thermal generating set, the expansion of the City of Banguis transmission and distribution networks and improvements to Enercas technical and administrative capacity.
Total cost for the overall scheme which is to be implemented between 1989 and 1992 is estimated at ECU 69 m. Financing also comes from the International Development Association (World Bank Group), the African Development Fund, Frances Caisse Centrale de Cooption Economique (CCCE), the Kuwait Fund and Enercas own resources.
CdIvoire: ECU 46 million for energy and sewerage
In the framework of the global economic and financial reform programme undertaken by the CdIvoire authorities, the European Investment Bank is providing ECU 46 m for electricity supply and for drainage and sewerage networks. The funds are made available under the Third Lomonvention and attract an interest subsidy from European Development Fund resources.
1) Energy Sector:
The Bank is lending ECU 30 million for 17 years at 5.60%, to the Republic of CdIvoire for on-lending to Energie Electrique de CdIvoire (EECI) to finance part of the countrys energy sector adjustment programme. CdIvoire has committed itself to restructuring the energy sector whose financial needs are estimated at some ECU 290 m. The objectives of this programme are to improve operating efficiency and promote a more rational use of energy. The major ElB-financed components are the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing installations and the extension of the distribution network, to meet demand up to the mid-1990s. The programme is cofinanced by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, amongst others. Financing is also expected to come from Caisse Centrale de Cooperation Economique, Paris.
2) Drainage and sewerage system
The Republic of CdIvoire is furthermore receiving ECU 16m for 17 years at 5.6%, to finance improvements to Abidjans drainage and sewerage system, mainly through the completion of the trunk sewer, the link-up of the port industrial zone, the installation of treatment works, and an ocean outfall for the disposal of waste water. The works will considerably improve the lagoons environment.
Madagascar: ECU 3.225 million for industrial fishing and fish-processing
The EIB is granting ECU 3.225 m to part-finance the replacement of three fishing trawlers and the modernisation of a shrimp-processing plant at Hell-Ville on the north-western coast of Madagascar.
The funds, from risk capital resources, are advanced to Peries de Nossi-BPNB), an important Madagascar-based private industrial group, in the form of an equity participation of ECU 425 000 (9.5 % of the capital), a shareholders advance of ECU I m at I %, and a conditional loan, of ECU 1.8m for 12 years at 4 %. PNB had already received a loan of ECU 5 m in 1983 from the EIB, from risk capital resources, for the acquisition of four fishing trawlers.
The total cost of the project is estimated at ECU 13.45 m; additional finance is expected to come from Caisse Centrale de Cooption Economique (Paris) and the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group).
Nigeria: ECU 50 million for small and medium-sized enterprises
As part of its financing activities under the Third Lomonvention, the EIB has lent the Nigerian Industial Development Bank (NIDB) ECU 50 m for onlending to small and medium-sized enterprises in the industrial, agro-processing, mining and tourism sectors.
This global loan has been granted for a term of 14 years at a rate of 5.6% after deduction of an interest subsidy from the resources of the European Development Fund.
This operation is the third with NIDB: in 1978 and 1983 NIDB two global loans totalling ECU 65 m were granted, out of which 85 projects were financed.
Suriname: ECU 3 million for small and medium-sized enterprises
The European Investment Bank is granting a global loan of ECU 3 m to support small and medium-sized projects in industry, agro-industry, forestry, mining and tourism in Suriname.
The funds, from risk capital resources, are advanced in form of a conditional loan to Nationale Ontwikkelingsbank N.V. (NOB) for 15 years at 2%.
Global loans are advanced to development banks or other financial institutions who on-lend the funds in smaller amounts for investment projects appraised according to the ElBs economic, financial and technical criteria.
Trinidad and Tobago: ECU 15 million in support of small and medium-sized enterprises
The European Investment Bank is providing ECU 15 m in support of small and medium-sized enterprises in the industrial, agro-industrial and tourism sectors in Trinidad and Tobago:
- a global loan of ECU 12 m from the Banks own resources for 15 years at 5.5% (after deduction of an interest rate subsidy from the European Developent Fund) is made available to Trinidad and Tobago Development Finance Company (TTDFC) for onlending to small and medium-sized companies,
- ECU 2.5 m from risk capital resources, are advanced to TTDFC for making equity participation in small and medium-sized enterprises, and
- ECU 500 000, also from risk capital resources, will be used for an equity participation in TTDFC, in the name of the European Community, it is the first equity participation in the name of the Community in a Caribbean ACP countrys development finance corporation.
