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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’Afrique veut redynamiser le Forum social mondial

by By "envoyé spécial"

Africa wants to revive the World Social Forum

Translated by Bernard M.

Translated Wednesday 25 January 2006, by Bernard

Bamako is keeping its promise of strengthening resistance to globalisation in Africa. The so-called "alter-mondialist" movement is making a foothold in Africa, and participation becoming far less academic and more grass-roots.

As we have been able to see along each step of the World Social Forum process the strategy based on gradual expansion is working well: following four meetings in Porto Allegre in Brazil and one in Mumbai in India, the alternative global movement - which the French refer to as "alterglobalisation" - is, for the first time landing in Africa.
And, in the days following polycentric forum in Bamako preceding those of Caracas (from 24th to 29th January) and Karachi (end of March), the challenge of extending "altermondialization" to the classes most affected by neoliberal globalization seems already to be on the cards in terms of participation: while according to a study carried out by the Brazilian Institute for Research on Altermondialism Ibase, the participants in Porto Allegre were mainly white men with university degrees, the typical participants in Mali is rather an illiterate black women.
The financial support from Malian authorities has allowed over 10,000 delegates from all regions of the country to travel to the capital. During the traditional opening parade organised on Thursday at the end of the afternoon, Europeans, who also came in large numbers, including the French in the first row of "North" delegations, were able to start measuring the extent to which the movement has become seeded in the whole of Africa.
"We are going to create from Bamako a new popular dynamic for the WSF", confirms Mamadou Goita. "One of the Bamako Forum co-ordinators. It is a major challenge to get the continent out of this marginalisation and onto the international stage. As Africans, with the WSF, we grab the tail of the lion and we won’t let go...”
This is even truer since in 2007 the WSF, “regrouped” into one place, will be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya.
Debt, immigration, development, poverty, civil wars, international trade, water, education, access to health care and medicines, international institutions, public services: By force of circumstances the WSF will tackle on all these topics head on until its conclusion on Monday.

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