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The Courier Africa - Caribbean -Pacific - European Community N.135 September-October 1992. The Pacific in perspective

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132 pages
Bruxelles Χ ISSN 1013-7335 he Courier g AFRlT^A-CARIBBEAN-PACIFIC - EUROPEAN COMMUNITY Published every two months Ν. 135 - SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 1992 The Pacific THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY THE 69 ACP STATES BELGIUM ANGOLA GAMBIA ST LUCIA ANTIGUA & BARBUDA GHANA ST VINCENT AND DENMARK BAHAMAS GRENADA THE GRENADINES FRANCE BARBADOS GUINEA SAO TOME & PRINCIPE GERMANY BELIZE GUINEA BISSAU SENEGAL (Federal Rep.) BENIN GUYANA SEYCHELLES GREECE BOTSWANA HAITI SIERRA LEONE IRELAND BURKINA FASO JAMAICA SOLOMON ISLANDS ITALY BURUNDI KENYA SOMALIA LUXEMBOURG CAMEROON KIRIBATI SUDAN NETHERLANDS CAPE VERDE LESOTHO SURINAME CENTRAL AFRICAN LIBERIA SWAZILAND PORTUGAL REPUBLIC MADAGASCAR TANZANIA SPAIN CHAD MALAWI TOGO UNITED KINGDOM COMOROS MALI TONGA CONGO MAURITANIA TRINIDAD & TOBAGO CÔTE D'IVOIRE MAURITIUS TUVALU General Secretariat DJIBOUTI MOZAMBIQUE UGANDA of the ACP Group DOMINICA NAMIBIA WESTERN SAMOA of States DOMINICAN REPUBLIC NIGER VANUATU Avenue Georges Henri, 451 EQUATORIAL GUINEA NIGERIA ZAIRE 1200 Brussels ETHIOPIA PAPUA NEW GUINEA ZAMBIA Belgium FIJI RWANDA ZIMBABWE Tel.
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Bruxelles Χ ISSN 1013-7335
he Courier
g AFRlT^A-CARIBBEAN-PACIFIC - EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Published every two months Ν. 135 - SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 1992
The Pacific THE EUROPEAN
COMMUNITY THE 69 ACP STATES
BELGIUM ANGOLA GAMBIA ST LUCIA
ANTIGUA & BARBUDA GHANA ST VINCENT AND DENMARK
BAHAMAS GRENADA THE GRENADINES FRANCE
BARBADOS GUINEA SAO TOME & PRINCIPE GERMANY
BELIZE GUINEA BISSAU SENEGAL
(Federal Rep.)
BENIN GUYANA SEYCHELLES
GREECE
BOTSWANA HAITI SIERRA LEONE
IRELAND
BURKINA FASO JAMAICA SOLOMON ISLANDS
ITALY
BURUNDI KENYA SOMALIA
LUXEMBOURG CAMEROON KIRIBATI SUDAN
NETHERLANDS CAPE VERDE LESOTHO SURINAME
CENTRAL AFRICAN LIBERIA SWAZILAND PORTUGAL
REPUBLIC MADAGASCAR TANZANIA SPAIN
CHAD MALAWI TOGO UNITED KINGDOM
COMOROS MALI TONGA
CONGO MAURITANIA TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
CÔTE D'IVOIRE MAURITIUS TUVALU
General Secretariat
DJIBOUTI MOZAMBIQUE UGANDA
of the ACP Group
DOMINICA NAMIBIA WESTERN SAMOA
of States
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC NIGER VANUATU
Avenue Georges Henri, 451 EQUATORIAL GUINEA NIGERIA ZAIRE
1200 Brussels ETHIOPIA PAPUA NEW GUINEA ZAMBIA
Belgium FIJI RWANDA ZIMBABWE
Tel. : 733 96 00 GABON ST KITTS AND NEVIS
ACP COUNTRIES
OME
CONVENTION
EUROPE OF THE TWELVE
FRANCE UNITED KINGDOM NETHERLANDS
(Territorial collectivities) (Overseas countries) (Overseas countries and territories)
Netherlands Antilles Mayotte Anguilla
(Bonaire, Curaçao, St Martin, St Pierre and Miquelon British Antarctic Territory
Saba, St Eustache) British Indian Ocean Territory
(Overseas territories)
Aruba British Virgin Islands
New Caledonia and dependencies
Cayman Islands
French Polynesia
Falklands h Southern and Antarctic Territories DENMARK
Southern Sandwich Islands and
Wallis and Futuna Islands
(Country having special relations with Denmark) dependencies
Montserrat Greenland
Pitcairn Island
St Helena and dependencies
Turks and Caicos Islands
This list does not prejudice the status of these countries and territories now or in the future.
