Main Focus of AEFJN

AEFJN listens to the voice of Africa... brings this voice to the EU, and insists on the right and the responsibility of Africans to make their own policy for development. AEFJN lobbies the European Union and member states to promote sustainable development in Africa; monitors the impact in Africa of EU policies and agreements and promotes socio-economic strategies that take into account the views of African people for a sustainable development.

 

ECHOES FROM AEFJN N. 13 - JULY / AUGUST 2014

FROM THE AEFJN DESK

Cutting Export Subsidies: an Unfulfilled Promise?

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_epas/1407 Export-subsidies 1407.jpg

Recently, the EU proposed putting a stop to export refunds on all the EU agricultural goods imported by African countries but this offer was conditional to signing the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA). However, this is not a new concession because the EU had already committed itself to cut export subsidies. With this kind of concession, the EU intends to push African countries to accept the iEPAs. Moreover, we could ask to what extent this measure is enough to curb distortions in the market affecting African countries since producers in the EU receive other economic supports like direct payments to improve their competitiveness. This economic support boosts the EU exports of surpluses at prices below the cost of production, condemning farmers in African countries to poverty because they cannot compete on price. So, if African countries sign the iEPA, then only African countries will be making effective concessions because they will lose the chance of applying tariffs to the products coming from the EU. Read more

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

The UN Human Rights Council: Resolution for an International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_archives/im_arch_arms/un.jpg

On 26 June the Human Rights Council of the United Nations adopted a resolution establishing a working group that will develop an “international legally binding instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with respect to human rights”.  The resolution was introduced by Ecuador and South Africa and was finally approved by 20 votes in favour, 14 against and 13 abstentions. It was principally the western countries that voted against this resolution. The protagonists of this resolution consider that there is a mismatch in legal protection between companies and victims of harmful corporate activities. Transnational corporations can resort to a number of binding laws to protect their interests while victims of corporate impunity can merely appeal to voluntary norms to protect their interests.  Read more

 

Avoiding Climate Chaos

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_Africa/im_Afr_Info/kivusee.jpg

Following the last UN Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change in Warsaw, Poland, ten civil society organisations issued a statement citing their concern about the direction of negotiations on climate change. During the negotiations in Warsaw, industrialized countries had not remedied the main socio-economic causes of the crisis, such as the trade, energy, transport and agriculture policies. Policies favouring polluting industries are given greater weight than issues of general public interest such as climate and a healthy environment. The current economic system is based on the logic of infinite growth and economic operators seek to maximize their profits, while over-exploiting the natural resources of the planet. Therefore, these organisations are convinced that to fight the effects of climate change effectively requires a change to the economic system. Read more

 

AFRICA

Chinese clouds over Africa


tl_files/aefjn-images/im_aefjn_ntw/aefjn celebration/IMG_0002b.JPG

In the opinion of many Africans, Africa is slowly becoming a Chinese continent. While the former colonial powers focused on one or two countries, the Chinese influence extends throughout the continent. Early in May, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang went to the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, agreed many contracts and promised $12 billion in loans at preferred rates. Sino-African trade, which was $210 billion in 2013, is expected to rise to 400 billion by 2020. The Chinese press also states that the volume of direct investment was 25 billion in 2013 and that there are 2,500 Chinese companies in Africa, providing 100,000 jobs. Part of this investment is dedicated to infrastructure such as agreements for a regional railway line between the port of Mombasa and Nairobi, which will probably be extended to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. Read more

 

ADVOCACY

Conference: “Rush to Soil and Subsoil: Sharing Analysis”

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_aefjn_ntw/Visits of the Secretariat/2014 Senegal/AbandonedJatrophaSenegal.jpg

During the workshop of the Belgian Land Research Network entitled “Rush to Soil and Subsoil: Sharing Analysis”, Gino Brunswijck, policy officer at AEFJN, spoke about AEFJN and its advocacy strategies for land grabbing and raw materials. Gino presented the policies facilitating land grabbing such as agrofuels, the G8’s New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition and the “Doing Business Ranking” of the World Bank. He also presented the case of phosphate mining in Koudiadiene, Senegal, to indicate how African people are affected by land grabbing and/or large-scale mining concessions. Afterwards, there was a round of exchange between the civil society organisations present and the academic researchers.  Read more

 

VOICES FROM THE NETWORK

Fr. Chika’s Visit to the Secretariat

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_1_Icons/AEFJN photo logo final.jpg

In June, the AEFJN Secretariat in Brussels welcomed the future Executive Secretary Fr. Chika J. Onyejiuwa, a Nigerian from the Congregation of the Holy Spirit for a three week visit. He met the former executive, the staff and vice-president Ms. Fernanda Cristinelli and became familiar with AEFJN’s action plan for 2014-2018 and the different issues that the Secretariat follows in Brussels. He also learnt about the structure of the Network and the activities of the Antennae. Fr. Chika is expected to join the Secretariat in mid-September. During this transitory period he will follow the activity of the Secretariat and be informed by the staff. Read more

VIDEOS

The Money Stone

Short documentary on Gold mining in Ghana (5 min)

Mining in Guinea

Report on the mining industry in Guinea (2 min) (Only in French)

Conflict Minerals

Documentary on conflict minerals (4 min) 

Dangerous Flowers

Documentary on the impact of the Kenyan cut flower industry (5 min)

 

AEFJN CALLS FOR VOLUNTEER TRANSLATORS

The AEFJN Echoes needs volunteers for translation. The Echoes is published monthly in both English and French. Through this, we aim to break down language barriers, broaden the readership of our contributors’ analyses and encourage exchanges between linguistic communities in Africa.