The global loan is the fifth to TTDFC; out of the previous for loans 55 smaller-scale industrial and tourism ventures were financed.
Uganda: ECU 2 million for small and medium-sized entreprises
The European Investment Bank is granting a global loan of ECU 2 m to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the industrial, agroindustrial and tourism sectors in Uganda.
The funds, from risk capital resources, are advanced in form of a conditional loan for 15 years at 2% to Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) for onlending to the Development Finance Company of Uganda (DFCU).
UDC is a wholly government-owned holding company and, together with Commonwealth Development Corporation (London), DEG-Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Beteiligungen in Entwicklungslandern (Germany), and International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) one of four equal shareholders in DFCU.
Three new ACP Ambassadors have recently presented their credentials to the Presidents of the Council and the Commission of the European Communities.
Burundi. Julien Nahayo, the new Ambassador from Burundi, holds a masters degree in Arts from the University of Paris. From 1975 to 1982 he represented his country in Algeria and Egypt and from] 986 to 1989 in Rwanda and Canada. In the mean-time he was director-general of external relations and cooperation. He is 49.
Gabon. Michel Teale holds a degree in political sciences and a diploma from the Institute of International Studies in Toulouse. Aged 39, he was director of the Centre Gabonais du commerce exteur from 1977 to 1989.
Niger. Adamou Zada holds a law degree and a diploma in international relations. Aged 40, he has been head of international cooperation, adviser to the Niger embassy in Peking and Ambassador to Kuwait before taking up his post.
Before joining the new Convention
Dieter Frisch, the Director-General for Development, led the Commission Delegation which included director Giovanni Livi to the Namibian independence ceremonies (21 March), took a personal message from Commission President Jacques Delors and was received by Sam Nujoma, the President of the Republic of Namibia, on 23 March.
President Nujoma took advantage of the occasion by announcing his Governments intention of applying to join LomV without delay.
Negotiations for the Convention provided for Namibia to join as soon as it applied to do so after independence, so that negotiations with the Namibian Government will only deal with specific problems the country raises and which are not already covered by provisions in the agreement. In particular, Namibia will be looking for a quota for its beef and veal.
Exploratory talks could well start in April.
Accession to LomV means a joint decision by the ACP-EEC Council of Ministers. Namibia will be the 69th ACP State.
Dieter Frisch announced that the Community would go on financing development schemes from the Commission budget until Namibia could accede to the financial resources of LomV and the 1990 budget indeed provides a specific allocation of ECU 19 m for this purpose.
The question of the negotiation of a fisheries agreement between the Community and Namibia was also raised. The Namibian Government wants to declare its exclusive 200-mile fishing zone as soon as possible, get the stocks (inevitably bady affected by unregulated fishing to date) assessed and then start negotiating fishing agreements. Mr Frisch reassured those whom he met that the Community was looking for fishing arrangements that were strictly compatible with the reconstitution and rational management of Namibias marine resources.
He also held talks with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ben Amathila, the Minister of Finance, Mr Otto Herrigel, and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who replaced Minister Theo-Ben Guirab.
Vice-President Marin visits Southern Africa...
Manuel Marin, Vice-President of the Commission and Commissioner for Development paid an official visit to Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia from 31 January to 7 February 1990.
He also stopped off in South Africa, where he held talks with the heads of organisations in charge of running the Communitys apartheid victim support programme (the South African Council of Churches, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, Kagiso Trust and union organisations).
In Zambia, attendance at the I 0th annual SADCC conference on SADCC: The Second Decade. Entreprise, Skills and Productivity (Lusaka, 31 January to 2 February) was on the agenda.
This was particularly significant as it marked the organisations first decade of existence and was therefore the opportunity to take stock of achievements. It was also a chance to produce a strategy for the 90s, in particular in the light of trends in the peace process in the region and the imminent accession of SADCCs 10th member, Namibia. The fact that Mr Marin was present meant the Community could reassert its commitment to the aims which have been SADCCs ever since it was first set up.