The Courier uses maps from a variety of sources. Their use does not imply recognition of any particular boundaries nor prejudice the status of any state or
territory.
Cover page : The traditional way of life of the people living in the South Pacific islands has served them
well for centuries. But the future will be determined by the way in which they tackle the challenges of a changing world
(Photo The Courier) MEETING POINT: Afamasaga Toleafoa The Courier His Excellency, Mr Afamasaga Toleafoa of
Western Samoa has considerable ex­ AFRICA-CARIBBEAN-PACIFIC - EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
perience in representing his country ■■i No 135 — SEPTEMBER­OCTOBER 1992 MÊÊÊ
abroad. In conjunction with our Dossier
on the Pacific region, the Ambassador,
who has looked after Western Samoa's CONTENTS
interests in Brussels since 1985, describes
2. Editorial: The Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism the pitfalls and challenges he faces in
carrying out his diplomatic duties. He also MEETING POINT
discusses in depth, some of the principal
3. Afamasaga Toleafoa, Ambassador of Western Samoa to the economic and social issues affecting the
European Community
Pacific region today. Pages 3 to 5.
ACP­EEC
6. 'From ancient kingdoms to present­day systems'
COLSTRY REPORTS
8. GUINEA turns to democracy COUNTRY REPORTS
12. An interview with Planning and Finance Minister Soriba
Kaba
GUINEA: Those who hoped that 14. Great mining potential, but...
Guinea — with its immense 16. An interview with opposition leader Bâ Mamadou
18. EEC­Guinea cooperation riches — might succeed quickly in
22. Profile breaking out from 26 years of
23. MAURITIUS: Going for gold again economic stagnation, were sadly
31. An interview with President Cassam Uteem
mistaken. Today, the country is 33. An w with former President Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo
facing a serious financial crisis, 35. An interview with Prime Minister Sir Aneerood Jugnauth
38. EEC­Mauritius cooperation despite the implementation of a
structural adjustment prog­
EUROPE
ramme which has now been in
place for six months. It is against 41. European integration — A busy summer
45. The European Community at the Seville Universal Ex­this background that the process of démocratisation is taking place, with
position
elections due in November. Pages 8 to 22.
DOSSIER:
The Paciñ
MAURITIUS: Over the past 47. The Pacific in perspective
decade, 48. The ACP States of the South Pacific Mauritius has succeeded in
49. The economy of the islands on the Pacific rim its first phase of industrialisation
51. The South Pacific Forum:
and has made considerable progress
an overview of its objectives, roles and activities
towards NIC­status. An essentially 54. The European Community and the South Pacific
56. Fisheries textiles­led boom allowed it to con­
58. The Forum Fisheries Agency : serving its Member Countries quer unemployment very rapidly, so
60. Deepsea mineral resource potential in the Southwest Pacific its current full employment context
63. The tyranny of distance: transport in the South Pacific
forces it to go for a high­tech capital 67. The lure of the islands: tourism in the South Pacific
intensive approach. Will it succeed 68. Reconciling a fragile environment with economic develop­
ment in becoming the 'tiger of the Indian Ocean'? President Cassam Uteem,
70. Coping with Val, Zelda and Arthur: the Pacific's most
former President Sir Verrassamy Ringadoo and Prime Minister Sir
unwanted guests
Aneerood Jugnauth give their views. Pages 23 to 40. 71. The University of the South Pacific
74. Political systems shaped by many influences
77. The French territories of the Pacific
80. Tuning into the global village : The media in the South Pacific
82. NGOs and Government working together: Lessons from
Papua New Guinea
DOSSIER: The Pacific in perspective
erosi:­UP
EEC activities on Zanzibar Following on from our Dossiers earlier this
year on the Caribbean and Africa, we DEVELOPING WORLD
complete the ACP 'set' in this edition, with
a more detailed look at the Pacific. Focus­
ing particularly, but not exclusively, on the
eight ACP countries, we consider the most
important issues currently affecting the
region. We also examine some of the
institutional mechanisms which have been
93. Financing rural and agricultural development in Africa developed to help the small island nations
The state of play
of the Pacific tackle common problems in a
BOOKS
coordinated way. Pages 47 to 84. NEWS ROUND­UP (yellow pages)
CDI — Partnership
OPERATIONAL SUMMARY (blue pages)
Published in English and French. Writers of signed articles bear sole responsibility for iheir contents. Rcproduclion authorised, subject to indication of origin. ———~-
EDITORIAL
The Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism
Lorenzo Natali died on 29 August 1989. At a ceremony in Brussels on 22 January 1991, the Commission of the
European Communities and the Italian government paid homage to the memory of Vice-President Natali, who had
been responsible for cooperation and development policy.
