|The Courier N° 140 - July - Aug 1993 - Dossier: National Minorities - Country Reports: Dominica, Mozambique (EC Courier, 1993, 96 p.)|
The Minority Rights Group (MRG) is an international research and information unit which aims to secure justice for minorities-or majority groups-suffering discrimination. Its main weapon is publicity and since its establishment in 1960 the Group has highlighted many cases of oppression of ethnic, linguistic or religious groups in all parts of the world. In l this interview, Alan Phillips, who is Director of the MRG, explains the activities of the Group in more detail and I reveals the scale of the challenge facing his organization.
ACP-EEC Council in Brussels: Sustainable development, the incorporation of developing countries into the world economy and the alleviation of poverty: Ministers agreed that these were the priorities for future ACPEEC development cooperation. But health, food security, education and protection for vulnerable groups were high on the list too. And the ACP would like faster EC action on Stabex pay-outs and development finance.
EC Development Council: The EC and its Member States decided to coordinate their development efforts more closely, and the EC is to put ECU 100 million into a special initiative for rehabilitation in Africa. Development cooperation should promote human rights and democracy,
DOMINICA: What oil is to Kuweit or sugar to Mauritius, bananas are to Dominica. 'If bananas do well, Dominica does well' is certainly true, but there is far more to it than that, say the Dominicans: to them being in the banana trade and industry is an issue of life or death. The new EC banana import regime leaves it room to operate as an exporter-even if this is being disputed within GATT and the European Court of Justice-yet at the same time poses the dual challenge of raising the quality of its fruit and increasing
its productivity. Pushing ahead meanwhile with further diversification, air access remains a serious bottleneck to be overcome. Prime Minister Dame Eugenia Charles puts it all into perspective. Pages 10 to 31.
MOZAMBIQUE: After 14 years of civil war, hundreds of thousands of deaths, incalculable suffering inflicted upon innocent civilian populations' and destruction of infrastructure that will bear heavily on the future, Mozambique's fighters have at last laid down their arms. All the conditions for a peaceful transition to democracy seem to be in place. But the question that is in everybody's mind is: can they avoid becoming another Angola? Pages 32 to 43.
DOSSIER: National Minorities
As we approach the end of the 20th century, it would be nice to believe that mankind had found a way of satisfying its inherent 'group reflex' without the accompanying mistrust of other groups which so often spills over into conflict. But the sad reality is that oppression, discrimination, intolerance and prejudice still pollute the atmosphere of too many societies. And where this happens, it is the minority communities- people of different ethnic or cultural origin or those who speak different languages or practice different religions-who usually suffer. In our Dossier, we examine the 'minority question' as it affects the world today, with a particular emphasis on the situation in the European Community and in the countries of the ACP.
Director of the Minority Rights Group Breaking down prejudices
The Minority Rights Group (MRG), whose international secretaries is based in London ( UK), is a small but influential organization which works to secure justice for minorities who are suffering discrimination and prejudice.
In conjunction with this issue's Dossier, in which we examine a range of questions involving minorities, we interviewed Alan Phillips, who is Director of the MRG. Mr Phillips was a student of physics-perhaps not the most conventional academic backgroundior the head of a 'people-centred' NGO-but he argues that his training helps him to avoid generalities and instead to focus on the fundamental components of the problems he has to deal with in his work.
In fact, Mr Phillips' career since he left university has been very much people-centred'. He has worked in the provision of education programmes for refugees and in wider educational initiatives, notably in Africa and South Asia. He is also a former Deputy Director of the British Refugee Council, where he was responsible for policy aspects, employment training and educational programmes. It was in the course of this work, which included helping refugees to resettle. that Mr Phillias first came into close contact with the MRG. As he himself points out. 'So often, the root cause of refugee problems is conflict involving minorities and majority communities.'
In this interview, Alan Phillips describes the philosophy and activity of the Minority Rights Group, talks about recent developments in the international arena and gives us his own analysis of some of the main minority-related issues affecting the world today.
· Mr Phillips, the term 'minority seems to cover a multitude of very different situations. What criteria do you use in deciding which of these situations merit the attention of the Minority Rights Group?
-We emphasise ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and particularly communities who are without power, looking at minorities worldwide. In determining where we believe we should act, we look at situations where we think we can be most effective. That may be where we can work with a local partner, where particular minorities are unknown or not well-known in the international arena or indeed because a minority is the centre of attention nationally and there needs to be a better understanding of the root causes of the tension or the conflict: for example, the Kurds. We generally act in cases where we think we can be effective at a period of change-where new governments may be open to approaches to dealing with minorities.
· What form does your action take?
-We act in three kinds of ways. First of all, research and analysis of particular minority groups and minority issues; secondly, working with local partners to try and develop information and education programmes to help achieve a better understanding of minority issues locally; thirdly, advocacy in the international arena, which might be on a particular minority issue or perhaps more generally on international standards for minorities such as in the discussions leading up to the adoption of the UN Declaration on Minorities.
· Minority 'problems' are often, if not always, the result of prejudice on the part of the majority in a given community or state. What can be done in concrete terms to tackle the root causes of prejudice?
-The first stage is to analyse each situation carefully and to have a dialogue with the majority and the minority together if one can. You mustn't go in with prejudices yourself about what can be done to solve the situation. The way forward should be a process involving the commitment of people across communities. Often there is a need to break down prejudices that have grown through misunderstandings or through misinformation. This can be tackled sometimes through education projects, through information activities by trying to ensure that accurate information appears in the press and by finding various ways of promoting a climate of mutual cooperation so that minorities may be seen as a source of strength and richness to a society rather than an alien community that in some way threatens them, their society or the State.
· Do you think, in the time that you have been involved in this area, that prejudice has increased or decreased?
-I think one has got to look at every country closely to answer that. There is no room for complacency, for example, in Western Europe. One of the depressing things we see at the moment is that quite a lot of people in Western countries are telling the South how things should be done as regards minority/majority relationships. But these people also need to look closely at their own societies. We have seen in Western Europe, just this weekend, some horrific racist killings. I think it is very difficult to generalise on this but there are no grounds for smugness anywhere.
· You are referring here to the burning of the house in Germany which resulted in the deaths of five Turkish people?
-Exactly, though I should say that there were racist murders in virtually every European country last year-in Britain, France, Germany and even Denmark. It requires much more action in the European Community to counter these racist acts and racism generally.
· What effect do you think the ending of the Cold War has had on the position of ethnic and other minorities in the states of the former Communist bloc?
-This is a huge area for discussion so I shall have to give you fairly broad brushstrokes. I would start off by saying that almost every country in the world is multicultural and multilingual. In Europe, there is probably only one country which isn't and that is Iceland. In all those countries, you are facing elements of prejudice and situations which politicians can manipulate for their own power. This is as much the case in Western Europe as it is in Eastern Europe. As for the situation in the former Soviet Union, it is very complex and each state has its own problems, but there are similarities-instability, economic decline, rising unemployment, inexperience of democracy and disillusionment. All of this means that speedy solutions are not to hand. You have in these new, emerging democracies, states that are trying to find their own identity, in the aftermath of the rejection of international communism. In some cases, this has led to a growth in nationalism and pressure to create a single nation-state-let us say monoethnic states or states that are sympathetic towards or designed exclusively for the majority ethnic group. And I think this has led in some cases to immense problems for minorities, not least for Russian minorities who are often unreasonably blamed for the past, undoubtedly genocidal policies of Stalin. There are sometimes attempts to redress and rectify historical injustices by looking at the minority community and holding them responsible for the deeds of others.
· To what extent do the provisions of international law protect minorities from oppressive or discriminatory treatment?
-Well, there is the broader question of how powerful international law is, particularly if it is not incorporated into state law, but in any case, with the exception of Article 27 of the Civil and Political Rights Covenant, international law makes very little reference to minorities. However, I think protection is best provided, not only by the morality of international instruments, but by a determination to seek peaceful coexistence in states. The new UN Declaration on Minorities was passed by the General Assembly in December and we think it is a very important instrument. The prospect of discussing its implementation with governments is a crucial challenge for us in our work. And we believe that, more so than international law, political goodwill, effective participation and resources are the key issues for providing minority rights.
· Can you tell us something about what the UN General Assembly Declaration actually says?
-Yes. Let me refer to three provisions which I think may be the most important -assuming they were to be accepted in practice by states. There is Article I which says that 'States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.' Now that's really very strong. At Article 4.5 it is set out that: 'States should consider appropriate measures so that persons belonging to minorities may participate fully in the economic progress and development in their country.' Then there is Article 5, which I think is perhaps the most significant. The first paragraph refers to national policies and programmes which 'shall be planned and implemented with due regard to the legitimate interests of persons belonging lo minorities.' Article 5.2, which I think is very important for DG VIII of the European Commission-and for your readers-goes on to say that programmes of cooperation and assistance among states should be planned and implemented with due regard to the legitimate interests of persons belonging to minorities.
· How confident are you that these provisions will be adopted and implemented in practice by individual countries?
- How long is a piece of string? Engaging in a dialogue about the UN Declaration, with governments at both central and local level, is one of the major priorities we have set ourselves for our work in the future. It is not a question of using the Declaration as an instrument to point the finger and say 'winy are you not applying it', but rather of entering into a conversation as to what can be done. States have many problems in terms of resources. It is one of the challenges to programmes of cooperation and assistance among states that they should be sensitive to minority issues. If programmes of cooperation involve minority communities the positive effects will create economic and social stability, encouraging further programmes of cooperation and support, and new tovestments.
· Can we assume from what you have said that existing international law, notably with respect to human rights, does no' adequately cover minorities and that there is a need for something more along the lines of the Declaration you have just referred to?
-That's right. Of course, the Declaration is an international instrument but it doesn't have the same force as a covenant. But then many states do not sign covenants and even if they do, they often don't implement them.
· Yes, but do you think the next stage might be the preparation of a covenant; a multilateral convention on this subject?
-I am not sure that that is helpful at the moment. I think it is much better to have the dialogue with states first and for them to feel comfortable about implementation before one tries to enshrine it in international law. The Declaration's weakness can be its strength.
· Do you think that the principles of territorial integrity andself-determination are compatible?
-Well, it all depends on your definitions and especially on what you mean by 'serf-determination'. The MRG would argue that the granting of group rights to minorities provides a form of internal self-determination for that group and helps to ensure that the minority community will want to coexist peacefully within the frontiers of a state. We think that the way forward is to look at group rights or, if you prefer, internal selfdetermination.
· In recent years, the international community has moved, but only very tentatively, towards the idea that intervenrion might be justified in extreme cases of human rights violation. Do you think the UN does, or should, have a right to step in to protect minorities that are threatened?
-This is a very difficult question to answer. There can be many motives for intervening, including what may be very honourable human rights reasons. But I think that there has been a lack of consistency in the UN as regards where it has taken action and where it has not. If you look at the former Yugoslavia, I don't think that the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina feels that the UN has acted in a consistent way. On the broader principle, I think the position is very clear. The first three words of the UN Charter are: 'We the peoples...' and that is something that is often forgotten. Chapters 7 and 8 place a responsibility on the Security Council to encourage the pacific settlement of local disputes. There is also Article 39 which gives authority to the Security Council to decide upon measures to maintain and restore international peace and security. I would say that the UN has not only the right but the responsibility to act to protect minorities -very, very much more than it has done so far. But it should be consistent and where possible, it should avoid the extreme of military intervention.
· In general terms, which minority situations currently give you cause for greatest concern?
-There are so many minority communities that it is probably best for me to generalise rather than to focus on one or other specific situation. According to how you define them, and how you subdivide them, it is estimated that there are over 7000 different minority communities in the world and it very difficult in these circumstances to establish any sort of 'hierarchy' of concern. But in broad terms, there are obviously immense difficulties in that category which might be called 'new emerging democracies' where there is instability and economic decline. In such cases, it is often easy to find a scapegoat and regard the minority as being part of that scapegoat. A second general category might be the dictatorship where the leaders are struggling to stay in power.
Again, they may need to find some external element so that they can unite the majority behind otherwise unpopular policies.
There is also a third situation that gives us great concern: achieving justice for minorities during structural adjustment programmes. There are immense problems in dealing with different ethnic minorities in certain ACP countries- particularly in Africa, which is going through a period of major economic decline, and where you have structural adjustment programmes which often are, or have been, insensitive to rural communities and to the particular needs of minorities. I think there is a growing recognition that these programmes have had their weaknesses and it should be acknowledged that more account is being taken of the conditions faced by ordinary people in assessing the way they have worked. This, of course, is absolutely critical for minority communities as well.
· Thinking particularly about Africa, apologists of one-party rule argued that this form of government was essential in forging national unity. One-party systems are now largely discredited but is there not some truth in the assertion that multi-party politics risk degenerating into ethnic division and conflict? How do you think democracy can be reconciled with respect for the rights of minorities?
-Many people would argue that true democracy is government of all the people by all the people for all the people. The idea of democracy as being majoritarian rule and 'winner-takes-all' is very dangerous, particularly in multi-ethnic societies. It is important, in our view, to work with people within the new democracies who are not only trying to promote justice for minorities but also peaceful coexistence between communities. This should lead to political parties that cross ethnic boundaries and are seen to be sensitive to the needs of the whole range of communities-parties based on people who have not come together because of their language or their ethnicity, but because they have a common view about social issues and values.
· Can you think of any practical examples from Africa that offer encouragement in that direction?
-Unfortunately, I think there have been a number of discouraging signs from Africa, in places where it was thought that majoritarian elections would provide the answer but where, in the event, they raised more problems than they solved. If you look at Angola or, indeed, at Kenya, the picture is very depressing. On the other hand, it is interesting to look at what has happened in Zimbabwe. Despite all the difficulties they have had there, and all the potential for externally encouraged violence, they managed to halt the conflict-indeed, the civil war- that was emerging in the mid- 1980s, by a process of power-sharing and a move to consensual government.
· One final question. How do you see the MRG's activities developing in the future?
-Well there is something which I should like to mention which might be of interest to some of your readers. We are eager to work with partners in different parts of the world, and particularly in Africa; people who want to work in the same way as us in promoting the rights of minorities and peaceful coexistence between communities. If any of your readers are interested we should be happy to hear from them.
Interview by Simon HORNER
Mission Statement of the Minority Rights Group
'Minority Rights Group is an international non-governmental organisation working to secure justice for minorities suffering discrimination and prejudice, and the peaceful coexistence of majority and minority communities.
'Founded in the 1960s, Minority Rights Group informs and warns governments, the international community, non-governmental organisations and the wider public about the situation of minorities the world over. This work is based on the publication of wellresearched reports, books, papers; on direct advocacy on behalf of minority rights in international fore; on developing an international network of like-minded organisations and minority communities to cooperate on these issues; and by challenging prejudice and promoting public understanding through information and education activities
'Minority Rights Group believes that the best hope for a peaceful world lies in identifying and monitoring potential conflict between communities, advocating preventive measures to avoid the escalation of conflict and encouraging positive action to build trust between majority and minority communities.
'Minority Rights Group has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and has a world-wide network of affiliates. Its international headquarters are in London. Legally it is registered both as a charity and a limited company under United Kingdom Law with an International Governing Council.'
(Address: Minority Rights Group, 379 Brixton Road, London SW9 7DE, United Kingdom)
- Heavy agenda includes trade cooperation, commodities, development finance and emergencies in Africa
- Open debate on the future of ACP-EEC cooperation
Delegates from every European Community country and almost all the ACP States attended the 18th ACP-EEC Council of Ministers meeting on 18 and 19 May. This year's host was the Belgian capital, Brussels, seat of the EC Commission, and the meeting sat down to a particularly busy agenda.
The opening session was chaired jointly by Kigoma Ali Malima, Minister of Finance of Tanzania, and Helle Degn, Denmark's State Secretary for Development Cooperation, and attended by many Ministers and State Secretaries for Development, Cooperation, Trade, Finance or Foreign Affairs, though a fair number of ACP delegations were headed by diplomats.
Professor Malima began by paying tribute to the Lome Convention as a model for the conduct of development cooperation. Against a background of world recession, he said, the developing countries were hard hit by the perennial problems of falling commodity prices, debt servicing, the social consequences of structural adjustment and, in many cases, the cost of rehabilitation after famine, drought and civil war. It was time to look at ways of implementing aid more effectively. On a happier note, newly independent Eritrea had formally applied to join the ACP group and become a party to the Lome Convention.
Ms Degn, said in reply that Lome IV was a unique contract linking stable development to respect for human rights, and democratic values, and many ACP, partners had introduced democratic, changes which the EC welcomed. The Community had done its best to give countries undergoing special hardship more help than it was committed to by the Convention, while the EC Ministers meeting in political cooperation (the forum in which they discuss and take positions on foreign policy issues) had worked to help resolve conflicts.
A diplomatic difficulty for the Council was created by the arrival of two delegations from Zaire, one representing the present government and one dispatched by Etienne Tshisekedi, who was appointed Prime Minister to oversee the process of democratic transition but was later dismissed by President Mobutu. The Council decided to recognise the first of these, but nevertheless reiterated its support for the chairman of the National Conference which was continuing to work for democratic reform in Zaire. On Eritrea, which was about to declare its independence from Ethiopia, Ms Degn reminded the meeting that the Community and its Member States had already pledged to recognise it as an independent state; indeed, some of them, and Ethiopia, had already done so.
The EC Commission was represented by Vice-President Manuel Marin, who said it was looking at proposals for more effective implementation of development aid and had already overhauled its working methods. An impressive figure of ECU 2 billion in payments was evidence of the improvement. Support for structural adjustment had, he said, been a bone of contention but payments under that scheme were now proceeding more successfully than transfers under Stabex.
The Council began its substantive work with a commitment from Ms Degn that the EC would work for a rapid conclusion of the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations in which the developing countries would receive special treatment. The Community had encouraged the ACP countries to play an active part and press for concessions. It would try to persuade the ACP countries' trading partners to open their markets wider to tropical products. Since the new United States Administration had taken office, there had been many EC-US contacts with a view to reactivating multilateral negotiations, including other major partners, in Geneva this summer and possibly reaching a conclusion by the end of the year. The negotiating mandate of the ACP-EEC Committee of Ambassadors, whose chairman is Ernest Mpofu, Head of the Mission of Botswana to the EC, was renewed for a further year.
The Council then turned to the contentious issue of bananas. Last December the Council adopted arrangements for future imports into the European Community which certain Latin-American bananaexporting countries fear (unjustifiably, according to the Commission) will cause a reduction in their exports to the Community. ACP representatives at the ACP-EEC Council said they appreciated the fact that the EC had invited the ACP group to join the GATT panel set up to examine the Latin-American objections. But there was concern at the instability on traditional markets, particularly France, which had recently asked the Community to implement measures to safeguard its own producers (in France's overseas departments, which are part of the EC, not the ACP). Mr Marin explained that the request had been made to protect the Community market against massive deflections, by countries outside Lome, of exports of bananas which were not from traditional ACP producers. The safeguard clause would therefore actually protect quotas delivered by ACP suppliers.
The Foreign Minister of Jamaica, Paul Robertson, interim chairman of the ACPEC consultative committee on bananas, stressed that decisions on production, transport and marketing in the banana industry required certainty as to the rules of the market, and called for greater clarity as regards transferability of deliveries between traditional supplier countries, the definition of operators and the workings of the licensing system. Measures to assist ACP suppliers in the form of income support and aid for restructuring, for which a proposal was still being considered by the EC Council, should, he said, enter into force with the new market regime in July.
The Council briefly noted progress so far by the trade development project provided for in Annex XX to Lome IV. Helle Degn observed that trade liberalisation, the abolition of protectionism and the opening of markets were vital to world economic growth, and looked forward to further practical work to achieve those ends.
ACP countries had complained at the delays in paying transfers to offset losses in export earnings in 1992. Despite incomplete information as to the resources available and the losses incurred, Ms Degn was able to confirm that there were not enough Stabex funds to cover all such losses. (In 1991 the shortfall came to some ECU 640 million, partly covered by a transfer to the system of an extra ECU 75m). Mr Marin said Stabex transfers would have to be recalculated as the forecasts for coffee and cocoa earnings had not been confirmed. There was ACP concern at the steadily declining rate of coverage and the disappointing rate of disbursement. The accumulating debt this was causing had virtually brought economic growth to a halt in some ACP countries. A decision had to be taken on whether to extend the 'all destinations' derogation granted to 13 ACP States under Lome, whereby their exports to all countries, not just the EC, attract Stabex payments on certain conditions. The Council delegated its powers of decision on this matter to the ACP-EEC Committee of Ambassadors.
In a review of developments in the sugar sector since last year, the Minister of Agriculture of Mauritius, Madun Dulloo, said that discussions on the guaranteed price for ACP sugar in 199394 had not been concluded in time, with adverse consequences for ACP producers, refiners, buyers and exporters. It was, however, gratifying that the final tranche of the ECU 30m marketing premium for ACP raw sugar was being disbursed. ACP countries were comforted by assurances that the guarantees in the Sugar Protocol would not be compromised by the GATT negotiations or the reform of the EC's common agricultural policy, but were frustrated to see that ACP sugar was still not getting access to the Portuguese market. Mr Dulloo thought Portugal could provide a market for Zambia, which now met all the conditions for accession to the Protocol. The quota for sweeteners should not be expanded to include the new artificial sweetener, inulin. Any disruption in the workings of the Protocol would upset the economic stability of ACP countries and could upset their progress towards political reform and democratization.
Replying for the Commission, Peter Pooley, Acting Director-General for Development, said it was impossible to fix a price for ACP sugar which was much higher than that paid to the EC's own producers. The Community was fighting to preserve the best features of the Sugar Protocol despite changes in world markets. With regard to inulin, the EC's own sugar beet growers shared the same interests and anxieties as the ACP's sugar suppliers and were therefore their natural allies. Before admitting Zambia to the Protocol, the EC looked forward to receiving assurances from that country that it could be relied on to deliver regular supplies in years to come.
The dramatic collapse in commodity prices had, said Prof. Malima, severely reduced ACP countries' purchasing power and crippled them with debt; the development process in most of them had come to a halt. A joint declaration on coffee and cocoa adopted by the meeting noted that the situation had been further aggravated by the failure of producers and consumers to conclude negotiations for agreements with economic clauses for those two commodities. It hoped that negotiations on a new International Coffee Agreement could resume and that an effective and economically viable Cocoa Agreement could be concluded.
Development finance cooperation
Without discussion, the Council approved the report of the ACP-EC Committee on Development Finance Cooperation, covering financial and technical cooperation in 1991, joint evaluation of cooperation in 1991-92, the implementation of structural adjustment resources under Lome IV, regional cooperation and integration, the development of the least developed, landlocked and island countries, and a joint study on implementation procedures. A resolution on the last-mentioned issue stressed the importance, if Lome was to operate smoothly, of full respect for the equality of the partners and of more effective co-management of projects and programmes, and called on national authorising officers, the Commission and its delegates to discharge their responsibilities rapidly.
The ACP-EEC loins Assembly held in Gaborone, Botswana, this year adopted a series of resolutions of which the ACPEEC Council took official note without any discussion of their content. These were fully reported in issue No 139 of The Courier, May/June l 993; suffice it to say here that they concerned the political and economic situation in various ACP countries, environmental issues, regional cooperation, famine and food aid, and commodities.
One of the countries which featured in the Joint Assembly resolutions was Somalia, and unsurprisingly the tragic events there also came up for discussion in the Council, where the ACP side applauded the efforts the international community had made to scale down the violence in that country and appealed to the EC to step up its support for reconstruction. The EC and its Member States had contributed troops and money to the 'Restore Hope' operation, said Ms Degn, and would continue helping with rehabilitation if the situation in Somalia remained stable. The Minister of External Economic Cooperation of Ethiopia, Abdulmejid Hussein, appealed for help for Somalis-many of them in EC Member States-who wanted to return home to help stabilise the country. Ethiopia and Eritrea had already started discussions on taking the first steps towards setting up a confederation, and the Minister was heartened to know that the people in control of north and south Somalia were disposed to do the same. A settlement in Somalia would lift a heavy burden from the shoulders of its neighbours as well.
Events in Angola in the last six months had disappointed the hopes of all sides. The EC and its Member States said UN resolutions must be observed, and were ready to offer help to the millions of victims of the conflict. All parties, the EC co-chairman said, must allow humanitarian assistance through the areas they controlled.
South and Southern Africa
Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, S.K. Moyo, introduced a discussion of the latest developments. He deplored Unita's rejection of the election results in Angola and the procrastination of the international community while Unita sought to overthrow the democratic process by violent means. The peace process in Mozambique, in contrast, now seemed to be on track. It was of paramount importance to set up mechanisms for disarming current or erstwhile belligerents so that they could not challenge democratically established authorities. In South Africa, ACP countries were anxious to see the establishment of a provisional national executive representing all parties. All the countries in the region were grateful for EC assistance during last year's drought.
Helle Degn offered the Community's help in investigating the murder of ANC leader Chris Hani. Now that negotiations on the future of South Africa had been resumed, the Danish Minister would visit that country in June as an official observer for the EC. In Mozambique, demobilisation and reconstruction were starting, and the Community and its Member States would help the country rebuild.
The second day of the ACP-EEC Council was devoted to a free exchange of views on the future of cooperation between the two sides, against the back ground of the declaration the EC and its Member States issued last year on their development policy in the run-up to the year 2000. Their targets are to bring about the sustainable development of their partners, integrate them into the world economy and alleviate poverty, while contributing to the furtherance of human rights, good governance and democracy. Both sides expressed concern at the human costs of structural adjustment and stressed the need to take account of health, food security, education and training and the problems of vulnerable groups. ACP delegations appealed for EC help over debt-in some countries it swallows up three quarters of export earnings, which are themselves falling headlong because of the drop in commodity prices-and one EC delegation said it hoped consensus could soon be reached among creditors to reduce the developing countries' debt by half. There was agreement on the need to stimulate private investment and enterprise in developing countries; ACP countries would have to try harder to attract these, for example by setting up local capital markets and guaranteeing protection for private property, as competition for available funds from other parts of the world would be fierce.
On promoting democracy and human rights under Article 5 of Lome IV, it was felt that these were an essential part of sustainable development but that donors, rather than trying to introduce Western models, should fund internal processes of democratisation and channel aid towards countries which practiced pluralism, transparency and government accountability, although these were not set out as requirements in any international treaty. Ordinary people fighting for their rights, but with no influence in high places and no access to resources or training, should not be forgotten. There was a suggestion that Article 5 should be expanded to make express reference to the right of people to development, which ultimately meant a right to life.
This last part of the proceedings, perhaps because no
conclusions were required to be reached, heard some remarkably frank speaking on
both sides about the relations between them, and it was seen as a fruitful
precedent for future ACP-EEC Councils. The next Council is in fact to be held in
Swaziland in May 1994.
More coordination of national and Community development work Development cooperation to promote human rights Guidelines for future cooperation with South Africa Humanitarian aid and 'visibility'
The world recession has not spared the developed countries and, particularly in Europe, governments face many competing calls on public funds. As one delegate to the recent meeting of the European Community's Development Ministers put it, aid for the poorer countries must continue, but 'every single ECU must be properly spent'. In terms of payments actually made, the European Community and its Member States account for 47% of all development aid, so the decisions taken by the Ministers in that single conference room will play a vital part in shaping the development policies of the whole world as the 21st century approaches.
Denmark's State Secretary for Development Cooperation, Helle Degn, chaired the Development Council which met in Brussels on 25 May. The morning was devoted to an open debate on alle viating poverry and the coordination of development cooperation activities (policies and implementation) between the EC and its Member States.
A note from the Danish Presidency set the tone by pointing out that despite several decades of development efforts, poverty had not been reduced in developing countries. There was now, it said, growing acknowledgement of the need to integrate the poor into the mainstream of the development process. It was up to the Member States to decide how a coherent EC policy could be hammered out. 'As regards economic policies,' the note went on, How can one ensure that greater weight is given to market forces, while at the same time maintaining an appropriate level of government involvement in order to obtain balanced economic growth and equitable distribution of wealth?'
Among the Ministers and State Secretaries who spoke, Baroness Lynda Chalker of the UK said her country favoured a practical, sector-by-sector approach to development coordination and agreed that assistance should focus on eradicating poverty. Human capital should be developed through expanded health and education programmes, with safety nets for the disabled and the aged. Georges Papastamkos, for Greece, said development aid would not work if it perpetuated anti-development conditions: it must be directed towards freeing private resources and investment, in economies run on social market economy principles. Respect for human rights and democracy must be insisted on as a condition of aid. Portugal's Jose Manuel Briosa e Gala said priority in fighting rising poverty must go to nongovernmental organizations and small projects, as macroeconomic measures had done little to create employment or redistribute wealth. His country intended to devote 2% of its GDP to helping the least developed countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where the needs were greatest.
Speaking for Ireland, Tom Kitt called for debt to be taken into account in any discussion of ways of alleviating poverty, and believed that pressure on governments to reduce military spending must be an integral part of the Community's future strategy. Hans-Peter Repoik of Germany said that participation and self help, close corollaries of democracy and human rights, were the key to fighting poverty. For Spain, Inocencio Arias believed that the Community's aid should complement, not duplicate, that of the Member States. And economic recovery could only take place in the context of democracy.
Carmelo Azzara of Italy said priority should go to fighting poverty and social exclusion by enhancing food security, health care and training provision. Belgium, according to Eric Derycke, wanted priorities to include migration and debt. Ministers, he said, should agree on levels and sectors where the EC had a comparative advantage over the Member States, or vice versa, in terms of expertise or scale. The French Minister, Michel Roussin, favoured encouraging economic growth, though without neglecting schemes to develop human capital.
For the Netherlands, Jan Pronk said the 1990s were not the 1980s, and it was time to review the structural adjustment approach: more attention should be paid to job creation and measures to help the vulnerable in the fields of education, health and food security. He felt the Commission had recently concentrated too much on its own areas of competence, as for example the provision of emergency humanitarian aid, often a cover to mask the political consequences of other forms of aid. There should be a coherent policy for development cooperation; at the moment aid was having to be given to repair the damage caused by trade wars.
The Member of the Commission responsible for Development, Vice-President Manuel Marin, said there was an increasing awareness of the need to foster human solidarity in combating poverty, which was a threat to world stability in terms of environmental damage, drug trafficking, population growth and disease. The World Bank had reported that one third of the world's population were living in absolute poverty. Thus no donor, however rich, could nowadays go it alone-but was there, Mr Marin wondered, the political will to coordinate official development aid? The present lack of coordination placed the EC in a weak position vis-a-vis other donors such as the United States and Japan. And it was up to the Council's Committees to make sure there was also a two-way exchange of information on development activities between the Member States and the Commission.
Ms Degn wound up the public debate from the chair by saying that a greater contribution towards alleviating poverty would have to be made by all the Community's policies, and there should be closer dialogue with governments in the beneficiary countries so that they could be helped to carry out their own anti-poverty programmes.
The Development Council adopted the Commission's suggestion that policy coordination should, initially, be enhanced in the areas of health, food security, and education and training. As for sectors where policies were already coordinated, such as respect for human rights, family planning and support for structural adjustment, the focus now should be primarily on implementation.
The Council then debated a special initiative for Africa tabled by the Danish Presidency. This provided for a ECU 100 million action programme to finance post-emergency rehabilitation in certain sub-Saharan African countries, thereby bridging the gap between emergency aid and longer-term development assistance. The document does not, however, name the countries which are to benefit, and the amount earmarked falls far short of the ECU 273 million in EC funds allocated to rehabilitation in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Eritrea last year, not to mention the sum of ECU 1000 million for which the Commission had argued in its proposal for a rehabilitation programme covering all the developing countries. That proposal was in fact held over for consideration till the next Development Council. The Commission also feared that the ECU 100 million programme would take unduly long to execute, as the main financing source is to be the European Development Fund, the procedures for which do not make for rapid action. The Commission's rehabilitation programmes for other, non-ACP countries are in most cases jointly financed by the Member States. The Presidency's document was eventually adopted, but the arguments raised on both sides are bound to be heard again when the Commission's proposal reappears before the Council in six months' time.
In a declaration on future development cooperation with South Africa, the Council said the EC and its Member States would signal their desire to step up relations with that country as soon as a Transitional Executive Council was set up. The basis for assistance from the EC should be democratisation, the rule of: law, human rights, good governance and popular participation. Aid should go primarily towards supporting peace structures and initiatives and the transition to democratic government, focus on a limited number of sectors and encompass cooperation with and through NGOs.
The Council adopted a declaration on human rights, democracy and development which was to form the basis for EC participation in the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights being held in Vienna in June. The text stresses the important role of development assistance in promoting economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political liberties, and says the EC and its Member States are willing to consider the possibility of increased assistance to developing countries in which substantive positive changes in human rights and democracy have taken place. Areas in which development cooperation could be stepped up include the holding of free elections, the strengthening of the judiciary and the police, the peaceful settlement of conflicts, promoting the role of NGOs and the media, setting up independent human rights organisations and action to protect women, indigenous people and vulnerable groups.
A set of conclusions on humanitarian and emergency aid welcomed the establishment of the European Community Humanitarian Office and stressed the need for openness, dialogue (between the EC and Member States) and visibility (of the Community as a donor) in the field of emergency aid, though the Dutch Government added a statement to the minutes saying that considerations of visibility should play no part in decisions on the channelling of such aid. The Council believed that greater advantage should be taken of the possibilities for cooperation with local NGOs and agencies in recipient countries, and reaffirmed the need for close coordination with the UN system in emergency situations.
A Commission progress report on follow-up to the UN Conference on the Environment and Development, produced for the meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in June, was noted. On women in development, the Council welcomed the efforts made to incorporate activities designed to promote the role of women in the implementation of the Lome IV Convention. It asked population experts from the EC and its Member States to continue their work on family planning in population policies in the developing countries; the aim of European cooperation in this area is to ensure that population figures are consistent with sustainable development.
Emergency situations in Africa were of concern to the Ministers, who decided to send a delegation of EC Development Ministers to the Sudan and press ahead with humanitarian efforts there in 1993. They supported the UN's political role in Somalia and believed that a contribution from that country's own people to establishing peace and security was the precondition for implementing reconstruction aid. On newly independent Eritrea, the Council agreed that there was a huge need for rapid transitional aid and that Eritrea should join the Lome Convention as soon as possible.
Development Councils seem traditionally to end with an
inconclusive discussion of the question of untying Member States' development
aid at the EC level, and this was no exception. In some quarters there is a
feeling that conditions as to how aid is to be spent must be struck out of aid
agreements in the interests of getting value for money, while others believe
that that would only lead to a drop in the amounts of aid given. The Commission
is now to draft a paper on the issue for discussion at the next Development
Council, which is to be held in
The look of trepidation on the face of the elderly American lady tourist was obvious as the small LIAT aircraft descended steeply towards Canefield Airport- although this may be too grand a description of the concrete strip one actually lands on. Fortunately there was the beautiful view of the Dominican countryside to distract her attention, at least partly, from the landing. Clearly she was wondering whether the bother of getting to Dominica, involving a transit in Antigua after a long and tiresome wait, was going to be worthwhile. While this situation in itself illustrates why so many Dominican spokesmen insist on the need for a new 24-hour airport providing direct access, the lady's momentary worries were likely to be very quickly dissolved soon after her arrival. The warm welcome extended to her, combined with the prospect of discovering the wide array of assets of the Caribbean's Nature Island, probably compensated for her short-lived discomfort.
The current worries of the Dominicans themselves are neither short-lived nor likely to disappear in the near future. Their widespread unease stems from uncertainty over the future of their country's lifeline, threatened at its very roots: their banana trade and industry looks to be in jeopardy. Apart from those too young to understand, virtually every Dominican today feels his country is the victim of an 'enemy' they refer to as 'the Latins'-their Latin American banana competitors. Everybody seems to know the main battleground, Europe, and seems familiar with the jargon even if it consists of acronyms such as GA TT, the EC's CAP or notions such as the Single Market. All parties concerned have international allies, though some of these allies seem to have one foot in each camp. In every skirmish, many of which are fought through the media, 'weapons' such as quotas, tariff barriers, panels and court cases are brandished. Let there be no mistake; this war between 'Eurobananas' and dollar bananas, leaves no Dominican, whether small farmer, civil servant, businessman or housewife, indifferent. Indeed, over and above the banana producing and exporting community, all the inhabitants are uncomfortably aware that no other crop is currently capable of providing as many jobs or of raising as much income for the country. To them, it is not just the issue of 'if bananas do well, Dominica does well', even if that statement is true. In their view it is a question of life or death. Even when ravaged by hurricanes, as unfortunately happens from time to time, bananas have always managed to survive. Dominica without its bananas is as inconceivable as Mauritius without its sugar or Kuwait without its oil. The Dominicans' main worry is, therefore: 'Are we, however small a producer, going to be pushed out of business?'Given the sweet fruit's preponderance in the economy and omnipresence in the landscape, one can understand why there is such deep concern.
Please use the country's official name 'The Commonwealth of Dominica' when writing to someone living on this island in the far north of the chain of the English speaking Caribbean Islands which collectively are known as the Windwards. Most correspondence addressed simply to 'Dominica' gets sent to the Dominican Republic from where it will eventually be rerouted to its proper destination. Those responsible for this confusion - two 'Dominicas' in the Caribbean Sea-were in fact members of the same famous family! It was Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, who gave the now English-speaking island its name, the Lord's Day in Latin, having sighted it on Sunday November 3, 1493. Five years later, his brother Bartholomeo established the city of Santo Domingo on the more northerly island of Hispaniola. The present-day Dominican Republic (Spanish-speaking), which occupies the eastern part of Hispaniola, subsequently took its name from this city.
If your mail finally reaches its proper destination, it will have landed on one of the most rugged and lush Caribbean islands. Dominica has the shape of a rectangle rounded at both ends. It is 46 km long and 25 km wide, with a total area of some 800 km2. The terrain is very mountainous, including one of the highest peaks in the Caribbean archipelago, and is covered with dense rain forest through which no fewer than 365 rivers flow to the sea, sometimes over spectacular waterfalls. Needless to say, flat surfaces, beyond the size of a cricket pitch, of course, are difficult to find, as any builder-particularly of airports- can testify. The landmass, as seen from the sea, so impressed the Carib Indians, who wrested control of the island from the Arawak Indians, that they called it Waitukubuli or 'Tall is her body'. When independence was granted from the UK in November 1978, reverting to the original Carib name was considered but the idea was soon abandoned because the name was thought to be too complicated. The island is nevertheless home to some 3500 Caribs, who live in a reserve on the north-east coast-the last remaining community of Carib Indians in the Caribbean. Like its neighbours, Dominica has, throughout its history, been coveted by various European nations (principally France and the United Kingdom) and it 'charged hands' on a number of occasions. It is situated, oddly enough, in the 'heart of France', its closest neighbours being the French Overseas Departments of Guadaloupe to the north and Martinique to the south, both of which are also banana producers. Despite this, Dominica ended up being a British colony prior to its independence. Not surprisingly, therefore, English is the official language, although a form of Creole very close to the Creole of Mauritius is widely spoken in this island of 72 000 inhabitants.
Whilst Dominicans are generally peaceful and easy-going, they have always had a propensity for lively local politics. In the period immediately following independence, the turbulence on the political scene seemed almost to vie with Hurricanes David and Allen which struck with disastrous effects in 1979 and 1980 respectively. Political allegiances shifted rapidly. Parties split and new ones -sometimes shon-lived-were created. Strikes and demonstrations raised the political temperature even further. Matters became clearer in July 1980 when the general election delivered a decisive result; a landslide victory for the Dominica Freedom Party headed by Eugenia Charles (see the interview which follows). The DFP took 17 of the 21 seats and, in so doing, ended the reign of the Dominica Labour Party, which had held power in the local legislature for almost two decades. An advocate of free enterprise, Eugenia Charles, who was previously a barrister, quickly imprinted her own firm and outspoken style on both local and international politics. In 1983 she hit the international headlines when, in her capacity as chair of the OECS, she stood beside President Reagan and staunchly defended the US intervention in Grenada.
Her irreverent nickname, 'Iron Lady', dates from that period, although many in Dominica refer to her more endearingly as 'Memo' as if all the people were her children. Dame Eugenia, who was awarded her title in 1991, has won every election since that memorable July although her majority has progressively diminished. Few observers would dispute her impact on Dominica's positive turnaround since she came to power. Prior to Dame Eugenia, Dominica had a reputation for decay and inefficiency. Many inhabitants emigrated and, out of embarrassment it is said, relinquished their passports. Today, while many Dominicans still follow higher education or earn a living abroad-job opportunities remain scarce in this predominantly agricultural economy-they nevertheless remain proud of 'beck home', where they eventually hope to return to enjoy some of the good things in life. Who can blame them; there are many worse places than Dominica!
A 'worried' business climate
'Gramatically it may not be the proper word, but "worried" is certainly the best description of the current business climate,' according to Derek Davies of the Dominican Association of Industry and Commerce. The Dominican economy has indeed entered a downward phase, with a definite slowdown in real growth to only about 2% in 1991. By contrast, in the second half of the 1980s, real growth averaged 5.5% (1986-90), a positive result which would have been even better had it not been for Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 which severely damaged the banana and other crops. 'To some extent, people still live by the expectations created by the banana boom in the late 1980's,' explained the island's Development Coordinator, Cary Harris. 'That was when the pound was strong and we got good prices in our traditional UK markets. The absence of Jamaica from the market also gave us plenty of opportunities.' Despite the quick recovery after Hugo, 1991 saw a reversal of the trend and, in recent years, the worldwide recession combined with the uncertainty hanging over the future of the banana sector is likely to affect Dominica's open and vulnerable economy even more adversely.
Dominica is beautifully endowed by nature, an endowment which offers a basis for further development of ecotourism, but the island is, at the same time, handicapped by its natural environment and in particular by its topography. Only about 30% of the total land area is suitable for agriculture and as one drives around the attractive countryside one can only marvel at the steepness of the slopes which farmers endeavour to cultivate. Unfortunately, the result of such efforts may be soil erosion.
Overall, Dominica has a narrow resource base although it does have limited hydroelectric potential. It has to cope with the problems of a small domestic market, high infrastructure costs and poor transport, notably as regards air access. Lying, as it does, in the hurricane belt, it is susceptible to natural disasters. And, as mentioned earlier, it is heavily dependent on a single crop-bananas- over whose future it has no control. A blunt assessment of the position can be found in an official report which states that 'geographical circumstances will always keep Dominica at the lower end of the prosperity stakes.' But perhaps this is a little too blunt. Dominica may not have the prospect of acquiring untold wealth but it has quite a lot of things in its favour: as a developing country, it has no need to pass any democratic test (unlike many others), it has no real military expenditure commitments as it has no army and it does not, for practical reasons, have any expensive prestige projects. What it does have, beyond a remarkable natural environment, is a well-educated population with a leadership that makes it quite clear to the people that 'the world doesn't owe us a living'. What Dame Eugeniatells her people is this: 'If we are to make progress and survive in what is becoming an increasingly hostile environment, we must work together and find ways and means of improving our performance in the various areas of economic activity.'
Reducing dependence on bananas in the long-term, by expanding the economic base and promoting diversification, will depend greatly on the emergence of home-grown entrepreneurship. Mr Davies is convinced that 'investment will have to be Dominican before anything else'. The problem is, how does one 'produce' entrepreneurs? Some in the traditional private sector have already successfully expanded into other sectors, such as soaps and lotions, but, overall, there is a lack of the managerial and technical skills which are needed for entrepreneur-led expansion. As Charles Maynard, who is Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism, explained, 'Trying to convince emigrant Dominicans to return and invest back home is part and parcel of our investment strategy'. There are approximately 50 000 Dominicans in the UK and a similar number in the USA. Many of them have the experience as well as the savings and/or pensions to fill the local 'voids'. Minister Maynard enumerates as some of the main incentives for investment the combination of a stable political climate with an adaptable labour force, and in physical terms, the availability of water which also provides a relatively cheap source of energy in the form of hydro-power. In his view, there are many investment opportunities still available in the wider tourism and tourism-related service industries, as well as in agro-industries.
Access, whether by air or sea, is obviously vital for putative investors, both local and foreign. Recently, there has been considerable criticism of the steep rise in port charges, which threatens to hamstring entrepreneurs. As is often the case on islands such as this, stevedores and longshoremen can effectively hold their country to ransom. The efficiency of port operations is unlikely to be optimum, while charges for stevedores push up price levels overall. As regards sea transport, this situation exists in most of the Caribbean islands, but Dominica also has special problems in respect of air access. Today, it is difficult to find a politician or businessman who is not preoccupied by the airport issue. Their central complaint is over the lack of a 24hour airport facility capable of handling larger aircraft. Dominica currently has two airstrips. Canefield, which is near the capital Roseau, takes I 9-seat Twin Otters while Melville Hall, which is 60 km to the north, can only handle planes of up to 50seat capacity. Neither is properly equipped for take-offs or landings at night.