Bilateral contact with the Zambian authorities included talks with President Kenneth Kaunda, the Prime Minister, General Masheke, and Finance Ministers, Gibson Chigaga.
In Mozambique, Mr Marin was received by President Joachim Chissano, PM Mario da Graca Machungo and Trade Minister Daniel Filipe Tembe.
The trip to Namibia included a meeting with Sam Nujoma, then Head of SWAPO, and the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Martti Ahtisaari.
The talks with the authorities of these three countries covered the political situation and regional and national cooperation between the Community and Southern Africa, with particular reference to the implementation of LomV.
...the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
Mr Marin also visited Washington on 26 and 27 February to meet leaders of the IBRD and the IMF.
He talked, in particular. with Mr Camdessus, the Director-Gencral of the IMF, Mr Qureishi, the first Vice-President of the World Bank, and the Vice-President for Africa, Mr Jaycox.
The point of the Commissionerss visit was to establish a first operational contact on the rationalisation of the developing countries economies with the Bretton Woods institutions. The latest Lomonvention between the ACP and EEC countries, signed on 15 December, in fact contains a new chapter (with a specific financial allocation) on support for structural adjustment. The Commission intends establishing a specific autonomous Community approach to the problem and organising coordination with the other international funders, particularly the World Bank and the IMF.
...the Solomon Islands
Mr Marin also paid an official visit to the Solomon Islands on 23 and 24 March 1990, where he met the Governor General, Sir George Lepping, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Solomon Mamaloni, and the Minister of Finance and Planning, the Hon. Columbus Abe.
Mr Marin was visiting the South Pacific region, where he attended the ACP-EEC Joint Assembly Meeting in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea, 1922 March 1990). Cooperation between the Community and Solomon Islands has been actively developed, within the framework of the Lomonventions, since the country became independent in 1978. Prime Minister Mamaloni underlined in his meeting with Vice-President Marin the areas in which his government intends to develop its cooperation efforts: forestry, fisheries, transport facilities, infrastructure and industrial development; furthermore, the human resources programme currently underway with the EC is to be continued.
As far as future cooperation was concerned, Vice-President Marin informed Mr Mamaloni that the national indicative programme for the Solomon Islands under LomV will consist of ECU 21.5 million (62.5 million S.I. dollars). Solomon Islands will also be able to benefit from the other instuments of EEC/ACP cooperation such as Stabex.
Mr Marin expressed the interest of the EEC in developing regional cooperation between the Pacific countries in order to progress in the vital sectors of tourism, transport, telecommunications and fisheries. He confirmed that negotiations will start shortly between the EEC and the Forum Fisheries Agency (the South Pacific Regional Organisation for Fisheries), in order to establish a multilateral fisheries agreement.
While participating in the ACP/EEC Council of Ministers, in Suva, Mr Marin also paid an official visit to Fiji, where he met the President of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, the Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara; and the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Josevata Kamikamica.
Vice-President Marin and the Government of Fiji confirmed their wish to cooperate in order to improve the economic performance of the South Pacific countries, and expressed their satisfaction at the state of cooperation between Fiji and the EEC since independence in 1970. The Fijian authorities underlined the main areas in which the Government intends to develop its cooperation efforts, namely the promotion of private entreprise, infrastructure support, rural development and agricultural diversification; the Finance Minister, Mr Kamikamica, stressed the Governments policy of trade incentives and the possibilities available for joint ventures with EEC manufacturers and companies.
As concerns future cooperation, Mr Marin underlined the good economic prospects for Fiji and the opportunities offered by LomV in areas such as trade, private investment and tourism, as well as the possibility of a multilateral agreement between the Community and South Pacific countries in the fisheries sector. Mr Marin informed the Fiji Government that the national indicative programme for Fiji under the LomV Convention would consist of ECU 22.0 m (40 million Fiji dollars) in grants. Fiji would also be able to benefit from other cooperation instruments such as Stabex and loans from the European Investment Bank, and it is also one of the main beneficiaries of the Sugar Protocol of the Lomonvention.