His successor, Mr Manuel Marin, took the opportunity of this occasion to announce the establishment of the
'Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism'. Courier readers will find below, as a follow-up to this announcement, the text
of the official notice setting out the rules of entry, which was published in the Official Journal of the European
Communities on 18 July 1992. We realise that the information may reach some of our readers too late for them to
send in an entry by the closing date for 1992. If so, our apologies — and good luck for next year.
* * H=
In memory of the late Lorenzo Natali, who was Vice- Articles may also be submitted. to any Commission
President of the Commission of the European Communities delegation in non-member countries or to one of its Offices in
with special responsibility for development cooperation, the the Member States.
Commission is organizing the Lorenzo Natali prize for Jury
journalism on the following terms:
The jury, made up of Commission staff, will be chaired by
the Member of the Commission with special responsibility for Admission
development cooperation.
Articles on development cooperation published in 1991 in
In its deliberations the jury may consult members of other
newspapers or magazines from anywhere in the world and
Community institutions or prominent figures in the develop­
written in one of the official languages of the European
ment cooperation field. The jury's decisions are final.
Community may enter for the Natali Prize.
Prize
The jury will pay particular attention to articles which stand
The Lorenzo Natali prize is worth ECU 5 000.
out for their defence of human rights and democracy as vital
There will be a single, individual prize, although it may be
aspects of economic and social development.
awarded to a piece of work carried out as a team effort. It may
As an exception, the jury may also decide to award the prize
be declared that the prize will not be awarded.
to a means of communication which has made special efforts
Award
to defend human rights and democracy in developing
The prize will be awarded by 30 November 1992 and the
countries.
decision will be published in the 'C' series of the Official
Submission of work Journal of the European Communities.
Articles must be submitted by 31 October 1992 by the actual Conditions
author or authors, who must send two copies of the Entry for the prize implies full acceptance of its terms and
publication in which their work features to: authorization for the Commission to reproduce and dis­
Mr Manuel Marin, seminate the work submitted, as part of the publicity for the
Chairman of the Natali Prize Jury, prize itself.
Commission of the European Communities, Articles written by members of staff of the Community
rue de la Loi, 200, institutions in active service may not be entered for the Natali
Β-1049 Brussels. Prize. MEETING POINT
Afamasaga TOLEAFOA
Ambassador of
Western Samoa
to the European Community
When the elephants make
love, the grass gets
trodden on'
His Excellency, Mr Afamasaga Toleafoa has considerable
experience of looking after his country's interests abroad. Prior to
taking up his appointment as Western Samoa's Ambassador in
Brussels in May 1987, he spent six years as Consul General in
Wellington, New Zealand. Coming as he does from the Pacific, he
is used to long distances, which is just as well, because he has a wide
geographical brief in his current posting. He has the job of
representing Western Samoa, not only at the European Com­
In conjunction with this issue's Dossier on the Pacific, The
munity, but also in a range of other European capitals.
Courier spoke to the Ambassador about the challenges of
Mr Toleafoa is an economist by training and has worked at the representing a Pacific island country on the other side of the world,
South Pacific Commission and in SPEC (which became the and about some of the main issues of particular concern to the
Forum Secretariat). Pacific region.
