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CONTACT: Africa Action
Telephone: (202) 546-7961
Annual Fall Meetings Begin: Criticism Continues to Mount Towards World Bank/IMF Policies
Africa Action calls for Reform, Greater Civil Society Participation
WASHINGTON - October 6 - As the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meet in Istanbul, Turkey for their Annual Fall 2009 meetings, the 5th Annual Southern Africa Social Forum (SASF) begins in Maseru, Lesotho. Activists and civil society leaders will convene in Lesotho to discuss under the theme of "Southern Africa peoples Unity against Economic crisis and Oppression."
Africa Action notes that the timing of SASF is meant to indicate civil society voices objecting to macroeconomic policies prescribed by the IMF that hurt, not help, the economies in developing nations.
Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action said, "While international financial institutions might prefer to drown out African voices, civil society is loud and clear. There are campaigns on the ground that continue to voice objections to policies that undermine the fight against poverty."
He adds, "A long-term poverty reduction strategy must take into account the needs of poor people, not the interests of rich countries."
According to Jubilee Debt Campaign UK, in 2009 and 2010, developing countries will spend approximately $806 billion in debt repayments.
"Developing countries need to have expanded space and flexibility to design and implement counter-cynical policies, including social safety nets. In the midst of a global economic crisis, the IMF is still prescribing perverse pro- cynical policies," said Michael Stulman, Associate Director for Policy and Communications.
He also adds, "If we are to avoid a new debt crisis, than there must be greater reform in the IMF. International financial institutions should restructure to reflect the changing global economy. This would mean greater transparency and a more robust, credible, public, and inclusive loaning process."
Africa Action endorses the SASF, which is expected to bring together thousands of participants from community-based groups, social movements and civil society organizations.
For more information on the SASF, visit http://www.ejnl.org.ls/sasf.htm
For more information on Africa Action's Campaign to Cancel Africa's Debt, go to http://www.africaaction.org/debt.