Getting to and from Dominica is very likely to involve changing planes in a neighbouring island. Loss of time, the risk of missing connections, luggage or produce going astray-all of these are obvious handicaps which hinder trade. Just imagine one's fresh, perishable produce missing its vital connection or a potential foreign investor stranded at an intermediate airport at a time when the maxim 'time is money' has never been more powerful. Most air services to Dominica are currently provided by the regional carrier LIAT. However laudable their efforts in providing regular services on time, they face quite a challenge in operating in the scattered Caribbean archipelago-operations which necessarily involve constant island hopping. The many jokes which are made at LIAT's expense ('leave island any time', 'luggage in any terminal', 'look immediately for alternative transport'...) point, in a light-hearted way, to what is nonetheless a serious problem.
The effects of not having a 24-hou. airport have already been felt directly, for example in the closure of a data-processing plant. This happened because too much time was being lost in getting the processed data out. Some processed agricultural products have also suffered from the need to transship while, according to Dominican sources, the loss of investment cannot be underestimated. According to Alleyne Carbon, who is Minister for Communications, Works and Housing; 'The only way for us to diversify successfully and therefore to survive economically is to find grant funding to finance a new, 24-hour accessible airport for medium-sized aircraft.' His colleagues in Trade and Agriculture, and presumably in other departments as well, couldn't agree more. But given the particular problems of topography, any infrastructural investment of this kind is bound to involve high unit costs. To give just one example: it costs EC$10.5 million ('In loan funding, as grants are hard to come by these days,' stresses Minister Carbon) to bring water (even if it is omnipresent) to three communities totalling a mere 9600 people. The airport, for which a site has been identified and surveyed in the north, at Woodford Hill, carries a total price tag of EC$700 million. To put this figure into perspective, the total amount budgeted in the 1991 public sector investment programme was only EC$75.8 million! The basic problem, as mentioned earlier, is that flat terrain is very scarce so a massive landfilling operation is required. Dame Eugenia, on good terms with the US administration since the 1983 Grenada crisis, secured a firm promise from President Bush that the US Army Corps of Engineers would undertake the earthmoving work. This would have the effect of reducing the total cost of the new airport to about EC$366 million. The Gulf War meant that the Corps of Engineers was called upon to display its skills on a rather different 'battle ground' and, while remaining confident that the new Clinton administration will eventually honour the commitment, the Dominican Government is currently facing a 'chicken and egg' situation in its attempts to secure financing for the airport. Most donors are hesitant-although some are moving away from a flatly negative attitude-believing that the scale of the undertaking is out of proportion to the expected benefits. The Government remains convinced that the project is an unavoidable necessity. They point out that infrastructure projects which were said at the outset to tee 'too big' frequently had difficulties, shortly after opening, in matching their capacity to rising demand. Most donors, they assert, tend to underestimate the likely impact of new activities. A classic example to illustrate this is the well-maintained network of surfaced feeder roads which crisscross the valleys and slopes. According to Minister Carbon, 'If we had stuck to the regular parameters to calculate the internal rate of return of these roads, without taking into account our rugged terrain and high average rainfall, we would have been stuck with gravel roads fit for transport with horses and donkeys but hardly for pick-ups collecting crops for exports! Fortunately, the EC was forthcoming and understood our special needs, so that today we have an excellent feeder road network-mostly with privatised maintenance-which not only serves our farmers, but fits in nicely with our tourism sector too.' Given the passions which the airport issue arouses, and the frequency with which it comes to the fore in any discussion of local political issues, it is a story that looks likely to run and run.
Survival through negotiation
Convincing donors to come up with the necessary funding will depend on effective negotiating skills. As regards bananas and the wider issue of trade, such skills will be even more crucial. 'Our ability to survive at a time when trade has become such a crucial issue will directly depend on our negotiating ability,' stresses Minister Maynard. In his view, 'the very survival of this region requires us to negotiate as a Caribbean entity where key decisions should be taken at the regional or subregional level.' From a global perspective he emphasises that 'small countries have a right to exist, and free trade per se should not be allowed to wipe us out.'
Today Dominica is certainly forced to monitor actively a number of situations related to free trade, and this puts quite a strain on its limited human resources. Closer to home, there is the issue of trade relations with the US, with the latter seeking a lowering of the Caricom Common External Tariff. As Minister Maynard stressed, 'The pace is very important to us and can hamper us a lot. De facto, the US applies many non-tariff barriers, under the influence of certain powerful lobbies, and these make it very difficult for us to enter the US market.' Also, from an investment and traderelated point of view, the new NAFTA agreement has already been 'eroded'- just as the Caribbean Basin Initiative was 'eroded', in the eyes of many Caribbean spokemen. Some say that NAFTA even poses a threat to US investments in the Caribbean, as Mexico now appears 'the place to be'-close to the market and with abundant cheap labour. To add to the geographical constraints, there is the prevailing 'just-in-time' industrial philosophy which has already been detrimental to a number of US investments in the Caribbean, for instance in electronics.
Within Caricom itself, there is still considerable scope for expanding trade. Only about 10% of the total trade of Caricom countries is currently intraregional. The region's integration process certainly seems to have been given new impetus since the far-reaching West Indian Commission Report was published and the new Caricom Bureau became effective. Also close to home is the trade potential offered by French neighbours Martinique and Guadeloupe and that could be usefully exploited further.
Most attention, however, is focused on more distant markets. Dominica has closely to monitor events on the banana 'warfront' both in the European Community and in the wider GATT arena. Dominica is one of the ACP banana suppliers which has traditionally enjoyed preferential access to the EC market under the Lome Banana Protocol. The island's fruit is sold, mostly in the UK and Italy, as 'Five Isles' Windwards bananas, being marketed together with the bananas of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada ('Four Isles', while being more accurate, was apparently considered to be unsuitable for marketing purposes!)... The EC's banana market, with a total annual consumption of 3.7 m tonnes in 1992, is a complicated one characterised by considerable fragmentation. There are those Member States-France, Spain. Portugal, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom-who either produce bananas themselves (often in island territories such as Guadaloupe, Martinique, the Canary Islands, Madeira and Crete) or have their traditional ACP suppliers. The latter are those who have, or have had, a regular flow of supplies to one or other Member State of the Community and they include places such as Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroun, Cape Verde, Madagascar, Somalia, the Windward Islands, Belize, Suriname and Jamaica (there are also non-traditional ACP suppliers such as the Dominican Republic). Broadly speaking, these producers have, for a variety of reasons, high production costs combined with low productivity. The other EC Member States traditionally buy 'dollar' bananas-so-called because their production and trade is almost totally controlled by US fruit multinationals. These imports were subject to a 20% levy, with one vital exception- Germany, which could import its total consumption of dollar bananas without any levy. However, the entry into force of the EC's Single Market on I January of this year meant that a new arrangement was needed for bananas, involving the ending of market partitioning within the Community. It was bound to be a problematic exercise given the intricacy of the existing trade relations. As expected, there were heated arguments; so heated in fact that nowadays, metaphorically speaking, commenting at all on the issue resembles going for a walk in Bosnia. You get shot at from all sides!
On 17 December 1992, the EC Agriculture Ministers finally bit the bullet when they agreed on a new banana quota system that would regulate imports to the EC from I July 1993. The details of the regime were subsequently hammered out by the EC Council and published in a Regulation in February 1993. The decision in December was reached by majority vote, a fact which is significant since Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands opposed the scheme. Without going into too much detail, the key points of the new system are as follows: the EC's own producers and its traditional ACP suppliers are allowed to continue selling their usual quantities of bananas on the EC market without levy; other imports-in effect, mostly 'dollar' bananas -are subject to a global tariff quota of 2 m tonnes with an ECU 100 levy per tonne (except for non-traditional ACP suppliers who effectively do not have to pay the levy, since they receive an ECU 100 rebate); above that quota, a 'punitive' tariff of ECU 850 per tonne will be applied (except for any ACP supplier operating in this market bracket and who, again, will benefit from an ECU 100 rebate).
As soon as the content of the new market regulation was known to the media, fierce arguments broke out and the dust has yet to settle. The 'Latins', hand in glove with their US fruit company partners, seize every available opportunity to attack the new regime- not surprisingly since, in 1991, they exported 2.4 million tonnes of bananas to the Community. Germany is also reluctant to accept the consequences of the new deal, fearing a substantial price rise for its banana-craving population. The banana regime has therefore been subjected to a two-pronged challenge-from Germany in the European Court and from Latin American producers before a GATT panel. On both sides, the arguments have spilled over from the purely economic into socio-political issues. The spectre of increased drug production as a possible alternative for banana growers has been raised. Some have even chosen to characterise the controversy as a human rights battle, portraying the ACP/EC banana interests in a positive light as compared with the allegedly poor social conditions of workers in the big Latin-American plantations.
A double challenge
The argument is clearly not over and as for the final outcome, only time will tell. But from a strictly Dominican point of view, the importance of continued guaranteed access to the EC banana market cannot be underestimated. For Dominicans it is, in the economic sense, quite simply a matter of life and death. Given the overwhelming role of bananas, not only in the economy, but in wider Dominican society, it is not difficult to understand the insistence with which they present their cases. Banana exports represent almost 60% of total domestic exports and are responsible for one fifth of GDP. Last year 60 896 tonnes were produced by some 6000 growers, not counting several thousand casual labourers. 58 024 tonnes were exported, worth a total of EC$ 82 million. Last year, Winban banana exports to Europe totalled 275 000 tonnes, of which more than 82% were sold in the UK while the remainder went to Italy. As Agriculture Minister Maynard Joseph put it: 'Two out of every three Dominicans profit from the dollar that comes from bananas because banana farming and exporting has such a tremendous spill-over effect on our whole economy. Failing to get the historic decision of 17 December 1992 would have been a slap in the face no Latin would suffer from as badly.'
Over and above the key issue of whether the new banana regime will hold under the heavy 'enemy' assault and the resulting uncertainty it has cast in people's minds and hearts on Dominica, there is in fact no time to lose in facing up to the challenges posed by the new regime itself. The challenge is in fact twofold: growers here should strive to raise both their productivity and the average quality of their fruit. Spokesmen both from the Banana Growers Association (BOA) and from the Dominica Banana Marketing Corporation (DBMC) agree that with concerted efforts, both quality and productivity can be raised. BGA Acting Executive Secretary Clifford St. Vill stressed the importance of 'making farmers understand it is not fait accompli to be on the market, they must be aware of what goes on in those markets. Germany and the GATT keep the farmers pounding their heads to diversify, but nothing is as yet as profitable, nor provides such a regular income, as bananas.' Current average production is only about 5-6 tonnes per acre, yet pushing it up to about 10 tonnes per acre seems feasible to him if farmers learn to manage their production better, paying the necessary attention and putting the required amount of time into every aspect of it: regular distribution of fertilisers, careful selection of the 'follower' limiting the number of 'stickers', proper maintenance of fields, cutting down weeds, covering bunches in plastic for protection, careful clustered packing and transport etc.
DBMC General Manager Gregory Shilling ford referred, in this context, to the problem 'of extending better production practices to a large number of small farmers.' He stressed that 'quality and presentation will become key parameters in a highly competitive market. While we as Winban suppliers now know our quota of A-grade bananas-a total of 294 000 tonnes, of which 71 000 tonnes is Dominica's share - there remains much uncertainty over the prices that will prevail for our produce; the UK was traditionally a high price market which will certainly attract Latin American competition. All parties concerned by our industry, be they the growers, government, DBMC or Geest, have agreed that it must restructure to meet the new challenges and match the quality of the competitors.' Farmers seem to have understood the state of the quality play and in the first months of this year their concerted efforts have pushed quality ratings into the top brackets. As Agriculture Minister Joseph put it, 'Farmers really impressed me by their response to the high quality standards.' Quality ratings have indeed gone up and use of the so-called cluster packing technique (packing boxes with clusters of 5-9 'fingers' of banana, instead of full 'hands' of 14 fingers, stabilises fruit during transport) which is often a determining factor in delivering quality fruit to consumers, has sharply risen-from only 26% of total banana exports at the end of 1992 to 55% in April 1993. By 1 July all fruit was to be cluster-packed.
The Windward Islands banana exporters have a common research and marketing organisation, Winban, which negotiates on their behalf the terms of the exclusive contract held by Geest (a UK multinational) for marketing the crop in Europe. Both Winban and Geest face criticism from different quarters. The growers, through the DGA, feel that 'Winban's current structure is not fit to do its work' and that Geest 'is reaping off the profits, but we are nevertheless condemned to work with them'. The DBMC argues, 'There may be the perception that Winban has not completely lived up to expectations and is under fire, yet Winban in its defence argues that it made a great gain in pushing its share of the green wholesale price up from 40% to 60%.'
Describing the relationship with Geest as a love/hate one may be too strong a statement. Enjoying an exclusive marketing contract since the late 1950s, Geest has certainly done well, but as it is not in the business for charity but for profit, who can blame it? In Dominica, as in the other Winban partners, there is a certain amount of frustration, however, over who gets what share of the cake. The general opinion seems to be that they 'missed the boat'-quite an irony in a place where the weekly call of the Geest banana boat is so vital-of sharing the considerable profits Geest is making in the shipping and marketing of the fruit. This too is an issue that will depend upon the negotiating skills of the parties concerned, bearing in mind that all have a solid interest in fighting for the survival and long-term viability of the sector. (It is worth underlining the fact that while the Winban quota provides a guaranteed market, it also, by definition, represents a ceiling on expansion with obvious implications when input prices increase.)
Some note with a jaundiced eye that Geest has also a foot in the Latin camp, having acquired a Costa Rican plantation. 'In fact, in the three months since the details of the new regime became known, Geest shares have jumped from 66p a share to 474p a share,' observed Mr Shillingford. By contrast, he claimed that DBMC had lost EC$5 million in 1992 and that by early April prices had been below break-even for no fewer than 39 weeks in succession! Despite the apparent dichotomy, many are nevertheless convinced that a close partnership with Geest continues to be in Dominica's overall interests.
Agricultural diversification and eco-tourism
The banana war has certainly raised awareness of and interest in possible alternative uses for bananas. A whole variety of products are under consideration: making banana flour, using the fruit as animal feed (to cut down current imports), using banana stems for cloth, producing rope from the dried stock, making high-protein jam from the flower, manufacturing banana chips, liqueur, puree and so on... not to mention banana porridge, on which many Dominicans have been raised!
The new banana situation is, of course, also a further incentive to diversification with a view to reducing the country's dependence on its dominant crop. In such a predominantly agricultural economy, it is the farmers and agro-processors to whom one looks for results. Coconuts (for soaps and lotions), passion fruit, grapefruit, root crops, ginger and avocados are some of the crops being actively promoted (or in some cases rehabilitated). While Geest plays a role here too, by providing cargo space in its banana boats for other products, one again stumbles unavoidably on the airport issue. Film buffs who remember Dominica's role in the 'Orchid House' will not be surprised to discover that the country has potential for exporting flowers such as anthuriums, ginger lilies and of course orchids. The problem is that, together with other perishable crops destined for niche markets, they face a stop-over in Antigua. This increases the risk of a loss in quality-even with the refrigeration facility available there-and, of course, additional costs.
Agriculture is closely tied in with tourism here. Virtually all the tourist spots are in farming areas and the excellent feeder road network provides access to visitors which allows increased possibilities for on-farm sales. Much of the diversification in terms of vegetable and flower production has also been geared towards the hotels and restaurants. Agriculture Minister Joseph wondered 'what really stayed in a country as a result of tourism, considering what has happened in a lot of neighbouring tourism-based countries, where the cost of living as well as the cost to society has risen, and the quality of life has gone down.' There is little reason to fear that those in Dominica who are directly involved in tourism will push it too far. The island is not competing in the 'sun, sea and sand' bracket, but has its own attractions-which are atypical for the Caribbean region: nature above all, with a bit of history and a dash of nohurry, no-worry life style (the whole island boasts only a single set of traffic lights). It calls for a different type of clientele altogether; one that is not particularly in search of a tan lazily acquired on the beach, followed by long nights of disco dancing but whose preference is, perhaps, for mountain-hiking in a breathtaking setting followed by a refreshing shower under a waterfall.
At a time when the environment is so much an 'in' subject Dominica clearly has what it takes to attract nature lovers, bird or whale watchers, hikers and divers. Its still relatively unspoilt character makes it a destination which is out of the ordinary but which also raises a well-known problem: how much tourism can nature tolerate before it deteriorates in such a way as to deter the type of tourist which it caters for?
The Director of Tourism, Marie-Jose Edwards, revealed that a study was being undertaken, 'in cooperation with the forestry division, to examine the maximum carrying capacity. But,' she continued, 'we are far from reaching our limits because of the bottlenecks caused by access. It is obvious, however, that if we destroy our nature in the broader sense, then we will have nothing else to market.' Tourism as a business is fairly new to the Dominican scene, at least from the point of view of active promotion. Last year overall visitor arrivals totalled 57 700, of which almost 47 000 were stayover tourists, the remainder being excursionists. Most tourists come from the Caribbean (57%), specifically the French West Indies, while the other main markets are Europe (21%) and the USA (16%). Stop-over tourists spent an average of US$ 65 per day. The opening of the new Cabrits Cruise Ship Berth in the north, combined with the berth near Roseau, which is to be renovated, has led to a steep rise in cruise ship arrivals: from 130 calls and 65 000 passengers in 1991 to 189 calls and 90 000 passengers a year later. Again the main attraction is not the classic Caribbean duty-free shopping, but eco-tourism.
Growth in available rooms will be controlled, rising gradually from the current 570 units to 640 by the end of this year. The target is for 740 units by the end of 1995. Minister Maynard felt there is also a need for at least one hotel with conference facilities; a Taiwanese investment seems to be in the pipeline in this context, which is linked, in fact, to the notion of economic citizenship (foreign investors, mainly Asian, can acquire citizenship given a certain amount of investment in the country).
Other national assets such as sulphur springs could constitute the basis for further tourist specialisation e.g. in the form of a health spa in combination with local fruit juices and hiking/jogging in natural surroundings. Some niche markets have already been very successfully 'tapped': 'In the space of four years we were able to put ourselves at the forefront of the world scuba diving community, raising the numbers of divers from 400 to more than 2200,' emphasised Ms Edwards. A rich marine life, combined with caves and shipwrecks and the prospect of a 'champagne dive' to marvel at hot underwater sulphur springs, has proven to be another winning combination. There is particular appreciation of the European Community's support for tourism, which is provided on a regional basis at two levels-through the OECS and in a wider Caribbean context through the Caribbean Tourism Organisation. Combined efforts in marketing, training and product development have helped to give Dominica its own particular spot on the world tourism map.
Fully conscious that 'the world doesn't owe it a living', Dominica spares no effort in the drive to reduce its dependence on bananas. While seeking to become an even more efficient quality banana producer, because that is what nature condemned it to be, it is also diversifying wherever it can. A democratic society which enjoys good governance, this small middle-income developing country certainly does not deserve to take a tumble on the banana skin that could be dropped in its path by blind defenders of free trade principles.
Roger DE BACKER
Bananas: The real issue is the survival of our country'
A recently published biography entitled 'Eugenia - The Caribbean's Iron Lady ' may refer to the Dominican Prime Minister's nickname acquired in the aftermath of the 1983 Grenada crisis, but in the meantime the lady has become a 'Dame'. A lawyer by training and a successful barrister thereafter, planter's daughter Eugenia Charles stepped into the country's very lively political arena in the late 1960s as leader of the newly created Dominican Freedom Party. In 1975 she was elected for the first time as a Member of Parliament. In the 1980 election, the first following independence in 1978, she led her DFP to a landslide victory, winning 17 of the 21 seats. The Dominican Labour Party, which had been in power for almost two decades, lost all of its seats, a fact some found difficult to swallow, as was clear from the failed coup by the former Labour Prime Minister in the following year. This earned him a 12-year prison sentence.
The Caribbean 's first woman Prime Minister came to the international forefront in 1983. As chair of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States at that time, she stood on the White House steps with US President Reagan to pledge full support for the American intervention in Grenada.
While her nickname dates back to those days, she remains the epitome of political firmness but always with the best interests of Dominica in mind. In the 1990 election she was reconfirmed for a third - and last, she says - five-year term, although her parliamentary majority has been reduced to only one seat. Today, Dame Eugenia Charles, who is in her early seventies, is more resolved than ever to win one last, decisive battle: securing Dominica's future in the banana trade and industry, which is both the country's lifeline and the basis for any further diversification.
· Dominica is said to have changed dramatically since the time you came to power in 1980.
-Well, we don't notice the changes because we are living it every day and there is so much more to do. You don't feel anything has happened.
· But what would you describe as being your principal achievement since then?
-We have put some infrastructure into place. Thanks to the EDF,
for instance, we have been able to do something about our roads, which were in
an appalling state. In fact, I refused to promote tourism when we first came in
because I thought that it was unfair to ask anyone to drive on the roads that we
had. Once we had done that, we felt tourism was the second industry that we
look at, to try to gain some employment from it. We also brought electricity to the east coast and that led on to the establishment of a good overall telephone system. But, while we have managed to achieve some results in communications, we still have not done enough regarding air or sea transport, and we recognise that these two sectors need further improvement.
· One of your main priorities was to diversify in order to lessen your dependence on bananas. How far have you got?
- Sometimes we feel we haven't achieved anything and at other times we see that some things have happened. But what gives us a negative impression overall is that we don't really command the market. There have been occasions when we have diversified into a crop that looks promising but then the market has fallen away and the grower feels let down. He does not understand that we don't control the market, and that we always have to anticipate the way it is going to go. And of course, that is something that can change pretty rapidly. You can be left out in the cold, because you have been preparing for a particular market only to find that it has changed in the meantime or that there are other countries that can produce much more cheaply than we can.
· So market data and market assessment are vital at all times?
-Yes, but the problem we have had is that even the data and the assessments change so quickly. We started producing a very fine type of ginger-everybody thinks it is a good product-but then somebody else comes along who can produce it at a lower cost, or who is so keen to win markets that he is willing to trade at a loss. That is something we cannot do because all our farming is small peasant farming, and the farmer can't afford to take a loss of any kind. When you have large estates, then you are in a position to sell below cost for a while until things pick up again. But small peasant farming doesn't allow for that kind of marketing adventure.
· Would you agree with some critics who say that the banana boom of the mid and late 1980s put you in a relatively comfortable position, and psychologically prevented you from embarking on further diversification?
-The farmer, even during the socalled boom, has always felt he has not earned enough money for his bananas, so it didn't put him in a comfortable position. What makes the farmer want to continue with bananas is the fact that the marketing and shipping is well secured. He knows that every week, a banana boat will drop anchor in the harbour and every banana he has produced has a marketable export value and will be taken away. So that is the assurance that keeps him producing bananas. It is not possible for the moment to get any such assurance for any other crop. Whenever we talk to him about change, he will tell us: 'I have five acres in bananas. You tell me to put one acre in something else. How do I know when the time comes that I will be able to sell that something else?'
· It is also said that the profits are to be made in marketing and shipping bananas, and that the country has not been able to tap properly into that.
-Well, we are trying. We have been talking for a couple of years now about going into joint ventures with Geest. We hope to have this in place before the end of this year so that we get more of the money from the marketing and shipping than is the case at present. We already get some benefit from the shipping side in that the freight that comes out from the UK on the banana boat is shared among the Windward Islands. We want to do more of this, also from the point of view of shipping out of the islands, and so we are working with Geest to have some share of these profits. We think that, with all the changes that are happening now in the banana world, we can't just forge ahead on our own. There are too many risks involved. We should use the familiarity we have with this particular agent to work together to get more benefit.
· Is it correct to describe the relationship with Geest as a sort of love/hate one in which you are condemned to work together?
- We aren't condemned to work together. Had we taken the step twenty years ago, we could perhaps have gone out on our own, but with what is happening on the European market now, I think we must avoid taking too many risks. We need to secure our position. We realise that Geest is a private company and they are looking after their interests. Their business is to make profit, not to be charitable to people, and so we have to be very firm in our negotiations with them to secure the best deal that we can.
· Despite the Banana Agreement which gives you access to the European market, there is still a distinct feeling of insecurity in the country; a sense of not being sure about what is going to happen next.
-The people in your media have put over the Latins' point of view so much that even our farmers are getting to know that the Latins think they will be able to break that agreement. That is what this insecurity is about. There is the threat of the GATT negotiations and the threat of legal action by the Germans and this is frightening the farmer here. All of this is of course bad for business.
Everybody watches CNN; everybody knows what is happening and, of course, farmers often listen to the radio to hear the news from Caribbean stations and from the BBC. We hear all those declarations from different quarters and I suppose we don't have a big enough voice to put our ideas over on the radio as often as they do. But we keep telling the farmer that if he can produce excellent quality bananas consistently, then he will continue to have a place on the market.
· How do you yourself value the Banana Agreement as it stands?
-Well, it is not what we wanted. We felt that the Latins should never have been allowed more than 1.4 million tonnes in the first place, because that was what they were producing before the Berlin Wall fell. They boosted their production knowing this time was coming, so they started supplying more than 2 million tonnes. Now they have got 2 million which I really think is too much, but I am prepared to live with it because I feel both sides of the region have to live. Yet they are not prepared to live with it because, even if they don't mention it, they just feel we should not be in the banana business at all. They would like to throw us out completely, knowing very well that if they succeeded in doing that, they would be throwing out the country altogether; they would be destroying the lives of 72 000 people, but they don't care about that.
· So you are talking about the survival of the country...
-Yes, that is the real issue here; the survival of our country. The Latins are talking about losing some million dollars. We might not just be losing dollars, we might be losing a country too. I don't think that any European country, having gone through all the wars they went through, can want that to happen to a small island like ours.
· What other types of' diversification outside the agricultural sector do you see as having a potential?
-Tourism is the one we are looking at most. I don't think that eco-tourism goes together with charters. We want people to come here who like the country, to make friends with the people here and to come back eventually for that reason. So we are not talking of mass tourism. I don't think we are ready for that or that we will ever be ready for it. I would hope not. But I think there is money to be made out of tourists who enjoy what we have to offer -our people and our nature-and I think we must work increasingly on this. In the line of sports, for instance, there is a lot to be done: this is a good country for hiking and for those who like outdoor life. These could be tourists who can't spend a lot of money but they do bring a new vision into the place and it is good for us to have that sort of tourism.
But we think also that light industry is something we should look at. I have always said I don't want factories to come in and employ 2000 people, because factories eventually close down. This has happened throughout history. And to have 2000 people out of work at the same time in Dominica would be very bad for the country. So we want small factories employing 300-400 people, making something that you can sell elsewhere; something small and clean. We are not going to open factories that are going to pollute the air or the water.
We think that we can also do a lot more in fishing, not only on a commercial basis but also for feeding ourselves. At the moment we are far too dependent on the importation of protein from outside. So, it would be a good thing if we could develop a fishing industry. We have an agreement at last with the European Community in this area and we hope that this will help us. First of all, it will give extra training to our people. We want them to be trained to go into better boats so that they can stay out fishing longer. It is not only very important for our foreign exchange but also for our health. We really should be able to pull this off with the sea surrounding us.
· Whatever spokesman you meet from the different sectors, you always end up hearing about the new airport. Apparently you had a verbal agreement with the previous US administration for part of the vorks. What is the situation here?
-Well, they were interested in it, and still are. We will be talking about it with them very soon. We have not asked for cash, because many countries are not able for the time being to give large sums of money, but we want them to use their US Army Corps of Engineers to do some of the work for us. If they could level the site of the airport, it would halve the cost for us. That in itself would help us to get other countries to support us further. We are not looking for a strip for wide body planes. We want a long distance, 24-hour airstrip, that we can light up. That would help us greatly in further enhancing our diversification. We want to be able, for instance, to get our flowers out. That is one of the sectors we could diversify into. Today, to send flowers to Antigua and hope they get off the ground without getting scorched is asking for a lot; some people are doing it and some of them are succeeding but with a lot of headaches. There are a lot of other exotic things which should go, but by air. So that airport is not only for tourism; it is for industry and trade as well. Also, if we want industry here, obviously we are talking about somebody who already has business in another country. Nobody is going to build a factory here if he can't get in and out of the country easily, which is not the case today.
· But the cost of building a new airport is so high compared to the size of the economy. Many feel that it is too big a project.
-Yes, I know that some donors say this, but it is a step we must take if we want to be able to have the growth we need. And we can't achieve that with the existing two small airstrips. We will never make a fortune on the new airport, but without it we won't get investment which will result in job creation and foreign exchange revenue.
· As one of the longest serving political leaders in the Caribbean, you have witnessed many attempts to achieve breakthroughs at regional level, be it with Caricom, the Windward Islands or the OECS. Is there still a lack of political will to establish meaningful regional cooperation?
- Caricom is finally taking hold of itself. It has recently really started to look at the things we can do together. I think it is wrong for Caricom to think in terms of an integrated country. You only need to look at how long it is taking Europe. That can be a lesson for us here. But I think that Caricom has begun to show where the weaknesses are so that it can begin to strengthen and restructure its own Secretariat and improve the way they run it. I must say we are very fortunate to have Edwin Carrington as our Secretary General because he had a lot of experience with the ACP, when he had to pull together a lot more people than is the case in Caricom. I believe we are making major strides now because there is the will to do it. Looking at what is happening in the broader context, we cannot stay isolated. We have to get together on many issues if we are to get things done, even if it doesn't mean becoming one country.
· There was a very good report from the West Indian Commission, but many of its key proposals were not adopted.
-We did not accept all the proposals because there is a cost to all of these things and accepting them all would have meant that we had to find a lot of money. So we took the ideas from it and looked at how we could restructure the Secretariat to achieve reasonable results.
· What do you think of the new Caricom Bureau?
I think it is going to work; in fact, it has already worked. However, I have suggested a refinement. I think we should divide the islands so as to give each of the three members of the Bureau responsibility for three or four of them. He would then make it his business to get things done on time.
· On another level, there are also attempts to enhance cooperation based on solidarity between the smaller islands: the OECS which, unlike Caricom, already has a monetary union. There are those in the Windward Islands who want political union. Do you think that we might soon see a breakthrough in this area?
-I am not sure that we are going to get the Windward Islands to unite politically because I don't think people are ready for it. I am one of those who have always said that there is no way we will go ahead with this unless the people concerned really want it themselves. They must not just accept it from their leaders; they themselves must want it. I think we have to proceed with further integration in many more areas. I think we must have an integrated police force, for instance, because having a small police force in one island makes it difficult sometimes to discover what is really happening. In education, too, a lot more could be done. In fact our aid donors look at it that way too and want to help us here because they realise there are not enough experts, not enough qualified people here for every island to go its own way.
· On the international level you are increasingly being confronted with economic blocs, such as the new North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) . Given the widespread disappointment in the Caribbean over the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) in the past, how do you feel about NAFTA in the future?
-I have no hope that NAFTA will be of any use to us, but then I did not think that the CBI would be of any use either. I said so at the time: that we didn't have the infrastructure to get a real grip and make use of the CBI. But I believe that what was good about the CBI is that the American Administration discussed it with us beforehand. For the first time, the US as an aid donor asked us how we felt they should go about it and, as a result, we were able to get some measures into the CBI which we had never had before from the United States. But I have always argued that the CBI was meant for countries that already have a platform to take off from. Essentially, therefore, it would be places like Jamaica, Trinidad and some of the Latin countries that would benefit from it. Of course, I have always felt that we should not be lumped together with the Latin countries because they are too large, their problems are different and their economies are also too different from ours. We really require a specific initiative tailored to our small scale and our particular requirements. So both at the level of Caricom and the OECS, we must look more and more at what our likenesses are and try to put them together to give us strength.
· NAFTA sets out to achieve reciprocal trade liberalisation. This, presumably, could be to the detriment of smaller countries?
-Oh yes, it may hurt us and I don't think it is going to help us small countries. Of course, we have to keep our eyes open for any opportunity, but I don't think we are really going to be able to take advantage of it. After all, we have free trade with the EC and we are not getting a lot out of this because so many of us produce the same things and even some of the members of the Communtiy have offshoots of their countries that produce those same things.
· Talking about the European Community, it is sometimes said that you are 'in the heart of France', situated as you are, between Guadeloupe and Martinique.
-France has been very good to us and we get a lot of assistance from them. I think France recognises that we are a close cousin but not a brother and so we have assistance. I think it is to France's benefit to make sure that we do not fall far behind the French islands. We still have a lot of scope for enhancing trade with the DOMs. Sometimes difficulties arise with them, but I believe we are able to come to a solution whereby we are able to market our goods in Guadeloupe and Martinique without detriment to French farmers.
· As far as the EEC at large is concerned, how do you view Lome cooperation so far and how do you see it evolving?
-It has been very good so far but I feel that Lome IV has tightened up a lot, making it more difficult for things to come through. I very much fear that this is a sort of preview of what may happen if there is a Lome V. But we have, nevertheless, benefited a great deal from Lome. There are a lot of things that would not have happened here without the Lome agreement. I have always felt that the EDF is among the quickest donors in delivering aid. Once you have agreed on what the facilities and the programmes are, and what you are going to do with them, they are among the quickest. We have some feeder roads here that the EDF can be proud of. Each of them is also a tourist route, perhaps not planned that way, but Dominica is so beautiful anyway, that as soon as you go inland you have so much to see. We have had some other very good schemes, such as the microprojects, and I hope they will continue because they are very important for the community; they add a new dimension to life in the village
· You have said that this will be your last term in office.
-Yes, definitely. After 15 years, I think I've done my share.
· What sort of Dominica do you dream of leaving behind you?
- I would like a Dominica where everybody has employment, everybody has work to do. I would like everybody to have housing, not necessarily luxurious but providing the basic needs-running water, sewage systems and electricity. If you have those two things you have a peaceful and happy country.
· But the resource base of the country is so small...
-We only have people, land and water and we must do much more with our water.
· The economy itself is supported by only 20 000-30 000 people.
- Our workforce is about 22 000. There is an unemployment
problem among young people who have been educated to secondary school level.
They find it difficult to find a job. It has a lot to do with attitude and we
have a lot to do to change that. Secondary education does not automatically give
you a job in government as many think. Government must keep its numbers down,
given the limited resources, to be able to do other things than just paying
salaries. We have to look at our form of education and the motivation and
attitude we instil in people so they realise that education doesn't just mean
that you end up sitting behind a desk. You must also be educated to be a good
farmer and you must have knowledge of arithmetic and English and of other things
to be able to farm well. It means, for instance, if you want to export to the
French islands as a farmer, you need to know French. Changing people's attitudes
and thinking is not a very easy job to do. But we are trying hard, because
education has to suit the needs of the people and not just a historical way of
Interview by R.D.B.
'The strong must help the weak'
Edison James became Leader of the Opposition in Dominica as a result of the 1990 election when his United Workers Party won six of the 21 seats. He thereby-to the surprise of many-overtook, by a margin of two seats, the 'traditional" opposition Dominica Labour Party, which is the country's oldest political movement. The UWP, by contrast, was established only in 1988. At the same time he helped reduce the overall majority of Dame Eugenia Charles' governing Freedom Party to only one seat. In power since 1980, where she won a landslide victory (virtually wiping out the opposition by winning 17 seats), Dame Eugenia has subsequently seen her majority decline to its current narrow margin. Edison James nevertheless faces a difficult task in challenging the still widespread popularity of the 'Iron Lady' and the control which she exercises over the levers Government. During the election campaign, he confronted her with the UWP slogan of 'Fear no more'. He is also critical of her alleged comment on the narrow outcome of the poll to the effect that she would show little interest in those constituencies that did not vote for her.
A former manager of the Banana Marketing Corporation, Edison James is deeply concerned by the ongoing banana 'issue', which leaves no Dominican untouched. He also insists that he is an 'unequivocal believer in the democratic process', a statement which must be particularly appreciated when one recalls that a former Prime Minister, having lost his seat, was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for a coup attempt whick, fortunately did not succeed.
· Following the last election, you became-to the surprise of many-the Leader of the Opposition, beating the 'classic' opposition by two seats and helping to reduce the Government's overall majority to only one. What is the explanation for this dramatic swing? Was it merely the result of your electoral system?
-If those people who were suprised by the results had been doing their work properly they wouldn't have been suprised, because it was obvious that the Freedom Party was losing ground. Many people were disenchanted with the party; its whole approach and attitude, especially that of its leadership, which displayed arrogance and tried to instil fear in the electorate. So it was obvious that they had become distanced from the people. But it was our view that that disenchantment would not lead to their defeat if it had been left simply to the Labour Party, because people were not prepared to go back to what they had essentially discarded just a few years ago. So we felt we had to present a new image to the population. A group of us got together to examine the situation, and to analyse whether it would be best to try to change things through the existing opposition structure or whether we had to come up with something new. We did a serious analysis of that, examined all the factors and decided-not at the first meeting but a little later on-after talking to people outside our original group of eight or nine, that the best thing to do was to create a new organisation. So in 1988, the United Workers Party was born. We began with a steering committee, which did the initial ground work around July of that year. In October we held our first Convention and by 1990 we faced our first election. In that poll, the Freedom Party Government survived by a mere 26 votes, the margin by which they held the seat which gave them their overall majority of one.
· In a small place like this, if you are talking about macroeconomic policy, can the policies be really different?
- Probably not in terms of macroeconomic policy, but in terms of how you relate to people and how you seek to provide for people, the approach can be very different. We take the view that in this country there will always be relatively strong and relatively weak people and, in the final analysis, the strong must help the weak. While we firmly advocate proper management and a meticulous approach to it, and while we think that efforts should be rewarded, we do not feel that everything must be sacrificed on the altar of profit making.
· Therefore you adopt socialist policies?
-We are not going to get caught up, and we have said this before' in any 'ism', be it capitalism, socialism or anything else. We believe, for instance, where essential services are being privatised in a manner which seeks only to maximise profits, that that is not the best approach. For a long time we had a situation where some public companies, while not functioning properly, had developed a kind of monopoly situation, with consumers crying out for some measure of protection. The point is that if these organisations-these essential services-are put into private hands in this country solely for the purpose of making a profit at all costs, then the weak will need some measure of assistance.
· Can you give a specific example?
-Well, let's take water, for instance. The water authority is being converted into a company with the intention of selling it off. There is also the case of the electricity company and we are hearing talk of the same happening to the national bank.
· Will the electricity company be sold?
-There has been a serious discussion about that.
· So your thesis is that the present government is not mindful enough of the weak?
-Indeed. There are always people who are not able to survive in a competitive situation, so you have to be mindful of them.
· The newspapers are full of the ongoing debate about the banana issue. Do you think it is accurate to portray the Government as pro-Geest while the opposition favours the small farmers?
-The Prime Minister has declared quite unequivocally that she stands shoulder to shoulder with Geest. Our stand is not one of being against Geest. What we are saying is that if our industry is to survive, and if we are not to continue being the hewers of wood and drawers of water, then we must get involved in the lucrative areas of marketing and shipping. This has been articulated by everybody else except Geest and the Prime Minister. And no matter how she tries to camouflage it by suggesting that we are not ready, but that we will probably be ready for it in three years' time, this is just an attempt to mitigate the impact.
· Is this just an opposition claim, or are others saying the same thing?
-A recent Caribbean Development Bank consultancy study has recently recognised that these are areas that our industry can benefit from tremendously. I read this myself in the preliminary report. It is a study on the improvement of the competitiveness of the Windward Islands' banana industry. So it is not a matter of we, the opposition, being against Geest. I want to make that very clear. What we are saying is that we must get involved in those areas. The Geest General Manager was reported in the Saint Lucian press saying that we should not get involved in those areas. What that shows is that we are clearly on different wavelengths on this question, while the Prime Minister is on the same level as Geest.
· So you feel that not enough of the benefits which derive from the banana industry are coming back to the small farmers?
-Much more can, and needs to, come back; much more. There is money in the banana business but the farmers here continue to struggle. We have been told that we have just to concentrate on producing bananas and let somebody else market them, that somebody else being Geest, in our context. But Geest is involved in banana production as well, in Costa Rica. They have shown in their own activities that they do not see the need for a division of labour in this regard, so why should we?
· So it is not just a question of American multinationals, operating in latin America, versus British multinationals?
-The real producers in these Latin American countries are multinational companies like Chiquita, Dole, Geest and Fyffe. It is clear that today, Geest is on both sides of the divide in terms of the Windwards and the Latins. So, for us it is obvious that we must get off-shore, into the shipping and marketing of our produce.
· Aside from the banana issue, what are the other key sectors where you disagree with the approach of the Government?
- We have taken issue with the Government regarding their hands-off approach to the marketing of our agricultural products. The Government's stated position, as articulated by the Prime Minister when addressing farmers in 1991, is that it is not Government's business to look for markets for farmers. We are saying 'It is your business because it is you more than anyone else who are telling the banana growers to diversify.' In fact, the Prime Minister is on record as having said, since before 1980, that we should leave bananas before bananas leave us. So she has told people to diversify. When she was in Taiwan, she declared over the telephone that she now expects growers to go into other crops such as passion fruit, peppers, pumpkins, ginger and so on. There is nothing wrong with farmers going into other crops, whether exclusively or together with bananas, but if these crops are not marketed then it is useless. So we strongly advocate that the Government establish links with private entrepreneurs in the potential market places. We are looking at metropolitan countries such as Canada, America and the UK, where we have Dominicans, Windward Islanders and West Indians. We could establish marketing relations with them and get them moving using whatever facilities are available to the Government. We recognise that governments are not necessarily the best people to be involved in this kind of operation but they are in a position to get things started, to find partners and to develop a team approach.
· Does the Government really disagree with what you say?
-I don't think it is a question of them flatly disagreeing with us. The point is that so far the Prime Minister has said that it is not the Government's business to find markets for farmers. We have been articulating just such an approach for a long time. They have never really come out and opposed it, but I suppose that given the fact that it is us that have challenged them on the subject, some time will need to pass before they move in the direction of taking our advice.
· Do you think they will eventually come around?
-Yes, they are already showing signs of coming around. In fact there is a document-a kind of 'immediate action plan'-which I understand has been produced by some Government technicians and which I am led to believe has received the blessing of Government. In that document they advocate that kind of approach.
· Another big issue that seems to be on everybody's mind, because it has to do with the future of the whole island, is the famous new airport. Is that going to become a political issue as well?
-Well, that is the airport that I am supposed to have stopped. It is said that I prevented that airport from materialising. There are different versions to this. It depends on what mood the Prime Minister is in at a given time and who she is talking to. Sometimes she says I stopped it; at other times she says 'No, they ignored him.' What happened was that, during the election campaign, we wrote a letter to the Americans saying that in the absence of a development plan or any broader perspective, if they were to get involved in the earth moving, as the Prime Minister pretended they were going to do, they would simply be party to an election gimmick. We said in our manifesto that if you seek out partners to engage in such work, you also have to come up with your own contribution and suggest ways of raising the money. When the Government produced their budget after the election, they indicated that they were seeking to raise the local financial component of the airport by embarking on a scheme of selling passports to raise the money: what they called economic citizenship. The Freedom Party stated in their manifesto that the work would begin within a few months. It is now three years since the election and we have seen nothing yet. Of course, it has also been said that the airport did not come into being because the US Army Corps of Engineers went to the Gulf. That is what the Prime Minister said, but the war has been over for quite a while now. Then again, the Americans are now in Somalia...
· Should you come to power, what is your feeling about the airport: does Dominica need it?
-It needs a certain type of airport- one which allows people who come here from Canada, America or wherever to avoid having to change plane en route. It would also be extremely beneficial for us if we were able to put our agricultural produce on a carrier here in Dominica without having to worry about transshipment through Antigua, Barbados or elsewhere. We have indicated that we support the construction of that type of airport facility here. We have always been for that even when our opponents said we were against it, but then that is the game of politics.
· In 1980, the Freedom Party had a landslide victory. Each successive election has seen their majority drop and in 1990 they held on to power by only one seat. If this trend continues you could take power next time.
-I am glad you have noticed that. That is probably why the Prime Minister
is running away. She has declared that she will not be contesting a future election. I think she does not want to be defeated.
· Bearing in mind the recent report of the West Indian Commission, which some refer to as the blueprint for the long-term survival of Caricom, where do you, as a potential future leader of a Caribbean state, think the organisation should go from here?
-It seems to me that when decisions are taken at Caricom level, the people of the different countries concerned are not as involved as they should be. They are not sufficiently informed as to what such decisions might mean to them. Decisions are mostly reached in secret and the Heads of State or Government come back to their countries and find that what they have decided, on behalf of their people, does not enjoy the kind of support that it should enjoy. The politics of the situation then dictates that they must have a second look. I feel that the approach has to be modified. If I were going to take an initiative at a Caricom meeting, I would first seek as broadbased an input as possible in my own country, so that when I entered the negotiations, I was satisfied that I had strong support at home for the proposal which I was putting forward. And where new proposals are presented, we should all go back and talk to our people. Of course there may be proposals which do not require a massive popular input, but in general it is that kind of approach that has hindered implementation. Caricom has, nevertheless, had some successes, however difficult it may be to manage our differences.