During his official visit, Vice-President Marin met the Director of the Fiji Trade and Investment Board, Mr Surendra Sharma. The FTIB is a statutory body that promotes trade and investment and is currently promoting internationally the newly created Fiji Tax Free Zone facility. Mr Marin also visited the educational telecommunications network of the University of the South Pacific, and the EEC-funded Namosi road project in the main island of Viti Levu.
ERICH WIRSING RETIRES
After more than 30 years at the Commission, Erich Wirsing, Director at the Directorate-General for Development, has decided to retire. He began his career in the von der Groeben cabinet in the late 1950s, helping to shape the Communitys competition policy, and today he sums up the ground covered with a quotation from the then leader of the employers in one of the Member States - I have always arranged agreements when I thought it was a good idea and the Commission isnt going to stop me.
Mr Wirsing, who was very interested in development? then moved to DG VIII, becoming Head of Division and later Head of various Directorates, most recently Western and Central Africa and the Caribbean.
With a deep understanding of the major issues, he put his commitment and his strength into working in this area. He influenced and helped set up the Lomodel and he was behind the designing of the regional fund. And it was he who developed and negotiated the new LomII principles policy dialogue and sectoral and regional concentration of cooperation, to name but two- which guide us still. Erich Wirsing was also the first editor of The Courier at the time when the journal began to come into its own, and the present layout reflects many of his ideas.
His knowledge and experience and the confidence he was able to inspire in his partners in development have gained him their friendship and respect as an understanding and impartial negotiator.
The Commission is losing one of its great administrators.
The Community and Seychelles initial a new fisheries protocol
On 17 January, the Community and Seychelles initialled a new protocol laying down the fishing entitlements and financial compensation provided for in a fishing agreement which the two parties have signed for a three-year period starting on 18 January this year.
The two parties had signed an agreement on 28 October 1987 and the new protocol replaces the protocol attached to that agreement.
It provides for 40 tuna vessels to fish off the Seychelles coast for the three years duration of the protocol, with financial compensation from the Community of ECU 5900000, the shipowners having to pay dues of ECU 20 per tonne.
The agreement also involves the Community taking part in the financing of a scientific and technical programme in Seychelles to improve both the knowledge of marine stocks in this part of the Indian Ocean around these islands and the administrative structures in the fishing sector in Seychelles. This Community contribution will amount to ECU 2 700000.
The Community will also make it easier for Seychelles nationals to get into establishments in the Member States and supply them with study grants and practical training in the various scientific, economic and technical aspects of fisheries for this purpose (maximum of ECU 300 000).
16th General Assembly of European NGOs
The 16th Annual General Assembly of European NGOs active in the development field was held from 3 to 6 April at the Borschette Centre, Brussels. NGO and Commission representatives reviewed their cooperation in 1989 and discussed prospects for the future.
The main theme of the Assembly this year was Europe 1993 in solidarity with the Third World. The NGO 2001 Prize, instituted by the European NGOs in 1988, was awarded this year to the Human Rights Commission of El Savador.
Cooperation between NGOs and the Community, which began 15 years ago, is the embodiment of the Communitys support for the publics solidarity with the poorest sections of the population in the Third World. It includes the cofinancing of microprojects in developing countries and projects to increase public awareness of development issues in Europe, the channelling of food aid and emergency aid through NGOs, and assistance to NGO coordination to help them work more efficiently.
EEC/NGO relations are based on mutual trust
Microprojects in different domains constitute the main area of cooperation between the Community and NGOs.
The Commission believes that the multiplier effect of these small projects is considerable and that their success is attributable above all to the keenness and personal commitment of NGO staff and their local partners in LDCS, NGOs freedom from external pressures and their relatively small size and resulting autonomy and administrative flexibility. This mix of qualities generally makes for efficient, speedy and flexible project preparation and implementation.
The Commission has pledged itself to respect characteristic features of NGOs such as autonomy and pluralism. The Commission has great confidence in the commitment and competence of these organisations, which is generally amply justified.
