Dakar 2000: from resistance to alternatives

6 February 2001

In December a meeting of campaigners in Dakar, Senegal assessed Africa’s debt crisis and the human effects of structural adjustment. Condemning the neoliberal model, participants – mainly representing the Jubilee movement from Northern and Southern countries – highlighted alternative approaches. The Southern debt activists stressed that:

  • third world debt is illegitimate and must be totally cancelled without conditions;
  • structural adjustment programmes of the IMF and World Bank, including PRSPs must be rejected;
  • creditors should not place conditionalities on the debt cancellation process;
  • ecological aspects of debt should be considered.

Participants also discussed how to achieve “life without debt” after the Jubilee 2000 campaign. With the failure of the G7, the IMF and the World Bank to accept demands for total cancellation, Jubilee South are planning to build social movements in their countries to get their governments to refuse to pay their illegitimate debts.

The Dakar Manifesto, issued at the conference, favours globalization based on solidarity among people, giving priority to meeting basic human needs. It calls for a review of external borrowing policies, and what loans are used for. When loans are necessary, it calls for greater discussion by parliaments. It also stresses the importance of promoting home-grown solutions to development rather than a “universal model.”

Jubilee South