· Is it easier to work on the OECS level?
-Even when you come down to the level of the Windwards, you still find there is a lot of work to be done. I believe that in the context of the Windwards and OECS unity, there has to be much more interaction among the people of the different islands. They have to meet each other more and more, so that further unity comes from the bottom rather than from a study carried out over their heads. This kind of feeling and attitude must be built up, so that sometime, somewhere along the line, people come to say 'I am a Windward Islander.' But these sorts of exchanges and interactions among people have not been happening enough up until now.
· What are the other key political issues going to be in the coming months?
-I think the economy. It is still in a tailspin and if you talk to people around the country, nobody seems to know where the next penny is coming from. Much has to be done to stimulate the economy. We have to look for new solutions. We ourselves have some positive proposals which I will be putting forward at the next budget address. We expect that by the middle of this year, we will be able to bring some Dominicans together, both local and from abroad, in a sort of 'think-tank'. The aim of this exercise is to analyse the situation further and to come up with some even more concrete proposals for our economic survival.
· Many of your fellow ACP countries, African ones in particular, are going through a process of democratisation. Coming from a country with a long democratic tradition, are there any hints or tips that you could give them?
-First of all I would say unequivocally that both I and my party believe passionately in the democratic process. I cannot at this point in time conceive of any other system that I would want to subscribe to. I believe that if I am unable to persuade people that they should go along with my thinking, then I have failed, and I should not try to use any other means to get them to do what I want them to do.
· This could not always be said of the whole of the opposition.
-For myself and the United Workers Party that can be said, even if things may have been different as regards other opposition parties in the past.
I also believe in the transparency of Government. Where a matter of national security is involved, then there may be a need, up to a point, to keep your cards close to your chest but, over and above that, the transparency of Government is a matter of principle. I am very worried and concerned when I hear that in so many parts of the world people take power through the barrel of a gun. Coups being coupe, it is difficult to take control and expect to survive. In any case, it is so much better to leave when people ask you than to impose yourself on them against their will.
Interview by R.D.B.
by Philippe DARMUZEY
Dominica and Europe share five centuries of history but less than twenty years of cooperation. A formal cooperation partnership was initiated in 1976 within the framework of the Association between the European Community and its Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). The first EDF-funded operation in Dominica, a programme for the construction of coastal roads, began in July 1977. The road paved the way to the former British OCT's independence in November 1978 and to the accession of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the Lome Convention as a full member of the ACP Group.
The EEC and Dominica have used these 17 years to build a model of cooperation, to jointly define the objectives, adapt the instruments, and decide on the best way of responding to the country's short-term difficulties, long-term challenges and structural constraints. This has taken practical shape in the four Lome Conventions, through the full use of the integrated range of cooperation instruments available to Dominica.
Central to Dominica's economy and to EEC-Dominica cooperation is the banana issue, allegedly a common 'culture' heritage. It embraces both the trade and aid aspects of this cooperation. The banana has been the engine of growth, the determining factor for the definition of Dominica's development policies and economic reforms.
Looking to the future, the combined forces of world trade liberalisation, the Uruguay Round negotiations and the development of the Single European Market all contribute to focusing attention on the traditional link between the economies of Dominica and the Community, and between the banana producers of Dominica and Europe.
Adjusting to the present challenges of competition and economic diversufication is the new ambition at the core of the Lome IV National Indicative Programme and structural adjustment programme in Dominica for the period 1993-95. This is a major challenge, imposing on the partners a shift from the traditional project approach to the more demanding reform-oriented policy dialogue.
The European Community also pursues a genuine dialogue with Dominica on regional cooperation. Regional integration, for a small island economy, party to sub-regional (OECS), regional (CARICOM) or future wider Caribbean groupings such as the proposed Association of Caribbean States, is another type of structural adjustment process. Dominica takes full advantage of the regional cooperation instruments of the Lome Convention and shares with the other ACP partners of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community and the Caribbean Forum the benefits of the regional resources of the EDF. This is essential, in the Community's opinion, for Dominica together with its partners of the English, Spanish, French and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, to meet the competition requirements of the large regional trade blocs in the making in Europe, North America (NAFTA) and Latin America. The European Community sees it as its mission to support such a regional integration process.
This regional dimension of EEC-Dominica cooperation has continued to grow over the last twenty years, to the extent that Dominica's Ambassador to Belgium and the European Community is now also the Joint Representative of the Member States of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
How were these basic features of Dominica-EEC cooperation translated into practical action?
Addressing the major constraints to development
Dominica is facing a series of problems typical of small island countries: the small domestic market, seriously limiting industrial opportunities; a narrow resource base; a high per capita cost of economic and social infrastructure; heavy external dependence; and vulnerability to external shocks, including natural disasters, particularly hurricanes.
Production in the agricultural sector is handicapped by the country's topography and lack of economic infrastructure, which limits the availability of land for agriculture to about 30% of the total area. Population pressure is forcing farmers to cultivate steep slopes and this, together with inadequate farming techniques, has resulted in soil erosion. Dominica has shortages of trained manpower at all levels, thus hindering diversification. In implementing EEC-Dominica cooperation agreements, emphasis has been extensively placed on agriculture and rural infrastructure. Special attention is being paid to the two main challenges confronting agriculture, the need to increase the quality and productivity of banana production and to enhance diversification into other crops. Complementary to agricultural support, efforts have also been directed under the Lome IV National Indicative Programme towards supporting Dominica's environmental strategy, especially as regards management capacity, the environmental dimension of rational land use and allocation, deforestation and waste collection, treatment and disposal.
Taking full advantage of the Lome instruments
Dominica-EEC cooperation has been successful by ACP/EEC standards in that there is hardly any instrument of the Lome Convention which has not been used with a satisfactory performance record.
In terms of financial performance, all Lome funds of the past three Conventions have been fully committed and disbursed at highly satisfactory rates. 50% of Lome IV National Indicative Programme resources were expected to be committed by the end of 1993 in combination with the entire Lome IV allocation for Structural Adjustment.
Since 1976, the European Community has committed some ECU 43.7 million to projects, programmes and operations in Dominica. 3 Virtually all EEC funding is in the form of grants, the only exception being loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which tend to be very soft-term.
National Indicative Programmes: predictability of resources
National Indicative Programmes (NlPs) negotiated for five years provide a reliable source of funding for Dominica's long-term development priorities. Funds have been concentrated heavily on road infrastructure, for the reinstatement of some 42 km of road on the east and west coasts (EDF IV); the reconstruction of a vital road link (16 km) across the centre of the island (EDF V), primary and farm feeder roads and the Geneva-Petite Savanne road in the south-east of the island. The roadworks, carried out by direct labour, have been satisfactorily completed. Training and experience was provided for Dominicans in the field of project planning and management, and road rehabilitation and maintenance techniques. The roads have to a considerable degree removed obstacles to the movement of goods and people through improved transport and communications and better access to farmland, thereby supporting balanced economic, social and agricultural development. Continued diversification of Dominica's economy and the development of related agroindustrial activities will be influenced by the expansion of the country's feeder road system.
Agricultural diversification, to reduce dependence on the fragile banana crop, was the objective of two small EDFfunded operations:
-a successful pilot project for the production of patchouli on a 7-hectare plantation and the distillation of oil from the dried leaves (Essential Oils);
-a lime rehabilitation project in the south-west of the island at Soufriere.
The Lome IV programme focuses on the continuation of efforts in the rural development sector (50°/O) towards agricultural diversification and supporting economic and social infrastructure. Environmental management, planning and projects are the other main focal area (35%).
In addition to the above priorities, some resources were allocated under Lome III to a tourism development project for the upgrading of access to tourist sites and the provision of promotional material. Under Lome IV, a tourism programme is being designed in areas such as ecotourism which reflect the linkages between the environment and tourism sectors.
European Investment Bank: the long-term risk partnership
Dominica has developed a long-term investment partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in areas normally not eligible for EDF grant funding, such as industry, agro-processing, mining, tourism and energy. Dominica's abundant water resources, a gift of nature, have been exploited with the assistance of the EIB. In cooperation with the AIDBank, a part-financing of a mineral water bottling plant (ECU 0.7 million) was provided under Lome II for 'Carib Spring' bottled water. After a successful start-up phase, this encountered difficulties as a result of the deterioration of market conditions in the southern Caribbean. Under Lome III, the EIB, together with other multilateral (World Bank) and bilateral (France, Canada) donors, has contributed ECU 3.8 million to the financing of the DOMLEC Hydro-Power project which harnesses the energy of the island's rivers and freshwater lake into increased hydroelectric generation capacity (4.3 MOO). Through the Caribbean Financial Services Corporation, Dominica also benefited from EIB financing for the renovation of the well-known Fort Young Hotel in Roseau.
The Agricultural, Industrial and Development Bank (AIDBank), Dominica's intermediary financial institution for the development of small and medium-scale enterprises, has received continued support from the EIB in the form of risk capital to increase its share capital (ECU 0.8 million) and recently (1993) through a global loan of ECU 2 million. This will permit the AIDBank to keep carrying out its successful development role in the area of enterprise development.
Centre for the Development of Industry
Enterprise development, in the form of joint ventures with European partners and through technical and marketing assistance, is also being encouraged by the ACP/EEC Centre for the Development of Industry (CDI). This has been the case for a number of small wood-working and furniture companies which take advantage of the country's valuable timber resources.
The STABEX insurance
Since 1979, Dominica's main exports, bananas and coconuts, have benefited from the guarantee mechanism offered to the ACP countries through the system of Stabilisation of Export Earnings (STABEX). This insurance for bad years triggers cash transfers to compensate for loss of earnings due to poor harvests or a drop in prices. It has so far (July 1993) compensated Dominica's shortfalls in earnings from bananas and coconuts for a total amount of ECU 8.468 million. This accounts for the following bad years:
ECU 2.893 m
ECU 2.528 m
ECU 0.505 m
ECU 1.208 m
ECU 0.673 m
ECU 0.159 m
ECU 0.502 m
It is estimated that the STABEX insurance has added a 26% value bonus to the regular development assistance of the EEC to Dominica.
Facing disasters: emergency assistance
Dominica lies in the Caribbean hurricane belt. The damage caused by Hurricanes David, Allen and Frederick in 1979-80 and Hugo in 1989, and by torrential rains in 1981, was extensive: roads were washed away, public and private buildings were demolished or badly damaged, and crops were destroyed.
Additional to STABEXcash transfers, Lome resources for emergency aid, undoubtedly designed with countries like Dominica in mind, were tapped for the funding of building materials and medical and other supplies totalling ECU 4.4 million.
Among the other disasters threatening the people of Dominica, like many other countries in the world, is the AIDS killer.
The Community helps the Government to cope with the situation through a small AIDS prevention programme funded from the budget of the Commission. The programme provided ECU 12 500, most of which was used to purchase hospital equipment for Aids testing.
Food aid has in the past been channelled through international organisations supported by the EEC from the
Commission budget. Over the years, the bulk of the food supplies (including skimmed milk powder, vegetable oil, cereals and pulses), a total of 350 tonnes, has gone through Catholic Relief Services to the local NGO, The Social Centre, from where it has been distributed to specific target groups: pregnant and breast-feeding women, pre-school children and the elderly.
In all, the monetary value of food aid to Dominica has amounted to ECU 975 000.
Counterpart funds from EEC food aid in the early 1980s were utilised to establish a fresh-water prawn farming project. The project, it should be noted, meets both the objective of agricultural diversification and that of improving food selfsufficiency and meeting nutritional requirements for the population.
Reaching the people: NGO and microproject assistance
Small development projects at grassroots level have met with much success in Dominica and over the past 15 years over 25 such projects have been funded. Typically, the EEC contribution per project, normally about 50% of the project cost, could be as high as ECU 150 000, with the balance of funds being contributed by the local community in cash and in kind. To date, projects in the fields of community development, vocational training, fisheries and health have been the focus for these small schemes. Some of the other areas covered have been construction of housing, adult literacy, teacher training, carpentry and the provision of educational material, to name but a few. Apart from enhancing living conditions for the community involved, microprojects draw on locally available skills in such areas as project supervision, construction and carpentry. They also provide a form of motivation to the local population, who then frequently become owners of the project. The operations are designed and executed in a close partnership between local and European NGOs and through cofinancing arrangements between NGOs and the European Community (Commission budget).
Two programmes of microprojects were also completed under Lome II with EDF support.
As discussed below, Dominica also takes advantage of its trade arrangements and Fisheries Agreement with the EEC as well as the new Structural Adjustment Facility of Lome IV.
EEC-Dominica cooperation (1975-1993)
Tuning up the engine of growth-bananas
Of common concern to Dominica and Europe, the banana issue embraces both the trade and the aid dimensions of ECDominica cooperation.
The trade relationship
Agriculture accounts for about 1/4 of Dominica's GDP and 60% of total merchandise exports. Bananas alone account for about 90% of agricultural exports and 60% of total exports.
Under the Lome Convention, Dominica benefits from duty-free access for manufactured goods to the EEC, as well as preferential arrangements for bananas, as discussed below.
The European Community, by far the main client of Dominica, accounts for approximately two-thirds of Dominica's exports and one-95th of Dominica's imports.
Bananas have accounted for more than 90% of exports from Dominica to the European Community in recent years.
The Banana Protocol
Under the Banana Protocol of the Lome Convention, Dominica enjoys preferential access to its traditional market in the European Community. Exports for 1992 were 58149 tonnes of fruit at an estimated FOB value of around EC$82 million. The subsidy implicit in the guaranteed banana market has been estimated to amount to about 1/5 of the total value of Dominica's banana exports. The financial support deriving from the Banana Protocol is thus probably far more significant than regular EC development aid to Dominica.
The Single European Market for bananas
Continued preferential access for bananas in Europe after the opening of the Single European Market on I January 1993 was a major concern. This principle, which safeguards the interests of traditional ACP suppliers, has been agreed under the Lome IV Banana Protocol. At the same time a joint declaration accepts that the Protocol should not prevent the Community from establishing a single market in bananas.
After lengthy negotiations, the European Community Council was able to adopt, on 12 February 1992, a regulation establishing a common organisation of the market in bananas, based on a proposal from the Commission which is consistent with EEC obligations under the Lome Convention. As a result Dominica, like the other ACP traditional banana producers, will not be placed as regards access to its traditional markets and its advantages in those markets, in a less favourable situation than in the past or at present. The traditional quantity of bananas from Dominica eligible under the new regulation is 71 000 tonnes which is the amount exported in Dominica's record year. This new regulation, which entered into force in July 1993, will apply until 2002.
In addition, the Commission has proposed the establishment of a special system of assistance to traditional ACP suppliers of bananas. This is intended to help them meet the challenge of new competition from the rest of the world.
The banana competition challenge
While Dominica has an obvious interest in maximising the benefit provided by the preferential banana market, there is a need to improve the quality and productivity of banana production, which faces a growing challenge from its Latin American competitors. Concurrently, Dominica's agriculture should be restructured so as to enhance diversification into other crops. This is a genuine structural adjustment challenge supported by the EEC.
Adjusting to the new economic circumstances
The Structural Adjustment Facility
ECU 2 million have been mobilised by the European Community under Lome IV to support structural adjustment efforts in Dominica. The on-going structural adjustment process on the island hinges on different actions, carried out with support from the EC, which pursue closely interrelated objectives:
-agricultural diversification, for which ECU 2.25 million have been earmarked in the Lome IV NIP;
-improvement of quality and productivity in the banana sector, supported by STABEX transfers for 1990 and 1991 (approximately ECU 830 000);
-restoration of external and internal macroeconomic balances, to which general import programme finance from the ECU 2 million set aside for structural adjustment support will contribute.
There is an obvious need to ensure consistency in the use of these various instruments (STABEX, Structural Adjustment support, NIP programme).
The need for close coordination is, in particular, illustrated by the decision to allocate local counterpart funds generated by the structural adjustment foreign exchange facility to projects and operations geared to agricultural diversification.
A preliminary study was carried out in September 1992 for the design of the structural adjustment programme.
A follow-up study will shortly be conducted to define a practical agriculture diversification programme consistent with and supportive of structural adjustment.
The study should also address the issue of the linkage between agricultural diversification efforts and quality and productivity improvement measures in the banana sector.
The findings and recommendations of the study on this latter point could furthermore help define the terms for implementation of the special programme of assistance to ACP banana exporters recently proposed by the Commission, if it is adopted.
An integrated use of instruments
This is, therefore, a new type of partnership between Dominica and the European Community, in that:
-it constitutes a shift from the traditional project approach to the more demanding reform-oriented policy dialogue;it combines the use of the various instruments of the Lome Convention (National Programme, Structural Adjustment Facility, STABEX, counterpart funds, Banana Protocol) in a systematic and more coherent manner. The total resources combined for this programme amount to about ECU 5 million.
Supporting Dominica's regional integration process
In addition to being a member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and of the Caribbean Community, Dominica also belongs under the Lome IV Convention, to the group of 15 ACP partners of the Caribbean Forum. Isolation, disparity of levels of development, cultural diversity and vulnerability to external shocks and competition are the main challenges which require enhanced solidarity and regional cooperation between Dominica and its Caribbean partners. Lome regional funds are committed to these objectives.
Regional and sub-regional projects and programmes, additional to National Indicative Programmes, have benefited Dominica within the framework of the EDF regional programming for the Caribbean. Under Lome I, II and III, Dominica derived particular benefit from the following regional programmes:
Dominica-EEC Fisheries Agreement
Fish, which ignore national borders, will perhaps be an essential factor of cooperation between the French islands and Dominica. In the framework of its mandate to negotiate international fisheries agreements on behalf of its Member States, the Community has become actively involved in discussions on this subject between the Government of Dominica: and the neighbouring French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Under the agreerment, a Protocol which was initialled in Roseau in 13 March 1993 entitles Dominica to compensation from the Community in return for catches made in its waters by fishermen from the French Departments. The agreement, which also includes provision for research and training in the fisheries sector, provides for a total allocation of ECU 2.2 million for three years.
-Agriculture: Research carried out by the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI). A study in the area of banana marketing was implemented for the CARICOM Secretariat and a study of crop diversification was implemented by the Agricultural Diversification Coordination Unit of the OECS (ADCU) which is based in Roseau.
-Human Resources Development: Programmes in favour of the University of the West Indies; the OECS Tertiary Education Project, which contributes to the elaboration of an OECS education reform strategy and plan and will provide school facilities at Clifton Dupigny College. New programmes to be implemented include the University of the West Indies student accommodation project, which will provide halls of residence at each UWI campus.
-Regional Trade Promotion Development: Major support is being received by the Eastern Caribbean States Export Development Agency (ECSEDA) set up in Dominica to provide assistance to OECS exporters. In the area of trade information and statistics collection, the EEC has also participated in the funding of the Automated System for the Collection of Customs Data (ASYCUDA), under which computer equipment has been installed and is being operated at the new customs office in Roseau.
-Tourism: The OECS tourism development project launched in 1992 provides a three-year programme of support in marketing investment, policy formulation, planning and training. It coordinates its operations with the larger Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) tourism development programme, which includes professional technical assistance for the development of a major marketing campaign in Europe for the Caribbean destinations including Dominica, the Nature Island'.
-Transport. Programmes in sea (West Indies Shipping Corporation-WISCO) and air transport (Leeward Islands Air Transport-LIAT) were implemented under Lome I and II.
The Lome IV Caribbean Regional Programme (CRIP), which is being established under the umbrella of the Caribbean Forum, has identified programmes in six priority areas: agriculture, trade, transport and communications, environment and human resources development.
Through the combined use of the European Regional Development Fund allocated to the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and the EDF regional resources for the Caribbean ACP countries, Dominica is trying to develop its trade and interregional cooperation with the French islands in the sub-region. The European Community is strongly encouraging these efforts.
The regional integration process
Beyond the horizon of sub-regional cooperation, Dominica, like its partners in the wider Caribbean, has to face the increased competition forced on it by the creation of regional trade blocs in North America (NAFTA), Europe (the Single European Market) and Latin America. It is the Community's vocation, due to its own integration experience, to help Dominica participate in the process of deepening and widening Caribbean regional efforts through a policy dialogue which can take various forms, such as:
-at the sub-regional level, encouraging the initiative of an OECS economic reform strategy
-at the regional level, helping Caribbean decision-makers to
assess the regional dimension of national adjustment programmes and measure the
costs and benefits of regional integration. This latter topic is the subject
matter of a study which has been undertaken using EC structural adjustment
resources in close cooperation with CARICOM, the Caribbean Development Bank, the
University of the West Indies, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and other
Central Banks. Dominica is a part of this policy dialogue, which could pave the
way towards a better understanding of the island's interest in supporting or
otherwise the projected Association of Caribbean
You don't choose your neighbours, they say, and, over the past 20 years, in the bad times when the destabilisation operations incontrovertibly launched from the surrounding countries have hit home, Mozambique has had frequent occasion to brood over the fact. A look at the map of Africa tells the whole story- the 3000 km-long Mozambique is on the Indian Ocean close to the epicentre of the upheavals which have shaken this part of the world and are still sending their tremors through it.
It really has no experience of what internal peace and security are. Independence, in 1975, came after a decade of armed struggle to which many fell victim, including Eduardo Mondlane, the historic leader of Frelimo, the Mozambique National Liberation Front. And, free of the Portuguese yoke and now a sanctuary for the anti-apartheid movements, it immediately came under fire from the white regimes of Rhodesia and South Africa, which fretted that black independence might be catching and directed an unflagging demolition campaign at the new state.
In 1976, the Rhodesians set up a special unit of Mozambican half-castes and blacks to infiltrate the ranks of the ZAPU and ZANU fighters and attack the refugee communities in the border areas. A few years later, the South Africans formed their Portuguese-speaking Buffalo Battalion to raid Mozambique, Angola and Namibia and the Rhodesians gave military and logistical support to Renamo, Mozambique's armed resistance movement, which had started guerrilla warfare. Some say even now that Renamo was the work of the lan Smith regime and Afonso Dhlakama, its chief, does not try to hide the fact that he had Rhodesia's help. How could he? But he took it, he says, because no-one else, not the British nor the Americans whose code of freedom he claims to share, was willing to help him in his crusade for democracy and against the communist ethic of Frelimo leaders.
We know that happened next. Mozambique's life and economy were soon at a standstill and the Government was forced into the humiliation of the Nkomati Agreements, the accords with South Africa whereby the two parties were to stop helping their respective enemies, the ANC and Renamo. There is peace today, most certainly, and detente after all the laboriousness of the long-drawn-out talks in Rome, but may it not be due in part to powerful South Africa's realisation of the pointlessness of its policy and its decision to start transferring power to the black majority? After all, it would only be the last tug on strings which date back at least to the 19th century, because, for 100 years at least, Mozambique has borne the stamp of relations with its neighbours in Rhodesia and South Africa, who were quick to see the attraction of its pool of workers for their gold mines. But its claim to fame was as a supplier of slaves, that most abhorrent of trades, which developed in the 18th and 19th centuries and survived for 50 years after the Portuguese abolished it officially in 1836. In 'Mozambique - From Colonialism to Revolution, 1900-1982', Allen and Barbara Isaacmandans say that the country supplied almost 100 000 slaves to Brazil alone between 1817 and 1843 and a third of Cuba's slaves over the same period. All in all, a million Mozambicans were reduced to slavery.
Another brand of exploitation succeeded the Negro slave trade early this century, when contract workers were sent down the gold mines of Rhodesia and South Africa. The policy was made official in an agreement between the colonial government of Mozambique (self-governing since 1752, after being administered from Goa in India) and the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association, representing the South African mining industry. Under it, the Government of Mozambique was to receive 13 shillings per worker and sixpence for every month worked on top of the 12 months of the contract. In addition, they were to be paid half of every miner's wage, in gold, at a fixed rate which was lower than the world gold price-thus allowing a fine profit on resale.
Map to Mozambique
Throughout the colonial era, miners' wages and the profit from gold sales were the territory's biggest source of income. In 1904, Mozambique supplied most of the labour in the South African mines- 50 997 of the 77 000 workers-but its lead narrowed consistently as the sources of supply broadened. By 1927, the figure was 107 672 Mozambicans out of 215 000 miners, going down to 100200 out of 413 900 in 1961. And there are around 60000 of them there even today, estimates suggest, their contracts still an appreciable source of income for their country. In Rhodesia, the Tete Agreement laying down annual consignments of 25 000 miners was soon overtaken and about 100 000 Mozambican contract workers were taken on every year.
The policy of exporting labour, in which the people most concerned had no say, and similar forms of coercion whose purpose was to supply farm workers free of charge to the Portuguese planters, led many Mozambicans to flee to the neighbouring countries, with lasting effects on traditional farming, which both lost its manpower and had its strength sapped by the meagre prices fixed by the colonial administration.
Another thing still making its effects felt is the dependence of Mozambique's ports, which are far too large for national needs, on the neighbouring countries' shipping. In 1901, a clause in the Treaty with Witwatersrand made the supply of cheap labour contingent on part of Transvaal's trade going through the port of Lourenco Marques (now Maputo). By 1917, $700 000 was being made from the customs handling and transit of these goods and, with major expansion, half of Transvaal's import and export trade was soon passing through Lourengo Marques, making a South African satellite of the city and the whole of southern Mozambique. Beira, the main ocean outlet for Rhodesia and central Mozambique, was more dependent on Salisbury (now Harare).
The fact that Mozambique is the only former Portuguese territory in Africa to drive on the left, as they do in South Africa and Zimbabwe (all the others, with Angola in the lead, like Portugal, drive on the right) is a sign of how involved the three countries are, even today.
After 14 years of civil war, hundreds of thousand of deaths, the incalculable suffering of whole populations struck by the life-threatening famine which came with the war and the demolition of infrastructure and all the consequences that flew from it, Mozambique's fighters have now laid down their arms. Negotiations opened in Rome in 1990 and, with encouragement from the country's churches and the painstaking support of the Italian Government and the United Nations, they came to a successful conclusion two years later. On 4 October 1992, the Government of Mozambique signed a peace treaty with those who had recently been 'armed bandits' and the cease-fire came very soon after, on 15 October. Fighters from the two sides were separated and billeted in camps in preparation for the demobilisation of all those not to be recruited to the new national army. Demobilisation was scheduled for completion six months later, on 15 April, to make way for the election campaigns and the elections themselves on 15 October 1993 at the latest.
But by mid-April the 7000-strong UN peace-keeping force due to supervise the cease-fire still had not arrived, so the billeting of the fighters prior to demobilisation had not started and this, in turn, delayed the whole election process. The only encouraging sign was that the cease-fire held without anyone to enforce it, which says a lot for the state of mind of the protagonists, who were all convinced that they could not win on the battlefield and had to thrash out their differences around the negotiating table. Their dampened ardour is of course the best guarantee that Mozambique will not suffer the fate of, say, Angola.
Aldo Ajello, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, put these potentially disastrous delays down to over-optimism on the part of the negotiators in Rome, who had made believe that transition could be very rapid; and to the fact that neither the Government nor Renamo, nor even the UN, was yet in a position to carry out its undertakings. The head of the peace-keeping force said that the UN made a mistake and underestimated the time it would take to deploy its units of soldiers and civilians in Mozambique.
Yet it was all predictable, for with all the UN troops around the world, in Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia and Angola, it was difficult to find the manpower and the money for more peace-keeping operations. The bill for a year of the 'restore hope' operation in Somalia is more than $1.2 billion and the cost of peace-keeping forces in Mozambique for 10½ months is $332 million. The same rich countries have to put their hands in their pockets yet again and it is easy to see why some of them are not so keen to do so.
At the end of April, however, the lumbering UN machinery finally got into gear, with most of the troops ready and the demobilisation operations at last able to go ahead. But this was counting without the demands of Renamo, which had pulled out of the supervisory committee and the three other bodies set up under the peace agreements, on the pretext that it did not have the material resources-whether of money, housing, transport or office equipment - to perform its duties properly.
This display of temperament masked the real problem, the financial plight of Renamo, whose leader was saved in the nick of time by a western chancellery a few months ago from the wrath of a Geneva hotelier whose bill he could not pay. Afonso Dhlakama proclaims that he has been tricked, that a secret clause in the Rome agreements guaranteed financing to help his movement convert into a political party and that a percentage of the funds earmarked for the UN forces is intended to be shared out to finance political activity, the amount for Renamo even being specified.
Promises there certainly were, although certainly nowhere near the $100 million or $150 million Renamo has sometimes claimed. It is actually expecting between $10 million and $15 million, enough to publicise itself abroad and recruit the technical people it so badly needs from amongst the expatriate Mozambican communities.
Tiny Rowland, the head of Lonrho, who has major interests in plantations in Mozambique, has put his Maputo hotel, the Cardoso, at Renamo's disposal for representatives of the committees set up under the peace agreement. And the Government says it is acting in good faith, claiming to have spent something like $500000 on logistical support for Renamo as well as having handed over several official houses since the end of April.
Have there been other 'gifts'? Who knows? But after a three-month boycott, Renamo was back on the supervisory committee at the beginning of June and, a fortnight later, the UN Special Representative announced the opening of the first three billeting/demobilisation centres. There are to be 49 in all, 29 for the 63 000 Government soldiers and 20 for Renamo's 21000 underground fighters. But the camps-two (one for each side) in the province of Nampula and one in the province of Zambeze-are opening more than eight months after the date laid down in the Rome agreements. This has prompted government authorities and guerrilla leaders alike to say that the elections cannot be held before mid-1994 and that this is bound to have financial implications.
It costs roughly $1 million per day to keep the UN's peace-keeping forces in operation. There are already 5000 men in the field, with the biggest contingents from Bangladesh (1320) and Italy (1039), followed by Zambia and Uruguay (820 each) and Botswana (720). Logistical and technical support is being provided by other countries including Portugal, Argentina and Japan (only its second mission abroad since the end of World War II). The original $332 million allocation will not last long at this rate and it will once more be a case of relying on the generosity of western funders to provide a top-up, possibly in excess of $100 million.
The second problem is demobilisation itself. Many of the fighters are unhappy with the idea of leaving the relative comfort of the towns to go first to the camps and then back to their villages, armed with only a few farm implements and a couple of months' rations. At Maputo airport, in early April, we saw one of them trying to escape. There is no other word for it. The sentry had to fire into the air to stop a government soldier who was running away, refusing to board a plane due to take him and his companions from the familiar surroundings of the capital far away to a demobilisation camp at the other end of the country.
The national army is just as much of a problem. The Rome agreements fixed on a force of 30 000 men (24 000 in the army, 3000 in the navy and 3000 in the air force), consisting of equal numbers of Government troops and Renamo fighters, and the UN suggestion is that only 6000 of Renamo's 2 1000 combatants need to be demobilised because 15 000 of them have to go to the new Mozambican army. However, although there is no doubt as to the bravery of these men, they have given ample proof that their training is well below the level of troops in the Government ranks, where officers have often trained at military academies in the developed world. And how can officers and NCOs be trained for the navy and the air force in only a few months?
The dividends of peace
Another major problem is the fate of the 4.5 million deslocados, the displaced persons, some of them refugees abroad, who will not go home unless the rural areas are safe. Many of Mozambique's roads are still mined, of course, but there is currently only one mine disposal brigade, a Community-financed team advancing at the rate of 2-3 km per day along the 890 km of priority roads to be cleared so emergency aid can get through. And there are thousands of km of tracks and fields where mines will go on claiming victims for years to come, because the erstwhile enemies can no longer remember where they buried their lethal devices.
That is not all. Not only is the countryside dangerous. It is also now lacking in any form of social infrastructure. 3995 rural schools, 68% of the 1983 total, have been damaged or destroyed, 1100 health centres pillaged and abandoned and thousands of wells dynamited. Deputy Planning Minister Tomas, Salomao, who puts damage done between 1978 and 1990 at $50 billion, says that reconstruction must focus on the rural areas, the only places which can quickly be made fit to house the millions of Mozambicans displaced by the country's interminable conflict. But where is the money coming from? 'The foreign donors can help us and indeed they are already doing so, but there are limits to what we can ask. We have to bear the brunt of it ourselves,' he says.
Like other political leaders, Tomas Salomao is counting on the dividends of peace, starting with agricultural recovery, to finance reconstruction. With the end of the region's worst drought for decades and the countryside at peace again, Mozambique could soon return to the position of self-sufficiency in food which it lost in the early 1980s. It could also do something about its annual trade deficit. Last year, for example, it exported $10 million-worth of goods and imported $900 million-worth, but, 'with peace, our exports could be up at the $500 or 600 million-mark,' ventures Daniel Tembe, the Trade Minister and National Authorising Officer for the EDF.
But peace alone will not suffice. Rapid reconstruction of some of the infrastructure is called for-17 of the 23 tea processing plants were wiped out, for example-if the country is to boost its export capacity of traditional products such as tobacco, tea, cotton, sisal, sugar and the cashew nuts of which it was once the world's leading supplier.
However, repairs are well under way in the transport and communications infrastructure sector, where Mozambique plays a crucial part in the region. The 2.4 million-tonne capacity port of Beira is already back up to pre-independence levels, handling 1.3 million t of the 5 million t of food aid sent to Southern Africa last year and notching up $15 million in profits. The giant, computer operated cranes, the thousands of containers in neat rows along the quays, the packaging facilities which can bag 60 t of grain per hour and the plan for a 2.5 million t oil terminal are proof of the unique place which this port occupies in the economy of the nation and the whole region. Beira and the other two ports, Maputo and Nacala, and the railways linking them to Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa, form the network which makes Mozambique one of the key countries in this part of Africa.
But you don't choose your neighbours, as we said before. Take another look at the map of Southern Africa. Even if Mozambique does manage its peaceful transition to democracy, countries on which its prosperity ultimately depends -South Africa, that is to say, Malawi and even Zimbabwe, indirectly-could be seeing serious upheavals over the coming years which cannot but affect its domestic situation.
But for once, at least, there is hope that these outbreaks will be the last to afflict this hard-pressed country.
'Mozambique is not another Angola'
Joaquim Alberto Chissano, at 54, is a veteran of African politics. He helped found the Mozambique Liberation Front in 1962 and was secretary to its first president, Eduardo Mondlane. He was one of the leading negotiators of independence with the Portuguese authorities in 1974 and the obvious choice for Prime Minister of the Government of Transition whose job it was to prepare for the breakaway. In 1975, after independence, he became Foreign Minister and, firmly entrenched in the post, represented his country abroad for 11 years, investing all his verve and rare linguistic talents (he is equally at home in Portuguese, French and English) in a moderate, realistic approach to diplomacy which was in complete contrast with the more radical style fashionable in Maputo at the time.
In 1986, when President Samora Machel was killed in a (still unexplained) flying accident, Joaquim Chissano took over. At the fourth and fifth Frelimo congresses, he helped engineer the change of ideology which led to the liberalisation of the economy, the development of the private sector and, later on, a new constitution setting up a multiparty system.
However, the guerrilla movement launched by Renamo at the end of the 1970s, initially with encouragement from Rhodesia and then, after the independence of Zimbabwe, from South Africa, gained ground throughout this period, to the point where it brought the country's economic activity to a halt. After fruitless attempts at settlement, direct negotiations between the Government and Renamo in Rome in October 1992 were successful and a peace agreement, opening the way to free elections under UN control, was forged.
In this interview with The Courier, President Chissano talks about the difficulties of the post-agreement era and the country's longer-term prospects.
· Mr President, the fighting has stopped, but is peace as irreversible as the people like to think?
-Yes, I think they all do believe that peace is here to stay, for they all want peace and they are all doing their utmost to see it is consolidated. We have appealed to society at large, to all social organisations, churches included, to work for the consolidation of peace. A whole new state of mind is being created. But Mozambique is not an island and external influences could still come and change the course of things. If it was only up to us, however, the peace process would be irreversible.
· But hasn't your situation got a lot in common with the situation in Angola, Mr President, and aren't you worried that the same terrible things might happen here?
- Angola had elections before the conditions were right. The soldiers hadn't been demobilised and the country hadn't had time to set up a solid national army which was united and not mixed up in politics. There were still close ties between the political parties and their partisans in the army at the time the elections were held. We don't want that happening here and we have been working to avoid it ever since the negotiations in Rome. We want a proper national army, which sticks to the constitution and the law, under the leadership of a Head of State who believes in peace and would be in no position to use the armed forces to overturn the regime even if he wanted to. And the domestic situation in Angola wasn't as provided for in the agreement, I believe, because there were still many unsolved problems and many fighters in the underground forces.
· Are you learning from Angola's mistakes?
-Not exactly, because we chose a way which enabled us to find answers to the sort of problems Angola stumbled over. Angola did not have enough time. And perhaps our process started the other way round, because we had discussions and changed the constitution before the negotiations with Renamo and we worked on the law on parties while those negotiations were going on. We already had a preliminary draft electoral law too. It was the basis for the discussions in Rome and we are going to pick it up again now. The political parties have been formed. So things are moving more slowly in this country, but everything is being covered.
· All this cumbersome UN machinery is so difficult to get going here, isn't it? Is it the only way of consolidating peace?
-Renamo only has confidence in the UN, unfortunately, which is why we agreed to call the Organisation in. We knew that UN machinery could grind slowly, because we had seen it working in other parts of the world. That is exactly what we expected. But we never expected it to take so long to get here.
· Is it delayed because money is short?
-My belief is that it is late because of the way it works. When we signed the agreement, we expected to see UN troops arrive here a month later, in accordance with suggestions by the UN representatives who came to observe at the negotiations. But now the plan cannot be put into operation, although it was an emergency, with the ceasefire to be kept up and peace maintained, and it cannot wait for all the palaver in the Security Council or the debates in the General Assembly or the discussions in the Budget Committee, where they really do take their time. Mercifully, for the past six months, we ourselves have managed to have the ceasefire respected here in Mozambique without the help of the UN peace-keeping forces, but if it had happened anywhere else, peace would have been shattered long ago.
· With all these delays, when do you think the elections can take place now?
-We shall see. The electoral law will decide the date. We are doing the groundwork for the elections at the moment, but the signs are that they will not take place before June 1994.
· Many of Mozambique's people have done nothing but fight for the past 14 years. Are they going to be willing to lay down their arms for the hard job of making a living from their devastated land?
-What the soldiers want-Government soldiers at least-is to settle down as civilians and have a job, so we have set up a resettlement committee to look after demobbed soldiers, refugees and displaced persons. The effort which the Government is making, in accordance with the peace agreement, has the support of the international community too. But the Government cannot do it all and we have made a general appeal for help with finding projects which will make it easier to reintegrate the soldiers. We are also encouraging the soldiers to help themselves. As a one-time national freedom fighter myself, I have helped set up an association for demobbed soldiers, which will be looking after former Renamo guerrillas too, forming an interest group of something like 100 000 people. It will be running personal initiative schemes and we have already applied for financial support for them from such institutions as the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
· Finance -just where the shoe pinches. Never before have the rich countries been called uponfor so much help and every crisis, ultimately, costs money, be it in Russia, the former Yugoslavia or Somalia. With resources in such short supply, what priority do you think will be given to Mozambique's projects?
-Our projects will have whatever priority they get. That is all there is to it. And we shall be very grateful for any assistance we are given. Time and time again, we have said that donors will always give priority to whatever affects them most. And as there is every interest in stabilising the situation in central Europe, they will tend to give that part of the world priority and think about Africa afterwards. So we are looking at a different formula which does not involve relying on charity and waiting for handouts and we are trying to encourage private investment by Mozambican interst groups. That will be quite another picture for the donors.
· The Government is not the only one worried about the lack of financing, is it? Renamo too is complaining about not receiving the promised funds and thinking it has been betrayed by the donors.
-I don't think Renamo is right here. It's too early to start complaining that promises haven't been kept. The conference in Rome was only three months ago and it wouldn't be reasonable to start saying that the donors haven't stuck to their commitments yet. The plan was for the funds to be released when the soldiers were demobbed, in particular to help them settle down again in ordinary society. But they haven't been demobbed yet.
· How much are we talking about?
-The figure mentioned in Rome was more than $200 million.
· Assuming that you can complete the process you have got under way, how do you see the future for Mozambique in a Southern Africa in the throes of change?
- Mozambique is one of the key countries of the region and, with peace on our side, there will be a transformation. It is worth remembering that even while the war was going on, we were able to continue providing a service to the countries in the region. We have already modernised and rebuilt the Maputo Zimbabwe railway-a difficult job and all done during the civil war- and rebuilt the railway and the road between Beira and Zimbabwe. We have rehabilitated and modernised the port of Beira, we are doing the same for the ports of Maputo and Nacala and we have completed more than half of the Nacala Malawi railway. We did all that during the war. With peace, we shall be able to do a lot more.
Our country has always had great agricultural potential. If we can get everyone's shoulders to the wheel, we shall be able to produce enough to feed ourselves and to export too-which will be a good thing for the balance of payments and our per capita income. We think we can manage this in ten years at the most, but some people say that, at the present rate of progress, it won't take anything like that long.
· You have been President for nearly eight years now, haven't you? Will you be standing again in the next presidential elections?
-I am always being asked to stand again, but the party still has to meet to decide whether I should. Some people in the party take it as read, let me tell you, but I shall only stand if I am asked to stand, in the same way as I was asked to take the country's destiny in hand all those years ago. They all think I am going to stand, but we shall have to wait for the party to meet and discuss it. If the party decided to put up another candidate, I should be just as happy to support him...
· You have led Mozambique through some hard times, haven't you?
-Very hard. I have been a member of the party's leadership ever since it was formed-I was elected to the central committee when I was 23. What we need are candidates who are worthy of the people's confidence and who devote themselves to the people's wellbeing. I shall have the strength to wait for many of those candidates to appear, however long it takes.
Interview by A.T.
'We shall respect the voters' verdict'
In pure guerrilla tradition, Maringue, the RENAMO headquarters, is out in the bush, an hour's flying time from Beira.
The Red Cross plane, the only aircraft authorised to touch down there, comes to a halt at the end of the overgrown runway, near the old 20-seater biplane which crafty South Africans recently managed to palm off onto the RENAMO for $500 000 and which has never flown since it was delivered.
Paul Domingos, the chief RENAMO negotiator at the talks in Rome, bursts out of the yellowing Savannah on a motorcycle to greet you. You are then guided along a narrow path, 50 cm wide at most, and after a good five minutes' walk, emerge into a huge, shady clearing, fringed with towering trees and dotted with houses and a large, straw-roofed rectangular hut-the meeting room.
By chance, or by organised coincidence, Afonso Dhlakama, the President of the RENAMO, has called all the men in charge of the movement to Maringue that very day for a briefing, which he obligingly interrupts to receive the European Parliament delegation, headed by Henri Saby, the Chairman of the Development Committee. He introduces his RENAMO staff, who are proud to see that such guests have gone to the trouble of coming so far to talk to their leader.
After the talk, Mr Dhlakama answered questions put by The Courier.
· Mr Dhlakama, you now have to transform a guerilla organisation in to a political party. How is this being done?
- Well, we have already started changing our movement into a political party but we're running into a problem of resources, namely money. As a political party we need to have representatives in the different European countries so that we can explain our policies, something we never really had the chance to do during the fighting because we were isolated here. Only the voice of the government was heard, and this spread disinformation in the international community. The signing of the Rome agreement gave us international recognition, so it's easier to send delegates to represent us outside the country, although the lack of money is a very serious problem. But this change is taking place, indeed we can say that, Renamo is in fact a political party since it ' has signed an agreement with the governmeet, an agreement setting out various principles that were agreed. The government is the party holding power and Renamo is in opposition. The agreement confers on Renamo the status of a political party.
· You referred to a lack of money. Who gives you money at present?
-Nobody gives us money, that's why things are so bad. Nobody gives money to Renamo-if you could see how we live, I tell you some of our followers, our fighting men, go barefoot and in rags, they don't have anything at all. I'm telling you that we don't have telephones or fax machines for our representatives. There's no money. If someone was giving us money, we wouldn't have to endure these conditions. We don't even have the basics.
· Is this why you recalled your representatives in Maputo a few weeks ago?
-Actually, this was not a question of money but of the whole process itself. I called my Maputo representatives here, provincial delegates are here as well, as you can see, together with the heads of the committees at Maputo for this meeting here, which is very, very useful. We are reviewing everything that's happened since the signing, the violation of the agreement, all the problems we have, and we are considering our strategy to make sure that our brothers in the government and Frelimo, and in the international community, help to resolve all these problems. That's why we're gathered here.
After the meeting, the delegations and committees will return to Maputo to continue their efforts to find solutions for our problems.
· Mr Dhlakama, the timetable agreed in Rome for the transition to democracy seems to be slipping. Do you share that view?
