Sunday, April 20, 2008
By Kabanda Chulu in Accra, Ghana
Sunday April 20, 2008 [04:00]
THE independence struggle is not over as colonial powers are still in control of developing countries through multinational companies and international financial institutions, Third World Network (TWN) director Martin Khor has said. And Action Aid International coordinator Aftab Khan has said trade liberalisation in its current format is not a solution to the challenges facing least developed countries (LDCs).
And Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) general secretary Kingsley Ofei has said globalization is too big to be left to market forces alone.
During the Civil Society Forum preceding the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII) last Thursday, Khor said there was need to strengthen efforts of various progressive forces in order to change the global economic system.
"Despite getting independence over four decades ago, African and other developing countries are still facing challenges ranging from land issues to poverty and other conflicts and most of these problems are worsened by colonial powers who are still in charge through various channels like big companies and the international financial institutions," Khor said.
"In fact, colonial powers are using these institutions including the United Nations to efficiently oppress us but we need to change this system by strengthening efforts of progressive forces and fight for what belongs to the people."
Khor, who is based in Malaysia, said there is too much hypocrisy from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
"During the 1970s, agriculture was the mainstay of many economies in developing countries but through their policies they advised that agriculture should not be subsidized and yet in their own countries they have continued to do so," said Khor. "Actually the Asian tigers' success is simple, because they did not follow the IMF and World Bank policies hence avoiding the debt trap
And Khan, who is based in Pakistan, said only a few countries were benefiting from world trade
"For example, Robusta coffee is mainly grown in Africa and yet African economies do not benefit because they do not supply and distribute and often times they sell at prices set by multi national companies," said Khan. "So this explains that trade liberalization is not a solution in fact it has negative impacts on the livelihoods of people hence the need to have strong mechanisms to stop international companies from benefiting from the misery of poor farmers.
And Ofei said globalization has many faces but developing countries were getting the bad side of it
"This system has brought in huge amounts of wealth but it has also caused misery through deprivation of wealth to many people because by nature it is too capitalistic and it should not be left to market forces alone since it is creating economic inequalities," said Ofei.