To deal with our increasing translation needs, we are looking to expand our team of volunteer translators.


If you are a member or friend of AEFJN, we are counting on you. Please write to the editor at the following address: jl.gutierrez@aefjn.org

ECHOES FROM AEFJN N. 12 - JUNE 2014

FROM THE AEFJN DESK

Dust in their eyes

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_aefjn_ntw/Visits of the Secretariat/2014 Senegal/thumbs.jpg

The people of the village of Koudiadiene in Senegal are suffering from the effects of phosphate mining by European investors. The mines surround the village and the machinery churns up a toxic dust that is polluting the atmosphere and damaging the health of the village people. When their land was expropriated the villagers were not consulted, but were forced to hand over their land to companies with little compensation. Then the companies began to clear the land for phosphate extraction. The loss of their land and the pollution of what remained have increased hunger and malnutrition and poverty has made its home in the village. In addition, the Senegalese laws were not respected. For example according to the mining code, mines should not be located too close to the village. Moreover, companies contribute little to local development because they export almost the entire production and give work to very few local people. Read more

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

The EPAs and implications for the Continental FTA process

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_epas/im_csr/1406 Foto potencial EPAS.jpg

In January 2012, the African Union Summit took the decision to establish a fast-track Continental Free Trade Agreement Area (CFTA) by 2017 with the aim of boosting intra-African trade. For this reason, how different countries progress in the EPA negotiations will have important implications for the promotion of intra-African trade within the context of the CFTA. Many are the challenges that African countries have to face in adapting their industry and economy to the EPAs, such as strengthening their capacity for production, improving infrastructure or streamlining trade facilitation. If African countries sign the EPAs, the continent will be flooded with European products and will have to compete with economies that have a high level of development. In their effort to strengthen their productive capacity, the poorest countries in Africa will lose the opportunity to develop their domestic industries in higher value products and will be limited to trading with lower value products. Therefore, what should be an opportunity will in fact be a continuation of the same old situation. Read more

 

AFRICA

Significance of Land in African Economic, Politics and Culture

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_aefjn_ntw/Visits of the Secretariat/2014 Senegal/Baobab.jpg

Access to land will be a crucial issue for Africa’s economic development in the near future, because it is essential for the welfare and survival of the rural population. Family farmers play an important role as food producers as and as stewards of natural resources. They are increasingly under pressure from the threat of land grabbing, where foreign investors buy or lease large areas of land in the African countryside. This land is often presented to investors as “idle”, “underused” or “empty”. However, a sustainable commercial agriculture based on cultural wisdom will require improved access for family farmers to inputs, local markets and distribution channels, not just a focus on expanding large plantations. It will also require policymakers to take into account forms of collective ownership as well as cooperative models of land use. Read more

 

VOICES FROM THE NETWORK

AEFJN’s Manual


The AEFJN Manual tl_files/aefjn-files/publications/Manual ENG/AEFJN Manual on Economic Justice/Vol1-cover.jpgon Economic Justice is completed. The Manual provides a working tool for groups working on AEFJN issues. But it is also useful for JPIC groups in Africa (and elsewhere) to tackle injustices and to transform society. It is an excellent resource for JPIC seminars. The Manual presents the underlying causes of economic injustice in Africa and stimulates groups to work on issues relevant for Africa. There are two volumes, Volume 1: The Pastoral Circle and Volume 2: The Issues. In Volume 1 the Pastoral Circle is presented as a methodology for improving understanding of the world we live in, in particular the economic system and the ecology, and for providing a Christian answer to it. Volume 2 gives a very detailed overview of all the issues AEFJN works on, with annexes providing information for each African country. On our website you can find the digital version of the Manual in both English and French. If you are interested in the book-version of the Manual please contact the AEFJN Secretariat.  We thank Begoña Iñarra for all the work she has done to bring this manual into existence. Read more

 

AEFJN: Antennae Meeting

tl_files/aefjn-images/im_antennae/ant_meet/1205 Antennae Meeting/1405 Antennae Meeting/1406 ANTENNAE MEETING.jpg

The Africa-Europe Faith and Justice Network celebrated its yearly Antennae Meeting from 16-18 May in Brussels. Nine Antennae were represented and Gervase Taratara (AEFJN President) and Denise Bang’na came on behalf of the Executive. Under the guidance of the Secretariat, led by Begoña Iñarra, the meeting was notable for its spirit of participation and dialogue. The focus was the AEFJN vision for transforming unfair economic structures into a new economy based on solidarity and sustainable development and where humankind’s interrelation with creation is honoured. Such an economy will show greater care for the economically excluded and poor of Africa. Read more

 

VIDEOS

The Jogbahn Clan

Video on how the Jogbahn Clan stand as one in their struggle against a palm oil company grabbing their land. (5 min)

SOS Faim : Land Grabbing : Le cas Senhuile-Senéthanol

Video on the resistance of the local population against the project of Senhuile-Senéthanol, which aims to produce agrofuels for the European market. (9 min) (Only in French)

 

AEFJN CALLS FOR VOLUNTEER TRANSLATORS

The AEFJN Echoes needs volunteers to translate. The Echoes are published monthly in both English and French. Through this, we aim to break down language barriers, give more audience to relevant analysis for our contributors and encourage exchanges between linguistic communities in Africa.


To deal with our increasing translation needs, we are looking for volunteers to strengthen our team of volunteer translators who assist us in this task


If you are a member of AEFJN or a friend of us, we are counting on you. Write to the editors at the following address: jl.gutierrez@aefjn.org