- No. What I mean is that the Rome agreement has been violated by Frelimo. It's been violated in various ways. For instance, Frelimo is putting, or has already put, some army battalions in the police force, which means that the police force is not independent of parties-it will continue to be the instrument of a party, as it always has been. It has always been an organ of the Frelimo party. This is one of the government's violations. There are others. Under the Rome agreement, Frelimo said it would provide Renamo with accommodation, transport, communications, etc., but the government has not done so. To this day we haven't got proper representation throughout the country for this reason, or even accommodation for myself. I stay on here in the bush because the government hasn't provided the right conditions in Maputo. The fact that the government is not cooperating means that it is violating the agreement. But we are patient, we know that the government is nervous and that it was forced to accept democracy, freedom and elections. Frelimo didn't want this, it's uneasy. But we understand, we won't give up, we're going to make them understand that this is what democracy means.
· From your point of view, is the war really over or will the fighting start again if implementation of the agreement is held up?
-I say no. I believe that there will never again be war in Mozambique. I believe this because only Renamo or Frelimo can wage war. If one provokes and the other responds, there is war. But if one always provokes and the other avoids reacting, there is no war. If we wanted war, we would have started it already because we've been provoked by the government on a number of occasions. I said in Rome, on the day of the signing, that Renamo's guerillas would never resume the fighting, and I have repeated this message to ambassadors and to the United Nations. And I reiterate it now. There will not be war- unless in the future some third party or other people start a third war-but I think that fair, universal and democratic elections are the only way of stopping wars. But in this time of transition, Renamo is having to put up with these government tricks. There won't be a war such as the one in Angola-thetas a terrible situation and people are still dying. That's why we are doing everything we can, not to react to the government's provocations, so that there won't be war.
· Many people do indeed fear a repetition of the Angolan situation in Mozambique. Can you give assurances that, if you lost the elections, which is a possibility, you would respect the voters' verdict?
-Certainly. Our principles are democratic principles. We know the consequences of elections. We did not fight for power, we fought for democracy. If we lost the elections, we'd bow to the principle of democracy and recognise any party, whether it was the government or another party. We'd agree to go into opposition as long as the elected government also recognised the importance of the opposition, the rights of the opposition; we wouldn't have any problem with that. But we should like to ask the government in turn to be patient if it loses the elections. After all, they are used to governing. They've been in power for 17 years. They won't find it easy to respect Renamo when it wins the elections.
· Do you have a programme of government yet?
-Well, we do have our programme, our general principles, but right now we are working on our government's development programme. If Renamo were elected, what it would do in the fields of health, education, the economy, transport, finance, and all that. Our people are drawing up our ideas for each sector and department and soon they will be published.
· Mr Dhlakama, many of the officials you introduced today seem very young and inexperienced. Will they be able to rise to the challenge of governing Mozambique?
-As regards government, running the party, taking part in elections, assuming office and governing on the basis of my democratic programme, I think that we are prepared. As regards my age, I don't think it affects my leadership. I started this struggle when I was very young and I don't see why it should be a problem. It's up to the people. If the people elect me, I shall carry out my programme. I think I could well be the first young African leader to govern democratically because I'd like to tell you, Renamo is the first party of struggle in Africa that was created to bring democracy to Africa. This is very important. I'll be the first such young leader in Africa; it will serve as an example for all the other African countries.
· Won't one of Renamo's first tasks as a political party be to try to make its African neighbours forget its past finks with Rhodesia and South Africa?
-This isn't a problem, no problem at all. The past is the past. We did have a little help from Rhodesia but circumstances dictated this. We received their aid-I'd have liked to receive aid from the United States of America, Portugal, France and Britain, but they didn't give us any, despite the fact that we were defending the same principles that they uphold: freedom, democracy and justice. Those governments made a mistake and so we had to turn to Rhodesia and South Africa for aid in the past, but that's a long time ago. Now that Renamo is a party among other parties we don't have links that could have implications for the party as was the case in the past. I don't think there is a problem.
· One fast question. [low do you explain the fact that people in the areas you control, such as Inhaminga, are so desperately poor that they even lack clothing?
-Well, this is the situation we touched on earlier, the fact that people are living in conditions of great hardship. Everyone living in our areas is suffering great hardship. It's dreadful in view of the fact that there are countries in Europe that make clothing or other things, put them in warehouses and then destroy them when they are out of date, so they do not have anything to send us. Here there are people who are forced to use treebark and such like. These conditions are hard but the people are courageous and still believe in the future. And I as their leader, their long-standing leader, I tell them to look to the future. The present is full of suffering but in future there may be a better life, with clothes, soap and food. These people are hopeful. The end of the war has given them hope and so has the prospect of democracy.
by Glauco CALZUOLA
Mozambique, undermined by 16 years of civil war and the worst drought Southern Africa has seen this century, has just embarked upon a process of democratic transition scheduled to lead the country to its first multiparty elections. This follows the peace agreement signed by the Government and the Renamo opposition movement in October 1992. The path to democracy is slow and beset with obstacles of all kinds, but the Government is determined. It will call on external assistance if it has to, but it is also counting on the people themselves to transform Mozambique into a democratic, viable nation.
It is to help it pick up this twofold- structural and short-term-challenge, that the European Community's aid (all instruments) is focused on four priorities, i.e. schemes to support the economic and social recovery programme (the PRES), regional development in Southern Africa (SADC), humanitarian relief in emergencies and a support programme for the post-war period.
Community aid began shortly after independence. Initially (1978-1985), the EEC used the Commission's own funds to meet immediate needs in a country which was embarking on a process of independence hampered by the destabilising effects of civil war. Since that time, with the signing of Lome III (December 1984) and Lome IV (December 1989), the EEC has acknowledged the effects of the war, and recently the drought, by both providing assistance for a country which has nothing and helping cater for and manage the future through structural adjustment funds and support for development strategies to reflect its particular needs. All in all, about ECU 393 million has gone into 119 schemes under Lome III and Lome IV since 1985.
Add to this the exceptional aid, food aid, NGO cofinancing and schemes financed as part of cooperation with the non-associated developing countries prior to the signing of Lome III and Mozambique has had more than ECU 900 million-worth of Community resources to date.
Trade and commercial cooperation
The country's economic performance very much depends on international trade and the Lome preferential trade agreements guaranteeing access to the Community market are important to the national economy, because they cover 29% of its trade. In 1991, the European Community accounted for 28% of Mozambique's exports and 29% of its imports.
The Community also encourages trade in Mozambique and all other ACPs with trade promotion measures and Stabex, its export revenue stabilisation fund.
It has financed stands for Mozambique firms at international trade fairs and other events in Europe and Africa since 1988 and has channelled a total of ECU 22.7 m-worth of Stabex support (Lome III and Lome IV) into the tea, copra, cotton and cashew nut sectors. But the results, alas, are still not very good. Despite the Government's economic liberalisation programme, trade development is hampered by the enormous institutional constraints of hefty state centralism, combined with a formal economic sector which is dependent on inefficient state companies and a civil war which is paralysing the economy and preventing foreign investment.
More than 45% of Mozambique's aid comes from the EEC and the Member States, making the European Community one of the country's biggest sources of assistance.
The Community alone (Commission + EIB) has provided ECU 928m, most of it (97%) in the form of grants, since this cooperation began, with 47% going to the national indicative programmes financing for regional projects of direct benefit to Mozambique and schemes run as part of cooperation with non-associated countries. Food aid accounted for 33% and EIB loans for 3% and the rest (17%) was emergency aid, refugee relief, Stabex transfers, NGO projects and other operations under specific budget lines (AIDs control, hunger in the world etc.).
National indicative and regional programmes and the early projects (aid for non-associated countries) focused on rural development and self-sufficiency in food, transport and communications, social development, support for the balance of payments and the support programme for the post-war period, all of which are priority areas.
Rural development and fisheries
This has been a Community aid priority since cooperation with Mozambique began and Lome IV has merely confirmed and clarified the ideas outlined before.
The focus is on three main areas- irrigation, integration (farming and fishing) programmes and technical cooperation (institutional support). Integrated development programmes have been sited in the province of Cabo Delgado
(ECU 5m), in Inhambane (ECU 4.5m) and in the Moamba area (a total of ECU 12m), with the aim of improving production and the marketing of both agricultural produce and artisanal fishermen's catches along the coast. A fourth project is being run in the Chimoio region (ECU 7.1m) to get local potato production moving again. The indicative programmes have also included an important artisanal fishing scheme in the Inhambane area (ECU 7.5m) and institutional support for the sector.
The results and problems of implementation of all these projects are similar, because, when the rural operations were designed, insecurity in the area was such that not enough was known about the real situation there. Then, the fact that there were too many projects led to activities being scattered and difficult to coordinate and the various project leaders were not equally efficient. Another important thing is that all the Community's emergency aid and refugee relief has been for people in rural areas or in outlying areas around the towns.
Transport and communications
This is of great importance when it comes to ensuring the country's economic and political integration and opening up the SADC countries to give them access to international markets. Rehabilitation of port, rail and road infrastructure is one of Mozambique's priorities and a large percentage of international aid is channelled into this sector. The Community is involved here too, transport being a focal sector of the country's national indicative programmes and the SADC regional indicative programmes. A total of ECU 114m has been mobilised for a series of projects-the biggest of which are the Beira port rehabilitation scheme (ECU 56m), the railway modernisation schemes in Nacala (ECU 25m) and Limpopo (ECU 15m) and the emergency rehabilitation of the Beira-Inchope road (ECU 5.7m). Three further projects to rehabilitate a total 440 km of road (Nampula-Nacala, Boane-Sabie and Beira-Inchope) are currently being assessed. The EEC is also financing a general study of transport and communications in Southern Africa, with a view to shaping a strategy for the coming years which reflects the new socio-economic realities and trends in the South African situation.
A number of Community schemes have been run in this area to rehabilitate war-damaged schools and various health centres and dispensaries. Because of the local insecurity, these were small, individual operations, but two large-scale projects are now under way too-a rural telecommunications scheme (ECU 13m) and a study of repairs to health centres at national level. In particular, this latter scheme should make it possible to restore and maintain a basic level of services and ultimately ensure that treatment is available to all those living in rural areas.
Aid for the balance of payments
Mozambique has been trying hard to straighten out its economy through the PRES, the economic and social recovery programme which the Government brought out in 1987, and the Community has backed its action with:
-two sectoral import programmes, worth ECU 70m (Lome III), aimed at encouraging imports of raw materials and intermediate products to stimulate local agricultural and industrial production;
-a general import programme, worth ECU 54.7m (Lome IV), a substantial part of it for petroleum products.
Emergency programme for the post-war period
The Commission told the funders' conference in Rome (15-16 September 1992) that it would be helping Mozambique in this transitional phase leading up to the country's first multi-party elections by providing ECU 72m for five areas- the elections, demobilisation, the resettlement of refugees, displaced persons and demobilised soldiers, the provision of social services and the rehabilitation of the basic infrastructure. Despite the efforts of the various parties involved, there are still many impediments to the peace process. However, the Community's programme to provide medical assistance, distribute seed and other agricultural inputs and rehabilitate wells in rural areas to enable refugees and displaced persons to be resettled is taking practical shape with specific schemes to be run by NGOs. The Commission is currently financing technical assistance to help the Government in its difficult task of preparing the census and the elections-the equipment for which is also to be provided by the EEC. Studies are being run to decide on the rehabilitation priorities for the roads used to bring in food aid and medical assistance and the Commission is financing a programme to de-mine what the Red Cross and the WFP have designated as priority roads.
Community aid to Mozambique (summary) (30.04.93)
Agricultural output has dwindled because of the civil wan nationwide insecurity and the drought of the last few years. The food shortfall is now about 600 000-700 000 t p.a. Food aid from the Community, currently accounting for 33% of EEC allocations to Mozambique, is of fundamental importance in that it represents 40% of the volume of all external food aid. The rains returned in late 1992 and the Commission, which is anxious to revive domestic production, is now concentrating more on obtaining agricultural products and seed locally. Cereal market buffer stocks are also being financed under the Community programme for 1993 (approximately ECU 40m), which combines conventional supplies from the European market with local purchases and special school-hospital canteen operations and will be meeting the food requirements of about 120000 demobilised soldiers and their dependents over a period of six months.
This outline of Community aid to Mozambique is not complete as it stands, because, in addition to the contributions mentioned above, the following have also been provided:
-various forms of emergency aid and aid for displaced persons, mainly in the form of medical and humanitarian assistance schemes, usually run through MSF, the ICRC and other NGOs (ECU 51.6m);
-various schemes cofinanced with NGOs (ECU 10m);
-various health education and emergency aid schemes in rural areas and around the towns to help the victims of destabilisation (ECU 13.5m);
-an AIDS control support programme; -a contribution to the tsetse fly control programme which is part of the campaign against world hunger (ECU 1.5m);
-three projects (a cotton factory and vegetable cannery, the Matola cement works and an ECU 15m line of credit to finance SMEs) financed by the EIB.
Trainees in the Directorate-General for Development decided to organise their own study trip to one of the ACP countries, the first venture of this kind. They went to Senegal. They describe their impressions, particularly of the Community cooperation projects and programmes there, in this article.
In November 1992, trainees in DG VIII who were anxious to get firsthand knowledge of the dynamics of cooperation between the ACP States and the Commission of the European Communities got together and formed a Study Trip to Senegal Committee. Thus nine young graduates of different nationalities (German, Austrian, Belgian, British and Italian) and with different training (in agriculture, economics, law, political science and development science) behind them were able to go out to Senegal to supplement the training they had received in the various units of the directorate. The range of subjects which the group covered was an important factor when it came to approaching and analysing projects. In the space of 30 years, Senegal has forged close links with the EC and, having made full use of all the instruments and financial means which the Lome Convention provides, is a model of cooperation.
Our main concern in the field was to get to the heart of EC cooperation: to financial and technical cooperation. There is just one programme under the 6th EDF, the Podor Region Development Support Programme, which covers agriculture, rural development, infrastructure, microprojects, SMEs, the protection of the natural environment, women, health and village water engineering. A visit to Podor and all these integrated schemes provided much food for thought.
Farming is the main activity there and the EDF is behind the various types of hydro-agricultural improvements which have been made to meet the national indicative programme aims of achieving self-sufficiency in food and combating desertification. Technically speaking, irrigated agriculture has been a success, but it is a different story as far as the people themselves are concerned, for the peasant tradition is to organise things on a far smaller scale and the farmers have found management difficult in this case.
Rice, a staple imported (cheaply, in the form of broken rice) from South East Asia, is now grown in the Senegal River Valley. Agriculture in this northern part of the country could not always be relied on, but there was considerable hydraulic potential (the Diama and Manantali dams), so hydro-agricultural improvements were made and intensive ricegrowing introduced, rice, a potentially high-yield product which is suitable for irrigation, being seen as the crop to make the investment a paying proposition and ensure self-sufficiency in food. But rice is not without its problems. For example, it gradually depletes the soil, makes the farmer dependent on input and, with individual ownership, undermines traditional village solidarity. There are difficulties with marketing and price fixing too.
Rice-growing is in fact a major problem in Senegal. As Mr A. Vanhaeverbeke, the Head of the EC Delegation there, told us, 'anyone who finds an alternative to rice will get the first Nobel Development Prize.'
The Community has recently financed PREMINA, a project designed to restore the natural environment, combating deforestation by using trees (eucalyptus and prosepis) as windbreaks on hydro-agricultural developments. Bearing in mind all the advantages, this tree planting is a highly essential and profitable undertaking, but windbreaks spell constraints for the farmers, who are not ready for them. The most important thing, we think, is to run education and training schemes to make the local population realise how important the environment is to sustainable development.
Two other parts of the programme which attracted us particularly were those involving SMEs and microprojects. One has a commercial and one a social bias and they complement each other and are very popular, because they are localised, autonomous and flexible and the assistance and credit they provide meet a considerable demand. They have also rekindled the Senegalese spirit of enterprise, which had faded because such structures were wanting.
A visit to a health post (a kind of village pharmacy, run by a nurse) and a health centre (a kind of hospital, staffed with doctors and midwives) gave us the opportunity to see the genuine improvements which have been made in the health sector -many of which are due to active involvement of villagers on the Health Committees. The number of patients has gone up and medicines are within easier reach.
One big problem is still that there is not enough money to appoint more doctors.
Traditional doctors (medicine men and healers) are important too, we saw, and modern medicine and traditional medicine usefully complement each other.
It was very clear that women have an important part to play in all these areas of activity. Gone are the days when they were willing to be anonymous, for now they want to make an active contribution to development and they are creating jobs of their own alongside all their traditional duties. We were able to join in some of their work in the market garden, the health post and the literacy hut and see how keen these women are to be involved in development projects.
This is why it is important for project design to take account of what women do in addition to their traditional duties.
Infrastructure and technology are not the whole story and so we also looked at the activities of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that work alongside those engaged in bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The first thing we noticed was that NGOs from the North are heavily represented, either as consultants of countries or communities which are ploughing in funds or as partners of local NGOs. The only place where they are not so common is in the inhospitable region of Fatick and the simple reason for this is that NGOs, like all funders, are hesitant to invest where the prospect of obtaining positive results is rather limited. Were it not for ARAF, the Fatick Farmers Regional Association, the area would have no international support at all.
This merely confirms the all-important role of the local NGOs as reflectors of the keenness of farmers and fishermen not only to take a direct hand in improving their own lot, but also to be better represented politically. The time of scattered village associations is past and departmental, regional and national associations are taking over, particularly in the farming community. The purpose of FONGS, the Federation of NGOs of Senegal, is to improve the operation of its 24 regional and departmental peasant associations and to make sure that the voice of the farmers is heard on the national political scene. In particular, it has taken shares in the Senegal's National Agricultural Credit Bank (CNCAS).
So village organizations are not just emerging in this country. They are there, striving to suggest ways of coping with the terrible evils of hunger, disease, a deteriorating environment, poverty and marginalisation and gradually getting organised nationally to represent a political (counter) power. Initially, it was the work of one or two intellectual activists from the rural milieu, but now the associations are a genuine reflection of what the farming community wants. Let us hope that all this leads to a higher standard of living in rural areas and ensures that the peasant populations take more responsibility for their own future.
By the end of our trip, we had all realised that development cooperation is complex and that the human factor is the first thing to make it so. Cooperation brings two groups from different cultures face to face-the devisers, designers and implementers from the West, who are anxious to help raise the standard of living of people in the Third World, and the recipients, who are mainly concerned with their personal survival or the betterment of their families. Sometimes there are misunderstandings between these groups and this is something which experience alone can help avoid.
Then there is the innate complexity of development projects. Plans such as those relating to the Podor HydroAgricultural Developments are influenced by a whole series of factors, many of them involving far more than the recipients. In the case of Podor, the fixing of the purchase price of rice and the marketing of vegetables and cereals depend on national State measures based on various considerations, one of which is the situation of the farmers in that region.
Consultation of the recipients during the design and planning of these projects is limited and they are only really involved in the actual implementation (theory and practice).
So there is a whole series of factors affecting the way the projects develop which have nothing to do with the recipients. Some of them have to do with national politics and others with international politics (development cooperation, international trade and diplomacy) -which of course does not make things easier.
The funders' hands are not always clean here either. When it comes to fishing agreements, there are countries doing what amounts to buying Senegal's deep waters and the country's artisanal fishermen are getting nothing out of it. Senegal is strapped for cash and delighted with fresh money and foreign States are putting domestic and trade policy before cooperation.
Given all the complexity and contradictions, the best projects would seem to be small ones which involve few people other than the recipients themselves. They involve virtually no central State intervention or extra-developmental factors and the only complications are human ones-but the long-term success of such projects still depends on measures taken by the State.
The complexity of development cooperation gives food for thought, but is no reason not to act. Quite the opposite. Remembering the complexity and the framework in which we are working, we must keep our sights set on Africa and do what common sense dictates.
Members of the European Parliament host an international conference
'The Committee on Development and Cooperation (...) considers that democratisation in the African countries is a long-term process taking many forms and that it is not for the (European) Community to impose its own model of democracy; at the same time (it) hopes that certain fundamental democratic and human rights will be universally applied and therefore not be violated with impunity.'
This sentence from an official opinion of the European Parliament's Development Committee, drafted by Belgian member Brigitte Ernst de la Graete, puts in a nutshell the gist of a two-day conference on democracy and development in Africa recently held in Brussels. The occasion was organised on 10 and 11 May by Parliament's Green Group, the ecologists, for academics, politicians, civil servants and development workers from many European and African countries. The brief was a wide one-to look at the transition to democratic forms of government now taking place in many parts of Africa, to consider whether outsiders, particularly the European countries, were entitled to interfere and set political conditions on the granting of aid, and in the final analysis to discuss what democracy actually was.
Forms of democracy and democratic transition
The opening speaker in a well-organised programme was Achille Mbembe, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and contributor to the French current affairs weekly, Le Monde Diplomatique. Developments in sub Saharan Africa, he said, were not necessarily signs of a transition to democracy. Extremely complex social struggles were under way, and a number of structural factors had to be borne in mind.
First, Africa had been ousted from regular world markets, and its place in the international parallel economy was still not clear. There were historical precedents for the situation. The transition from slaving to legitimate trade in the 19th century had left African states with enormous debts to their trading partners; they were still in that position. Violence and the risk of political communities collapsing had led to a militarisation of trade, destroying the balance between public authority and the pursuit of private gain. People's notions of their religious, social and political identity had fallen apart. Achille Mbembe would not say Africa was on its way back to the 19th century, but he could see similarities.
Secondly - and this was a controversial issue - most economists agreed that structural adjustment programmes in Africa had failed. For the last 15 years the economic independence of African countries had been eroded by the demands of their international creditors. In some countries, by the end of the 1980s the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were running what Achille Mbembe called governments by proxy; and in the last four years they had been intervening directly in areas such as privatisation and public spending reduction, or even running public finances completely through their nominees.
This was not recolonisation, nor was it confined to Africa. What made Africa special was that the economic policy being applied was the same as that usually imposed on countries defeated in war. However, ending interference in State control of a country's economy was not the answer either if that control was not made more effective first.
The notion of the State in Africa was in crisis. The old model of the territorial State was beginning to look life-expired. Separatism had emerged as a force in Cameroon and Eritrea. Many peoples were searching for a new identity and there was extensive migration. The social and economic importance of political frontiers was fading, as the de facto seizure of autonomy by parts of Zaire showed. As the old forms crumbled, new structures of violence were emerging- witness the ravaging of Somalia, Angola and Mozambique by opposing armies and the creation of a paramilitary terror force, similar to Haiti's Tontons Macoutes, to protect the dictatorship in Togo. Forces like these arose and survived because anyone with weapons could raise money through intimidation and expropriation in territorial entities not recognised in international law. Dr Mbembe was not optimistic for the future of democracy in the present circumstances.
Taking up the theme that democratising Africa meant more than just organising elections, Claude Akpokevie, a political scientist from Ghana, reminded the conference that the post-colonial trajectories of African States had been very diverse, except that in all of them the State had sought to occupy all the potential bases for private creativity. In his view, real democracy would come with the rise of civil society, ordinary people fighting, not for power, but for the right to operate independently of whoever was in power. An important weapon of the weak was informal strategies of resistance such as spreading information by word of mouth; the fact that this was the form resistance usually took in Africa explained why there had been no big revolutions on that continent.
Liberal democracy, in Claude Akpokavie's view, was linked specifically to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the Western concept of modernity. Democracy as understood in non-Western countries like Japan and India was quite different. The Left-Right model, for example, was specific to the West. Some attempts to plant Western models in alien soil had actually favoured dictatorship: when a Westminster-style system was bequeathed to Ghana, for instance, the extensive powers of personal patronage enjoyed by the Prime Minister under that system were not offset by any of the checks and balances which also form part of the British tradition but were not present in Ghana.
The basic principles of democracy, however, were universal: the rule of law, institutionalized pluralism, one man/one vote, the possibility of alternation, accountability, and an equilibrium of power between the State and civil society and between workers and employers. Democracy was a process which never ended, not a finished state.
Mr Akpokavie offered the Ashanti empire of 17th to 19th-century Ghana as evidence that African societies had always been dynamic in their search for ways of involving all their members in the conduct of public affairs. It was up to Africans to devise an African form of democracy on the basis of their own experiences and history, not to return to the anachronisms of the 1960s. It should involve peasants as well as an urban elite, central government power must be devolved to the regions, which would foster policies that were not based on ethnic considerations, and government should talk to the real holders of invisible power (to the market queens who controlled the whole food economy in Ghana, for example, not just to the trade unions, who represented a very small proportion of workers). People-centred development should be the watchword.
A teacher from the University of Durban, South Africa, Dennis Nkosi, was wary of the recipe for democracy (a multiparty system plus a free-market economy) which he felt the West - especially the World Bank and the IMF -had handed to Africa in return for aid and support. Local, national and continental experiences should be taken into account in designing democratic models for Africa. As to South Africa, outsiders were wrong to give F.W. de Klerk credit for democratisation; the white minority was still fighting to make sure power and privilege remained in its hands, only this time the chosen ploy was to try to impose a specific model of democracy with foreign support. The basis for real democratic participation, Mr Nkosi said, was the emergence of organs of people's power.
After these academic contributions on the history and nature of democracy, the conference turned to an actual case study.
Brigitte Ameganvi, Secretary-General of the Togolese Human Rights League in France, asked whether the process under way in her country was a transition to democracy or a move backwards. All the concessions granted by the government of President Eyadema under pressure from the national conference of democrats were now, she said, being clawed back by an ongoing coup d'etat. The regime had realised, from observing the example of Zaire, that popular movements could be resisted, and there was no chance whatever of the elections in July being free and democratic.
Justine Kasavubu spoke on behalf of UDPS, the opposition political movement of Etienne Tshisekedi, who had set up a government in Zaire in defiance of that appointed by President Mobutu. There was, she confirmed, a 'Dictators' International' in Africa centred on Zaire, Togo and Rwanda, with whom the West connived because it supported institutions, not people. The West's contribution to democracy in Africa was to offer scraps from its own systems which had not worked, as when France suggested that Zaire's opposition 'cohabit' -i.e. collaborate in power-with the
President, a system that had produced miserable, results in France itself. Ms Kasavubu stressed the role of women in democratization, particularly as educators and as experienced operators in the parallel economy. They must help countries like Zaire recover their lost dignity by restoring values other than the power of money and rehabilitating respect for the notion of honest work. Men in Africa must be prepared to act as democrats in their relations with women, so as to release the potential of that still unexploited human resource.
Interference and 'conditionality'
In the interests of fostering democracy, have donors of aid to African countries a right or indeed a duty to interfere in the way they are run? This was the question addressed by a lawyer from the Association for the Rights of Peoples, Olivier Corten. International law forbade resort to force in relations between countries except in self-defence or when authorised by the Security Council. Obviously, enforcing democratisation in other countries met neither of these conditions. However, international law did allow one country to put economic pressure on another to secure, for example, the repayment of a debt. As to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of another country, it applied to action to force a country to do something it was entitled not to do; merely to voice an opinion or issue a recommendation (on respect for human rights, say) was not interference or a violation of sovereignty.
As regards setting conditions for the granting of aid, international law left wide margins for manoeuvre. If an intending donor-for instance, the IMF -insisted on the appointment of certain of its nominees to political posts as a condition of aid, that would be regarded as constraint. But to respond to a request for aid by insisting that certain policies be followed in exchange did not legally constitute constraint. Any entity providing resources on request was entitled to seek assurances that they would be used in what it regarded as a proper manner.
The right of peoples to self-determination had ordinally conceived as applying to countries under colonial or racist domination, but the concept had now evolved, Mr Corten said, to include the peoples of countries such as Haiti or Zaire who had been deprived of the government of their choice by an internal force, even if that force was actually in control of the country. And, in his view, there would be no legal obstacle to military interference by the United Nations in, say, Zaire if the Security Council regarded the situation there as a threat to international peace and security. No actual breach of international peace would need to have taken place first.
In conclusion, the speaker believed that Article 5 of the Lome IV Convention, which says, among other things, that 'development policy and cooperation are closely linked with the respect for and enjoyment of fundamental human rights', did entitle the EC to put pressure for human rights improvements on recipient countries as a condition of aid.
Ways of helping democratisation
The conference then considered some of the ways in which aid for democratisation is provided. Bernard Ryelandt of the EC Cormnission's Directorate-General for Development reported that aid from the European Development Fund and the EC budget went towards supporting the holding of elections, strengthening the rule of law (through funding for an independent judiciary and police forces), aiding the press (on a non-partisan basis) and grassroots promotion of nongovernmental organisations representing civil society. This year there was ECU 16 million in the budget for promoting human rights and democracy in the ACP countries, as well as an appropriation for Latin America.
Marc Deneer, attache at the Belgian Secretariat for Development Cooperation, said that the principle his country applied in giving aid for democratisation was that the policies concerned must be coherent, transparent, predictable and credible. Measures on the European side would only succeed if all the Member States and the Commission acted together. Belgium assessed the degree of democracy in a country by five criteria: the independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and association, the rule of law, regular elections and accountability of the government. Individual projects were examined to see how far they enshrined democratic precepts (for example, protection for workers' rights).
A further European contribution was made by Charles Condamines, director of the Panos Institute in Paris, an NGO which works to promote freedom of the press, especially in West Africa. In Africa, he said, critical news sheets and radio were burgeoning. But no more than 2% of development finance ever went to promoting information, and such funds always went from government to government. Governments tended to say it was not their function to help the opposition publicise its views, or that governments should not interfere in commercial competition by putting money into the media market, or that they would not support small undertakings which did not look viable-in other words, precisely the types of independent outfits which were struggling to keep going.
European press action
Does suspending aid to dictatorial regimes help to bring them down? Francois Misser, a correspondent on development issues for the BBC and La Cite, said that as long as rulers had managed to salt away enough funds to pay the army, as some had, they could stay in power indefinitely. And did elections spell an end to violence and oppression? Not if the losers rejected the result. In that event, were outsiders prepared and equipped to enforce compliance? Even the Organisation of African Unity, Mr Misser said, had shown it was not enthusiastic about international action. Democracy came from within; perhaps Europe should concentrate on encouraging governments to talk more to their trade unions, peasant groups and employers' associations. The press should also be asking whether real democracy was being installed in some African countries, or if it was just a redistribution of privilege.
Colette Braeckman, a journalist on the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, said that, as far as Africa was concerned, the Western media were only interested in its problems and in what the West was doing to help solve them. NGOs and pressure groups should do more to publicise their grassroots initiatives and the local input into them. Both Africa and Europe would gain from the increase in the flow of information if the developed world helped small rural radio stations and newspapers buy equipment and supplies; in many countries the government held a monopoly of these and effectively censored critical opinion by deciding who could use them. The courage of activists in Africa could teach Europeans a great deal about human rights.
A French member of the Green Group, Marie Christine Aulas, said human rights activists in Madagascar had told her during a visit there that, whatever the regime in power, it was always the same people who owned everything. As long as this basic economic issue was not tackled in Africa, democratisation was likely to be just a facade.
Speakers from the floor contributed to a lively discussion which then followed, calling among other things for a lightening of the African countries' debt burden as an encouragement to reform, though Europe and other outsiders, they said, must not use their economic muscle to try to dictate the course democracy should take in Africa, which had its own traditions. The Development Committee's attitude to linking democracy with development aid was set out in its Opinion, which says, firstly, that it may achieve nothing: 'There is no necessary link between economic success and the nature of the political regime,' and, on the basic principle, that: 'While it may seem selfevident that the Community should require its partners to respect fundamental human rights and freedom of expression, in politics as in other fields it remains the case that this requirement should be made out of human solidarity and not with a view to selecting the beneficiaries of a parsimonious aid system.' In conclusion, it was generally regretted that the conference was not being held in Africa-Mrs Ernst, from the chair, explained that the Green Group simply did not have the funds to hold such a meeting outside Europe.
'Minorities of all kinds-cultural, religious, linguistic, ethnic, and racial-are ubiquitous in today's world. Almost all states have one or more minority groups within heir national territories, and minorities frequently live on different sides of state borders. Consequently, the treatment of minorities presents a moral and political problem with both domestic and international ramifications. It is of vital importance that statesmen and citizens pay more attention to this question... In addition, it is imperative that we think of practical solutions that are fair both to the minorities and to the societies of which they form a part'.
One does not need to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of human history to understand what lies behind this plea by Professor Arendt Lijphart, writing at the beginning of he 1980s. Men and women have always been social creatures, ready to band together to form clubs, clans, tribes and nations. But just as in science, every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, the formation of social groups or communities, based on common characteristics or interests, implies the exclusion of those ho do not share those same characteristics or interests. Thus are the potential lines of dispute drawn.
As we approach the end of the 20th century, it would be rice to believe that mankind had found a way of satisfying its inherent 'group reflex' without the accompanying mistrust of other groups which so often spills over into conflict. That we have made some progress can hardly be disputed. Aggression by one nation-state against another is forbidden and rights can no longer be acquired by conquest. 'Battles' are more likely to be fought across a negotiating table, 'human rights' have been formulated and accepted, and people of different cultures communicate with each other in ways which previous generations could never have imagined. But these developments, welcome as they are, mean little to the people of Angola, Somalia, southern Sudan, Liberia, Bosnia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They offered no comfort to the recent victims of war in Cambodia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Iraq and Nicaragua. The human race still has a lot to do to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence.
Of course not all conflict involve minorities, but in today's world, where fighting is more often than not taking place within the borders of established states, the 'minority' issue is often a central component. And tensions between minority and majority communities are to be found in many other places even when open conflict is avoided. Oppression, discrimination, intolerance and prejudice pollute the atmosphere of too many societies.
The 'minority question' is a highly complicated one. Even the definition of the term 'minority' poses problems and each 'minority situation' has its own unique characteristics which limit one's scope for drawing general conclusions. In this Dossier, we seek to unravel some of the complexities of this subject by describing and analysing the key issues and looking at a 'representative' sample of specific cases.
This is clearly a sensitive topic and our external contributors have been asked to express their views freely. Some of these views may be controversial. Please feel free to write to us with your own ideas.
by Lorenza SQUARCI
To understand the situation of minorities, it is necessary first to consider what is meant by the word 'minority'. The need for such a definition to be precise is perhaps not immediately obvious: it is a word which is in everyday use and most people have a fairly clear idea, in general terms, of what it means when they use it. Lawyers, however, have sought to establish the word's meaning within clearly defined limits. It is obvious that legal protection is likely to be all the more effective if there is no disagreement over what is being protected! But definition, as is so often the case, poses problems.
From a political standpoint, it is important to ensure the objectivity of legal definitions - they should not exacerbate existing separatist tendencies within a state or contribute to rivalries between states. Any definition required for the purpose of protecting minorities must, therefore, aim to be as clear as possible. It is important to avoid definitions which are so broad as to be pointless, while those which are too narrow might run the risk of excluding certain situations and consequently, of depriving the groups in question of any protection that the law provides.
It was not until the 20th century that the question of identifying minorities was really tackled. The authors of the League of Nations Covenant were the first to consider it, while subsequent peace treaties and conventions increasingly began to focus on the more general issue of human rights. In 1950, a UN subcommittee was instructed actually to look into the protection of minorities and, with a view to establishing the parameters of the subject, this body reached the following conclusions:
-the term 'minority' referred to nondominant groups of a population which had and wished to preserve ethnic, religious or linguistic traditions or characteristics which were distinctly different from those of the rest of the population;
-these non-dominant groups had to be large enough to be able to develop such characteristics
-members of minorities should be loyal to the state of which they were nationals.
According to Louis Mirth, a minority 'is a group of people who, by virtue of their physical or cultural characteristics, are distinct from the other people in the society in which they live because of different and unequal treatment and who, therefore, consider themselves to be the subject of collective discrimination. Having minority status means being prevented from fully participating in the life of society'.
A socio-political concept
Despite these attempts at a legal definition, the notion of minority should first be approached as a socio-political concept. When one talks of minorities, one should keep four things in mind.
The first is the concept of community. For a minority to exist in reality, its members should have characteristics which both unite them with each other and differentiate them from the rest of the national society, so that they form a distinct community of their own.
The second important element is also a quantitative one. A group which has religious, linguistic or historical cohesion is only effectively a minority if it meets two conditions as to size. It should have enough members to give it a certain significance at national level and it obviously should be smaller than the rest of the population so that the latter occupies a position of strength vis-a-vis the former. The result of this is that the possibility of oppression is inherent.
A position of strength tends, above all, to imply economic and social advantages, so the true scale of the minority phenomenon is to be sought in an analysis of the place that minorities occupy in the economic and social system. Historically, certain linguistic, religious and other groups have been excluded from or exploited in the production process. It is worth noting that the reverse can also occur where a minority is in a (real or imagined) position of economic privilege and the majority reacts against this. European anti-semitism and the treatment meted out to certain Asian communities in East Africa are examples of where this has happened.
The third component is a psychological phenomenon, that of minority awareness. For an established, numerically inferior group to be a minority in the true meaning of the word, it needs to be aware of being a minority. Minority awareness has a reciprocal element in that not only does the smaller group consider itself a minority, but it has to be treated as such by the majority-the vital basis for oppression. And where there is oppression, a minority will assimilate the anxieties and frustrations of the dominant group.
In addition to the above socio-political elements, there are a number of practical circumstances which can be invoked in the identification of minority groups.
One may, for example, refer to the concepts of nation and state-which are by no means synonymous. A minority, in this context, may be the 'extension' of one or more sovereign states beyond its borders-the Magyars in Romania or the 'Austrians' in Italy. It is also possible to have minorities such as the Tibetans or Basques which are 'nations' without states in the sense that they do not have any real ethnic links with the larger state entity to which they 'belong'.
A minority may be identified by language, religion or territory (an island or an area bounded by rivers or mountains, for example).
For the purpose of identification, the question of the will of the group in question is relevant. Clearly, a minority cannot appear on the political scene unless, as stated earlier, it is aware of its existence and of having its own values.
Objective factors such as political, religious or linguistic persecution are all that it takes to arouse such group awareness.
Another approach may be to classify minorities in the light of the way they are officially regarded. They may be recognised as self-governing states or regions, they may have specific linguistic or cultural freedoms or, in some cases, they may have no recognition at all.
The right to self-determination is generally recognised but this is only feasible for minorities which are grouped territorially. Such communities can be treated differently from scattered minorities, the latter generally having to be content with a personally-based system of protection (i.e. one founded on human rights).
A further complication can arise in the case of a 'double minority', that is to say, a 'cub-minority' which is part of a larger group which, in turn, is a minority vis-a-vis the wider society.
Finally, it may be necessary to distinguish between indigenous
and immigrant minorities.
When one talks of 'minorities' there are a number of associated terms which come to mind. Words such es 'melting pot', 'assimilation' or 'integration' are often used to refer to a particular situation involving one or a number of minorities on the one hand and a majority community on the other.
These are all expressions which are liable to cause confusion. Their potential for ambiguity arises from the fact that they are used both to describe a situation and to indicate a process. Given the complexity of the subject in general, with so many different forms of minority situation throughout the world, it is useful to seek clearer definitions of the relevant terminology.
It is worth emphasising, in the context of these terms, the wide differences in the treatment or status of minority groups. There are a great many variables relating to language, religion, culture, skin-colour and so on, which enter into the minority/ majority equation. When in the face of such diversity one talks of 'losing an original culture', it should be recognized that it is normally a question of degree. The total loss of a culture rarely, if ever, happens. Equally unlikely is the complete preservation of an original culture uninfluenced by the norms, values or habits of the majority in a given society.
According to the Collins English Dictionary, 'melting pot' as a sociological term means 'an area where many races, ideas etc are mixed'. The Webster's dictionary includes the idea of racial amalgamation.
The term, therefore' refers to a situation where minorities intermingle, brought together through similar social, political, economic or ideological goals. Each group may well retain an element of its own identity-at least during an interim phase -but in the longer run the original identity will 'fade' in a process of merging to achieve common objectives. The underlying idea is that something entirely new is created from the 'old' ingredients.
Drobizheva and Guboglo, in their study entitled 'Aspects of Interpersonal and Intergroup Communication in Plurilingual Societies', which was presented at a symposium on multilinguahsm in Brussels on 13-15 March 1986, put forward the following definition of 'assimilation': 'Disappearance of distinctive ethnographical features; objectively the loss of specific elements of material and non-material culture and subjectively the loss of feeling of belonging to a particular ethnic group.' Simultaneously, they say it involves 'acquisition of traits belonging to another culture, which replace those of the former, accompanied by the subjective feeling of belonging to the second culture'.
For the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, to assimilate is to 'make like' or to 'absorb into the system'. Collins talks of 'being changed into another under the influence of one adjacent to it'. But in the context of groups of peoples living together in a society, Webster's offers the most comprehensive description, referring to 'socio-cultural fusion wherein individuals and groups of differing ethnic heritage acquire the basic habits, attitudes and mode of life of an embracing national culture'.
Assimiliation is, accordingly, characterised by the abandonment or renunciation of one's original culture. In effect, minorities become absorbed (over time) into the wider society. Such a process does not preclude the possibility that the 'host' culture will be influenced or altered in some way but it is essentially 'one-sided'.
The difference between assimilation and integration may be a subtle one but it is nevertheless important. Drobizheva and Guboglo describe the latter as the 'formation of common features in an ethnically heterogeneous group'.
The Concise Oxford speaks of 'combining parts into a whole' and indeed, refers explicitly to the ending of racial segregation
Likewise, Collins, which refers to 'the act of amalgamating a racial or religious group within an existing community. But the crucial point, elucidated in Webster's is that the incorporation which takes places into the society 'on the basis of common and equal membership of individuals' does not involve the complete extinction of pre-existing and differing group characteristics.
Thus in contrast to assimilation, integration is seen as a process which allows the minority to enter something (a group or society) which already exists, without necessarily involving the loss of Original culture'. Minorities may indeed choose no' to integrate in given circumstances. Assimilation implies no such choice.
Diversity in unity
One further expression which is gaining in popularity is 'diversity in unity'. It refers to those types of organisation (social, political, economic etc), specifically created to deal with situations where different nationalities, cultures or linguistic groups are required to work together. The aim is to allow for the differences to be maintained and respected- rather than to suppress them in the interests of some 'common cause'. Federalism is sometimes described as a system which seeks to maintain 'diversity in unity'. In practice, the Swiss confederal system provides a good example of this approach.
Minorities are not identified solely in terms of their distinctive features. The way they react to their situation, if at all, is also important.
Where minorities hope for peaceful cohabitation with the majority and with other minorities, there is cultural pluralism. This involves a desire for a united economic and political basis, combined with a tolerance of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity.
Assimilation is also a possibility. This involves the agreement of, or perhaps more commonly, the acquiescence of the minority in a process which leads to absorption (over time) into the majority group, with a view to everyone being treated as an individual. The minority melts into the mass. Of course, this can only happen if the majority agrees (or acquiesces) as well.
Alongside these visions of pluralism and assimilation, there are two other possibilities which involve the highlighting, rather than the ironing out, of differences.
First, there is the secessionist tendency, in which the minority seeks to obtain political and cultural independence. This is likely to develop where cultural pluralism or assimilation has failed. A second phenomenon, which is more unusual but by no means unprecedented, is where the minority goes beyond a desire for equality or separation, and instead seeks to dominate the majority. This requires a conviction of its own superiority on the part of the minority.
Despite all efforts at classification and identification, it is
clear from the complexities outlined above that there are no easy answers. If
the issue of definition alone can throw up so many unanswerable questions, one
may well ponder whether the 'minority question' can ever be
by Christian GuyonvarcH
The drama of minorities is the drama of mankind as a whole, in that it poses the problem of accepting differences in a shrinking world. What we mean by minority here is not necessarily a numerically smaller group (although it usually is). It is a community subject to domination and discrimination because of apparent or alleged ethnic, linguistic, cultural or religious particularities.
The factors, and there are four of them, leading to prejudice towards minorities and tension between groups are psychological, historical, economic and political.
Psychological, historical and economic factors
The psychological factor is inherent in the nature of man and the history of mankind. Apparent or alleged 'otherness', wherever it may be, has always been a potential danger for the person who sensed it, be it to his physical integrity (tine 'mixed blood' phobia) or moral wellbeing (the fantasy of degeneration). The danger is perceived as being all the greater when the prejudice has been handed down from one generation to another. In this case, the 'other' becomes a scapegoat, someone who takes the blame and, when times are hard, becomes the enemy. The more obvious the 'other's' differences (as regards colour of skin, religion, customs or language), the worse the discrimination against the minority tends to be.
In periods of economic crisis and social tension, the risk of conflict with and prejudice towards minorities will be worse if there are historical precedents. In many cases, history will be rewritten or twisted in an attempt to show that the minority in question was to blame during periods of decline. The falsifiers take the opposite tack too and exaggerate the history of their group, with abundant reference to the notion of original purity. So history becomes a weapon used to justify discrimination or aggression. The aggressor always believes it is a case of legitimate self-defence, or that he is wreaking vengeance for past aggression, or that he is heading off future aggression. History is of great importance in collective paranoia.
