The Progressive


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For Immediate Release
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Annual Fall Meetings Begin: Criticism Continues to Mount Towards World Bank/IMF Policies

Africa Action calls for Reform, Greater Civil Society Participation


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

For more information on Africa Action's Campaign to Cancel Africa's Debt, go to

Africa Action is a national organization that works for political, economic and social justice in Africa. Through the provision of accessible information and analysis combined with the mobilization of public pressure we work to change the policies and policy-making processes of U.S. and multinational institutions toward Africa. The work of Africa Action is grounded in the history and purpose of its predecessor organizations, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), The Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), which have fought for freedom and justice in Africa since 1953. Continuing this tradition, Africa Action seeks to re-shape U.S. policy toward African countries.