Areas of EEC-NGO cooperation
In 1989 Community aid for NGO operations totalled about ECU 266 million. It breaks down as follows:
- ECU 72m to cofinance microprojects in developing
- ECU 8 m to cofinance projects to raise public awareness in Europe;
- ECU 114.3 m for food aid;
- ECU 4.9 m for the purchase of food products by NGOs;
- ECU 19.7 m for emergency aid;
- ECU 4.4 m for refugees and displaced persons;
- ECU 5 m for NGOs operating in Chile;
- ECU 2.2 m to combat drug abuse;
- ECU 30m to help the victims of apartheid;
- ECU 4.7 m for the people in the Front Line States;
- ECU 0.6 m for NGOs operating in the West Bank and Gaza;
Cooperation in some of these fields is of recent date: the budget headings for Chile and for the victims of apartheid were created in 1986; those for drug abuse control and for the West Bank and Gaza in 1987; and that for the Front Line States in 1988. This expansion reflects the NGOs growing ability to operate in different sectors, and in particular in fields where the Communitys official cooperation is often excluded.
Cofinancing of microprojects in the developing countries and of projects to raise public awareness in 1989
Cofinancing started in 1976, making it one of the oldest forms of EEC-NGO cooperation. Over the years the appropriation has gradually risen from ECU 2.5 million in 1976 to ECU 80 million in 1989. As in previous years, the whole 1989 appropriation has been committed, thanks to the quality and quantity of the NGO projects submitted for Community financing.
Concerning projects in developing countries, in all 832 applications for cofinancing (total request ECU 146 million) were processed over the year. Of these, 443 were cofinanced (ECU 72.0 million); 157 applications (ECU 34.5 million) were carried over to 1990. 232 applications (ECU 39.6 million) were withdrawn or rejected.
As usual, the project content is extremely varied but continues to fall into three main sectors: rural development, training and health. Projects remain small and effective, and are mostly implemented at village level (the average Community contribution per project was ECU 160000). The main priority is to meet the basic needs of the poorest sections of the population. The beneficiaries, who often make a contribution in kind to their project, undertake to maintain and manage it themselves when external aid comes to an end.
Of the projects cofinanced in 1988, 43% were in sub-Saharan Africa, 31% in Latin America and 20% in Asia.
As for the projects to raise public awareness, 103 projects were cofinanced for a total Community contribution of ECU 8 million. The main topics were: general development issues, food and agricultural problems and southern Africa and apartheid. The priority target groups were the general public and schools.
In comparison with 1988, the 1989 cofinancing of NGO projects in these latter two areas has made no progress, due to stagnation in available budget resources. The increase of credits in the Community budget for 1990, thanks to the support of European Parliament, will however lead to a new impulse in NGO cofinancing this year.
EEC proposals on tropical products
At the mid-way meeting (Montreal and Geneva), Ministers invited their representatives in the tropical products negotiating group to establish the procedures for the rest of the negotiations. This was done on 15 February.
They meant that each participant was committed to communicating, by 15 March, both a proposal and a summary of that proposal to reduce, eliminate and consolidate customs duties. The Community accordingly provided the GATT Secretariat with precise details (line by line) of its proposal on 16 March, setting out the following tariff reductions:
- 100 % for tropical industrial raw materials and non-processed
tropical agricultural produts;
- 35 % for semi-finished tropical products;
- 50% for finished tropical products.
The illustration covers a total of 313 lines corresponding (1988) to imports from all destinations of a value of ECU 10.4 billion (including ECU 7.7 billion for preferential imports, including those under GSP and ECU 2.9 billion from the ACP States).
Application of the present customs duties would yield ECU 690 million and the Communitys illustration suggests that this would go down to ECU 240 million.
On the non-tariff side, the illustration starts with a gradual decrease in internal consumer taxes on tropical beverages (coffee, tea and cocoa). The trading partners are invited to demonstrate clearly that the said taxes really do have an effect on trade in these products. At all events, any reorganisation of internal taxes will be carried out in the light of the harmonisation of indirect taxation as part of the creation of the Communitys large internal market.
The non-associated third countries not eligible for the Community offer are, in order, Brazil, Colombia and various industrialised nations (Japan and the USA). The Community wishes to underline the importance it attaches in this sector to the interests of the least developed countries and of those with which it has contractual relations providing for preferential arrangements.
It is worth noting that the illustration fails to mention a number of products which may be substituted for the Communitys agricultural products and must still be negotiated in the agricultural group. However, these products are not necessarily to stay outside the negotiations on tropical products. Indeed, when the time comes, the Community will look at the question, in the light of its partners involvement and contributions, to see whether it is possible to offer additional concessions for these products.