The economic factor, by no means the least important, can come into play in two different circumstances - in a context of economic competition or in a context of expansion. In the case of competition, the group which is the target of discrimination or aggression is accused of wrongfully having certain economic and social privileges, or, more simply of having the same rights as the majority. In the case of expansion, the minority will be the victim if particular raw materials found in the area in which it lives are exploited. This form of aggression is strongly resented by the native populations, whose way of life is closely bound up with their natural environment. Going beyond that, material prejudice in the shape of an attack on the environment is perceived as physical and moral aggression and, significantly, organisations which defend the right of indigenous peoples have linked the right of self determination to the protection of the environment.
A political factor-the nation state aiming for unity
The political factor lies in the internationalisation of an approach to government which was initially confined to Europe and which does not countenance the coexistence of different communities-the nation-state.
The concept came to the fore in Western Europe during the late Middle Ages, at the courts of the French and English kings. The state, which was vested with the power to strike coin, raise armies and mete out justice, came before the nation, which was the community of subjects in the time of absolute monarchy and the community of citizens thereafter. The state commanded the nation. So the nation-state was an ideological construction which brought civil war, the conquest of land and antagonistic empires in its wake. It conformed to no ethical or religious criteria. Territorial conquest and the subjecting of more people to the authority of the central state were justified, in the view of those who held power, by the demands of the economy (controlling raw materials) or its universal mission (evangelising souls or awakening minds).
The United Kingdom and France, together with Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, have lost their empires and Europe's last empire, the Soviet one, has just gone too. But the former colonies inherited the nation-state concept from the empires whose subjects they once were and they have applied it rigorously. And other concepts related to it-territorial integrity, for example, and national sovereignty-have become the principles of government of the new states. The paradox of the post-colonial era in which we now live is, of course, that the former colonies have reproduced exactly the mode of government from which they fought to free themselves.
Although the nation-state was designed independently of all ethnic or religious considerations, it was, as we have seen, soon confronted with the problems of administering a population which might well be heterogeneous from the point of view of language, religion or custom. Rare cases apart, the answer has always been the same-to glorify the 'one-ness' of the nation, because nationstate means united state. One state, one sovereignty, one nation, one motherland, one people, one language, one culture, one history and so on. The nation-state has no room for iotherness'in its external manifestations or its public life. So the refusal to accept the 'other', anyone who does not conform to the standard national which the state requires, can be expressed in two ways-by physical or mental exclusion. Physical exclusion may involve population movement, expulsion or elimination-the crime of genocide, the typical solution of totalitarian states. Mental exclusion may involve a policy of assimilation which breaks down the solidarity and coherence of the minority group by removing or restricting the possibilities of collective expression at school, in the media, in the civil service, in the courts and so on. The policy of assimilation is typical of liberal nationstates which only recognise the rights of the individual-an insidious way of imposing the culture and way of life of the majority on the minority.
From nation-state to tribe-state
Now that it is clear that people have the right to self-determination, more and more peoples and minority groups are putting up peaceful or violent opposition to the unitary approach of the nationstates to which they are subjected. But a process similar to the one which occurred in the former colonies of the European empires seems to be emerging and some national minorities are adopting a unitary argument to justify the creation of ethnically homogeneous states-what might be called tribe-states, because it is no longer the state which determines the nation but the tribe which justifies the state. The tribe-state, a transformation of the nation-state, is based on homogeneity to the exclusion of all else and the farfrom-reality theory of independence and sovereignty.
The policies of ethnic purification are related to this strategy of introspection and rejection of the 'other', which is all the more irrational in that it does not take the future into account. The aggressor forgets that today's enemy is tomorrow's neighbour and that ways of cohabitation have to be sought.
If different communities are to co-exist peacefully, then
frontiers must be less important, the nation must be demystified and the state
must be made more relative. This drive for a better world can only be made
through federal-style types of organization in which differences are accepted
and developed, not exacerbated, and are no longer thought of as a handicap, but
experienced as an
A good indication of the status and self-confidence of minority groups within existing states can be found in the way in which such groups are represented, if at all, in the political structures. In today's world, democratic systems predominate and, on the whole, democracy offers the most promising setting for minorities to mobilise politically. However, democracy comes in many different forms and, since there is obviously no simple 'minority' model either, the scope of the subject is clearly enormous. In this article, we focus on the way in which democratic structures cater for minority groups and, conversely, on the approach which minorities choose to adopt in mobilising within systems to ensure that their voice is heard. This article does not deal with the more thorny issue of minority 'representation' in non-democratic systems although it is worth noting that while in many cases, they are excluded altogether (and often oppressed), there can be circumstances, even in autocracies, where minorities are given some sort of 'voice' in the system. Even powerful non-elected presidents cannot ignore public opinion entirely and they may feel it expedient, for example, to appoint minority leaders to ministerial posts in order to neutralise possible dissent.
In discussing those systems of government which are broadly viewed as being 'democratic', an initial distinction can be drawn between the political structures which have been created and the way in which minorities choose to mobilise within them. Taking the structures first, it should be recognised that the right to stand for election combined with universal suffrage does not alone provide a guarantee of fair representation for minorities. In broad terms, a democracy should have two essential characteristics if a minority community is to have a level playing field for political participation. These are a democratic atmosphere and a system which fairly reflects the diversity of views in any given society.
The first of these, which some would argue is the more important, implies a general recognition that people have a right to express contrary opinions and will be given the opportunity to do so without fear of discrimination or persecution. In fact, most democracies adhere to a set of human rights principles which purport to guarantee this freedom of speech and back it up with other norms which are also important for the effective functioning of democracy such as the secrecy of the ballot, freedom from arbitrary arrest and the liberty of the press. Unfortunately, however, rules and reality do not always coincide and the mere existence of legal provisions does not necessarily mean that they will be properly implemented in practice. There is obviously a particular challenge, in this context, for new democracies where people are unused to, and perhaps uneasy about, criticism of those in power and where there may still be a reflex to suppress such behaviour. But there is also a need to guard against slippage in 'old' democracies, whose voters may become complacent or disillusioned. Accepting the proposition that power is likely to corrupt those who wield it, voter passivity can lead to erosion of freedoms in a more insidious way. Participation is therefore a further essential element of a healthy democracy.
It is obvious that minority groups are likely to face difficulties in countries that are notionally democratic but which fail to provide the necessary democratic atmosphere. There is little point in standing for election if one is effectively denied access to the media, for example.
The ability to get one's message across to the electorate is clearly essential and political parties in developing countries may face special difficulties because of lack of finance. The simple act of putting one's message on paper, printing leaflets and distributing them to the voters costs money which must be found from somewhere. And even if the cash can be raised, the impact of written tracts is likely to be limited in countries which have low literacy rates. In such circumstances, access to the broadcast media-particularly radio-becomes essential for effective campaigning.
A further problem for opposition parties throughout the world is that rulers have the advantage of a government machine which may legally be required to be neutral but which, in practice, can be employed to deliver particular messages in favour of the governing elite. It seems likely, human nature being what it is, that governments will always be tempted to exploit this advantage, even in countries which appear to have a democratic atmosphere. The most effective constraint in such cases is public disapproval but this can only be engendered if the system is transparent and opposition forces have the means at their disposal to highlight the abuse.
Finally, in the context of creating a democratic atmosphere, tolerance is a crucial element which must be nurtured. Political activists are human beings and if they are in danger of being subjected to abuse-or indeed violent attack-they will be less inclined to campaign. People who have a strong commitment to a particular set of ideals, or a particular political movement, often find it difficult to understand how anyone can hold contrary views! But if they refuse to listen to such views, or react forcefully against them, then democracy is undermined. This is something which is not always appreciated even by people living in longestablished democracies.
Reflecting what the people want
The second element which is likely to be of importance to minorities is the extent to which the 'democratic' system allows for them to be fairly represented in the elected bodies. At first sight, the idea that the composition of a parliament should reflect the views of the electorate -and hence give minorities representation commensurate with their numerical strength in a society-would seem both uncontroversial and relatively easy to achieve. Indeed, it is arguable that a system which does not ensure a representative legislature is not in fact democratic. But in reality, the question of which system to choose can pose considerable difficulties.
In seeking to reflect the views of the voters, one must have some idea of their objectives when they enter the polling booth. For example, are they interested in voting for a party or an individual? Some countries have systems which are weighted in favour of party voting but offer little or no scope for individual candidate preferences. Others adhere to the fiction that it is only individuals that are being elected to represent a given area and make no provision for the overall party balance in the country.
Then there is the strategic question of the kind of government the voters wish to see. Do they give priority to the election of a majority government? If so, then it may be justified to have a system which gives greater weight to the largest group in order that they can exercise power more freely. This, of course, means that each vote does not have an equal value. Alternatively, would they prefer to have a legislature which faithfully reflects the voting preferences of the population as a whole? This implies a proportional voting system and, in all likelihood, a coalition-forming process after the votes have been cast.
Where systems are being considered, there is also an important choice to be made between presidential and parliamentary government. The former concentrates power in the hands of a single politician, the latter gives greater emphasis to a 'team' approach.
It seems reasonable to assume that most minorities would prefer parliamentary systems based on proportional voting, since, taken together, these two elements should improve their chances of being able to participate in the exercise of power. Proportionality ought to result in fair representation for them-although, if they represent a majority in a particular geographical area of the country, a single member system may also do this. Of course, this is something of a generalisation-small minority communities will have less influence than larger ones and even in the most 'representative' systems, substantial minorities may find themselves excluded where a homogenous majority group holds the levers of power.
In some democracies, special provision is made for the representation of minorities in the form of 'reserved seats'. Such an approach may be applauded if it is because the minority in question would otherwise be too small to reach the threshold required for representation under the prevailing electoral rules, such as in Germany (where Danish speakers have guaranteed representation) or in New Zealand (which has reserved Maori seats). But it can also be used as a pretext for a majority group to monopolise power, particularly where separate electoral rolls are involved. The result may well be that minorities remain on the political margins.
How minorities (and majorities) organise themselves
Irrespective of the system that is adopted, there are various ways in which minorities may choose to operate within a democracy. The defining criteria for the formation of political parties vary considerably from one country to another. At one 'extreme' there are states whose politics are purely issue-based (the term 'issue' being confined in this context to substantive political questions relating to the economy, trade, transport, housing, health etc.). In western democracies, the usual pattern is the classic 'left-right' spectrum where people band together with others who hold similar views on a range of social and economic issues. There are also single-issue groupings- people who give such priority to a particular subject (such as the environment) that they choose to organise politically on this basis. However, both 'left-right' divisions and single issue politics share an important common characteristic, namely that the people involved organise themselves without reference to factors of race, creed, language or colour. At the other extreme are those states where political affiliation is determined largely by attachment to a particular group whether it be a nationality, tribe, religion or language community. There are, of course, a great many countries which fall somewhere between the two with issue- and groupbased parties both represented in the legislature.
Almost by definition, minority issues are likely to be low on the political agenda in countries whose politics are issue dominated. This is not to say that minorities do not exist, but the fact that they operate within wider political groupings points to a lack of grievance, or at least a belief that the system offers opportunities for any problems to be resolved. Where minorities choose to operate through their own political groupings, a sense of alienation from the mainstream can normally be presumed. In some cases, where the minority is geographically concentrated in a territory which is historically 'theirs', the main objective may be greater self-government or perhaps even full statehood. In others, it may simply be a question of defending the interests-and indeed, preserving the identity-of a community which is more widely dispersed within the society.
In the final analysis, therefore, the way in which minorities
choose to organise within democratic systems will depend on the local
circumstances. To the idealist, the participation of minorities within the
'mainstream', in a political environment which allows for but is otherwise blind
to their ethnic, religious or other 'separateness', would be the perfect
solution. In practice, as illustrated by many of today's conflicts in different
parts of the world, there is a long way to go before this can be
A brief survey of the sources and instruments of international law reveals very little in the way of specific protection for minority communities. However, there are various international norms of more general application which could be invoked in protecting minorities. There are also potentially conflicting rules which might be construed as unhelpful to their cause. In this short article, we describe some of the more important norms in this area.
The limited provision for minorities in international law is reflected in the absence of a widely agreed definition of the term 'minority' for legal purposes. One possible definition was advanced by Jules Deschenes, a Canadian member of the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. He proposed the following:
'A group of citizens of a State, constituting a numerical minority and in a nondominant position in that State, endowed with ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics which differ from those of the majority of the population, having a sense of solidarity with one another, motivated, if only implicitly, by a collective will to survive and whose aim is to achieve equality with the majority in fact and in law,'
The work of the Commission to which Mr Deschenes belonged did not lead to any legally binding international instrument but his proposal is useful in containing the defining elements of minority 'status" which most people would recognise and accept.
The UN Civil and Political Rights Covenant
Neither the UN Charter nor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights mentions minorities per se, despite attempts at the drafting stage to include a reference in the latter instrument. However, the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does refer to minorities at Article 27, which says:
'In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language. '
Most countries adhere to this Convention and are obliged, as a result, to guarantee the aforementioned rights in respect of the minorities in question. It is noteworthy that this provision does not place any positive obligations on states as regards the treatment of minorities (for example, guaranteeing state education in significant minority languages). It merely requires a policy of benign non-interference
UN General Assembly Declaration on Minorities
More recently, the UN General Assembly has made a notable addition to the international normative thinking on this subject. At its session in December 1992, the Assembly adoped a Declaration on Minorities which lays down, in much greater detail, the behaviour expected of governments in dealing with their minority communities (see the 'Meeting Point' interview with Alan Phillips of the Minority Rights Group).
Article 1 of the Declaration goes somewhat further than Article 27 of the Civil and Political Rights Covenant in 'requiring' states not only to protect the existence and identity of various minorities (ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic) but to encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity. This implies a positive commitment to action on the part of states. Reference is also made in the Declaration to the full participation of minorities in the progress and development of their country, although this provision is couched in the l language of exhortation rather than l obligation ('States should consider appropriate measures'). For those engaged in the execution of development programmes, it is stated that due regard must be given to the interests of minorities.
In the context of UN General Assembly resolutions, the reference made above to 'normative thinking' is important. Such resolutions do not have the force of law and the 'obligations' which they contain are, in reality, little more than recommendations or appeals for action. Despite this, they are sometimes regarded as legally 'persuasive', particularly when they have been adopted unanimously or by an overwhelming majority. Custom is still one of the principal sources of international law and, while a UN resolution may not in itself be legally binding, it may contribute to the development of customary law in the longer term to the extent that it reflects the consensus view of the state actors in the international legal system.
Moving away from specific reference to minorities, the general corpus of international law contains some elements that are helpful to oppressed minorities and others that may hinder their efforts to achieve fair treatment.
On the positive side, human rights law, as reflected in the UN Declaration, the two international covenants (on civil and political rights and on economic, social and cultural rights) and in various regional human rights conventions, offer protection in a variety of ways. Basic rights such as those pertaining to liberty, free expression, family life and so on are extended to all people but they are likely to have a particular relevance for minority groups whose position in society may be vulnerable. Of the various international human rights instruments, those established on a regional basis have a particular significance because they normally include institutional arrangements designed, in one way or another, to ensure state compliance. The most powerful of these is the European Convention, which was the first major international treaty to allow individuals a right of legal challenge. Traditionally, only states (and nowadays, international organisations) enjoy legal personality under international law. The African Charter on Human and People's Rights, which came into force in October 1986, also allows a form of individual complaint but this is hedged with various restrictions. Uniquely, the African Charter also makes reference to 'peoples' rights'. These were included at the insistence of left-leaning governments when the text was being negotiated and they include the rights to equality, free disposal of wealth and natural resources, economic, social and cultural development, and a satisfactory environment. These essentially collective rights are to be found alongside the traditional individual ones and it is not difficult to understand why they were included, when one considers the continent's colonial past. It is difficult, nevertheless, to see how they could be meaningfully enforced. When a person is imprisoned without trial, it is normally possible to establish that a violation has occurred and that someone (usually in authority) was responsible. How does one decide when the collective right to a healthy environment has been breached and who does one blame when this can be established?
Even if the rules on peoples' rights could be enforced, it is doubtful whether they are of interest to minorities. The term 'peoples' almost certainly refers to the populations of existing states as a whole, and not to any particular ethnic or other group living within their borders.
On the other hand, it is worth pointing out that a number of countries have incorporated the individual rights set out in the various international conventions into their own domestic laws. Often these are constitutionally entrenched. As a result, the possibility of direct legal redress, using local courts, has been extended.
The principle of self-determination offers further scope for the protection of certain minorities. This principle, at least arguably, now forms part of customary international law but its limitations need to be recognised. In the first place, it is extremely difficult for minorities within existing state boundaries to invoke it. Few states are likely to support norms which might lead to their own dismemberment and 'self-determination' has tended, therefore, only to be applied to 'colonial' situations. The result, anomalous though it may seem, is that while the former colonies of Africa had a right to self-determination, on the basis of boundaries put in place by the colonial powers, individual ethnic groups or peoples within those boundaries have no such right. Nor, it would appear, do dispossessed 'nationalities' such as the Kurds, unless and until the central authorities of the states where they live decide otherwise.
This leads us to the Negative' aspects of international law, at least from the point of view of minorities who are unhappy with their current situation vis-a-vis the central state. Despite the development of international rules regarding human rights and the rights of peoples to determine their own future, the more long-standing principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity still tend to be given precedence in practice.
One of the effects of the sovereignty principle is that governments are extremely reluctant to become involved in events taking place entirely within the borders of another state. The rationale for inhibiting interference in the internal affairs of another country is difficult to criticise. Without it, the strong could impose their will on the weak, as states have notoriously done throughout history. The territorial integrity concept is clearly related to this, acting as a legal brake upon those who would seek territorial acquisition by conquest.
For minorities, the negative implications of these rules are clear. When oppressed, they will find it difficult to obtain international support. While foreign politicians may sympathise with their plight, they will hesitate to disturb the existing international order.
In fact, recent developments suggest that the 'absolute' nature of the sovereignty principle may be under threat. Various events, including the UN intervention in Somalia, Cambodia and Bosnia and the assistance rendered to the Kurds through 'safe' areas inside Iraq, point to a less rigid application of the rule. Indeed, there is a growing, though by no means unanimous, view that the international community now does have a right of 'humanitarian intervention', which may obviously be of help to certain minorities in extreme situations. However, the extent of the change should not be overstated. Bosnia perhaps illustrates best the continuing power of the territorial integrity reflex. With the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the old internal state boundaries suddenly seem to have acquired an immutable character in international law. It may be that boundary redrawing would not solve the intractable problems of Bosnia-Herzegovina but it is significant that no one in the international community is even suggesting it. Yet there must be few who seriously believe that this unfortunate country, even with highly autonomous Muslim, Serb and Croat cantons, can now be salvaged as a viable political entity.
A further concern is that the international community, in the shape of the United Nations, does not always appear to act consistently. In some countries, internal strife and the suppression of minorities pass almost without comment. In others, the UN is highly active. Given that 'equality before the law' is supposed to be a fundamental juridical principle, this type of inconsistency does little to enhance the reputation of the international legal order.
Problems in implementation
The sovereignty principle can also serve to undermine the efficacy of human rights rules. It is all very well for countries to subscribe to conventions on this subject, but the evidence suggests that many fall short when it comes to implementation. The various human rights instruments are full of grand ideals, but they are ideals which many ordinary people would have difficulty identifying in the behaviour of their governments.
In fact, the most serious weakness of the international system as a whole lies in the absence of mechanisms for ensuring implementation. Very few international instruments provide individuals with the opportunity to obtain judicial redress and very few states are willing to go beyond voicing disapproval when the rules are broken-as they frequently are. In these circumstances, minorities would be illadvised to place undue reliance on the international system when their 'rights' are threatened. Having said this, it is better to have a flawed system than no system at all. Most governments are sensitive to criticism in the same way that ordinary people are. With one or two notable exceptions, they take no pleasure in being ostracised and this helps to ensure a higher level of compliance than might otherwise be the case. It is obviously impossible to quantify, but it is almost certainly true that the human condition - and by extension, the condition of minority communities across the world-has benefited from the progressive development of an international legal framework. Flawed it may be, but it is the best that is on offer.
by Patrice Meyer-Bisch
The countries of central and eastern Europe are trying to bring their peoples together, both within their borders and beyond, strengthening the ties with the motherland, as the Hungarian minority rights bill puts it. What is this unity to be? Bringing peoples together, in all their differences, means managing and sometimes forging relations between majority and minority and, clearly, such relations breed conflict. Not only do they exacerbate every difference. They also put dangerous emphasis on the matter of territorial boundaries. Minority rights are a legitimate and urgent demand for all those men and women whose dignity has been trampled under foot, but they cause wars too. So what is the answer?
If the international community currently has nothing to suggest, it is because its members, the states, are unable themselves to solve the problem of the multinational, multicultural state. The cause of all Yugoslavia's troubles is powerlessness -powerlessness in humanitarian and political matters and most of all, perhaps, powerlessness in theoretical matters. We have no model. Federalism is one way, but it is not the only one and it is not sufficient either, because it reproduces the problem of the nation-state, with the minority issue still intact, on a smaller scale. New institutional solutions are what is needed.
Difficult to apply
No-one is taken in when a state announces that it does not recognise minorities because it assimilates them or that it recognises specific rights for official minorities. When the Macedonian demonstration was going on in Athens in December, for example, more than 100 experts were busy at a conference on the rights of minorities and peoples. The fire is at its gates and Greece has every interest in saying just what its minorities' rights are. But in what sense? Is the idea really to have all men equal? and if it is, why does the State currently make Greeks state their religion on their identity cards? Austria and Hungary are agitating for recognition of minority rights in the Council of Europe, but the reference unit is still the nation-state, or the motherland, even. The rights of ethnic groups, Volksgruppen, clearly bear the stamp of potential discrimination. Does bringing freedom mean drawing the ethnic boundaries first?
Ensuring that the rights of members of minority groups are respected means identifying those minorities through various cultural features-which usually have blurred edges. It means defining the ratio of minority to majority in a given area, for what is a minority group at national level may well be a majority one at regional level. And lastly, it means cataloguing people and ensuring them rights as members of an ethnic group.
This is all perfectly legitimate, politically speaking, when it comes to organising support for the underprivileged and designing a contingency plan of compensatory schemes deemed most likely to bring back equality. But it must not be conditional on rights which, by being human rights, are universal and unconditional.
Who is to say that a particular person or a particular family belongs to a particular group, when all the characteristics of languages, religion, housing and profession fluctuate in a thriving cultural osmosis? Recognition of minority rights is potentially discriminating in that it forces people to identify with a particular cultural community, which, given the profoundly varied and changing nature of cultural kinship, could be harmful. Choosing between one set of people and another amounts to self mutilation. Although there are bills to proclaim that the individual has the right to switch ethnic groups, switching involves a whole process of changing status, instead of immediate and universal recognition of official freedoms, and it does nothing to alter the basic fact-that cultural identity is many-faceted. It is clear that many states want this mutilation, but the authors of the projected international instruments for the victims (people and communities) of what can be lethal discrimination do not. But how can manipulation be avoided when the recognition of minorities actually invites it?
The universalist approach through cultural rights
We would be in stalemate were it not for another, strangely neglected solution which fits in far better with the human rights tradition. The logical thing would be to define the immediate universal before looking at the guarantees of particular and contingent situations. The legal intruments currently available 2 clearly contain three separate categories of rights-universal rights and guarantees which are merely stated (equality, freedom of association, movement and religion and legal guarantees), universal cultural rights (to cultural identity, one's own communication and information and the use of one's own language) and, lastly, just one specific collective right (of a minority to its existence), with the right to special measures to guarantee the universal rights-special administrative arrangements (the right to own-language teaching at school, for example, for minorities of a certain size) and the possibility of special political representation for minorities. The mention of universal rights should perhaps be seen as a preamble. The definition of the second category, cultural rights, reveals a worrying void, which hampers the legal and political development of the law applying to people who belong to minorities and to all the forgotten majorities.
The fact that the human rights movement stumbled over the definitions of economic and social rights has pushed the whole issue of cultural rights (classified at the end of the second category) right into the background-yet it is the (dramatically) missing key as far as the present claims are concerned. Cultural rights, as a specific category of human rights, are under-developed 3 and, although the spotlight is on them now, it is only in the restricted framework of minority rights. The vagueness which surrounds the right to culture has suggested that the series of needs to which this has been reduced has been more or less met as far as the majorities are concerned, in proportion to their level of development. This is a long way from human rights.
Cultural rights have been caught in the minority rights trap, in that the call for the right to cultural identity is immediately taken to be a particularist move, when in fact it is indivisibly twofold. Identity is both the right to be different and the right to resemble, the right to be particular combined with the right to be universal. So there are two (dialectical rather than contradictory) sides to every cultural right. We have the knowledge to provide adequate positive definitions of these human rights today.
The advantage of a universalist approach is that it avoids the legal chiaroscuro surrounding the definition of the subject of the right (belonging to a community). It makes for an immediate definition of rights applicable to people everywhere, regardless of their condition and this reduces the bellicose tensions attendant on all territorialisation issues.
That is not all. The universalist approach is more in line with the revolutionary tradition of human rights, in that it contests the claim that the state has the legitimacy of the nation. The idea is a clear dissociation of the rule of law and the nation-state, which is often a usurper of the identity of the people. The duty of a state in which the rule of law prevails is to serve the identities which make up the many-faceted national unity. Its mission is to ensure that everyone has access to culture through education and untrammelled involvement in cultural life, but this can no longer be a pretext for an official definition of culture. We can no longer entertain the idea of the state either monopolising culture or neglecting the cultural development which is a measure of the effectiveness of any democracy.
If all human rights are definitions of freedom and the terms on which it can be exercised, it is time we explicity recognised the cultural dimensions of this freedom - i.e. freedom of language, communication, movement, education and information, including the right to protection from disinformation.
This universal basis, which is more solid and more in keeping with the multicultural reality of the vast majority of nations, could be the foundation for a more precise and efficient minority right - i.e. a category right, or specific guarantees to restore equality to categories of individuals under threat. The universalist approach is a vital counterweight here and the logical forerunner of instruments defining minority rights, but there can be no question of voiding those rights of all their substance. The fact that, say, the French state can see this approach as justification for its minority integration policy by no means entitles it to be less assiduous about recognising these rights once the universalist guarantee has been accepted.
However, the definition of specific administrative guarantees - the possibility of using one's own language for administrative and legal purposes, for example, or of teaching or being taught one's language and its cultural values- raises the problem of the practical recognition of new collective rights, particularly when it comes to politics. Rights of this sort can only really be claimed and guaranteed if there is a political relay in the legislative body, because, one way or another, there has to be a guarantee of cultural diversity being represented in parliament.
So minority rights may appear to have the special twofold character of mixed category rights. They are human rights in that they lay down the conditions under which human rights are guaranteed to people in endangered cultural communities and they belong with the rights of peoples in that they define the collective political form taken by such guarantees.
There is no question either of the vast -and vague-rights of peoples falling into the minority rights trap, although, properly controlled by human rights, they have the advantage of making for progress with the political definition of the people in the state in which the rule of law prevails, in particular through the consideration of cultural identities.
by Ola BALOGUN
The political evolution of several African countries in the yearsfollowing their accession to independence has been characterized by various kinds of internal tension that have sometimes evolved into intra-ethnic confrontations, leading in some cases to outright civil war.
Past examples of such disastrous occurrences include the Nigerian/Biafran civil war of 1967 to 1970, the prolonged series of internal conflicts which raged for over twenty five years in Chad beginning in 1963, the thirty year civil war in Ethiopia that recently culminated in the independence of Eritrea, the numerous upheavals that have occured in Zaire since 1960, the recurrent conflicts between Tutsi and Hutu populations in Rwanda and Burundi which have provoked numerous deaths over the past three decades, and the devastations provoked in Uganda by Idi Amin's murderous rule. Closer to us in time, we are confronted with the vast human and material tragedies that have resulted from the on-going civil wars in Sudan, Somalia, Mozambique and Angola. In South Africa, the violent clashes that periodically occur between the exclusively Zulu Inkatha movement and the rest of the black population continue to pose a dangerous threat to that country's evolution towards multi-party democracy.
At a comparatively less tragic level, many of the shortcomings of administrative and governmental structures in Africa have been ascribed to a factor that is loosely defined es 'tribalism', a blanket term generally used to describe nepotism based on ethnic considerations. There is a pervasive perception in most African countries (which is unfortunately often justified by actual experience) that appointments to key governmental and administrative positions are frequently determined by ethnic considerations rather than on the basis of qualification or competence. From this perspective, to secure appointment to certain high positions in many African countries, it is more important to be from the 'right' ethnic group than to be qualified for the post, a situation that often leads to inefficiency and demoralisation in the public service. On the other hand, efforts by a number of African governments to provide an appearance of fairness in the pattern of public appointments by instituting some form of quota system, (as in the case of what has come to be known as 'ethnic balancing' in Nigeria) have provoked controversy because of the widely-held belief that quota systems inevitably amount to placing obstacles on the path of qualified individuals whose only sin is to belong to the 'wrong' ethnic group.
For a variety of reasons therefore, (of which the perceived conflictual potential provides the most dramatic element), the blame for many of Africa's present-day woes has been ascribed by a wide range of both African and non-African observers to the ethnic factor.
However, is ethnicity really the villain it has often been made out to be? If not, are there any particular circumstances that have combined to make the 'ethnic imperative' a threat to the nation-building efforts of the newly emergent African states? In order to answer these two vital questions successfully, we first have to try to define the tribal (or ethnic) phenomenon in its African context, so that we can then go on to try and understand the nature of its impact on the present-day African political and socio-cultural landscapes.
What is a tribe?
To begin with, what is a tribe? Astonishingly enough, this apparently innocuous question has long been a source of much controversy and mutual incomprehension among commentators. The confused perception that is often associated with the term is typified by the way in which the Oxford dictionary first defines tribe as 'a group of people in a primitive and harharous stage of development, acknowledging the authority of a chief and usually regarding themselves as having a common ancestor', before proceeding to offer as a second definition: 'kinds of political unit in some ancient States'...
Obviously, the first definition reflects a prejudice that is widely shared among those who believe that the contemporary nation-state is the only valid model of political and social organisation for mankind, and that anything different is somehow primitive and archaic, if not 'barbaric', as the Oxford dictionary bluntly implies.
The second definition reflects a greater attempt at objectivity in that it attempts to come to grips with the fact that a tribe is essentially a political unit. This is indeed a definition that sets us on the right track, because fundamentally, the tribe is an organisational unit that encompasses a human group whose members identify with each other on the basis of a shared culture.
As a general rule, the members of a tribe speak the same language and share a common ancestry (or trace their origins to the same ancestral myth). Historically in Africa, a tribe or an ethnic group could by itself constitue a kingdom or a state if it were sufficiently large, but in many cases a tribe formed part of a larger political entity encompassing a number of ethnic groups, even though one might be dominant. Thus, the Soninke tribe formed the core ethnic group of the ancient kingdom of Wagadu (also known as Ghana) which held sway in the Western Sudan between the eleventh and twelfth centuries, only to be subsequently absorbed into the successor state of Mali (which originated as a predominantly Mandinka entity) along with segments of other ethnic groups.
Alternatively, members of the same ethnic group might be split up among rival political entities that either coexisted peacefully or engaged in armed rivalry with each other, as was the case with the various branches of the Nguni tribes of South Africa before the Zulu Empire was welded together under the forceful leadership of Chaka. Similarly, the Yoruba-speaking peoples of present-day Nigeria and the Benin Republic had branched out into a number of independent kingdoms by the sixteenth century, although they recogniseda common origin and shared the same culture and language.
If we understand the tribe from this perspective, we are forced to draw a number of conclusions. The first of these is that the emergence of states or kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa in no way precluded the existence of tribal or ethnic entities within such states. In other words, the emergence of states as larger political organs did not negate the existence of tribal units. On the contrary, each state tended to rely on the organisational structure of its component ethnic groups or tribes for the purpose of governance.
The second is that there is nothing primitive or archaic about ethnicity, whether in Africa or elsewhere, even if the ethnic group as a socio-cultural unit has ceased to play a vital role in the western world with the emergence of the nationstates that came into existence as from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ethnicity is a simple fact of life that is inseparable from mankind's need to create institutions to serve as a framework for social existence and organisation, on a par with organs such as the nuclear family, the extended family, the village unit, the regional entity, or the modern industrial state. While it may be true that ethnicity has tended to have a greater importance in some cultures than in others, it is important to avoid an ethnocentric vision of the world that characterizes anything different from one's own cultural heritage es 'backward' and 'barbaric'.
Thirdly, we need to recognise that the ethnic or tribal context represents a vital dimension of African modes of organisation and self-perception. Historically, it is the ethnic or tribal framework that has provided (and continues to provide) the essential framework for the cultural, spiritual and artistic heritage of the African peoples. In fact, the ethnic background of the average African is as essential to his way of life and to his perception of the world as state structures might be in societies where nationality and ethnicity have fused into a common entity.
The dilemma and tragedy of presentday Africa resides in the fact that in the
wake of the colonial conquest of the continent by external powers in the nineteenth century, administrative entities were created that arbitrarily lumped together various ethnic groups within borders that were not of their own choosing. As a general rule, these new administrative entities took no cognisance of the prior structures of the societies on which they were imposed, sometimes separating segments of the same ethnic groups in neighbouring territories ruled by separate colonial powers.
To compound matters, the new administrative structures that resulted from the colonial occupation of Africa, which were organised on an authoritarian basis, provided the essential framework for the emergence of the new nation states that acquired independence as from the 1960s. The new African states were thus constituted on a basis that took no cognisance at all of the cultural and historical heritage of their component peoples. Nor did the borrowed robes of western-style (or 'socialist' eastern-style) political organisation provide any real scope for representation of the peoples of the new nations along truly democratic lines or even along the lines according to which ethnic groups had coalesced in the past in Africa by conquest or association to form states. In other words, the new state structures were totally alien to Africa in concept and organisation, and could not hope to form a viable basis for mobilising the loyalties and energies of the populations that they encompassed.
'Tribalism' as a social and national malady has thus been the inevitable result of state structures that have failed to reflect the true nature of African society, and of corrupt and purposeless leadership in the new nation-states of Africa, rather than of the ethnic factor per se. It is not ethnicity that is to blame for Africa's woes, but clientilism, nepotism, and ineptitude on the part of the continent's ruling elites.
The root of many of the internal conflicts that have plagued a number of African states since independence lies in the naked exploitation of ethnic differences by greedy and power-hungry elites, in many cases armed and encouraged from behind the scenes by external forces anxious to capitalise on Africa's resources or to prevent the emergence of truly independent and nationalistic readerships in Africa. The upheavals in present-day Zaire, from the ethnic clashes that surrounded the ouster and assassination of Patrice Lumumba in 1961 through the secession of Katanga to the current intra-ethnic massacres in Shaba province and elsewhere, are a direct outcome of the combination of external intervention and the self-serving schemes of a kleptocratic ruling class. A further example of the same kind of phenomenon is to be found in the immensely tragic civil wars that have devastated Mozambique and Angola at the instigation of foreign forces who have found willing tools in local tribal-based political leaders willing to unleash untold havoc on their own populations to satisfy an insatiable lust for power and wealth...
In the end, far from being the root cause of instability in present-day Africa, ethnicity could, if properly harnessed, play a vital role in the much needed reorganization of African nations to provide scope for genuine popular participation in political decision-making. Far from being archaic and retrogressive, as has been suggested in some quarters, the ethnic and cultural roots of the peoples of Africa represent a key avenue for harnessing their loyalty and energies for the great tasks of nation-building, provided the ethnic dimension of their lives is woven into the very fabric of state construction.
What appears to be required in Africa today is not a negation of the social, cultural and historical heritage of the African peoples, but an imaginative integration of those elements from the African past that constitute a valid basis for social organisation into new projects for nation building. The new African states can only prosper and progress as federations of peoples who can participate in determining their own destinies, rather than as artificial entities based on sterile imitations of institutions that have no roots in Africa.
Thus, from the point of view of creating meaningful values in
present day Africa and of preserving the heritage of the past, the ethnic
dimension of life in Africa remains an asset that needs to be recognised and
properly exploited, rather than arbitrarily discarded.
Minorities and the European community
In common with other regions of the world, the European Community has its share of minority situations and problems. A number of these are discussed in the case studies which appear at the end of this Dossier. In the three articles which follow, however, we take a more general look at the 'minority' issue in an EC context. The first two contributions focus on the policy aspects as they pertain to minorities both inside and outside the Community's borders. The third describes the particular situation of linguistic minorities living within the EC.
by Gerd TEBBE
From time immemorial, the fate of minorities the world over has been marked by neglect and discrimination, if not by open suppression up to the level of genocide. Groups of people have had to suffer all kinds of hardship simply because of their religious beliefs, cultural traditions, native languages, ethnic origins or national affiliations which were different from those of the majority in a country rightfully considered as their common home. Attitudes such as mistrust and resentment, xenophobia and racism have in modern times been fed by the ambivalent concept of the nationstate, which combines the idea of independence with a strong element of demarcation against outsiders. Hitherto, minorities have tended to be the first victims of excessive nationalism, wherever it has arisen. Their oppression has often been the origin of major international conflicts.
Apart from the obvious interrelationship with the maintenance of peace and international security, it has been the growing concern for the promotion of human rights which has made the world increasingly aware of the need to protect minorities efficiently. The general obligation of the members of the international community to accept and protect the specific rights of persons belonging to minorities arises directly from their commitment to international human rights standards, as laid down in the United Nations Bill of Rights. Thus, the rights of minorities are part and parcel of universal and indivisible human rights in general.
The United Nations approach
Since its foundation in 1948, the United Nations has attached increasing importance to minority questions in its activities in the field of human rights. Building upon the UN Charter, which proclaimed international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, as one of its main purposes, Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities the right to enjoy their own culture, to practice their own religion and to use their own language. The adoption on 18 December 1992 of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities by the UN General Assembly is the most recent landmark which emphasises the increasingly important role the United Nations intends to play in the field of protection of minorities.
The efforts undertaken by the United Nations have been supported by regional action. Drawing from its unique experience in human rights protection, different Council of Europe bodies adopted instruments on the protection and promotion of minority languages and on the rights of persons belonging to minorities. The related work of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which regards an adequate level of protection for minorities as an unalterable precondition for peace and security, culminated in the establishment of the office of a CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in 1992.
The activities of the European Community in favour of minorities form part of the international pattern outlined above. The European Community and its Member States encourage and support the efforts undertaken at regional and international level to protect and promote the rights of people who belong to minorities. Within its ambit the European Community furthermore supports, by complementary measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarily, its Member States' national efforts for the benefit of minorities inside the Community's territory.
In the framework of European Political Cooperation (EPC) the European Community and its Member States act jointly, both in multilateral fore and bilaterally vis-a-vis third countries, with the aim of ensuring effective protection both on a national and an international level. As an integral part of the Community's human rights policy, this approach is mirrored in the Declaration on Human Rights, adopted by the European Council in June 1991, which underlines '... the importance of respect for the cultural identity and the rights which the members of minorities enjoy and which they have to exercise in common with other members of their group'.
The European Community, which participates in its own right in the UN, the CSCE and the Council of Europe, actively contributes, alongside its Member States, to the work of the UN bodies dealing with minority issues, including the Human Rights Commission and its Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. They played an active role in the CSCE expert meetings on minorities held in Geneva in 1991 and in Warsaw in 1993, and had considerable influence on the decision to create a special CSCE High Commissioner as well as on the shaping of his mandate. Within the Council of Europe, the Community and its Member States permanently cooperate in improving existing standards and developing new levels of protection.
On the occasion of the recognition of the newly independent states in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the Community and its Member States have declared sufficient guarantees of minorities rights to be a prerequisite of their recognition. In their bilateral relations, the Community and its Member States discuss, whenever necessary, questions on the situation of specific minorities in the context of political dialogue, which they maintain, on an institutionalized basis, with a wide range of countries and groups of countries all over the world. The European Community financially supports a wide range of projects in third countries which help to improve the situation of specific minorities.
Association, trade and cooperation agreements
The importance the Community attaches to human rights considerations in general and more specifically to minorities protection in its relations with third countries is underlined by the insertion of references to that effect in association agreements as well as in trade and cooperation agreements with those countries. To avoid any impression of discrimination among the Community's partners, the EC Commission has recently defined general guidelines determining the form of these references, which explicitly establish a mutual commitment to respect human rights, which includes the rights of people belonging to national minorities, as part of generally accepted human rights standards. Such references can be found in all agreements recently signed with Central and Eastern European countries; they will serve as a model for future agreements with other CSCE member states. In line with the above-mentioned 1991 Declaration on Human Rights, which states that respect for minority rights 'will favour... political, social and economic development', the resolution of the EC Council of Ministers of November 1991 on human rights, democracy and development calls for the inclusion of such clauses also in agreements with developing countries.
The protection of the rights of people belonging to minorities inside the European Community falls within the sphere of the national competence of its Member States, which are all parties to the relevant international instruments on human rights protection-the UN Bill of Rights, the CSCE human dimension documents and, especially, the European Convention on Human Rights, with its far-reaching individual complaint procedure. Within its ambit, the Community has, however, developed a range of actions directed towards the needs of specific groups found throughout the Community and designed to combat the recent rise of racism and xenophobia inside it, which constitutes a serious danger for the well-being of certain minorities. Such specific actions include a programme to improve the situation of migrant workers, (grant-aided) with nearly ECU 6 million in 1992, a scheme to facilitate the education of gypsy children amounting to ECU I m in 1993, as well as financial support for the activities of nongovernmental organisations in favour of minorities. The European Community has also given budgetary allocations amounting to ECU 3.5m in 1993 for projects on the preservation and protection of minority languages.
The range of different instruments developed by the European Community and its Member States in the past to help minorities inside and outside the Community preserve their traditions and maintain their specific character is subject to regular evaluation. This should allow for necessary adaptations at the earliest possible stage in order to ensure as efficient a response as possible to any new challenges and circumstances that may arise. c G.T.
by Notis Lebessis
The perception of minority issues in the European Community has never been an easy matter. The Community and its Member States have, for example, had considerable problems with the resurgence of minority issues in the former Soviet empire now the situation created at Yalta has come to an end. These problems are of three different origins.
-Some are the result of individual historical developments, all of which have culminated, sometimes through violence, in a nation-state, in which a political frame of reference and a 'cultural frame of belonging' are superimposed, as the French philosopher Jean Marc Ferry put it.
-Some, clearly, come from a different perception of where minority interests lie, which has more to do with history than with any vision of their future.
-And some are related to a difference in the philosophical concept of citizenship, either a Rousseau-type view of the social contract or more community-oriented approaches. Although there is inevitably something artificial about these standard ideological classifications, they are reflected in the definition and scope of minority rights in the Member States. They are therefore also behind the varying attitudes and sensitivities displayed by the Community countries recently in the attempt to strike a balance between the right of peoples to self-determination and protection of the territorial integrity of the state. These differences of conception seem also to be to blame for the snail's pace at which national policies on immigrant minorities are converging- despite the fact that convergence would both make the policies more effective and make it easier to create the European social area which will complete the unification of the markets.
A challenge for the Community and the continent as a whole
A resurgence of the minority issue in Eastern Europe, difficulties created by the new minorities emerging from the waves of immigration and an upsurge of new regionalist movements (the Italian Leagues, for example) have come to add to the time-honoured calls for autonomy from one or two 'historical' minorities, in most cases by way of reaction to the campaigns waged by the central powers of nation-states attempting to unify their national territory. They represent a considerable challenge to the Community.
Even supposing that, in a world where the force of interdependence gets more complex all the time, there is some point in distinguishing between those challenges that are inside and those that are outside the Community, that distinction is of course bound to fade under the effect of the probable enlargement of the Community to include the countries of Central Europe-which means both those, such as Poland and Slovakia, with strong national minorities on their soil and those, such as Hungary, with large sections of 'their' population concentrated in places beyond their frontiers. So the Community and the rest of the continent of Europe are also concerned by the question of minorities and the challenges that go with it.
Institutions and regulatory machinery which are ill-suited to interdependence make things worse
In most cases, let us not forget, be they internal or external, these difficulties are underlaid with and above all aggravated by economic depression combined with internationalisation, making national systems of regulation inadequate and the crisis of representative democracies worse. And economic depression and internationalisation heighten the crisis of integrating institutions such as the family, the school and the welfare state, those perpetuators of social links, and fuel feelings of alienation and egoism. Take an example in the Community, where, when cultural minorities created by migration are also victims of social exclusion, there is a strong probability that they will become inward-looking and radical and react by rejecting those sections of the native population with whom they have to compete on the job or housing market. A climate of this sort impedes the Community's progress towards integration and undermines its internal cohesiveness. The same goes for the countries of Eastern Europe, which also have to grapple with the problems of transition to a market economy.
Faced with these challenges, and despite the above differences and divergences, the Community already provides a framework and a model which can reduce, if not go beyond, the incompatibility of a people's right to self-determination and desire for autonomy with maintenance of a national state system. We shall illustrate this briefly, before outlining an hypothesis involving transposing this model and various legal arrangements from the Community to greater Europe. We shall then discuss the Community's possible contribution to the emergence of a pan-European minority protection system and look at what action this might involve.
The Community model-an example with limitations
The Community extends the means of solidarity
The Community's first contribution to bettering the situation of national minorities involves expanding the framework and means of solidarity which it makes possible. With the internationalisation of techniques, the emergence of transnationals and all the challenges of a profoundly inegalitarian and interdependent world, the Community constitutes its Member States' collective response to the need to boost prosperity and ensure a collective return to political control over the economy that will serve a proper plan for society. The internal market and economic and monetary union are ways to a general improvement of prosperity in the present conditions of interdependence and the politics of cohesion are the way to take solidarity far further than would ever be possible in states in isolation or, of course, in the weaker of them.
What could Greece or even Spain do to support the Xanthi or Basque regions- to take two examples of places with minority problems-if they were not in the Community? Let us not forget that Community solidarity, in the shape of development aid, accounts for more than 3% of Greece's GDP and something like 11% of its annual investment effort.
The Community embarks on a new partnership to transcend the incompatibility between the call for autonomy and maintenance of the state framework
Let us look at the consequences of expanding the terms of solidarity by reference to the Basque country, where the separatist movement and the creation of the Basque Nationalist Party go back to the end of the last century (1893) and the reaction to Madrid's abolition of administrative, legislative and tax freedoms (the famous fueros of 1846). Now that Spain belongs to the Community, the Basque call for home rule-which Spain has to some extent gone along with- ceases to seem incompatible with or directed against the national system of the state. On the contrary, it is the state, as the political frame of reference, which enables the Basques to have the benefit of solidarity and access to a wider area, both of which would be out of the question without this double membership. By being a member of the Community, Spain is ensuring the internationalisation of it and its components, becoming the link on which such regions depend if they want genuinely to increase their autonomy and reappearing as the guarantee of coherence vis-a-vis the interior and the exterior, thereby being an essential interface, in the eyes of the Basque authorities included. Do they not need a Spanish Prime Minister to thump his fist on the table and tell his equals how essential it is to channel more resources into cohesion policies? Belonging to the Community opens the way to a new partnership, in which three partners need each other. This is how it attenuates and, ultimately, makes it possible to go beyond the divergence between calls for independence (going as far as separatist movements) on the part of cultural communities, and maintenance of the state framework. By supporting regional coopration across frontiers, the Community is also making a happy contribution to bringing Spanish and French factions in the Basque country together.
The Community can provide many more examples of cross-border regional cooperation calming tension between minority and state. With continental integration on the horizon, the Community's support for this type of initiative is gradually being extended to regional cooperation across the Community's external frontiers too. The existence of external third states in which some national minorities may sometimes find an echo does nothing to undermine the force of this, for if the state commands its minorities' respect, it is because it enables them to thrive.
That, then, was an outline of the new possibilities of belonging to a larger
Community-which, despite its difficulties, is still a pole of attraction for the whole continent and beyond.
A model for association and sovereignty sharing
Now let us look at the legal, political and administrative aspects of the Community's treatment of minorities. Is the Community not the first free association of different peoples of unequal power who are nonetheless equal under the rules they have laid down for themselves? Is Luxembourg not a case of positive discrimination in favour of a 'minority' in as central a field as the sharing of sovereignty?
Freedom of movement
The dynamics of Community integration are far from being propelled by the action of the states alone and a legal system has to get into step with trends in society sooner or later.
Left to the drive of economic forces alone, the dynamics of European integration (like internationalisation) even tend to trigger movements aimed at standardizing or harmonising singular features which could fuel fears of loss of identity and encourage an identity complex or even egoism on the part of the well-off. So the political powers have to step in, both to provide a framework for the forces of the economy and to arbitrate. But the Community order- particularly the four freedoms of movement and various aspects of the way the sharing of sovereignty is organised- contains what could be significant responses to the problem of minority rights, particularly for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, where the neighbours are nearly always involved. What would be the point, say, of Romania preventing its Hungarian minority from producing a Hungarian-language newspaper when the free movement of goods meant that (currently limited numbers of) papers from Hungary were already available? Think for a moment of what the implications would be for minorities and their collective rights and for the free movement of television programmes, students, films, tourists-and ordinary people. Does not freedom of movement always go with greater freedom in general? A twist in history would give us an inversion of the traditions of the Austro Hungarian Empire-individual attachment to a territory combined with recognition of cultural pluralism. This could be achieved through either a genuine extension of the Community system to the countries of Eastern Europe (which will be joining the Community sooner or later) or a gradual transposition of it within the framework of a reworking of the architecture of the continent.
Emergence of a pan-European system of protection
The Community model, as we have seen, may not provide the answer to the minorities issue, but it is not entirely devoid of useful messages. There is still a long way to go before the Community can guarantee the rights of its historical and immigrant minorities. There is more to collective rights than free movement, decentralisation and greater solidarity and making progress with them means going beyond the problems related to the different conceptions mentioned earlier. The facts, and the methods of work forged from a combination of ideas and experience, invite and will probably lead the Community to make this progress.
Drivingforce in the Council of Europe and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe?
Various specialists have suggested that there is no point in the Community having legal instruments of its own. The more specialised Council of Europe has been busy with a remarkable piece of work in this field for some time now, devising European legal frameworks for the protection of the collective rights of minorities, plus the relevant control and arbitration machinery. It would be progress indeed if the Community joined the systems now being set up.
Think how much faster the Council of Europe itself could go with coordinated involvement by the Member States of the Community (once they have fixed on a common philosophy). It would make the Community a real driving force in the Council of Europe. And the same goes for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which now has the best prevention, mediation and dispute settlement machinery-but has not yet had the opportunity to prove its efficiency. What it needs now is a driving force.
Let us not overlook the greater credibility which progress in this field would bring the Community in its injunctions to neighbouring European countries where minorities are getting a bad deal. This of course harks back to the general principle of coherence which applies in everything the Community does. There is nothing speculative about it. There have been cases of our partners in Eastern Europe pointing to the treatment of minorities in the Community when we have invited them to respect the rights of their own minorities.
Wielding political and economic influence in particular cases
In addition to this contribution to the creation and consolidation of a panEuropean minority protection system with its own rules (some of them statutory) and prevention, conciliation and arbitration machinery, the Community has other ways of helping improve the situation of Europe's minorities.
First of all, it can use its political and economic influence to get the countries of Eastern Europe to join the European minority protection systems. Almost all these countries want to join the Community and are polarised by it and it was no doubt this prospect which, for example, prevented Hungary from even thinking about the re-establishment of a state combining all the Hungarian minorities now living in Slovakia, the former Yugoslavia and Romania. In some cases, this Community incentive may be official. The association agreement with Romania, for example, contains a clause referring to the final act of Helsinki and the Charter of Paris, providing for association arrangements to be suspended if minority rights are not respected. This is obviously something which should be done whenever the Community is involved in a contractual agreement of this kind.
The Community can also use its influence in special situations
such as that of the former Yugoslavia. Whatever the shortcomings of its action
in that instance, it would be unfair to overlook the effort it put into getting
the combatants round the negotiating table. And there have of course been other
attempts at arbitration too-with the Guimaraes declaration and the follow-up to
President Mitterand's proposal, to mention but two recent ones. The Community's
influence in this kind of international arbitration will no doubt gain ground as
the common external and security policy of European union takes shape and
by Sylvia CARREL
The language map of Europe is a real mosaic, with scores of communities in north and south and east and west to bear witness to our continent's historic past and cultural wealth.
The European Community has more than 40 native languages in everyday use, but for official purposes it uses only nine of them-Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Irish, despite being an official State language, is only a 'treaty language' in the Community. All the others-and they are spoken by almost 50 million Europeans, one in seven-represent what are usually called linguistic minorities.
It is not easy to find one word to define all these 'other' languages. Their situations are very different, far too much so for them all to be grouped together under the same heading. Neither 'minority', nor 'less common', nor 'regional' really does the job.
Here are some examples. Catalan is considered to be a lesser-used language in France and Spain alike, although in fact more people speak Catalan than Danish, which is one of the official languages of the Community. The Welsh do not look upon their language as a regional language (and would be offended it it were treated as such), because they believe that Wales constitutes a nation in its own right. The Bretons, however, see nothing wrong with Breton being called a regional language, with Brittany as a region with its own specific language and culture within the state of France.
When the European Bureau for LesserUsed Languages was set up in 1982 (see box), it fixed on 'lesser-used' as being both the most neutral and the most representative term.
Five major categories of lesser-used languages
It was difficult to find the right term to describe them, but the lesser-used languages proved fairly easy to divide into five categories, as follows:
1. The languages of the two small Member States of the Twelve which are not official languages of the Community and are little used in international circles -Irish and Luxembourgish.
2. The languages of small, stateless communities within individual Member States-for example, Breton in France, Friulian in Italy, Frisian in the Netherlands and Welsh in the United Kingdom.
3. Languages of small, stateless communities living in two or more of the Member States-for example, Basque in France and Spain and Occitan in France, Italy and Spain.
4. The languages of people who constitute a minority in the country in which they live, but a majority elsewhere-for example, German in Belgium, Danish in Germany and French and Greek in Italy. 5. The non-territorial languages traditionally spoken in a state but not identifying with a particular area-for example, the languages of the gypsies and the Jews (Sinti, Romany and Yiddish).
Over and above this division, it is also important to take the degree of acceptance, promotion and usage of these languages into consideration. It is something which varies considerably from one country to another. The Member States have reacted very differently to the minority language issue and their laws reflect the fact.
Italy, the country with the most minority languages, does not yet have a framework law on them, despite the fact that Article 6 of the Italian Constitution says that the Republic 'shall take the relevant measures to protect linguistic minorities'. A bill was tabled and passed by the Chamber of Deputies, but the early dissolution of Parliament last year meant that there was no time for it to be passed by the Senate. The Italian political agenda has, not surprisingly, been dominated by the recent upheavals, to the exclusion of much of the 'normal' legislative activity.
Any legislation so far has been ad hoc, providing separate arrangements for one or two linguistic minorities - the German minority in South Tyrol, the Ladins in the Dolomites, the Slovenes and the people in Val d'Aosta. Linguistic policies have differed widely, as Paolo Carrozza of the University of Florence points out. There is total bilingualism in the Val d'Aosta, linguistic separation for the German- and the Ladin-speakers of South Tyrol and what he calls limitation of the school system for the Slovenes of Friulia-Venezia-Giulia living in the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia. French is officially recognized in the eastern part of Val d'Aosta and German in South Tyrol. And Val d'Aosta is slightly unusual in that both French and Italian are spoken in public life, while Franco-Provengal is the language most commonly spoken in the street.
Totally different, however, is the situation of Catalan in Spain. This language, which the inhabitants of Catalonia speak with stout national pride, is now in a strong position, almost up in the ranks of the so-called majority languages. And unlike the other languages of Europe which are in a minority situation, it is in a majority situation on its own territory, where it is the working language of even the highest ranks of society. Catalan has an abundance of literature and Catalonia is considered to be one of the four driving regions of Europe.
The linguistic situation in Belgium is another example of the diversity of lesserused languages in Europe. The Belgians, of course, do not have a national language which bears their name. The creation of four linguistic regions in 1962 made the language situation and three languages-French, Dutch and German -official. German is considered to be a minority language, however, not just because the German-speaking community is very small, but because, while it is the official language of the cantons of Eupen and Saint Vith, it is not yet recognised in the Montzen area.
Lesser-used languages in the Community
'The Community shall contribute to the Powering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore.' this is Article 128, at Title IX (Culture), of the Treaty of Maastricht and it refers to the diversity- regional as well as national-of the Member States, in which it is recognising the fact that less common cultures have the right to existence, over and above their support from the European Community. With the internal market and balanced development of the common policies in its sights, the Treaty will be broadening the scope of the EC in this way, but it clearly says that it will do this with due respect for a principle which is essential to the institutional balance of the new Union, namely, subsidiarily. This means running schemes to encourage minority-language culture and education, a drive which started long ago, even for the lesser-used languages.
At Community level, the idea first came up officially in 1981, when the European Parliament adopted the Arfe resolution, the first step towards a minority language policy, since when there has been a whole series of resolutions and motions heralding directives and practical action. The Commission has been involved in this field for some time, with its contributions to various programmes put forward by the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages and by the language communities themselves.
Last year, the Council of Europe decided to give the European Charter for regional or minority languages the status of a convention-a very important move given that a convention is legally binding once a Member State has signed it. By the end of 1992, the Charter had been signed by 12 countries, only five of them (Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain) Member States of the Community. The French Government has abstained and the United Kingdom and Greece have rejected the draft convention. The unification of Europe seems to pose problems for linguistic minorities. When the Dillinea report on minorities in the EEC was being discussed quite recently, the European Parliament Committee on Culture, Youth, Education and the Media sent the draft back and asked the rapporteur to rewrite it in the light of all the suggestions which had been made.
Yet the so-called minority languages have the great
responsibility of saving the world from linguistic monotony. And although the
dollar does not speak Occitan nor computer programmes Basque, it would be wrong
to forget that a language is quite different from a simple translation or
imitation of a so-called majority language. Language is like DNA, a kind of
genetic code of a people, which is why safeguarding a people's identity means
defending and promoting its language.
The European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages A Community response to the language rights issue
The European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages is a nonprofit-making association which was formed on the initiative of various members of the European Parliament and of cultural organisations involved in the promotion of 'other' European languages.
On 16 October 1981, following a series of motions on regional languages and cultures, the European Parliament took a fundamental step towards a Community strategy for lesserused languages, and towards the establishment of the Bureau, with its adoption of the Arfe Resolution.
As part of its strategy for achieving ever-closer cooperation with the Community institutions, the Bureau, which has its headquarters in Dublin, last year opened a documentation centre in Brussels. In addition, it has committees operating in ten of the Member States-real local correspondents working in the field with various language minorities.
Bureau policy, which can be summed up under four headings, is: ( 1 ) to seek legal and political support in Europe, the states and the regions; (2) to seek finance for projects related to lesser-used languages; (3) to provide for exchanges of information and experience among groups involved in actively promoting these languages and (4) to set up structures to support the indigenous linguistic communities. Examples of the last mentioned include MERCATOR, a network of data bases relating to education, the media, legislation and general studies: the Secretariat de Coedition pour l'Enfance, which encourages the publication of children's books in minority languages; and Euroskol, a two-yearly meeting of primary school children at which the lesser-used language is the teaching medium.
Since 1984, the Bureau has published Contact Bulletin, its own quarterly review. this provides a link between the committee members in the different Member States as well as being a more widely distributed source of information on European minorities.
by B.E. HARRELL-BOND
We have seen from the foregoing articles that there are many different types of minority situation, characterised, on occasion, by social cohesion but often, sadly, by varying degrees of tension up to and including outright conflict. In ex-Yugoslavia, the 'minority question' is an important element in the current turmoil as the different ethnic/ religious groups (Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims) have split apart and proceeded to fight over previously- shared territory.
Such conflict creates a particular minority situation which has not Yet been covered in this Dossier-that of the refugee forced to flee his homeland and 'settle' in a neighbouring host country. Such people have very special needs but, in catering to these needs, there is a risk of alienation and suspicion vis-a-vis the host population. In this article, Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond of Oxford University's Refugee Studies Programme examines the case of the Bosnian refugees in Slovenia and Croatia. And she has some critical things to say about the possible effects of the so-called 'relief-model' which has been applied to these countries by external donors.
The crisis of those uprooted by the war in Bosnia has prompted an outpouring of humanitarian concern from ordinary people as well as the mobilising of European non-governmental agencies, many of which have established offices in the neighbouring host countries. Unfortunately, however, if the situation in Croatia and Slovenia is typical, despite knowledge acquired elsewhere, humanitarian agencies are busy implementing relief programmes in Europe which are likely to have certain negative consequences. Rather than providing the basis for encouraging tolerance of those in exile, these relief programmes are marginalising refugees and displaced Croatians as dependent minorities. As much of the money involved comes from Members of the European Community, it is relevant for Courier readers to consider their characteristics and impact.
Precisely because the relief model is now being implemented in the context of Europe, humanitarian agencies are being provided with a unique opportunity for learning. Slovenia and Croatia are experiencing at first hand what it means to be the target of such approaches and some articulate their resistance in remarks such as 'We are not Ethiopia', or 'We are civilised !' If this resistance can be turned into dialogue, the situation provides an opportunity for the humanitarian regime to improve approaches to assistance everywhere, because the problems of the relief model appear all over the world-including in Ethiopia.
There are many issues which would benefit from open discussion. For example, while the sectarian practices of Christian humanitarian agencies often go unchallenged, the arrival in the region of large numbers of Muslim agencies has made the fear of proselytising a salient issue. At the same time, both Christian and secular agencies could learn a great deal from the humane and respectful 'style' of giving by some of those Muslim agencies observed.
Both Croatia and Slovenia have been recognised as independent states and have become members of the United Nations within the last two years. At the same time as these new countries are responding to the challenges of restructuring governmental and economic institutions, and developing a new legislative system, they are having to cope with the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.
Very briefly, the war in Croatia began to displace people in December 1991, affecting both Croatia and Slovenia.
Refugees from Bosnia began to arrive in both countries from April 1992.
Although Slovenia has attempted to seal its border with Croatia since August 1992, Bosnians continue to arrive.
In Croatia, there are an estimated 535 000 Bosnian refugees and Croatians displaced from the territories occupied by Serbian forces. Slovenia estimates that it is currently hosting some 70 000 refugees from Bosnia. While the majority in both countries are still 'spontaneously settled' (i.e. living with local families), the others are variously housed in available empty buildings.
In Croatia, refugees are not barred from working and, even when they are living under camp-like conditions, there are no restrictions on their freedom of movement. In Slovenia, however, refugees are not permitted access to gainful employment and freedom of movement from some of the collective centres is restricted.
The relief model
As documented in so many other host countries, imposing an internationally funded relief model results in practices which disadvantage both refugees and their hosts. Donor states rarely grant bilateral aid directly to host governments; it is normally channeled through multilateral, intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) and/or through nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) based and staffed in the donor state. Donors, in exchange for aid, expect certain concessions: for example, the right to determine what is purchased, and where.
Since the mid-1980s, donor governments have demonstrated greater confidence in the work of NGOs over IGOs, leading to increased competition for funding and complicating efforts to achieve cooperation at the field level. Donors expect their agencies to take major responsibility for designing policy, shifting the direction of accountability from the host government to the donors. Accountability is defined in terms of financial probity rather than the effectiveness of programmes in meeting the needs of the beneficiaries for whom the funding is intended. Very few relief programmes are subject to independent evaluation.
The degree of media attention and the strategic interests of the donors are major factors which determine the amount of aid and the length of time that it will be available. In addition to government sources, NGOs raise money from the public, depending on images of helplessness and dependence. These appeals influence the design of programmes which fail to account for refugees' own energies, skills and determination to reconstruct their lives. Perhaps it is the general assumption in the world of the donors that victims are without resources which contributes to the sense that ultimate responsibility lies with the foreign agencies.
The fact that Croatia and Slovenia, having decided to accept international aid, find themselves following the norms of the relief model has occurred as a consequence of the presumption that the crisis is temporary. Neither government has been able to persuade donors to invest funds in developmental projects which would go towards expanding social services and employment.
Both countries have established special refugee offices. In Croatia, this office is directly responsible to the Vice-President; in Slovenia, to the Prime Minister. In theory, responsibility at such high level centres of governmental decision-making is important. In practice, it has led to the isolation of these offices from government ministries. For a successful refugee policy to be developed, there is need for greater cooperation and coordination with line ministries.
As a number of studies have demonstrated, and as is becoming evident in Slovenia and Croatia, the relief approach is not only wasteful but has its own dehumanising dynamic. Relief programmes foster bureaucratic interests in maintaining a dependent constituency. In the interests of 'efficient' distribution, relief programmes encourage the confinement of refugees in one place; they also encourage authoritarian styles of management. One of the most effective methods of 'control' (though inefficient in ensuring an adequate diet) is to keep refugees dependent on communally cooked food; a general practice in Croatian and Slovenian collective centres.
The relief model also conditions the content of requests. The Slovenian Office of Immigration and Refugees requested funds for sewage system installation and other infrastructure in villages housing refugees. The request was not met. As a result, a strategy of requesting long-term development needs that also served the immediate demands of refugee influxes has been weakened. So the Office requests fax machines, typewriters, computers and vehicles-the paraphernalia for running a refugee relief programme. By doing so, Slovenia runs a doubly perverse risk: investing in an office whose future bureaucratic interest may be to maintain refugees on relief to justify jobs and all the associated structures.
The following are some other characteristics of the relief model:
-By presuming that needs are uniform, it fails the most needy, creates greater social differentiation and wastes resources, thereby needlessly driving up costs.
-By presuming that the agencies which represent the international donor have superior knowledge, it ignores resources and institutional strengths of the host society, thus weakening them.
-By failing to recognise the resources which refugees themselves bring to the situation, it inhibits the mobilisation of these resources and networks for the benefit of both the refugees and the local economy.
-Relief programmes inhibit the institutionalising of efficient systems of accountability. They thus create opportunities for corruption of refugees and their hosts, both individually and institutionally.
The pernicious impact of earmarking relief only for 'refugees' has been widely documented. In Croatia, such earmarking has led to tension between refugees, internally displaced persons and local residents. Some local people already resent the fact that refugees are fed without working. Although still very isolated events, there have been attacks on centres in which displaced Croatians and refugees live.
Displaced Croatians complain that they have become second-class citizens in their own country. One cited his experience of standing in a queue in which the Bosnians were all asked to step to the front because the aid in question had been earmarked for the refugees but not for displaced Croatians.
The relief model is so often wasteful of resources that this seems to be an essential characteristic. One refugee centre, in which two doctors and four nurses were taking care of a population of about 500), is located only a few minutes' walk from a medical centre. Yet funds are being used to install a small clinic with hospital beds in the refugee centre, rather than investing in the local hospital.
Such an approach can create feelings of resentment towards the refugees among the local population. Moreover, when the centre, which was previously an army barracks, is closed, there is no guarantee that the facilities will be used again. By contrast, investment in the local medical infrastructure would benefit the whole population of the town.
Another problem endemic to the relief model is the donation of inappropriate materials. This includes food with which people are unfamiliar (such as bamboo shoots) and which they do not know how to prepare. Inappropriate or outdated medicines are also a frequent problem. More to the point, many, if not most of the needs concerned could met by purchases within the country.
Transfers of cash for purchase would stimulate the local economy. It is said that if the funds were provided, local factories would be capable of producing all of the drugs needed. In Slovenia, some donated drugs were found to be out of date, entailing additional costs for the hard-strapped government just to destroy them safely.
These governments have been faced with another problem generally associated with relief programmes: what to do with donated items which come in too small quantities to distribute equitably. If the government took the logical step of selling such items on the open market, using the funds for its refugee budget, it would risk accusations of 'corruption'.
Agencies such as OXFAM UK manage to avoid discouraging such spontaneous responses to human need by establishing methods for dealing with inappropriate contributions, either by selling them in their shops or by disposing of them. The cash raised by sales in
OXFAM shops is available for appropriate assistance which makes use of refugees' own abilities and maintains their self-worth and dignity.
Do Slovenia and Croatia need foreign agencies?
Normally, line ministries have responsibilities for sectors such as health and education, but in Croatia and Slovenia a mushrooming number of agencies, both inter- and non-governmental, have arrived to assume 'responsibility' for managing the humanitarian crises. It is difficult for the governments to assess the professionalism of agencies or to reject them-they represent access to donor funds.
The relative accessibility of these two countries has also led to a myriad of wellmeaning individuals and groups collecting material assistance (most of which could have better been purchased locally), driving across Europe, and on arrival, demanding the right to distribute to particular individuals in particular centres. One agency looked at children's teeth. Instead of coordinating with the medical services, it gave children money to pay for dental treatment. In some cases, agencies have insisted on using the distribution of items for publicity (i.e. fund-raising) purposes.
Perhaps the most bizarre example was the behaviour of an agency which links 300 schoolchildren from one EC country with 300 refugee children. The Slovenian Office for Immigration and Refugees was unable to stop reptesentatives from going to three centres to distribute chocolates to 100 'linked' children per centre. Not surprisingly, since the centres housed more than 100 youngsters, a riot ensued in one, providing a unique 'photo opportunity' and wide press coverage.
As usual in such situations, there are numbers of trained, highly motivated professionals, both refugees and hosts, who are fully capable of responding to the variety of needs presented by the humanitarian crisis, often within the framework of normal service delivery. From the beginning of the emergency, many of them undertook voluntary work, and locally-based NGOs (including religious ones) have been established to assist the uprooted.
Despite some efforts by foreign agencies to fund these local initiatives and to work in partnership with nationals and refugees, partnerships are invariably unequal. They have weakened the capacity of national institutions and have introduced competition for external sources of funding, undermining the basis for cooperative relationships among local people who are committed to the building of their own institutions of civil society.
Humanitarian crises: an opportunity for building civil society
The humanitarian crisis can be a catalyst for the development of those mechanisms and institutions of civil society that are needed in much of central and eastern Europe. The response to the initial crisis on the part of local nongovernmental groups, including church based organisations, has already been mentioned. The question of the nature of the post-socialist state itself is challenged by a crisis which focuses attention on humanitarian and wider human rights issues. Such issues-representing as they do a challenge to the basic morality of a society-can be used by the government and the concerned public as a major 'entry point' for addressing the wider issues of human rights, economic and political development and the need to strengthen further the institutions of civil society.
Encouraging the development of the non-government sector, which is not controlled by but works in cooperation with and advises the government, can help to militate against the concentration of political power solely in the hands of the state, thus safeguarding a pluralist, democratic society.
The fate of refugees in Slovenia and Croatia is a long-term issue. They will not be able to be repatriated in the foreseeable future and the policy of returning refugees to 'safe zones' in Bosnia, although still advised by some, is widely believed to be unworkable.
If these countries were to adopt a developmental approach, one immediate action might be to phase out the relief programme and use budgets to fund the expansion of the current welfare system to include the refugees. Relief programmes tend to benefit only the few institutions providing the services, and it may well be more economical to give direct funding to the refugees, who would spend it locally.
The social and economic costs of maintaining the present approach to refugees will-if they are not already- ultimately be higher than the coat of adopting developmental strategies which use both external and internal sources of funding to strengthen the institutions of government and civil society. In Slovenia, moreover, given the relatively small number of refugees and the end of the emergency phase, international aid is now tailing off. The government is already being reminded that, 'as a European country, it must take responsibility for the costs of assisting refugees'. This is ironic given that the relief model, which cannot be sustained without outside assistance, was initially imposed on the country by the donors.
There is, however, considerable fear of potential social
disruption caused by absorbing refugees into the existing welfare system and
promoting economic self-sufficiency by allowing refugees the right to work. It
will require a great deal of sensitivity, courage and political will for either
of these governments to break out of the present dependency/relief model. There
is a general belief that if refugees can support themselves they will not return
to their home country. In fact, experience suggests that the first people able
to return home are those who have succeeded in securing themselves and in saving
up for rebuilding their lives on their return. The repatriation of those who
have been impoverished by a relief system only creates another relief crisis in
their country of
by Jean-Michel CORHAY
The International Year for the World's Indigenous Peoples will be the opportunity to draw the international community's attention to one of the most neglected and vulnerable set of people on the planet. So said Antoine Blanca, the UN coordinator for this Year 1993.
Every UN institution is anxious to reassess and improve the programmes and activities put on for indigenous peoples to make sure that the Year goes down in their history and particularly in the history of their fight for survival and recognition of their rights. The idea, the UN General Assembly announced, is to boost international cooperation to solve the problems which the indigenous communities have to face with such things as human rights, development, the environment, education and health. An extensive campaign will be run to alert the public and to attract the international community's attention and inform it about indigenous peoples' problems and concerns-especially as regards their traditional concepts of land ownership, resources and the sort of development they want for future generations.
A forum will be provided for indigenous peoples to pass on their messages and ensure that others understand their cultures and ways of life better. 'The UN is more and more inclined to recognise the validity of the global approach which these peoples want and which links up development and environmental issues, peace and human rights and more. The International Year must be more than a cascade of meaningless words. It must lead to proper progress,' is how EricaIrene A. Daes, chair and spokeswoman of the working party on indigenous peoples, put it.
Indigenous peoples are the descendants of the original inhabitants of many countries and their cultures, religions and methods of economic and social organisation differ widely. There are 300 million of them in the world today, in more than 70 countries (see map). There are the Amerindians, the Inuits and the Aleutians of the polar regions, there are the Saamis (Lapps) of Northern Europe, the Aborigines of Australia and the Maoris of New Zealand. More than 60% of the population of Bolivia and about half the population of Guatemala and Peru are indigenous and China and India have an indigenous and tribal population of more than 150 million between them. In the 10 million-strong population of Myanmar (Burma), there are at least 5000 groups which stand apart by virtue of language, culture or geographical situation. Some are hunters and gatherers and some live in the towns and are fully involved in the culture of their country, but they all have a strong feeling of belonging to a distinct culture with a special relationship with the land.
The indigenous peoples-they may be called autochthones, Indians, aboriginals, natives or original inhabitants- have different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds, but face identical problems despite this diversity. Through the effects of colonialism, the propagation of non-indigenous religions, the inexorable advance of (above all, industrial) development and the effects of modernisation more generally, the traditional cultures of indigenous groups have been eroded. Either their land has been confiscated or, even today, economic pressure forces them to give it up. So these people are among the world's most underprivileged groups, some of them threatened with extinction. Over the past decade or two, some indigenous groups have indeed fallen victim to the most destructive side of development-projects to build dams, irrigation systems and roads, mining and other ecologically damaging operations. Driven from their ancestral lands, cut off from their traditional way of life and forced to integrate with the dominant national societies, they have been subjected to discrimination, marginalisation or alienation ever since. For example, relentless felling of the tropical rainforests is a direct threat to the very existence of the 50 million-strong indigenous population which lives in them.
These peoples are directly concerned by a changing or deteriorating environment and they also have a crucial part to play in protecting it. For centuries, in fact, they have been managing and making rational use of land in the regions in which they live. Sales of medicines derived from traditional plants which they have discovered, processed and handed down from generation to generation are worth more than $43 billion annually. Of course, the pharmaceutical companies capitalise on their know-how, but rarely pass on a share of the profits.
Ironically enough, critical issues, such as global warming, deforestation, desertification and the holes in the ozone layer, are now at the top of the international agenda and the indigenous peoples of the world, long considered too primitive to adapt to the modern world and for centuries the victims of land confiscation, maltreatment and genocide, are beginning to look like environmental wizards.
The preparatory technical conference in Santiago (Chile) in May 1992 recognised the fact that many of the planet's most vulnerable ecosystems were in the traditional lands of the indigenous peoples 'who have successfully developed lasting, ecological methods of managing resources and using the land'.
Principle 22 of the Declaration of the UN Conference on the Environment and Development, held in Rio the month after, said that indigenous populations and communities had a vital part to play in environmental management and development because of their understanding of the environment and their traditional practices. It went on to say that states should recognise their identity, their culture and their interests, give every support and enable them to take an effective part in achieving self-sustaining development.
Nonetheless, there is still a huge gap between the aims laid down at Rio and the lot of the indigenous peoples. So, throughout the UN's International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples, these aims should be re-assessed and even better defined and, under the banner of 'new partnership', all efforts should focus on the following four things.
-Involvement of indigenous peoples in the planning, implementation and evaluation of schemes affecting their living conditions and future. This should be done through meetings and consultations with indigenous organisations.
-Projects designed for indigenous peoples. Consultations between indigenous communities and governments and between indigenous peoples and the relevant UN organisations will be the opportunity to promote such projects, which will receive aid from the UN's newly created voluntary contribution fund for the International Year for the World's Indigenous Peoples.
-Knowledge of the laws which protect the rights of indigenous
peoples. This means ensuring that the interested parties know more about: (1)
ILO Convention No 169 ( 1989), which promotes consultation between governments
and their indigenous peoples and tribes, with particular reference to collective
and individual rights of ownership of land and natural resources in the areas
traditionally inhabited by these people; (2) the draft declaration on the rights
of indigenous peoples on which the working party on indigenous populations, the
International Labour Organisation and other competent international legislative
bodies are currently collaborating. In particular, this declaration should
recognise that indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination, of which
the right to autonomy is an integral part, and proclaim that they have a right
to protection against genocide, to keep and develop their distinct ethnic and
cultural identity, use their own languages, own and do what they like with their
traditional lands and territories, receive compensation for confiscated land, be
consulted about development projects affecting them, be autonomous in their
internal and local affairs and take part, without discrimination and on an equal
footing with all the other citizens, in the political, economic, social and
cultural life of the state.
Where indigenous people live
In this final section of the Dossier, we look at a number of specific 'minority' situations in both ACP and European Community countries. As Alan Phillips of the Minority Rights Group points out in kits interview (See 'Meeting Point'), there are estimated to be more than 7000 minority communities living in the world today. It is not possible to explain or analyse all the circumstances which lead to the emergence of minorities or which have an impact on their current existence within larger, usually state, entities. But in the case studies which follow, we seek at least to highlight the diversity of the subject, by describing a range of very different situations. Some of these involve conflict; others are trouble-free. They cover a range of ethnic, religious and linguistic questions and are intended to show, in brief terms, the historical background as well as the present state of play. Taken together, they reveal some possibilities for peaceful coexistence but also, sadly, the scale of the challenge facing those who would seek to confront prejudice and bring an end to the mutual suspicion which still characterises so many minority situations.
The Balkans and Central Europe
For students of history who prefer a simple life, the Balkans have always spelt trouble. Trouble in the literal sense in that this turbulent area has seen more than its fair share of political intrigues, ethnic disputes and full-scale wars. Trouble also in the intellectual sense because of the complexity of the issues.
Strictly speaking, the Balkans do not include countries such as Hungary or the Czech Republic (which are more properly regarded as part of Central Europe). In the context of a discussion about national minorities, however, these two contiguous regions share many common features. In particular, they both contain a patchwork of nationalities, religions and linguistic groups often thrown uncomfortably together within national boundaries fixed by external powers.
In the 19th century, as the grip of the declining Ottoman Empire loosened, the Balkans and Central Europe increasingly became a focus of nationalistic ambition and great power rivalry. In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo provided the spark that ignited the First World War. When the guns finally fell silent four years later, both the Ottoman and Austro Hungarian empires had been dismembered and, in the subsequent Versailles Treaty, the political map of the region was changed beyond recognition. But despite the creation of many new states, the underlying instability remained, with longstanding local rivalries exacerbated by the presence of significant national minorities inside the boundaries of many of the new countries. The Second World War, which might have served to bring the peoples of the region together against an external power, instead aggravated the problem as some 'nationalities' chose to ally themselves with Germany while others fought against them. This latter circumstance is part of the explanation for the bitterness which characterises the fighting between today's warring factions in ex-Yugoslavia.
In the subsequent four decades, what might be described as 'totalitarian stability' prevailed as most of the area fell under Soviet tutelage. Yugoslavia, although not part of the Soviet orbit-and potentially the most serious flashpoint-was held together by the dominant personality of Marshall Tito.
When Tito died, Yugoslavia did not immediately collapse, but the situation began to unravel as it became clear that the central (communist) state was unable to reconcile the competing claims of the country's various nationalities. When communism itself crumbled, the whirlwind was not long in coming. It began, on a relatively small scale, in Slovenia, moved on with increasing force into Croatia and has now engulfed Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Elsewhere, the ending of the communist system and the break-up of the Soviet Union had the positive effect of clearing the way for democracy. At the same time, however, it has removed the (admittedly coercive) constraints imposed by Moscow, which had prevented internal dissent and ensured frontier continuity.
As Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance have discovered in their efforts to bring peace to Bosnia, map-making in the region can be an unrewarding experience. It is possible nevertheless to identify different types of 'minority' situation, of varying degrees of complexity. In some parts, there are clearly defined territories occupied by 'nationalities' which are relatively homogenous but which are, or were, subsumed into a larger state. These may be either 'serf-standing' such as the Slovenes, or peoples who have a close kinship with a neighbouring state such as the Albanians of Kosovo and the Moldovans (ethnically linked to the Romanians). Elsewhere, there are minorities living in less neatly definable territories but who, nevertheless, are in the majority in a given area. Examples of this situation include the Hungarians in North West Romania or the Serbs of Eastern Croatia (who 'detached' themselves from the rest of the country in last year's fighting, displacing many resident Croats in the process). Finally, there is the case, best illustrated by Bosnia Herzegovina, of complex intermingling.
In an ideal world, none of these minority situations would have any practical significance since it should be possible for people to get along together, respecting each others' differences. Yugoslavia, however, shows how different reality can be. And once fighting has started, 'ethnic cleansing' takes place and atrocities occur, the prospects for reconciliation rapidly diminish.
Although the focus today is on the unfolding tragedy of Bosnia, there are numerous other potential trouble spots in the region. The aforementioned Albanian population of Kosovo is obviously in an uncomfortable position within the boundaries of Serbia-Montenegro. The territorial integrity of newly independent Croatia has been shattered by last year's fighting around Vukovar. There are large Hungarian minorities in Serbia, Romania and the former Czechoslovakia. The recently recognised' ex-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' is viewed with suspicion by Greece, which has its own province of Macedonia. The Turkish minority in Bulgaria is under pressure.
These are just a few examples which illustrate the potential for
further conflict. And while some still express the hope that the so-called 'new
international order' may ultimately provide a basis for peaceful coexistence,
many analysts are dismayed by the response of the international community in
general and the 'West' in particular to the Yugoslav crisis. There is a real
fear that the ethnic battles, currently contained within the borders of the
former Yugoslavia, could spill over into neighbouring countries. This may be
unduly pessimistic, but the situation is obviously fraught with uncertainty.
Perhaps the only thing that we can safely predict is that the 'Balkan question',
which has played such an important part in European history over the centuries,
will continue to trouble us for the foreseeable future.
The Maroons of Jamaica
Jamaica, which is itself a nation formed out of peoples of varying ethnic backgrounds, plays host to one of the more unusual minorities in the form of the Maroon communities. The Maroons have a fascinating and turbulent history which includes the intermittent waging of war against the British colonial authorities, working with the British to quell slave revolts and the acquisition of a special status which is still recognised today by the Government in Kingston.
In fact there are two distinct Maroon communities living in Jamaica's mountainous hinterland. The Accompong Maroons live in the bleak Cockpit Country while, 150 km to the east, the Blue Mountains are home to the so-called Windward Maroons.
The Maroons are not an indigenous race. Indeed, like the majority of Jamaicans, they are of mainly African descent and their unique lifestyle and status is something of a historical oddity. The story begins with escaped slaves during the period of Spanish occupation (1510-1655). At that time, the colonists were settled in the coastal areas and it was natural that escapees should take to the mountains to avoid recapture. When an English expeditionary force under Admiral William Penn attacked Jamaica in 1655, the Spanish, before abandoning the island, liberated and armed their remaining slaves who also withdrew to the interior. The idea was that they should harry the new colonial occupiers with guerilla warfare until such time as the Spanish could return. In the event, Spain never did recapture Jamaica but the plan otherwise succeeded-beyond the wildest expectations of those who had formulated it. For the former slaves and their previously escaped 'compatriots' were to prove a thorn in the flesh of the British for almost a century and a half. Over the same period, they developed for themselves a distinctive culture and social system, many of whose characteristics survive even in today's modern world.
The term 'Maroon' derives from the Spanish word 'cimarron' meaning 'wild' or 'untamed'. Certainly, to European eyes, the lifestyle of the early Maroons may have seemed primitive but the term probably owes more to their reputation as formidable enemies. During the First Maroon War, which dragged on from 1690 until 1739, British troops found themselves battling on unfamiliar and unfavourable terrain against a people who were among the earliest exponents of guerilla action. The Maroons, fighting on 'home' territory, were fully adapted to local conditions and, although the British ultimately gained the upper hand, their losses in both men and material were high. The legendary exploits of the 'Queen Nanny' who fought the British from her Blue Mountain stronghold have made this priestess a folk hero, not just of the Maroons but of Jamaica as a whole. A peace treaty concluded after the First Maroon War guaranteed both lands and freedom to these mountain people.
Thereafter, until the abolition of slavery by the British in the early 19th century, the position of the Maroons was somewhat ambivalent. In 1760, in accordance with the terms of the 1739 Treaty, Maroon forces were called upon to assist in the suppression of a slave revolt known as Tacky's Rebellion (Tacky being the name of the slave leader who was killed by a Maroon marksman during a running fight). But the Maroons also absorbed into their society a regular flow of 'Breakaways' -slaves who had escaped from the British plantations and taken to the hills.
By 1795, relations between the Maroons and the British had deteriorated and the Second Maroon War began in that year. It was reputedly sparked off by the fact that runaway slaves were used to administer floggings to two Maroons convicted of pig stealing. This time, the British were less accomodating in victory and several hundred Maroons were deported after the hostilities had ceased, despite guarantees that this would not happen.
Since the early 19th century, relations between the Maroons and the central government have been largely peaceful. Today, they still live in their remote mountain communities, retaining their identity, traditions and distinct society. They have their own local institutions which, in a throwback to their fighting past, are still headed by 'colonels'. Jamaican independence in 1962 brought no significant change to their status, with the new government in Kingston continuing to recognise their autonomy. Except in cases of murder, Jamaican laws are not applied, they are exempted from various taxes and their lands are protected.
Some older Maroons still speak Coromante, a language of African origin, although its survival is threatened by the pervasive influence of radio and television.
The unique history and culture of the Maroon peoples mean that
it is difficult to draw any general conclusions which might be applicable to
other minority situations. But it is worth recognising that the relationship
they have with the Jamaican government is trouble-free principally because the
latter recognises their right to exist as a distinct society. This is a
situation which many minorities in other parts of the world would doubtless
Over the past 15 years, the euphemistically-named 'troubles' in Northern Ireland have brought considerable suffering to the province. Violence in the form of terrorist acts has also spilled over into Great Britain, the Irish Republic and even, on occasion, the European continent. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), which claims responsibility for many of these attacks, seeks a united Ireland and, by extension, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the province. It regards the British presence as a form of colonial occupation. Other splinter Republican groups have also been involved in terrorism from time to time. On the other side of the divide, there are certain 'Loyalist' organisations that have resorted to violence in pursuit of their goal of maintaining the political status quo. The republicans come from the Catholic population in Northern Ireland, who are a minority in the province (over a third of the population) but a majority in the island of Ireland as a whole. The loyalists are from the Protestant community (60% + in Northern Ireland).
It is widely recognised that only a very small proportion of the Northern Irish population is involved in bombings and shootings and the majority in both Protestant and Catholic communities do not support the activities of the terrorists. And while the anguish of individual victims cannot be understated, the scale of the violence needs to be put into perspective. There are cities in the United States and in many parts of the developing world where 'normal' violent crime poses greater risks. But the fundamental problem in Northern Ireland which remains unresolved is the deep sectarian divide between the two religious communities.
The schism in the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation which led to the rise of Protestantism was a source of conflict in many parts of Europe. Where one or other religious group found itself in a minority in a particular country, it was frequently the victim of discrimination and persecution. In Britain, it was the Protestant tendency that ultimately prevailed, while Ireland remained largely true to Catholicism. The Protestant population of Ireland can trace their origins back to immigration, mainly from Scotland, during the early 17th century. Few would deny the suffering endured by the Catholic majority at various stages in the unequal relationship between the two islands. The activities of Oliver Cromwell, who was Lord Protector of England during that country's brief flirtation with republican government in the middle of the 1 7th century, were particularly notorious. In 1800, Ireland was joined to Britain and towards the end of the century the 'Irish Question' became a recurring theme in British politics as the franchise was extended and the Irish electorate voted increasingly for 'Home-Rule' candidates. Economic power in Ireland during this time was vested mainly in the Protestant landowning class.
During the struggle for Irish independence which culminated in the establishment of the Irish Free State (later to become the Irish Republic) in the early 1920s, the Protestants, who were concentrated in the north, fought to stay within the UK. The result was partition with six of the counties of Ulster remaining in the Union. These counties, however, contained a significant Catholic minority. The Constitution of the Irish Republic does not recognise this division and lays claim to the six counties. This is a serious bone of contention for the Northern Irish
It is widely acknowledged that Catholics in the new province continued to suffer from discrimination, in both political and economic spheres. Resentment among the minority built up until, in the late 1960s, large-scale civil rights protests spilled over into violence. British troops were sent to maintain order but their position was compromised when 13 Catholic protectors were shot dead by soldiers during a riot. The IRA (which had been intermittently active ever since partition) resumed its campaign of violent action and this has continued ever since. Protestant pare-military organisations subsequently entered the fray. As a result, bitterness and suspicion on both sides has increased. From time to time, hopes have been raised by the spontaneous revulsion of ordinary people to the violence. For example, in the 1970s a women's peace movement emerged which brought many Protestants and Catholics together, but the momentum of the movement was subsequently lost and the violence has continued.