The Community had already brought in autonomous reductions in its customs tariff in July 1989. It wishes to point out that it intends to continue its drive only if its partners are also willing to contribute by opening their markets. The illustration will therefore be developed, consolidated or reduced in the light of the contribution which they make.
Samir AMIN: La Faillite du dloppement en Afrique et dans le Tiers Monde (The failure of development in Africa and the Third World) - LHarmattan, 7, rue de lEcole Polytechnique, 75005, Paris, France - 380 pages- FF 190 1989
Development has broken down. Its theory is in a state of crisis and its ideology is in doubt. There is, alas, general agreement about failure in Africa. But opinions on Asia and Latin America are divided, with some people pointing to the economic success of the newly industrialised nations, of South Korea and Brazil and India, and concluding that the only possible development is that which is intelligently slotted into the more far-reaching internationalisation of all the economies of the planet. These are the examples to follow, they say, abandoning the illusions of ways other than that of transnational integration, since, as it happens, socialism itself is in a state of crisis in both the Eastern bloc and in the Third World nations which look to it, and the socialist countries themselves are being forced to go in for drastic revision and trying to go for internationalisation again.
This latest work by Samir Amin, the prolific Egyptian writer and economist who runs the African office of the Third World Forum in Dakar, sets out to analyse this breakdown in development from a political standpoint, for discussing choices against a macro-economic background, he says, now only yields predictable results which are known in advance. We must aim higher, integrate every (social, economic, political and cultural) dimension into the analysis and, at the same time, put them in a local setting and take account of how they interact at international level. This analysis of the failure of development tries to explain the hypotheses on which it is based, in particular those to do with the theory of the State, and the nation, the theory of the inter-State system and so on, and to give historical depth and a cultural dimension to the discussion of the contemporary development crisis.
The first four chapters deal with the various dimensions of this crisis (the economic situation. the drift in 1975-85, the crisis of State and society and the vulnerability of Africa).
The next four outline what the author calls another kind of development, neither statism nor liberalism. Amin looks at the content and internal political and social conditions of this and then discusses the external conditions which would encourage its deployment, both through South-South cooperation and a gradual veering of the world system towards a better balanced political and economic polycentrism.
This other kind of development is, Amin feels, a real political project in a polycentric world which has not been reduced to the five great powers (the USA, the USSR, Europe, Japan and China), but replaces the duopoly of the superpowers which are still marginalising the Third World and is genuinely polycentric, offering real room for development to Asia, Africa and Latin America.
World Wide Fund for Nature: Conservation Yearbook 1987/8. WWF International, Av. du Mont-Blanc, 1196, Gland (Switzerland)- 1989 675 pp.- £ 16.
The Yearbook is the only comprehensive published record of WWFs conservation work. With over 700 pages, listing work in 80 countries, there are numerous gems of information, such as the method used by biologists to identify individual black rhinoceroses by their footprints; how the giant bamboo femur, thought to be extinct, was rediscovered in Madagascar; how modern man can learn agricultural techniques from the Amazonian Indians; and about Operation Airlift, the successful flight from Mauritius to the UK to propagate the sole survivor of a plant species.
The Duke of Edinburgh, international President of WWF has added a foreword in which he pleads for a greater share of the $ 40 bn spent each year on development: If only we could persuade more governments and agencies to fund major strategic conservation projects, such as reafforestation, the control of poaching... limitation of atmospheric pollution... and the conservation of soil and water, the chances of restoring the world to health would be far greater... If we can keep up the pressure on decision-makers and maintain the momentum of conservation projects, we may still have something worthwhile for our children and grandchildren to enjoy and admire.
Correspondence should be sent to:
The ACP-EEC Courier
200, rue de la Loi
Visitors are always welcome to call at the offices (Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
AFRICA-CARIBBEAN-PACIFIC - EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Commission of the European Communities
200, rue de la Loi
Tel: 235 11 11 (switchboard)
Telex: COMEURBRU 21877
Roger De Backer
Amadou TraorR>Augustine Oyowe
Myfanwy van de
Mary Beatty (235 75 87)
Viviane Jacquet (235 27 19)
Margriet Mahy-van der Werf (235 76 39)