Although laws have been passed in Westminster outlawing religious discrimination in the province, the conditions for a genuine rapprochement of the two communities do not seem to be very favourable. Today, the vast majority of Northern Irish people vote on sectarian lines although, on the Catholic side, the moderate SDLP decisively outpolls Sinn Fein, which has links with the IRA, while Protestant voters tend to favour the Ulster Unionists over the more radical Democratic Unionists. The Alliance Party, which is the only significant non-sectarian grouping, usually polls about 8% of the votes.
In other parts of Western Europe, where religious conflict is largely a thing of the past, the situation in Northern Ireland is a source of bafflement. Outsiders find it impossible to understand why religious affiliation should remain the defining feature of Northern Irish society when its significance, in terms of economic power relations, access to employment and so on, has all but vanished elsewhere.
For some, the closer cooperation which exists between the British and Irish governments is an encouraging sign. So too is the trend towards a more integrated Europe-the Maastricht
Treaty establishes a European Union as well as the concept of European citizenship which extends to all Northern Irish people irrespective of their national or religious loyalties. But the gap between the two communities is very wide indeed and there is a limit to what can be achieved by external initiatives whether in London, Dublin or Brussels. A genuine and lasting solution to the Northern Ireland problem must ultimately lie in the reconciliation of the two hightly polarised communities, whose political objectives (maintenance of the Union and the establishment of a United Ireland) are so clearly incompatible. Unfortunately, there seems little prospect of this happening in the foreseeable future and until it does, a political settlement would appear to be impossible. S.H.
The Ndebele of Zimbabwe
This year marks the centenary of a celebrated event in Zimbabwean history, an uprising in 1893 in the course of which 1000 people lost their lives opposing a British colonial army. Only part of Zimbabwe's population is celebrating the anniversary, however, because the dead they commemorate belonged to the country's minority ethnic group, the Ndebele, whose relations with the majority Shona are at a low point. Their rivalry goes back a long way.
The ancestors of the people nowadays known as the Shona, members of the Bantu group, first moved into the land occupied by present-day Zimbabwe in the 10th century AD, from north of the Zambezi river. They were farmers and successful traders who set up a powerful state centred on Great Zimbabwe in the south-east, followed after 1450 by a succession of other, more loosely structured kingdoms. For centuries these vied for power with each other and with Portuguese invaders coming in from Angola and Mozambique, until, in the first half of the 19th century, the Ndebele made their appearance in Zimbabwe.
The Ndebele were a group which emerged victorious from conflict between the Zulu tribes of what is now Transvaal and the Orange Free State in South Africa. Boers migrating northwards in search of land forced them to flee into southern and western Zimbabwe, which they conquered and took from the Shona in 1840. Ndebele territory was smaller than that of the Shona kingdoms which still remained, but was ruled with an iron hand, and folk memories of Ndebele severity in enforcing obedience from their Shona subjects are confirmed by the accounts left by white missionaries of the period.
In 1890 the British occupied Zimbabwe and colonists began to pour in from South Africa. Both Shona and Ndebele were driven from their land, robbed of their cattle and pressed into forced labour. Neither henceforward had any say in the conduct of the country's affairs. The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 drove both off land they had cultivated for generations and racial discrimination was institutionalized in all aspects of life. The two groups were lumped together by the white ruling authorities as 'natives' and the differences of culture and history between them disregarded.
Nationalist resistance movements which emerged in the early 1960s were not originally based on membership of one or other ethnic group, but it was not long before the Zimbabwe African National Union was seen primarily as a Shona party and the Zimbabwe African People's Union as predominantly Ndebele. At independence in 1980, after the common oppressor of both groups had lost power, some of the Ndebele began to feel that their interests were being made to take second place to those of the Shona, who outnumbered them by more than four to one. Intermittent but violent war was waged by dissidents in the Ndebele's traditional territory, Matabeleland, from 1982. The rising was put down with heavy bloodshed by government troops from the Shona-speaking north, and enmity between the two ethnic groups greatly increased. The fighting finally ended in 1987, when ZANU and ZAPU concluded a unity accord. In 1989 the parties merged, and since that time the Shona leader Robert Mugabe has been President, with Joshua Nkomo of the Ndebele as his Vice-President.
In independent Zimbabwe both Shona and Ndebele are of ficial languages, with English widely used for official purposes and in the media. The country's second university, after that in the capital, Harare, is being established in Matabelelend's largest town, Bulawayo. Efforts are being made to document and honour ZAPU members who died alongside their ZANU comrades in the liberation struggle-but not those, including many civilians, who were killed in the war in Matabeleland, and a sense of grievance and mistrust persists among the minority at the seemingly unshakeable hold on power of a ruling party dominated by the Shona, with help from Ndebele politicians whom some of their own ethnic group do not hold in high regard. A number of disaffected Ndebele academics, journalists and others have recently joined together to set up an opposition political party. Their public pronouncements cast the government in Harare in the role of an external power indifferent to Matabeleland's concerns, though there is no talk of separatism or secession. The degree of support these new nationalists enjoy has yet to be tested in any election.
On a different definition of the term, there is a case for
saying that another national minority in Zimbabwe (and some other post-colonial
countries) is constituted by the white people who live there. Those that
disliked the idea of majority rule and were able to leave did so at
independence; most of those that remain are natives of the country. In Zimbabwe
they form 5% of the population and, since reserved white seats were abolished,
are not specially represented in parliament. But that is another, equally
The great 19th-century German statesman Bismarck used to say only three people in the world had ever understood what the Schleswig-Holstein question was about: 'The first one went mad, the second died, and then there's me ... and I've forgotten.' Joking apart, it was a question serious enough to provoke some five centuries of wars between two countries which are now fellow members of the European Community: Germany and Denmark.
There is a swathe of territory across the middle of the peninsula of Jutland in northern Europe, between the North Sea and the Baltic, known as Schleswig. In the mediaeval period it was a dukedom held by the King of Denmark; Danish-speakers lived in the northern half, which abutted on Denmark, and German-speakers in the south. To the south lay another dukedom, Holstein, which was wholly German-speaking but also belonged to the Danish Crown. As well as the internal frictions which these arrangements generated, the two dukedoms lay in a militarily and commercially important position and were constantly fought over by the neighbouring powers.
As for their inhabitants, from the outset of Danish domination the German-speakers in Schleswig and Holstein understandably resented taking orders from an alien potentate in distant Copenhagen. However, in European history until the late 18th century, the concept of being a citizen of this or that country did not exist; people and the lands they lived in (with the notable exception of Switzerland, be it said in passing) owed allegiance and obedience only to whatever king, lord or bishop ruled them. Only with the French Revolution and the rise of nationalism in the early 19th century did ethnic groups start fighting to organise themselves into nation states as understood today.
The dominant power to the south, Prussia, was gradually bringing one German-speaking territory after another under its sway? and turned its attention to Schleswig-Holstein. The Danish-speakers in Schleswig had no wish to become German subjects; nor did the Germans there and in Holstein want to remain vassals of Denmark. The battle for possession went on up to and including the First World War, at the end of which Schleswig and Holstein were held by Germany. However, Schleswig was still occupied by the two different language communities. By treaty it was divided in half and the northern part, entirely Danish-speaking, was ceded to Denmark. As for the ethnically mixed border area, in a referendum held in 1920 each parish was invited to say which country it wanted to belong to, and a dividing line between the two countries was finally worked out. This line was still only a compromise, since, to avoid creating enclaves, a few parishes which had opted to be German were given to Denmark and vice versa. A settlement agreeable to both sides was not finally reached until after World War II.
All is quiet on the Schleswig-Holstein front now. The communities who found themselves stranded on the wrong side of the border in the 1920 referendum still live there, but in peace. The peoples are racially indistinguishable, there has been much intermarriage, they profess the same religion, and in neither country is there any official criterion for defining whether a person is Danish or German beyond an affirmation by the individual concerned that he or she wishes to be so considered. So it is not easy to give precise figures, but there are now approximately 20 000 Danes living in German South Schleswig and a similar number of Germans in Danish North Slesvig (as the territory is called in Danish). The members of the two communities are nationals and citizens of the countries they live in, not of those whose language they habitually speak and whose culture they espouse.
In both countries the cultural rights of the respective minorities are recognised and protected by law. In each country private schools operating in the minority languages are funded by the state, on the same basis as schools teaching in the majority language. Naturally the majority language is also taught in such schools, and in practice the members of the minorities are bilingual. Television and radio programmes from the 'mother' country also help to preserve cultural links, and the minorities have their own newspapers and sports and cultural associations.
In their daily lives, both minorities in this predominantly agricultural area make their living in the same ways as their neighbours, from farming in rural areas and from trade and services in the towns.
Political parties representing their special interests have emerged on both sides of the border. In Denmark a party which cannot win a majority in an individual constituency is eligible to receive one of the 40 additional, non-constituency seats in Parliament, provided it can attain a threshold of 2% of the national vote. The party representing Germans in Denmark cannot muster even that 2%, so has no voice in the national legislature, but an of rice which the Federation of North Slesvig Germans has set up in Copenhagen receives a special subsidy from the state to help it represent its members' interests to parliament and government. The party set up by the Danish minority in South Schleswig is exempt from the 5% threshold for parliamentary representation applying in Germany, and has one seat in the Schleswig-Holstein state legislature, the Landstag.
Denmark and Germany do not interfere in the affairs of the speakers of their languages on the other side of the border, or provide any special facilities for them on their own side. A Dane of German nationality, for example, who wants to study at a Danish university is treated exactly like any other applicant from outside Denmark. Although some members of the minorities cross the border to work in the country whose language they speak, they enjoy no privileges other than those given under EC legislation to any national of the Community.
It might, indeed, be said that, by making the concept of the
nation state less strong, the process of wider European integration has done as
much as anything (local diplomacy and rising material wellbeing, for instance)
to calm the passions and ambitions that for centuries used to drive this part of
Europe into war. If only it could serve as a model for other, less happy parts
of the continents
Hutu, Tutsi and Twa in Rwanda and Burundi
Rwanda and Burundi are two tiny countries landlocked in central-eastern Africa. They have similar characteristics and similar natural, sociological and economic constraints, including small size, rapid population expansion and poor per capita income, which puts them at the bottom of the LLDC category.
There are also structural barriers to development, in the shape of:
-dependence on the outside world, i.e. they are subject to variations in the price of coffee (which accounts for the bulk of their export revenue) and their external debt is mounting;
-demographic pressure, which threatens self-sufficiency in food and makes major social investments necessary;
-their landlocked position, which makes them dependent on transport facilities in the countries around them and pushes up production costs.
These economic constraints are aggravated by ethnic problems. The Tutsi minority (numerically, at least, at approximately 14% of the current population) has held power in both countries, to the detriment of the Hutu majority (an estimated 84%) and the Twa (a Pygmy approximately 1%).
After independence, which the two countries gained in 1962, their paths separated, with the Tutsi remaining in power in Burundi and the Hutu taking over the Presidency and the Government in Rwanda.
The two countries may have opted for different political solutions, but they both saw frequent clashes between their two main tribes. An unprecedented exchange took place, when Hutu took refuge in Rwanda and Tutsi exiles moved into Burundi. Tutsi from Rwanda went to many other countries too, including Uganda, where the ethnically related Hima tribe lives.
The determined struggle between the two ethnic groups becomes even more incomprehensible when one discovers that the Tutsi, Hutu and Twa all speak the same languages- Kinyarwanda, Swahili and French in Rwanda and Barundi, Swahili and French in Burundi.
More astonishing still is that the fighting went on despite the fact that for centuries the different groups shared political institutions and a social and religious system apparently without any serious obstacles to mixed marriage and inter-breeding.
The political role and sacred nature of the monarchy and the cattle-based system of feudal dependence represented values espoused by the whole population and, until colonisation (in the early 20th century), the rift between the groups seems to have been more social than ethnic. Some writers have said that the break was engineered by the Westerners' policy decision to ensure a balance of power by focusing on one group. Are they right?
The advent of European values and religious conversions aroused an awareness of social disparity in this country, which was reflected, some suggest, in the finding that ethnic identity made cultural identification easier.
But the situation of the minorities in both countries continued to be a source of hope and anxiety alike. In 1959, Rwanda began a revolution which toppled the Tutsi monarchy, did away with Belgian tutelage and, in 1961, set up the Republic. Independence and separation from Burundi were proclaimed together, in 1962.
The Hutu move to power heralded a period of disorder, which forced a large number of Tutsi to flee. This went on happening regularly afterwards and, in October 1990, expatriate Rwandans (Tutsi refugees and Hutu opposition, who joined forces under the banner of the FPR-the Rwandan Patriotic Front) attacked and took control of the northern part of the country.
Those in power reacted by making many arrests, but international pressure forced them to:
-free the political prisoners; -set up a multiparty system; -agree to a timetable for local, national and presidential elections;
-allow a transitional government to be set up, bringing together opposition parties and the former single party (the MRND);
-negotiate a peace settlement with the FPR, the first stage of which was the signing of a ceasefire agreement, effective from 31 July. This followed negotiations in Arusha in Tanzania, a country which has done its utmost for peace in Rwanda.
Hard-line Hutu factions contested the overtures made to other Hutu clans (particularly in the South) and to the Tutsi, and started fresh action against both. Most of the victims in the north west, the President's region, were Bagogwe (a Tutsi subtribe).
Government accords came up against problems. A plan for a government of national unity involving the FPR was signed in January 1993 and only needed the President's agreement, but procrastination and the announcement of further massacres in the north west prompted the FPR to start fighting again, which it did on 9 February. With the Rwandan army in difficulty, the Government strove to get the negotiations going again. They are still in progress and they should, it is hoped, lead to a peace agreement and, most important, the establishment of a political system in which all tribes can be represented, without discrimination, in the Government and in the institutions.
After 30 years of independence and Tutsi pre-eminence, Burundi has now come to presidential and national elections which should be the opportunity to emerge peacefully from three decades of single party rule and tribal clashes, the most serious of which were in 1965, 1972 (400 000 dead) and 1988 (5000 victims, according to official figures).
After this last massacre, President Buyoya realised that national reconciliation meant that power, hitherto concentrated in the hands of the Tutsi minority, had to be shared fairly and a commission of leading political, religious and military figures (12 Hutu and 12 Tutsi) was accordingly invited to tackle the problem of national unity. This led to presidential elections, which were won by Melchior Ndadaye, a Hutu - clear indication of a strong drive to build a society with less tribal division. The results of national elections held on 29 June 1993, which should give a further indication of political trends, were not available when The Courier went to press.
The future of the Twa, a Pygmy tribe making up only 1% of the population of Rwanda and Burundi, is another problem. They are the traditional allies of the Tutsi, but are held in apparent contempt by the two countries' main ethnic groups, which attract far more of the political observers' attention.
The Hutu are, typically, farmers and the Tutsi mainly herdsmen, but the Twa have stuck to the forests and a nomadic way of life as hunters and gatherers, which cuts them off from the rest of the country. The effect is to marginalise this tribe of artists (they are potters, dancers and musicians), for whom survival is becoming more and more of a problem.
This is less a question of political representation than of a cultural minority which is disappearing altogether, for the Twa refuse to integrate with ethnic majorities which shun them. They have tended to cut themselves off and their socio-political isolation (they practice endogamy, for example) is handicapping their chances of survival-which depends on the way the majority groups behave.
English or French? Cameroonuans divided
Cameroon, like other African countries, is deeply divided. On top of the usual political and institutional reasons for the rifts- which unfortunately appear to be widening-the rivalry between the French and English linguistic groups provides a further divisive element.
For a long time, bilingualism was Cameroon's international trademark: a good example of the peaceful coexistence of the languages of Shakespeare and Moliere. Things have changed, however, and for the past ten or more years it has been a source of deep resentment between the English- and French speaking parts of the country. But is it really the language question that is keeping them apart? Or is the English-French debate just a pretext for disagreements which are actually rooted elsewhere?
Some English-speaking Cameroonians claim that they were cheated in the reunification of 1961 and in the subsequent moves
from a Federation to a United Republic and then to the presentday Republic of Cameroon.
In support of this argument, they point first to the fact that, although English is a joint working language alongside French under the Constitution, it has lost ground, notwithstanding efforts to encourage bilingualism such as two-language teaching in a number of schools and the rule that either language may be used in the civil service. The English-speakers' second grievance is the actual role-or rather lack of a role-which they have had in the running and practical management of the state. Their third complaint relates to the management and use of the economic resources of western Cameroon combined with the question of regional development.
Resentment has mounted since the erratic beginnings of Cameroon's democracy. The English-speakers are again calling for a return to Federation but the Government rejects both the idea itself and any discussion of it.
Despite the obvious friction, the scale of the problem deserves to be questioned, particularly if one looks at it in the context of what has happened in countries such as Canada and Belgium, where there are 'competing' linguistic groups.
In fact, one could argue that the problem of the English speakers in Cameroon is not so much a 'national minority, issue as one which relates to the state institutions and the way in which they operate. After all, there are similar strained relations between the central authorities and other regions of the country, and these have nothing to do with the language question.
The Tuaregs are a topical subject of discussion and one better understood for a little history.
These people are Berbers descended from the first inhabitants of North Africa. They have their own writing and a language shared by the various brotherhoods. The Arab invasions of the 7th and 11 th centuries overwhelmed the Berber tribes along the coast, but the Tuaregs remained free by staying inland and defending the Sahara. Nowadays, there are Tuareg groups living in each of the main mountain areas of the Sahara-the Hoggar, the Air, the Tassili and the Ajjer-as well as in the dried-out desert lands of the Sahel. They are divided for the most part between Niger, which has the largest Tuareg population, Mali, with the second largest, and Algeria, although there are a few small communities also in Libya and Burkina Faso.
Their traditional way of life and nomadic existence are currently threatened by political and economic developments and by drought, the scourge of the deserts of western Africa for several years now. The pace of their lives has changed and many aspects of their culture have disappeared. Their social hierarchy has altered and their nomadic existence with it, so their day-to-day life is different too. The change is such that the whole future of the Tuareg community is now in doubt.
There are many reasons for this. The lorries which arrived to haul goods across the Sahara in the 1950s and 1960s are one of them, for there are now machines in place of the camels which used to carry millet, dates, salt, tea and other items in the big Tuareg caravans. The nomadic way of life, the trade and therefore the means of subsistence of the Tuareg people are clearly threatened.
Then there is drought, which has decimated herds of camels, sheep and goats, dealing another body blow to the nomadic way of life.
And, with the independence of the countries in which they live (Algeria, Mali and Niger), Tuareg freedom of movement was suddenly limited by border restrictions. The arrival of black governments in Niger and Mali in 1961 did not, from a Tuareg perspective, help matters- the Tuaregs traditionally had slaves, most of them black, and, although the hierarchies are now crumbling, the slavery issue still rankles with black people. In consequence, stratified systems of administration were established with the Tuaregs firmly at the bottom of the scale.
The Governments of Mali and Niger now have the problem of Tuareg dissidence to cope with. The situation began to deteriorate after the drought of 1984, when a wave of Tuareg immigrants headed for Algeria. The Algerian Government persuaded them to go back to their country of origin but the return was marred by unfortunate circumstances (the move was ill-prepared and aid provided by France was diverted). In 1990, Niger put down a Tuareg revolt. In the pursuit which followed, the 'rebels' crossed into Mali which was thus also drawn in. A 'Tuareg taunt' developed in response to the rebellion which was now firmly under way in both Niger and Mali.
In April 1992, the Mali Government and the Bureau for the Coordination of the United Azaouad Movements and Fronts signed a National Pact, providing for a ceasefire and conferring internal autonomy on the North region, where the Tuareg community constitutes an important part of society, as well as integrating Azaouad fighters in the Malian army. Despite what can still be visible tension, the trend is towards peace and a political solution to the problems.
In Niger, the riots started later and the Tuareg formed the Air-Azaouak Liberation Front (FLAA). This was recognised in January 1992 by the Niger Government, but the latter opposed any suggestion of autonomy for the northern part of the country because of the proximity of Libya, the Trans-Sahara highway linking Algiers with the Bight of Benin (tine 'uranium' road) and the fact that there were important uranium mines in the area. There is hope, however, for Mahamane Ousmane, the new Head of State (a civilian, democratically elected in March-April this year) seems anxious to negotiate and the FLAA is extending its truce indefinitely.
Nomadic tradition and geographical spread make the Tuareg issue
difficult to address. Autonomy would mean that they could take over their own
administration, but where would they do it and what would their political
Brittany is on the Atlantic Coast of Western France, in Western Europe. It is 34 000 km2 in area, which makes it roughly the same size as Belgium, and has a population of about 3 900 000, which puts it between the Irish Republic and Norway.
In 56 BC, this strongly Celtic part of Gaul was conquered by the Romans and known as Armorica, but the old culture reasserted itself in the 2nd-7th centuries AD, when Cells moved in from Britain-hence the name Brittany. By the time of the Carolingians, in the 9th century, it was fighting to keep its independence, finally establishing its historic boundaries after repelling Norman invasions in the early 10th century. Organised as an independent Duchy, its thriving maritime trade gave it regular prosperity, particularly in the I 5th century, when it had all the hallmarks of a modern state, with its own currency, tax system, courts, parliament and diplomatic corps.
The Capetian kings cast envious eyes on Brittany ('France's El Dorado', as they called it in the 16th century) and the French armies overran it at the end of the 15th century. The Breton army was defeated in 1488 and Brittany was annexed to France in 1532 under a Treaty of Union between two sovereign states- which mysteriously disappeared from the royal archives in Paris. However, the Bretons kept special rights until the Revolution abolished them in 1789, at which time the name 'Brittany' disappeared from the political and administrative nomenclature. It only reappeared in 1972.
An economy still prosperous when the 17th century began was to be ruined by the protectionism of Colbert, Louis XIV's finance minister, and the Napoleonic period, when Brittany's traditional maritime relations with the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula ceased.
Brittany has its own language, Breton (Brezkoneg), the only Celtic language spoken in continental Europe and still used in the western parts of the region by 250 000-300 000 people and
understood by 500 000-600 000. It has been written since at least the 7th century AD and printed since the late 15th century and has a wealth of literature. Some people in the rural parts of eastern Brittany speak Gallo, a Romance dialect similar to the Oil dialects of northern France (Norman, Picard, Poitevin and so on).
Brittany currently has to contend with a number of problems arising from its minority situation and its position on the periphery of both France and the European Community.
Economically speaking, it leads France's farming and fishing sectors, both of which are in serious difficulty. It has relatively little industry and what there is could well disappear. And, like other regions, it suffers from the lack of a regional development policy and from centralisation at every level (political, administrative, economic and cultural).
From the mid-19th century right up until the 1970s, the tendency was for young people to leave, which caused serious problems for the region and led to Bretons spreading across the globe (there are about I million of them in the Paris area and 30 000 in New York alone). According to recent statistics, the move began again in the mid-1980s, with Greater Paris, where 40% of the country's new jobs are created, as the main destination.
Brittany suffers from having no real political power. The Regional Council of Brittany, a body elected by universal suffrage since 1986, does not have the power to enact laws or regulations in any of the areas vital to the region and its budget is very small too. And the most industrialized region, around Nantes, which is historically a part of Brittany, has been separate since 1941.
Breton language and culture are taught to only a few children (0.3% of the primary school intake), under unreliable conditions. Breton is not much in evidence in the media (75 minutes per week on just one TV channel). The money allocated to it is minimal and, since it has no official status, it cannot be used by the public administration or in any official documents. In January 1993, a committee was set up, with the help of the majority of Breton MPs and local representatives, to get France to sign and ratify the Council of Europe's Charter on regional and minority languages and it organised a peaceful meeting of 2000 people in Quimper on 6 March.
The next 20 or 30 years will no doubt be decisive when it comes
to deciding whether the Breton minority will gradually be assimilated into the
dominant French culture or whether it can add more pages to its thousand years
of history. The political integration of Europe can help a lot if it allows for
the emergence of a new form of citizenship founded on pluralism and respect for
Melanesians from South East Asia had been living in New Caledonia since 3000 BC by the time James Cook discovered it in February 1774. The island was annexed by the French in 1853 and turned into a penal colony, where prisoners soon outnumbered free men. Frequent uprisings by the indigenous people, the Kanaks, were suppressed forcibly and ultimately, in 1878, reservations were created for the Melanesian population.
In 1946, New Caledonia and the surrounding islands became a French overseas territory. In 1952, the Kanaks formed the Caledonian Union, which dominated the political life of the institutions there until the 1970s and, by virtue of being the main component of the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FINKS), is still one of the leading lights on the political scene today.
But the Melanesians did not get the vote until 1957 and, in 1958, the Europeans set up the Caledonian Assembly to defend the policy of keeping the territory in the French Republic.
With the nickel boom of the 1970s, many Europeans settled in Noumea and the surrounding area. Tension between the two main-European and Melanesian-communities mounted, notwithstanding the institutions and the economic and social plans which had been put in place.
The statistics show that Europeans were in fact in a minority, representing 33.6% of the total population as against the Kanaks' 44.8%. But it was the Kanaks who suffered economic and political marginalisation, putting them in a minority situation in their own country. The roles were reversed and cohabitation was bound to be difficult.
There had to be an end to the years of attacks which resulted in the deaths of both policemen and members of the FLNKS. In 1984, the tension during elections for the Territorial Assembly in Noumea was such that the French Government sent out troops to man barricades.
The Matignon agreements were signed after the presidential elections of 1988. They were the work of the French Government, the RPCR (the Assembly for Caledonia in the Republic, i.e. the anti-independence Caledonia RPR, representing the majority of Europeans) and the FLNKS (proindependence, representing the majority of the Melanesians). Their provisions included a 10-year moratorium prior to a referendum on self determination. The main aims were civil peace and a fresh economic and social balance for the territory, with political, economic and social responsibilities for the proindependence Melanesians from the start-a logical step after the creation of the three administrative provinces.
The three provinces are:
-The Loyalty Islands, almost entirely inhabited by Melanesians (98.1%, as against 1.3% Europeans);
-North Province, which, despite a large European population in some districts (Koumak), is 78.7% Melanesian and 15.7% European. This province has been in a position to move firmly into the international economic scene since a major nickel mining company was bought from Jacques Lafleur in 1990. New Caledonia is, in fact, the world's fourth biggest nickel producer and the Caledonian economy is dependent on the world market;
-South Province, which is 44.3% European and 25.8% Melanesian.
Ethnic and political divisions reflect the division of the
territory itself, with North Province and the Islands controlled by the FLNKS
and South Province by the RPCR. So running the provinces is a lesson in
political management within the framework of what, in March 1993, Louis Le
Pensec called 'decolonisation within the Republic'. Today, more than ever
before, New Caledonia's future lies somewhere between self government and
Improving the environment and the quality of life
In tracing the evolution of EC development policy under the Lome Conventions, the Katsina Afforestation Project (KAP) in northern Nigeria represents an important milestone, being one of the first projects in which the Community's concern about environmental degradation in the ACP states became manifest.
Launched in 1987 in response to what is certainly the worst environmental problem facing Nigeria-desertification -KAP was completed last year with all but one of its targets exceeded. A second phase, known as the Katsina Arid Zone Development Programme (KAZP), has just begun with a major allocation of ECU 25 million from the seventh EDF.
With KAP proving an effective model for other projects in the fight against desertification, a certain sense of relief prevails-a far cry from the days when the Nigerian government, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem, appeared at a loss as to how it could best deal with it.
Geographically the extreme north of Nigeria where Katsina is located is in the Sahel. Indeed the Sahelian climate and vegetation extend further south to Kaduna. Often plagued by severe drought, the process of environmental degradation here, like elsewhere in the region, started long ago but did not become a source of worry until the 1970s, when a rapid increase in the population and in the number of livestock translated into a dramatic shrinkage of arable land and fodder. Fears of serious outbreaks of communal conflict, as living standards fell and rural depopulation accelerated, led the Nigerian government in 1982 to approach the European Community for assistance.
The Nigerian request came at the right time. Policywise the EC was disposed to finance projects in this area, and funds were available under the Lome II Convention.
Two million trees
Although the report eventually commissioned by the EC and Nigeria, recommended in 1984 the planting of 2 million trees in five local government areas of the then Kaduna State-Daura, Katsina, Mani, Kankiya and Dutsin Ma-it was the decision to secure the closest collaboration possible at the local level, adopt several afforestation models and give farmers a choice of which model they consider the most appropriate for their farms that was to prove crucial in the success of the project.
Covering an area of about 16 000 sq km, the Project envisaged the establishment of 85 shelterbelts (blocks of 6600 trees, each measuring 2000m x 30m) on communal lands to reduce wind erosion of top soils and stabilise loose sands in areas most affected by the desertification process. It adopted three afforestation models from which farmers could choose: trees on farmland to reflect the traditional practice of leaving a few trees standing after clearing, windbreaks at the edges of farms to protect crops; and woodlots at corners to provide a permanent source of fuelwood and poles.
Together with an infrastructure comprising a headquarters (an office complex, stores, a workshop, staff housing etc.), wells and plant nurseries, the Project was costed at ECU 13.4 million. The European Community provided a grant of ECU 9.4 million from the fifth EDF while the Nigerian government undertook to pay the salaries and wages of local staff and labour (amounting to ECU 4 million) during the four years of the Project.
Over 25 indigenous and exotic plant species (most of which are valuable as sources of fuelwood, fruits, fodder, medicines, etc.) were used and 14 235 farmers took part in the Project. The farmers were carefully selected and trained in close collaboration with traditional rulers. Each farmer was responsible for planting and tending the trees and managing his farm as he saw fit. He was provided with seedlings and extension services.
In order to minimise the pressure on the vegetation cover, the Project introduced efficient mud stoves imported from the Republic of Niger, which were found to save between 40% and 50% on fuelwoods, and set up a programme to train local blacksmiths in their manufacture.
Although KAP was extended for an additional year, by the end of the original 1991 deadline it had exceeded all but one of its targets: 94 shelterbelts instead of the 85 planned, 7225 windbreaks and 4548 woodlots as against 6250 and 4325 respectively. Only 2462 'trees on farmland' were realised instead of the 3915 earmarked, because, according to the Project managers, the farmers felt increasingly reluctant to use the indigenous plant species with which they were provided; these grow more slowly than the exotic ones.
An assessment of the survival rate of the trees has been put at 46%, which, experts say, corresponds with the norm for agroforestry programmes in subSaharan Africa.
The widespread participation of farmers in the Project was not only dictated by personal economic interest but also by a much greater awareness in the project area of the cause of desertification and the importance of vegetation cover to human and animal life.
Despite Katsina's location in the Sahel and the drought it suffers, man has been recognised as the main cause of deforestation. As the Emir frankly put it: 'There is no desert encroachment here, there is desert creation'. Having admitted that much, there was a willingness and determination to tackle the problem headon at all levels, for as well as EC finance and technical support, the Federal, State and local governments and the population at large - farmers, women's groups and school children-were all involved.
Map to Nigeria
Awareness of the environment
The Federal Government, as already indicated, paid the salaries and wages of local staff. The State Government, on the other hand, acquired the land for shelterbelts and paid compensation to their previous owners while local government provided extension workers, land for nurseries, etc.
Federal and State officials in Nigeria, from the Head of State through Governors to ministers, have always shown keen interest in tree planting. But such exercises are rarely followed up at the grassroots level, mainly because of ignorance. The importance attached to extension services under this Project ensured that that gap was plugged in the project area. Indeed one of the most striking things about KAP, which should serve as an example to agroforestry projects, is the effective campaign it mounted against desertification and the enthusiasm it engendered for tree planting.
In 1988, a programme was devised to create awareness of the environment among students by setting up Young Foresters' Clubs in post-primary institutions where boys and girls are taught about plant species and planting techniques. By 1991, 47 secondary and technical schools had set up their own clubs. These have a combined membership of well over 10 000. Members are encouraged not only to pass on their knowledge to their parents, the majority of whom are farmers, but also to put it into practice around their schools and homes-a practice which has already resulted in some schools becoming selfsufficient in fruit and vegetables. In 1990 a Women's Programme was begun, under which women are given seedlings and encouraged to plant around their compounds. So far 48 women's groups, with a combined membership of over 2000, have been formed in villages and hamlets in the project zone. It is now very common to see compounds surrounded by fruit trees of all kinds.
Consolidation of achievements
The second phase, the Katsina Arid Zone Development Programme, which began this year, is aimed not only at consolidating and expanding what has been achieved but also at ensuring an integrated, environmentally sustainable rural development. This has become necessary because KAP has revealed that tree planting alone cannot counterbalance the loss of forest cover, much less roll back the desert. If the people's living standards are to improve, the area's capacity to carry an ever-increasing number of livestock and support increased agricultural production has to be strengthened. There would thus be, among other things, small-scale irrigation schemes, investments in water supply, rural roads, storage and electrification, as well as in small-scale credit facilities.
As with KAP, all levels of government are expected to make some contribution: the Federal and Katsina State Governments, for example, will fund the payment of the salaries of the local staff for the four-year duration of the project. This will cost the governments 17 million and 3.4 million respectively. The Project will seek to reach the widest number of people. Associations, committees, village groups and individual farmers will be asked to take full control of the management of their various projects.
'90% of the workers people lack control over their own lives'
'Many of today's struggles are more than struggles for access to political power. They are struggles for access to the ordinary opportunities of life-land, water, work, living space and basic social services'.
This statement, by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, William Draper, sets the tone for the latest Human Development Report which was published at the end of May. The Report, prepared by an independent team of economists for the UNDP, shows that ethnic minorities, the poor, rural dwellers, women and the disabled often have little power to change their lives. Overall, the authors conclude that some 90% of the world's population lack control over their own destiny.
The chief architect of the Report, Mahbub ul Haq, who is Special Advisor to the UNDP Administrator and a former Minister in the Pakistan Government, 2 argues that the basic message of human development has not changed: economic growth is imperative for a nation's development but this growth must be translated into the lives of the people. 'Income is essential,' Dr Haq continues, 'but it is only a means, not the sum total of human life.'
To emphasise the point, the Report once again ranks countries according to the Human Development Index (which has been featured in The Courier in its coverage of previous Human Development Reports). This Index combines life expectancy, educational attainment and basic purchasing power into a single indicator of human development. The latest calculations reveal once again that the countries with the highest incomes are not always those with the highest HDI ranking. In 1993, Japan ranks first on the HDI although it is only sixth in terms of real GDP per capita (See also Table 1). As in previous years, we reproduce the rankings for the ACP and EC countries (Table 2).
In addition to providing updated statistical information which is designed to chart the trends of human development across the world, the authors of the Report seek each year to break new ground by focusing on specific aspects or topics of current concern. Last year, the
emphasis was on reforming world markets. Among the new themes highlighted as 'targets for change' in the 1993 Report are the exclusion of minorities, 'jobless growth' and centralised power.
Table 1: There is no automatic link between income and human development (Source UNDP)
To highlight the exclusion of ethnic minorities from full participation in economic and social benefits, the Report ranked the white, African-American and Hispanic populations of the United States on the HDI as if they were separate countries. The white population would rank first, ahead of Japan, while African Americans, with lower life expectancy, income and education levels, would come in at 31st place (the same as Trinidad and Tobago). Hispanics in the USA would occupy 35th position. Studies of other countries reveal similar divergences with many other groups such as women and rural dwellers excluded from participation. Overall, according to the Report, 'it seems likely that fewer than 10% of the world's population participate fully in political, economic, social and cultural life'.
To promote societies built around people's genuine needs, the Report calls for the following five new pillars of a people-centred world order:
-New concepts of human security that stress security of people, not just of nations and territory. This means accelerated disarmament, using defence cuts to boost human development. It means a new role for the United Nations, increasingly intervening to provide human security in areas such as in the former Yugoslavia and Somalia, where people are fighting within countries rather than between countries.
-New strategies of sustainable human development that weave development around people, not people around development.
-New partnerships between state and markets, to combine market efficiency with social compassion.
-New patterns of national and global governance. Inflexible nation states, it is asserted, cannot cope with the globalisation of markets on the one hand and the rising aspirations of their people on the other. Needed here are greater decentralisation of power, more involvement by NGOs and more empowerment of the poor.
-New forms of international cooperation, to focus foreign aid directly on the needs of the people rather than on the preferences of governments.
Most importantly, the 1993 Report focuses on participation as a key to human development.
The Report calls for 'people-friendly' markets, allowing people to participate fully in their operation and to share equitably in their benefits. The starting point for economic participation is jobs, and the Report shows that all over the world, economies are growing but the number of jobs is not keeping pace, resulting in 'jobless growth' (see Table 3). From 1960 to 1987, for example, France, Germany and the United Kingdom saw their economies more than double in size but employment rates actually fell. The phenomenon is said to be particularly devastating in developing countries. Less than one-third of the increase in output in such countries in the 1960-87 period is reported as having come from increased labour; more than two thirds resulted from capital investment. Over the same period, the labour force in the developing world rose by more than 400 million, creating 'legions of unemployed'. On the positive side, the Report shows how, in some countries (particularly in East Asia), land reform and investment in human resources have led to substantial job growth.
One possible way of making economies work better and increasing opportunities for participation is to reduce state regulation, unleash private creativity and sell off inefficient public enterprises. While the Report applauds reforms of this kind, it stresses that care is needed in undertaking them so as to avoid abuses. A section on the 'seven sins of privatisation' wares of the need for full disclosure to prevent corruption and for anti-monopoly measures aimed at ensuring, among other things, that economic power does not simply pass 'from one ruling elite to another'.
Table 2: Human development index all ACP and EC States
If people cannot travel large distances to the seat of government in order to share power, the Report argues that government can and should move towards people by decentralising. It states that one of the few ways of measuring decentralisation is by studying where government money is actually spent. By that measure, it is suggested that a lot remains to be done. On average, central governments in developing countries are said to delegate less than 10% of total national spending to local governments, and less than 6% of social expenditure. This contrasts with the situation in 15 industrialised. countries which were studied, where..40% of all spending and 25% of social spending was delegated to the local and regional authorities.
The UNDP points out that it is not an easy task to change the patterns of centralised government. Citing Chile, Indonesia, Morocco and Zimbabwe, which have moved towards decentralisation through the creation of near autonomous local government, the authors note that even these countries have devolved relatively little actual power.
According to the Report, 'the resources controlled locally are small, local decision-making powers are narrow and many local appointments are imposed from above'. Yet even with their limitations, the experience of the abovementioned countries is said to show that decentralisation can bring government closer to the people and improve their lives.
Table 3: Jobless growth: GDP and employment, 1975-2000 (1975 = 100) (Source UNDP)
The authors of the Report observe that when people organise, by definition they increase their level of participation and often increase influence over their own lives. They point out that the dramatic shift towards democracy across the developing world has led to an explosion of participatory movements and nongovernmental organisations. NGOs today are said to benefit more than 250 million people, compared to 100 million in the early 1980s. The expansion of NGO activity has been supported by aid donors who, apparently dissatisfied with the performance of much of the official aid that has been provided, are channelling more of their money in this direction.
Over the past 20 years, the Report states that grants by NGOs in the North (most of it from government sources) to developing countries jumped from just over $1 billion to $5 billion a year.
The UNDP goes on to stress the variety of roles performed by NGOs including the promotion of democracy, reaching the poorest in society in circumstances where governments have been unable to do so, and helping to empower marginalised groups.
The example of labour unions, such as Solidarity in Poland and the Congress of Trade Unions in Zambia, is cited. Both of these played a central part in opposing one-party states and gaining multi-party elections and, in both cases, union presidents went on to be elected as Presidents of their country.
Another example, taken from Zimbabwe, is of the agricultural groups that were supported by the NGO Silveira House. These groups succeeded in increasing crop yield by as much as tenfold, allowing farmers to break out of subsistence agriculture and move into a cash economy. In Bangladesh, the Grameen Bank extended loans to almost one million people in 23 000 villages, and was able to show in the process that credit for the landless poor not only creates businesses and jobs, but can yield a loan repayment of 95%.
In Ecuador, the Report mentions the case of the Indian Federations that are helping indigenous people to gain secure title for their land, resulting in both material benefits and increased standing in civil society.
However, the authors stress that the growth of NGOs and their impact can obscure the fact that they still operate on a relatively small scale. The $7.2 billion in grants channelled through Northern NGOs to Southern NGOs is said to account for 13% of of official aid and 2.5% of total resource flows to developing countries. As Mahbub ul Haq says, 'this is not a criticism of the role of NGOs, but a reminder of stark reality: NGOs can supplement the role of governments, but they can never replace it.'
Although the Human Development Report was first published in
only 1990, this annual publication has rapidly established itself as a key
source of data and sharp analysis about development issues. The latest Report
maintains the tradition of frankness which was established at the outset. The
central message remains the same-that development must centre on people, and the
authors put forward concrete proposals for achieving this goal. It must be said
that national authorities will not always find it comfortable reading. But this
fact alone means that it is almost certainly worth reading.
by George MOODY-STUART
In the European Community this year there have been loud calls for 'good governance' and for stamping out corruption in high places, spurred by the collapse of one Member State's government amid accusations that leading politicians had for years benefited from covert financial links with big business and organised crime. An organisation dedicated to openness in the conduct of public affairs, called Transparency International, has recently been launced in Berlin
But suspicions of high-level dishonesty are not confined to Europe, unfortunately. The author of the article below is a businessman with 30 years ' experience of work in the agroindustrial field in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. He maintains that the abuse of public power for private gain, at the very top, puts a high surcharge on business, and consequently development, in many Third World countries -and he believes the problem is getting worse.
Corruption-'The misuse of public power for private profit'-has probably existed for as long as there has been public power. To eliminate corrupt officials and avaricious businessmen it would probably be necessary to change human nature; but an increasing number of people in both North and South are now actively discussing the problem and refusing to accept that corruption is inescapable.
The last three years have produced an unprecedented number of business scandals in the developed world, to an extent that nobody could now think of corruption as a problem of the South alone. However, there is an important distinction between internal corruption of the kind which may occur within any country and the international variety which so seriously affects the development of the South. This article is not concerned with businessmen who defraud their own shareholders, creditors or employees, nor with customs officials, policemen or minor officials who seek 'tips' to make the wheels go round. It is concerned only with what is sometimes called 'grand corruption' - the practice by which senior officials, ministers and, all too frequently, heads of state require payments before approving major purchases and developments. It seeks to answer very briefly four questions:
-how widespread is grand corruption? -how does it work?
-what damage does it do?
-what are the possible solutions?
It is difficult and potentially dangerous to generalise about a subject which is essentially secret in its nature and which covers a wide diversity of countries. I believe that 30, even 20, years ago grand corruption was confined to a small number of countries-Mexico, Ghana and the Philippines were notorious in the 1960s. In the last ten years it has multiplied enormously. Of the 20 developing countries which I know reasonably well, of which ten are in Africa, there are only two which are not seriously tainted. For some years I have made a habit of asking business friends about their own experiences, both in countries which I know and in those I do not, and it is very rare indeed for a country to get a 'clean' verdict.
It is important to recognise that, even in those countries where grand corruption is rife, there are senior officials and ministers who are absolutely honest. They deserve appreciation and admiration, particularly when they may receive poor salaries and can see their colleagues 'earning their pensions' by self-enrichment. It is not surprising that such men are becoming less common.
How does it work?
Grand corruption generally arises from the interaction of governments, as buyers, and the private sector, as sellers. Opportunities arise through the sale of capital goods, major projects, on-going supplies or consultancy services. The potential beneficiaries are those in a position to make or influence government purchasing decisions-heads of state, relevant ministers and senior officials. The principal losers are the general public and the funding agencies, not only because goods or services cost more than they should but also for more complex reasons described below. The suppliers may emerge as gainers or losers.
Three main factors seem to influence the suitability of a transaction for grand corruption. They are:
a) Size. The bigger the purchase or project, the bigger the potential 'take'.
b) Immediacy. Politicians and even officials in the South know that their terms of office may be brief. A pay-day at some remote time is not very interesting.
c) Mystification. A high technological content is attractive because it makes price comparisons very difficult. A cargo of cement has a calculable value on a given day but who knows the fair price for a sophisticated piece of military equipment?
Applying these criteria, one reaches an order of attractiveness which puts aircraft, military supplies and telecommunications at the top of the list; major industrial, agro-industrial and civil engineering projects in the middle; and ongoing supplies and large consultancy contracts towards the lower end.
'But surely', it will be argued, 'large and reputable companies do not bribe people?' Indeed they do not. However, they may appoint an agent or representative, who is likely to be a man of high standing in the community in which they wish to do business, sometimes a lawyer, a banker or a senior businessman. He can provide a range of valuable services, such as obtaining visas, meeting visitors at the airport, arranging accommodation and transport, advising on local finance and taxation-and making appointments with the top officials and ministers. In return for all of this he may receive a success-related fee, perhaps five or even l5 percept of the value of the business secured. What reputable company needs to bribe anybody when it has an agent capable of ensuring that 'things run smoothly'?
'But again', the sceptic will say, 'there are mechanisms to prevent over-pricing such as International Competitive Bidding.' Apart from the fact that there are many situations, some of them entirely legitimate, in which ICB can be shown to be inappropriate, it does no more than make life a little more difficult for the agent and his clients. The common practice of short-listing, welcomed in principle by almost all sellers, makes it unlikely that the corrupt buyer will be defeated by ICB. In the last resort, if his favoured supplier does not get the business, he can always abort the tender ('changed priorities', 'shortage of finance', 'alteration to scope of work') and start again.
It is not, of course, suggested that all contracts are manipulated for corrupt reasons. However, nobody should doubt that present practices leave major North/ South contracts potentially wide open to grand corruption.
What damage does it do?
The most obvious, but almost certainly not the most serious, effect of grand corruption is that major items of imported goods and services are frequently costing countries of the South as much as 15% more than they should. Estimates have been made indicating enormous sums lying in Swiss bank accounts to the credit of Third World leaders; and even if, as is sometimes claimed, a proportion of this money trickles back to the countries which have originally suffered from its loss, it is believed that much has been used to inflate the property markets of Europe and North America.
Far greater damage arises from the fact that the availability of bribes can seriously distort the decision-making process. The principal criteria in deciding from whom a purchase will be made should be quality and cost, with other considerations such as credit terms and delivery taken into account. When personal gain becomes a factor, it rapidly becomes the factor and all others pale into insignificance.
Two main areas of damage arise from the suspension of sound and critical decision-making. The first is that the wrong suppliers or contractors are liable to be chosen. The second, which has led to some of the worst development catastrophes, is that totally unnecessary or inappropriate purchases are made.
Grand corruption has opened the way for major contracts to be won by companies which would have had little hope of winning them in fair (i.e. uncorrupt) competition. It is healthy for long established suppliers to lose business sometimes to newcomers, particularly those from the emerging powers of Asia; but the South cannot afford to waste its scarce resources on shoddy supplies or projects which are so badly executed that they fail, whatever their source.
Even more costly than choosing the wrong supplier or contractor is choosing supplies or a project which are not needed at all. The supplier from the North may argue that it is only good salesmanship when he can persuade a buyer from the South that he needs aircraft or communication systems or generating plant or food processing factories; but when the buyer's judgment is grossly distorted by the seller's agent's 'persuasion', the damage can be enormous. Commissions may add 10 or 15 per cent to costs; but in a failed project or a useless purchase the total cost has to be written off, often with extra losses arising from attempting to rectify the unrectifiable.
The question of moral damage also demands consideration. Some businessmen from the North argue that no moral issue is involved-'Africans believe that for a big man not to get rich is a sign of weakness or stupidity'. In none of the countries of the South which I know well is the taking of bribes regarded as 'OK', however common it may be, although it may be viewed with less repugnance than in the North. The mass of uneducated people have little idea what is going on. The educated minority only appear to object very strongly when distorted decision-making causes obvious loss-the new road breaks up or a sugar factory is built where no-one can grow sugar-cane. But whether grand corruption is recognised with resigned acceptance, with wry amusement or as part of local custom and practice, it is by definition outside the law. If a head of state, a minister or a top official can break the law, where can the line be drawn?
There are moral effects on the suppliers too. Many of those who work in North/ South transactions are justifiably proud of the contribution which they make to development, supplying more efficient equipment, providing better infrastructure, growing more crops, improving medical services or whatever. Grand corruption is something that they have learned to live with but it is not surprising that some of them begin to wonder whether any South decision-maker is influenced by any consideration other than his own pocket. Regrettably there are some countries where such a conclusion appears to be justified.
What are the possible solutions?
Businessmen in the North usually regard grand corruption as an unpleasantness for which the South is responsible. Its rapid spread through so many countries in recent years makes this highly improbable. I believe that grand corruption is largely the responsibility of the North and it is largely the responsibility of the North to find the solutions.
Some large companies have systems of self-regulation. In the case of one highly reputable multi-national this takes the form of a statement of business principles, combined with a letter, to be signed annually by every chief executive within the group. The letter states, inter alia, that :
-'neither the company nor its authorised representatives has been party to the offering, paying or receiving of bribes;
-'no payments have been made which knowingly violate the laws of the countries in which the company has operated;
-'no receipts or payments of, or derived from, company moneys or other assets have been either unrecorded or falsified when described in the relevant books and records and no other improper accounting practice has been adopted in the period under review'.
Clearly it would be impossible for an honest chief executive to sign such a letter if his company had directly or indirectly been a party to grand corruption. The option of 'preferring not to know' (or 'the ostrich syndrome') is closed.
However, a system of voluntary self regulation cannot be sufficient to meet the present problem, as many companies would fear unequal competition if they committed themselves to it. Why should not such a declaration, combined with an appropriate audit certificate, become mandatory for all companies entering into contracts with the South?
Ideally these provisions would be given the force of law throughout the North. It is strange that bribery, which is a criminal offense when committed in any of these countries, is not generally an offence within such a country if committed by one of its citizens outside his own country. The fact that the USA's courageous Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (1977) seems largely to have failed should not discredit the concept of effective legislation. If others had followed the Americans, lead the present picture might have been very different.
The introduction of the necessary legislation would take some years but fortunately there is an alternative method of applying pressure to the sellers. A high proportion of major North/South transactions are dependent on finance from a third party, ranging from export credits, through bilateral loans to loans and grants from multilateral agencies, of which the World Bank and its affiliates are much the most important. Why do not these financial agencies determine that, from a future date, any supplier who does not complete the necessary declaration and provide the appropriate audit certificate will not be eligible to compete for contracts financed by them? This would have the great advantage of applying to companies of all nationalities, whether or not national legislation was in place. There would doubtless be an outcry from some South countries which object to any form of conditionality; but what is wrong about a financial institution taking steps to see that its money is used for the intended purpose rather than being diverted to a private bank account?
Grand corruption will not be easily eliminated, but the
newly-formed Transparency International believes that it can be greatly and
beneficially reduced. If the task seems formidable, it may be worth recalling
the words of the Anglo-lrish statesman, Edmund Burke: 'The only thing necessary
for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'
Corruption, long the supposed province of the developing nations (which is no excuse for its forward progress), has suddenly surfaced, like an impetuous Etna, to plague the many democratic governments now prey to its scourge. But corruption is no newcomer to a modern world where finance dominates economics and politics, as JeanClaude Waquet points out in a work on cupidity morals and power in Florence in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Part one begins with a detailed history of this phenomenon? in which it appears that the shortage of writing on corruption in France under the kings should not be taken to mean that there was no corruption. 'fly no means,' Mr Waquet says. 'In the first half of the 17th century, under Henri IV and Louis XIII, office could be bought. Candidates not only bought the positions themselves, but may well also have bought the people who could help them get the jobs. The fact that this is passed over in silence reflects an approach to the writing of history, which recognises, but does not make a problem of, the existence of corruption.'
Little has been written on corruption outside France either. However, from a long-standing body of research, Mr Waquet singles out the work of the German writer Jakob Van Klaveren, who has this to say: 'Corruption is no more than the exploitation of public office in accordance with the laws of the market. Jobs become a particular form of enterprise, whose output is the public service and whose clientele is those who are administered, and judges sell sentences just as government dignitaries sell places in the State apparatus.' This is fraud elevated into a system and it is indissociably linked to a particular stage of constitutional development. It depends, Mr Waquet maintains, on two important conditions being met, i.e. that the State organisation gives its employees considerable freedom of action and the system of norms is not such that civil servants are specifically required to display integrity. Van Klaveren's approach points us to an economic and therefore amoral definition of corruption, with corruption associated with the absence of centralisation and moral stringency which, he believes, prevails in some standard forms of organisation such as oligarchic republics and constitutional monarchies.
But he believes that corruption is incompatible with democratic and despotic forms of government in which institutional change and threats of punishment combine to keep the civil servants in step. The British monarchy in the first half of the 17th century was, in his view, a good example of a corrupt regime involving great freedom for its employees and enormous permissiveness, he says.
Today, 'studying corruption means first highlighting particular cases and gauging the harmful effects such disruptions have had upon the smooth running of the machinery of state and the wellbeing of the people it administers' Mr Waquet says. Corruption was once a vice and the corrupt were dishonoured and chastised, but corruption now tends to be seen as a technical term used mainly to refer to malpractice by employees of the state. And the risks are higher now for those who try to combat it than for those who are guilty of it. This is the 'justice of the master,' the author says, in that corruption is no longer just infringement of the law, but means acts that may well be initiated, practiced and covered up by people in high places.
Mr Waquet's conclusion, basically, is this. 'The state is to be seen in all its frailty here. It is by no means free to eliminate corruption unilaterally. It is the responsibility of the official authority to eradicate the evil, but not its responsibility alone. Public servants are involved too and they, ultimately, must imbue themselves with a sense both of wrong and of duty-provided the example comes from the top, i.e. from the state. Corruption cannot be approached as either the haphazard, insignificant outcome of events of varying degrees of seriouslyness, or a platform for a pointless declaration of the vices of those in power, or, finally, a setting in which social developments take their automatic course and the individual disappears behind all-powerful structures.'
And, he adds, corruption should not be thought of as an incurable disease either, for history teaches us that, between the late 18th century and the start of the 20th century, part of the world was won over to mtegrity.
by Gerald PROVERBS
Before 1945, the development of agriculture in the English-speaking Caribbean was based on the production of export crops for the UK market. This system saw the introduction of many crops including sugar, cotton, tobacco, cocoa, bananas and coffee as well as lesser known commodities such as spices (nutmeg, clove, etc.) root crops and pimento.
Livestock production up to the 1920s was relatively insignificant except for oxen, mules and water buffalo, which were the beasts of burden ploughing the fields and hauling crops to the factories and export products to the ships. Milk and meat were produced in a haphazard manner. Meat was available when oxen were slaughtered because of age or illness. Similarly, only when excess milk was produced by the cows bred for bullock production was fresh milk available. However, the quantity of fresh milk could never be guaranteed for any length of time.
Relatively little or no money was spent by the various commodity producer associations to further the development of animal agriculture and because of their influence on the colonial administrators there was little or no interest in establishing a policy to assist in the development of food animal agriculture. Then, in 1938, the West India Royal Commission called for greater attention to be paid to the production of milk, meat, eggs and poultry to improve the nutritional status of the population of the West Indies. Agricultural Policy Committees were subsequently set up in individual countries. As a result, concerted efforts were started initially in Antigua, Jamaica, and Trinidad to develop animal agriculture further.
The next major step was the establishment of the Caribbean Research Council by the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission in 1946. The Commission was made up of representatives of the then colonial powers in the Caribbean, including the United States of America. Between 1940 and 1960, many programmes were started, especially in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and to a lesser extent in Barbados and Guyana to improve their dairy industries. These efforts were the foundation for the emergence of the progressive dairy industry which saw milk production reach 116 000 tonnes by 1990.
Jamaica and Guyana together produced 63% or 73 000 t of regional production for 1990. Even at this level Caricom is only meeting 47% of its annual consumption. The remainder is met from imported powdered, condensed and evaporated milk. In 1989, the liquid milk equivalent of 248 1 of powdered milk and 13000 t of condensed and evaporated milk was imported into the region. This clearly demonstrates that though the region has made dramatic strides in developing a dairy industry Caricom governments still rely on cheaper subsidised milk products from the developed countries to feed many of their citizens.
Independence for the Caricom countries began in the early to mid 1960s, at which time the responsibility for livestock policy shifted to the individual governments. However, before independence, many of the then colonies, especially the more developed ones, had established policies to put their fledgling dairy industries on a firmer footing in the expectation that, some time in the foreseeable future, the region would produce sufficient milk to meet the demands of its population in large part if not in full. As a result, the individual countries working in concert identified the constraints to building a sound dairy industry and then set about addressing these constraints through a set of discrete research and development activities.
The constraints identified and given high priority status were: the development of a dairy breed suitable for the prevailing tropical environment and technology level; the introduction of artificial insemination to improve existing cow herds while the more long-term breed development project proceeded; and the introduction, evaluation and distribution of improved tropical forages (grasses and legumes) on which a larger percentage of milk could be produced.
Dairy breed development
In the late 1940s, Dr P. Lecky started his historical work on developing the Jamaican Hope, which was declared a dairy breed in 1952. This work was beginning to show success when, in 1955, the Trinidad and Tobago Department of Agriculture invited Dr Lecky to Trinidad to advise on a breeding programme to produce a type of dairy cow that would be adapted to the climate, available forage and management skills. As a result of this consultation, the Department of Agriculture embarked on the dairy-cattle crossbreeding programme based on a FriesianZebu cross.
During the 1950s and 1960s, milk production increased and calving intervals decreased both in Jamaica and in Trinidad and Tobago.
While the breeding programmes were going on in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, it was decided that an artificial insemination (AI) service would complement the breeding programme. Up to that time, pure-bred bulls were routinely imported from the UK or the USA for natural service. In the early 1950s, an AI service was initiated in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; Barbados and Guyana were next to follow, starting their service in the late 1950s. The Al service initially provided fresh extended semen on a daily basis throughout the countries. This programme proved to be extremely successful and the results satisfied all panics concerned. With this success, the policy makers readily adopted a move to using frozen semen.
Consequently, in the 1960s, the Al service began in Jamaica using frozen semen imported from the USA and Canada. Soon after, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago began importing semen from Canada and the UK. It was only in 1987 that Guyana began using imported semen in its AI programme.
Farmers quickly recognized the improvements they were obtaining in milk production from their upgraded cattle and so the demand for semen from quality Canadian and American Holstein bulls continued to grow. However, before the ecotypes developed by the crossbreeding programme in Trinidad or the Jamaica Hope could be distributed to a larger number of farmers, many of the regional governments decided that it was more appropriate to import pure-bred Holstein cattle from North America.
Improving tropical forages
Between 1920 and 1940, Jamaica looked at evaluating and selecting forages for dairy cattle production. Researchers found that Guinea grass (Panicum maximum) was preferred to Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) for pasture and that Guinea corn (Sorghum valgare) was better suited for silage than corn (Zea mays) or Guinea grass for silage. Then, in the late 1950s, pangola grass (Digitaria decumbens) was introduced to the region. Because of its high palatability and positive response to nitrogen fertiliser pangola became the forage of choice for the region's dairy farmers.
Fertiliser and dairy concentrates were inexpensive then, and farmers tended to ignore recommendations to try other grasses and legumes available from the various Ministries of Agriculture. However, in spite of the farmers' lack of interest in forages, work continued in Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad. When fertiliser and dairy concentrate became considerably more expensive in the 1970s, there were other grasses and legumes available to farmers for use in their forage systems.
It was at this point that the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development institute (CARDI) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) began to play a significant part in diversifying the forage base for milk production. By 1979, forage seed production and pasture establishment had become the cornerstone of CARDI's Animal Production Programme. This work was in large part funded by IDRC and the EDF under Lome II.
Importation of Holstein Cattle
In an effort to increase milk production at a faster rate, regional governments, with aid from the various donor agencies, imported large numbers of pure-bred Canadian and American Holstein cows and pregnant heifers. Thousands of Holstein cattle arrived in Barbados Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad, to the delight of Caribbean dairy farmers. Between 1963 and 1973, Jamaica imported 11 000 Holstein dairy cattle and, between 1961 and 1982, Trinidad imported 7 500 dairy cows, most of which were Holsteins. Barbados imported Over 700 Holsteins between 1967 and 1990 and Guyana imported over 1500 Holstein cows in the same period, the last group including 800 pregnant heifers.
Caribbean governments began setting up small dairy units about the same time in their efforts to increase milk production. Most of the cattle imported were destined for these farmers, who were led to believe that they would overnight garner large profits by switching to the imported cattle. This was not to be the case.
Many of the farmers sold their crossbred ecotypes and bought Holsteins. With their arrival, the farmers' problems increased; the cattle immediately showed severe intolerance to the tropical heat and humidity and susceptibility to tick fever, which resulted in deaths, abortions and depressed milk production. Lower nutritional planes suitable to the Jamaica Hope and the other ecotypes prevented the Holsteins from reaching their milk production potential. Difficulties in getting the cows re-bred resulted in extended calving intervals.
The Governments of St Lucia and St Vincent, with donor funding, imported Friesians and Brown Swiss from the UK in the 1970s to establish dairy enterprises in their countries. Problems similar to those described above were experienced and the financial losses were very high.
At no time during this period did any of the other Caricom governments seriously look to Jamaica as a source of a tropical breed of dairy cattle - the Jamaica Hope. It is indeed unfortunate that such vast sums of money have been spent importing large numbers of the many temperate breeds of dairy cattle over the past 25 years. During this time, Caricom dairy farmers could have become more efficient producers with Jamaica Hope cows in their herds. The Jamaica Hope is capable of producing 1700 litres of milk per hectare when fed 0.4 kg concentrate per litre of milk at a stocking rate of five cows per hectare. Such levels of production have never been achieved by any of the temperate breeds even when supported with skilled management and high quality feedstuffs.
What does the future hold?
It has been suggested that Caricom countries should aim to provide a minimum of 570ml of milk per day for each child of school age, as well as each pregnant and nursing mother. If this nutritional target is to be met, dairy farmers should be producing over 412 million litres of fresh milk now. At the present time the region is producing less than 30% of its minimum requirements and continues to look to the industrial countries to provide the remainder.
The current GATT agreements are calling for a reduction in subsidies, which means that world prices of skinned milk powder and butter oil are expected to increase significantly since producer subsidies on milk in the US and EC are in excess of 60%. This creates a major opportunity for the region's deny industries to expand.
Craig, K 1992. The impact of pricing and policies on dairying in the Caribbean Community. Proceedings of the CARDI/CTA/IDF Seminar on Dairy Development in the Caribbean. Ocho Rios, Jamaica. (In press).
Davidson, K.B. 1980. The dairy industry in Jamaica. An economic overview. Proceedings of the Third Regional Livestock Meeting. Kingston, Jamaica.
FAO. 1984. Report on the mission to Barbados. International meat development scheme and international scheme for the coordination of dairy development.
Forde, J.R.D. and H. Munoz. 1990. Guyana's tuenty-year search for dairy self-suffiency is rich in lessons learned. CER.IES, 125.22.
Pennings, P.G. and KE. Wellington. 1992. Case studies on the dairy situation in the Caribbean: the Jamaican industry. Proceedings of the CARDI/CTA/IDF Seminar on Dairy Development in the Caribbean. Ocho Rios, Jamaica. (In press).
Hosein, A. and H. Ramlal. 1992. A review of the dairy industry in Trinidad and Tobago. Proceedings of the CARDI/CTA/IDF Seminar on Dairy Development in the Caribbean, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. (In press).
Surujbally, R.S., J. Seaton and W. Lachman. 1992. A case study of the dairy situation in Guyana. Proceedings of the CARDI/CTA/IDF Seminar on Dairy Development in the Caribbean. Ocho Rios, Jamaica. (In press).
La France et l'Afrique, Vademecum pour un nouveau voyage (France and Africa, Guide for a new journey). Compiled by Serge Michailof; Karthala, Paris, 1993
This collection, which sets out the conclusions of a working party formed at the request of Edwige Avice, France's former Minister of Cooperation, was produced under the direction of Serge Michallof, the head of various agencies of the Caisse Francaise de Developpement over the past 10 years and a consultant to a large number of organisations, including the World Bank, in more than 30 countries in the South before that. His books include 'Les apprentis sorciers du developpement (Sorcerer's Apprentices of Development; Editions Economica, Paris, 2nd edition, 1988) and a practical guide to project analysis, which he cowrote with Manuel Bridier (also Editions Economica, Paris, 4th edition, 1987).
Mieux aider le. Sud and Pour un nouveau dialogue avec l'Afrique, two associations with no ideological or political affiliations, were reluctant to see the fruits of the working party lost and decided to carry on the work of the independent personalities-from very different horizons, but all familiar with Africa-who had been involved in it. This book is the result. It goes beyond specific analyses of France-Africa relations and looks at general issues. Is Africa on the verge of the abyss? With industrial failure, agrarian crisis and educational collapse to cope with, is aid not overlooking the poorest members of society? Is the structural adjustment they are supposed to need just make-believe? Is regional integration just another fad? The conclusion is a plea for a different sort of cooperation.
Is Africa doomed?
The general feeling is that Africa is not doomed and that, although it may not have any outstanding comparative advantages, it is not saddled with unavoidable disadvantages either.
The usual, despairing explanations of Africa's economic crisis, however, are pronounced unconvincing, partly because any analysis of the efficiency or inefficiency of African institutions is inevitably bound up with an historical and socio-political analysis of the nature of economic and political power and the aims and strategies of the dominant groups in the state.
Here, the domestic constraints include unearned income, discussed by Jacques Giri, and mechanisms which represent a pitfall for economic development, discussed by A. Bonnessian.
Serge Michailof points out that 'there are excellent African managers who make a fine job of running western firms and can give a clear picture of everything that prevents them from doing the same in Africa'. One historical explanation for this could be that these are economies in which people have always had incomes which they do not have to earn and feel that it is better to go for unearned income than boost productivity. Although unearned income is beginning to be a thing of the past, the economic set-up is still the same and adjustment destabilises by threatening the domestic accumulation redistribution machinery which is often at the heart of the local internal balance.
The search for the mechanisms which have been and still are a pitfall as far as economic development is concerned starts with the historical assessment according to which the economic and political systems of the post-colonial world continued with and perfected the colonial economy, thus condemning it in a competitive world. This made economic production and diversification a problem, particularly once the trade sectors became profitable in the 1970s.
Mr Bonnessian outlines the five main pitfalls as situations in which:
-newly independent systems relied on tribes which were close to the colonial population and therefore geared to administration, so an opposition grew up amongst tribes which were keen on trade and industry and the tribes which held the power wanted to create an economy which they themselves controlled;
-the laws which developed were geared to exceptions and everything not explicitly allowed was banned and every ban included derogations which could be bought;
-domestic savings were systematically discouraged by the relative lack of returns outside the unearned income sectors and by constraints on productive activity;
-an average capital drain of more than 60% of the total amount of foreign capital entering the country;
-this had led to a conservative, patronising, anti-liberal social structure.
Yet there are models for successful emergence from under development elsewhere. The Asian successes are proof that it can be done if people are willing to adapt to others and do not wait for others to adapt to them.
Robert Hirsh takes the palm oil and rubber industries as illustration of the fact that, ultimately, what distinguishes the countries of Asia from the countries of Africa is the way they interpret the world market. The Asians see it as a system of regulation to which they always have to adjust, while the Africans all too often see it as the cause of their problems -even if those problems have been brought about by their own policies.
How can the African crisis be overcome?
First of all, the state and the economy have to be separate. 'Public' has to stop meaning 'State' and the welfare state, an unrealistic concept for Africa today, has to give way to a state which lays down the rules of the game and allows independent operators to meet the fundamental needs of society.
Serge Michailof suggests that crying for better terms of trade will not provide a way out of the crisis. Greater competitiveness is the only answer.
In their analysis of agricultural export industries, Michel Griffon and Isabelle Marty emphasise the fact that there is no practical hope of any lasting reversal of the trend in the prices of agricultural raw materials. And competition between producers threatens the viability of agreements designed to control supply. So gradual, systematic adjustment of the export sectors is the realistic choice.
There is no practical hope of restraining price fluctuation either, so the countries have to make their industries flexible enough to cushion price shocks. They also say that, in the present state of the market, countries which systematically use the exchange rate as an instrument of adjustment are also those whose agricultural income is declining.
Other contributors discuss whether competitiveness should be restored by adjusting real terms - i.e. squeezing production costs until African businesses can compete again-or monetary terms. But they all stress that it would be wrong to overlook the benefits of devaluation in situations where it is impossible to compress domestic costs which strongly affect competitiveness. And not devaluing means that none of the benefits of position need be held up to question.
Some people feel that boosting the competitiveness of businesses also-and necessarily-means taking direct steps to rationalise production and improve the productivity of the factors.
There are political considerations here too. Mr Bonnessian analyses the ambiguity of recent democratic movements, in which he sees ethnic challenging of unequal power-sharing as often emanating from the most productive groups in society. Ethnic rivalry is also economic rivalvy, for access to money is at stake. Those who raise challenges may have two contradictory aims - replacing the previous regime and turning the same predatory system to their own ends or changing the rules of the game to make economic initiative the road to fortune. Only the latter is compatible with development.
Where will economic growth come from?
Regional integration, exports to the world market or domestic and essentially urban demand?
Brazil's and Mexico's experience of industrial policy has led Claude Sicarol to attach greater priority to looking for export activity than to setting up big regional units. Others point out that, even if people in bad faith suggest that regional integration exists on a de facto if not de jure basis, it is more essential now than ever it was for states to cooperate with each other, particularly given that frontiers are permeable.
Conversely, and with some degree of innovation, Michel Griffon, Isabelle Marty and Jean-Marie Cour point to the role of domestic needs and urban demand especially, maintaining that the growth of domestic demand should in future do more for economic growth in general than for exports. Why?
Assumptions about the growth of external outlets and prices are not encouraging, while domestic demand prospects are linked to the rapid growth and solvency of the urban population. Experience suggests that urban demand does indeed bring growth in its wake, because, provided the economic activities of the town can absorb new arrivals at a steady rate, there is a long period during which there is no increase in the relative poverty of poor urban social categories.
Jean-Marie Cour has no hesitation in saying that the main driving force behind sustained and sustainable growth is urbanization. The stimulus is in fact the regional demand for money (other than home consumption) and the best service a country can do for its farmers is to find them solvent customers-mainly city dwellers.
Little may be known about the trends in real inter-African trade, but 5-7% long-term growth is there for all to see, he points out. Urbanisation is the main driving force behind the growth and diversification of private spending. The total average per capita spending is two or three times as high in the town as in the country and the outlay in terms of cash is three or four times as high. The need to spend more is what powers the growth of productivity and of migrants' incomes. In some conditions, the permanent system of urbanisation resulting from relatively stable rates of migration makes the economy grow faster than the population.
He has no hesitation either in countering the demographic projections of the countries and international institutions which systematically assume net migratory flows of nil or rapidly approaching nil. Population redistribution, he says, has to be considered as a form of continent- or world-wide accumulation of capital.
Aid-quantity or quality?
Serge Michailof claims that, when it comes to aid, quantity is not so important as quality. The abundant resources showered on Africa in the 1970s did nothing to facilitate economic upswing and the ODA target of 0.7% of GNP is not significant, he says, if only because it includes the cost of wiping out the debts and, therefore, the weight of all the mistakes of the past. In particular, the total amount of (non-project) aid for adjustment should be considerably reduced to the benefit of targeted aid for particular sectors.
Jean-Frans Bayart has something to say about structural adjustment too. In his eyes, the continuation of programmes authorises the multilateral institutions to pay back to themselves the loans which they have very liberally granted to potentially insolvent debtors.
Jean Hanoi notes satisfactory development as far as the financial indicators are concerned, but still no economic growth. The real economy runs from the consequences of the financial austerity cures and tax nostrums prescribed by the funders. And it all leads to a distortion of procedures and a system of condition management, with the funders pretending that the state is a better pupil than the facts suggest and the state is seeming to apply the letter rather than the spirit of the criteria of implementation.
Elliot Berg's more general claim is that there is too much aid in too many countries of Africa and that too much of it is tied. 'Less aid and less donor interference in economic and political affairs are what is wanted from now on.' Why? Because aid shrinks the political will to undertake reforms and prevents responsible policies, because it reduces the need to make vital choices.
This book is vital to anyone wanting a proper understanding of relations between France and Africa and relations in Africa itself. Not all of it breaks new ground, but some of the associations of ideas are particularly instructive. We have not attempted to cover it all in this article, but simply to look at one or two aspects of what is a comprehensive, multi-faceted work swarming with ideas and free of all allegiance. Some readers will see in it a discussion of the patronage of French cooperation while others will find evidence of a vast interest in the CFAF zone in Jones Dowe's article 'Free for all in CFAF City'.
Africa: From Stagnation to Recovery, Edward V.K. Jaycox, Vice-President, Africa Region, World Bank; 21 pages, February 1993. Obtainable free from the Africa Region Department, World Bank, Washington DC, USA or the Bank's resident missions in Africa.
This report from the World Bank gives brief details of its programmes to help African countries through their economic difficulties and states the arguments for various familiar structural adjustment policies in Africa.
In a continent where, the report says, economic and political mismanagement in most countries has led to inefficiency, low productivity and limited investment in human capital and institutions, and where economic growth has barely kept ahead of rising population figures, the Bank's overriding mission must be to help alleviate the abject poverty in which most Africans live. In Africa today, the author maintains, 'the debate on adjustment has shifted to questions of how, not whether, to adjust. And on this question there is general agreement that reforms should focus on promoting sound macroeconomic policies, price liberalisation, a reduced role for the state, and measures to enhance the market and increase agricultural productivity'.
Now, the Bank says, the time has come to build on existing achievements. Africa must diversify into new markets and industrial countries must liberalise their import policies. The Bank is supporting thorough reform of the machinery of government and public administration in African countries, and backing new strategies of social service delivery and cost recovery. The balance in African economies needs to shift from public to private enterprise, backed by well-functioning credit and capital markets. Above all, donors and African governments must maintain the commitment and the stamina for reform, even where progress is only modest.
Much emphasis is placed on the need to encourage the private sector: only it, says the report, can create the jobs needed to occupy a labour force which is likely to double in size in the next 30 years. African countries must create a supportive environment for domestic and foreign investment in private business, and 50 to 60% of World Bank lending to subSaharan Africa goes towards private sector development in one way or another.
But should countries go for structural adjustment at all? Some have found it a painful process, especially in terms of trying to find new livelihoods for the thousands laid off when inflated public sectors are divested, or of trying to help the poor and vulnerable when controlled prices are deregulated. But Mr Jaycox has no doubts: 'The continuing deterioration in the condition of the poor in some countries is the result of the crises that demonstrated the need for policy change rather than of the structural adjustment policies adopted to deal with the underlying problems.' And there is a stern lesson to be learned by any government looking for World Bank help but apprehensive about adjusting: the Bank's lending strategy is 'highly differentiated and selective' depending on whether or not countries conform to its prescriptions or not.
As the purveyors of aerobic exercise courses say, 'No pain, no gain'. To help with the pain, the Bank runs programmes to cater for the social dimension of adjustment, in such fields as human resource development and promotion of the role of women, poverty assessment and alleviation, education, fertility reduction, environmental protection and combating Aids.
Regional economic integration is another priority. The focus, in fact, is largely the same as that of the EC Commission, and Mr Jaycox welcomes the recent improvement in the dialogue among international organisations as well as governments and beneficiaries. The task facing everyone now, he says, is to ensure that future investments in Africa work with maximum efficiency.
European development fund
Following favourable opinions from the EDF Committee, the Commission has decided to provide grants and special loans from the 5th, 6th and 7th EDFs to finance the following operations:
Economic and social infrastructure
Nigeria: ECU 10.5m for a telecommunications maintenance training programme designed to improve NITEL's upkeep of its technical facilities.
Rwanda: ECU 9.92m to rehabilitate and extend drinking water supplies in East Bugesera, with a public distribution system catering for domestic needs and animals in Gashora and Kanzenze.
Burkina Faso: ECU 7.1m to supply electricity in three towns (Diebougou, Kongoussi and Nounao) as well as drinking water in Diebougou. The power supply should help to raise the standard of living. make small traders more dynamic and improve the efficiency of productive activities, such as market gardening.
Kenya: ECU 1.97m for the St AustinKabete road. The aim is to halt the deterioriation of the road so that traffic can continue unimpeded. This stretch of 7.5 km, to the west of Nairobi on the Northern Corridor, links up with two other road projects recently financed by the EC-the Westlands-St Austin and Kabete-Limuru sections.
Trade promotion / structural adjustment
Trinidad and Tobago: ECU 9.7m to support the structural adjustment programme and implement a general import programme. The structural adjustment programme which the Government has been undertaking since 1983 was stepped up with the change of government in 1987. The new administration which took over in December 1991 is continuing with the economic reforms.
Tanzania: ECU 55 million as specific resources for structural adjustment.
All ACPs: ECU 40 million (global commitment authorisation) to finance, using the expedited procedure, technical cooperation operations and schemes to develop trade and services, including tourism, in the ACPs and OCTs.
Jamaica: ECU 7 million (ECU 6.1 million in loans and ECU 900,000 in grants) for a credit programme for small and micro-businesses, to cover 9% of the annual demand in this sector. This will help to boost the volume and accessibility of credit.
Guyana: ECU 250 000 to develop credit facilities for SMEs.
Namibia: ECU 13.5m for an integrated health programme to improve the management of the financial and administrative infrastructure and run health projects in each of the country's four regions.
Senegal: ECU 1.7m to support the second phase of the national AIDS control campaign.
Uganda: ECU 20m for a health programme.
Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe: ECU 3.5m to train some 900 middle-ranking statisticians.
Sierra Leone: ECU 1.9m to support the central accounts department.
Zambia: ECU 1.85m for a services support programme.
Mauritania: ECU 1.562m for institutional support for the Ministry of Planning.
Barbados: ECU 250 000 for the Barbados National Development Foundation.
Congo: ECU 200000 as support for the legislative elections which are expected to take place soon.
Malawi: ECU I 998 254 as assistance for refugees.
Senegal: ECU 22.5m for the St Louis regional development programme.
Burundi: ECU 1.95m to support the electoral process in the final phase of democratisation, embarked upon by the Burundi Government with the recognition of the international community.
SADC countries: ECU 5 million for a regional training programme to help improve food security in the Southern African Development Community area at national, regional and SADC level and to support moves aimed at increasing agricultural output and reducing poverty.
European investment bank
New support for private sector
The European Investment Bank has signed the first agreements with five European Community financial institutions for financing equity and quasiequity participation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the ACP countries. The funds will be drawn from a total ECU 15 million made available from risk capital resources provided for under the fourth Lome Convention.
The financial intermediaries participatina in this financing scheme are initially limited to one per Member State. Agreements have been signed with the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) in the United Kingdom, the Compania Espanola de financiacion del Desarrollo (COFIDES) in Spain, the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) in Germany, the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) in the Netherlands and the Societe de Promotion et de Participation pour la Cooperation Economique (PROPARCO) in France. A further three agreements are expected to be signed shortly.
The EIB has made the following loans:
Jamaica: ECU 9m for extending and upgrading Jamaica's power transmission facilities. The loan is for the installation of two new 69 kV lines (totalling 16.4 km overhead and 1.7 km underground) and for the reconductoring of an existing 69 kV line of 8.3 km. The works are part of a wider energy programme scheduled for completion by the end of 1995. Costed at ECU 150m, the programme is cofinanced with the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank and other public and private sector financial institutions.
Barbados: ECU 10m for works to protect the environment on the south coast of the island. The loan agreement was signed by Sir Brian Unwin on his first day as the new EIB President, and Erskine Sandiford, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Barbados.
The funds from the EIB are made available to the Government of Barbados under the fourth Lome Convention, and are to be on-lent to the Barbados Water Authority, a public company responsible for the management, allocation and monitoring of the island's water resources. This is the largest loan ever made by the EIB in Barbados, where total EIB financing to date amounts to ECU 25.4m.
Jacques Delors, the President of the Commission, and Manuel Marin, the Commissoner responsible for development and humanitarian aid, met Alpha Oumar Konare, the President of Mali, in Brussels on 2 June.
They discussed Mali's prospects and the political and economic constraints facing the new democratic regime which took power following the elections in 1991 and 1992.
Political change had indeed to go hand in hand with economic reform, and the application of the National Pact, which put an end to a long period of problems and civil unrest in the northern parts of the country, had to be backed up by a greater effort for the Tuareg people who lived there.
President Konare and the Commission representatives also had a frank exchange of views on the political and economic situation in western Africa and the continent as a whole. This featured African integration issues, particularly Community support for the Senegal River Valley Development Organisation and Community cooperation in the forthcoming negotiations of the second Lome IV financial protocol.
EEC-Mali cooperation under the first financial protocol was going well. Mali had ECU 136 million in grants under the indicative programme (1990-94) as well as structural adjustment support allocations which, to date, were worth ECU 40 million. There had also been financial assistance amounting to some ECU 800 000 from Community aid counterpart funds to help run the elections.
European political cooperation
Over the past two months, the Community has, within the framework of European Political Cooperation (EPC), expressed its views on various international events. These include the following:
29 April: Statement on Togo
The Community and its Member States have taken note of the timetable for elections proposed by the Togolese authorities. They do, however, feel that it will be not be possible to conduct a successful electoral process in Togo unless prior agreement has been reached between all political forces. given the tense situation which has prevailed there for many months.
These elections should really be held in a climate of peace and openness, and the inhabitants of Lome who have fled should be able to participate.
17 May : Statement on Togo
The Community and its Member States regret that the political forces in Togo have not so far been able to reach an agreement making possible the resumption of a free and open electoral process in a climate of renewed peace.
The Community and its Member States think that the holding of elections in the present situation would not allow the people of Togo to exercise their freedom of choice.
The Community and its Member States would not, therefore, be able to help in organising the poll or to send observers during the elections.
17 May : Statement on Chad
The Community and its Member States are deeply concerned at the recent events which have occurred in the south of Chad where members of the army have committed serious violations of human rights. They especially deplore the fact that civilians have fallen victim to these human rights violations.
They strongly urge the Chad authorities to take all necessary steps to restore order and security in the country. They also urge the Chad authorities to implement further measures to prevent human rights violations based on the findings of the investigation commission into these events.
The Community and its Member States believe that it is necessary to establish a climate of peace and security in order to achieve the objectives of greater democracy in Chad announced by the National Conference, the holding of which is welcomed by the EC, and they call upon the government and all political forces to facilitate dialogue and collaboration which are indispensible in this connection.
2 June : Statement on Malawi
The Community and its Member States have followed closely developments in Malawi since the announcement of the referendum to decide whether Malawi should maintain the existing single-party system or adopt a multiparty system.
The Community and its Member States were pleased to note that many of the suggestions put forward by the United Nations concerning the conduct of the referendum have been adopted, even though some key recommendations were resisted until a late stage in the referendum timetable.
The Community and its Member States feel bound to draw the attention of the Malawi Government to certain important areas of concern. There are numerous reports of harassment and intimidation in various forms: physical maltreatment of individual multi-party advocates, obstruction, and cancellation of meetings. It is worrying that no responsible government representatives have made any public effort to restrain, for example, the activities of the Malawi Young Pioneers. Another concern is that the advocates of multi-party democracy have been denied satisfactory coverage of their views on the Government-controlled media, particularly radio, as foreseen in the Regulations for the referendum.
In light of the above, the Community and its Member States believe that the Malawi authorities have failed to reach acceptable standards of democratic campaigning, thus calling into question their commitment to increased respect for human rights. Such action could lead international opinion to the conclusion that the referendum did not take place in a free and fair climate.
Nevertheless, the Community and its Member States are encouraged by the fact that advocates of both systems of government have now committed themselves to continued participation in the referendum process. For this reason, the Community and its Member States are providing international observers and financial support for the referendum. For this support to be maintained it is imperative that the remaining part of the campaign takes place under circumstances that permit the true views of the Malawi people to be reflected in the vote.
Finally, the Community and its Member States recall that respect for human rights and for the rules of good governance remain the necessary conditions for the resumption of normal cooperation.
(The people of Malawi have since voted by a clear majority in favour of a multi-party system).
8 June : Statement on Somalia
The Community and its Member States express their deep concern over the events in Mogadishu in recent days and condemn without reservation the premeditated killing and wounding of Pakistani soldiers who were conducting a weapons verification inspection with UNOSOM II. They express their regret and sympathy to the people and Government of Pakistan, and especially to the families of those who lost their lives.
The Community and its Member States reiterate their full support for the United Nations in its efforts to bring peace and stability to Somalia. They look forward to the publication of the Secretary-General's enquiry into the recent incident and the role of the factional leaders involved.
The Community and its Member States call on all Somali parties, movements and factions to respect the ceasefire, to comply with the agreements on political reconciliation they entered into in Addis Ababa in March and to cooperate fully with UNOSOM II so that it can fulfil its essential humanitarian mandate.
9 June : Statement on Burundi
The Community and its Member States welcome the good conduct of the presidential elections in Burundi on 1 June 1993. They express the hope that the outcome of these elections will be respected by all the parties concerned. They trust that the President-elect and the Government which emerge from the free and democratic parliamentary elections scheduled for 29 June will continue along the path to democratisation and reconciliation embarked upon by President Buyoya.
25 June : Statement on Nigeria
The Community and its Member States deplore the arbitrary decision of the Nigerian military government to annul the Nigerian presidential election, suspend the National Electoral Commission and thereby stop the promised transition to civilian rule. Reports from international observers suggest that the elections gave Nigerians a fair and adequate chance to express their choice for a democratically elected civilian government.
The Community and its Member States have consistently supported the programme for a return to democratic civilian rule, and had expected this process to be completed and power to be handed over to a democratic civilian government by 27 August. The Community and its Member States call upon the Nigerian authorities to reconsider their decision to annul the election.
Independence for Eritrea
The people of Eritrea voted almost unanimously in favour of independence on 23-25 April 1993 and, on 24 May, the nag of independent Eritrea was raised at a moving ceremony before a proud and enthusiastic populace. After 30 years of war' the 52nd state of Africa was born.
Three heads of state-General Ahmed Al-Beshir of Sudan, Hassan Gouled Aptidon of Djibouti and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia-were there, in addition to a large contingent of representatives from the Community Member States and other countries. The Ethiopian head of state's speech on the future of cooperation between his country and Eritrea was very warmly welcomed and the crowds were moved by his account of the painful experience of war and the need for Ethiopia and Eritrea to join together to build a future of peace and progress. The Presidents of Sudan and Djibouti stressed their relations with the new state and their keenness for cooperation with it, including at regional level.
Eritrean President Issaias Afwerki responded with interesting details of the tasks which lay ahead and emphasised the promising prospects for reconstruction, democratisation (a four-year period of transition) and, of course, the future cooperation with Ethiopia.
Giovanni Livi, the EC Commission's Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, presented the Commission's good wishes to the new president and his team.
On the international front, both the OAU and the UN said that Eritrea would be admitted to their organisations as speedily as possible. The new country appears to want to establish good relations with its neighbours, without depending on certain Arab countries. The goodwill was mutual as far as joining the Lome Convention was concerned and Eritrea had already applied to accede to the ACP's Georgetown Agreement.
Rwanda: ECU 3m as emergency aid towards programmes of assistance operated by humanitarian organisations for the victims of armed conflict.
Sudan: Aid for displaced persons in southern Sudan.
The EC Commission has decided to allocate ECU 300000-worth of emergency aid to refugees in southern Sudan, to be targeted at some 35 000 displaced persons in Ashwa, in the Eastern Equator province.
The people involved, who came from Kongor, Bor and Bahr el Ghazal, fled from the Khartoum Government's offensive against the Sudan People's Liberation Army, which began in the spring of last year. Many of them had only returned from Ethiopian camps in 1991. They are suffering from severe malnutrition and their camps lack sanitary facilities and basic medical provision.
ECHO, the European Community Humanitarian Office, is to have the French NGO Action Internationale Contre la Faim (AICF) as its operational partner in this scheme. The Community aid consists of 60 000 t of skimmed milk powder and 60 000 t of oil (Unimix and sugar to be supplied by UNICEF), as well as medicines, medical equipment and sanitary facilities. A medical-nutritional programme for children is to be provided in addition. It involves running a nutritional survey and setting up four feeding centres which can supply food of a medical-nutritional nature, if necessary.
Violent fighting between the different ethnic groups has prevented food and humanitarian aid from international sources from reaching its destination in Sudan for the last four months. The emergency aid had, in fact, been planned for 1992, but the AICF had to ask for delivery to be postponed because of security problems in the area.
In 1992-93, the Commission sent some 240 000 t of food aid to Sudan as well as ECU 6m to pay for the aid to be transported into the interior of the country. A further ECU 4m was provided in non-food emergency aid over the same period of which ECU 2.2m-worth went to the southern part of the country, where delivery has proved to be extremely difficult.
There are currently seven other Community emergency medical assistance operations under way in southern Sudan (involving, in particular, Medecins sans Frontieres, Save the Children, the AICF and the CCM). Between them, these are worth a total of ECU 1 335 000.
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