► Mr Toleafoa, as the Ambassador of The reality is that if you are a very small up with something special which will hold
a small Pacific island nation, what par­ isolated country, you have to work peoples' interest. That is certainly a
ticular problems do you and your col­ harder to attract attention. People realise problem for me.
leagues face in representing your country's that you are unlikely to have a major
If you are going to represent your
interests in Europe? influence that could be of value to them
country's interests you clearly have to
and that's a problem in terms of trying to
have a presence, which implies resources — I think that of a number of these, the
get them interested in what you are trying
and people. Here again, we are at a one that immediately comes to mind for
to say or trying to sell. They obviously
disadvantage — bigger countries have me relates to the distance between Europe
want to know if it is a country which is
many more staff than we have. I have a and the Pacific islands. Very few people
worth investing in but you have to come
small office here, just myself and my First on this side of the world actually know
up with something to attract their interest
Secretary and we try and cover as much about where I come from — it is a small
before you even begin to have a dialogue. ground as possible. We also have the job country which is a long, long way away.
of looking after our interests in neigh­Europe is one of the big players in the
bouring countries — UK, France, Ger­► Do you work closely with other world. A lot of things are happening here,
many and so on — apart from our EC so the events in a small nation in the Pacific _ Ambassadors operating in
representation. Brussels ? Pacific don't really feature at all. There is
no mention of us in any of the media here,
— Yes, we do. There are 69 countries in
even when we have events which to us are ► While a lot of people may think that
the ACP Group and there are only three
terrible, like the very bad hurricanes of 'small is beautiful', countries such as your
Ambassadors from the Pacific here, so in
the last two years. own obviously have to overcome certain
the ACP setting, we have to try and work
economic disadvantages, given the trend
I think the problem of profile is a very together. There are, of course, times when
towards regional economic power blocs in
important one when one is trying to we have to pursue our own individual
the world. Do you think there is a risk that
represent a small country. I am forever interests. PNG, which is much bigger, can
the South Pacific countries will be mar­
having to explain where Western Samoa often command attention because of its
ginalised— and is that such a bad thing?
is — that it is in fact a country — and to resource base and its attraction for
seek to establish my credentials, before I potential investors, whereas a small — I think the answer has to be both yes
can even begin to talk about issues. country like Western Samoa, has to come and no. On the one hand, there is a
The Courier no. 135 — September-October 1992 MEETING POINT
concern that we are simply bystanders issues. They are more involved in social issues and problems, I think it is possible
when decisions affecting our lives are and technical questions whereas the for everybody to come together on an
being made elsewhere. Perhaps you have Forum tends to focus more on economic equal level to push the idea forward.
heard the saying, 'when the elephants and political issues.
We have already done it with shipping.
make love the grass gets trodden on'. In a
This developed out of a genuine need, you There was a lot of pressure when the
certain sense we are already used to that.
have equal participation and it is work­Forum Secretariat was formed, to bring
Many of the big decisions affecting our
ing... the SPC under its wing, but I think it was
trade and our political destiny are being
very good that this did not happen. Both
made beyond our shores. At the same
bodies serve the region very effectively ► You are talking here about the
time, we don't have too many economic
and a merger would result in too big an Forum Line?
interests that clash with those of the big
organisation which would not be focused
blocs. We don't manufacture very much — Yes. You know that people criticise
enough on the areas they are each
the Forum Line and say that it is losing and what we doe will never
competent in at present.
money but they forget how it came into threaten anyone. At the moment, for
being. The private sector was pulling out example, we put together parts for Of course, other organisations have
vehicles which are then assembled else­ because they said they were losing money also been set up dealing with specialised
and that was when the Forum countries where and that is quite sufficient for us. areas such as fisheries. We have a specific
got together to provide the service. It We don't need a lot of economic produc­ environmental organisation and I think
tion to survive easily. started to make money and now the this is an issue which is sufficiently
private sector is moving back in, chipping important to warrant separate treatment.
The main argument, therefore, is be­ away at the profitable routes and, as But, at the same time, we are seeing a lot
tween Europe, Japan and America — always, leaving those that are loss-
of new bodies being established —
notably in the GATT negotiations — and
making to others. With that background, notably around the territories where
our products don't really enter into the I think the Forum Line is doing a pretty there is particular American influence.
equation. We, as it were, manage to sneak good job.
The Forum and its Secretariat don't have
into the picture and continue to survive. I
direct American participation. There is In answer to your question about should say, though that if we do have
also a growing tendency for other Pacific further integration, there is scope for this interests that clash with those of the main
groupings to assert their own identity —
in some areas but it has to be done at a trading blocs then we certainly have very
we see this with the Melanesian countries. certain pace. Let's face it, there are some little say in what happens.
countries that are much further ahead in
I personally think that if we have any As for your question is it a bad thing, I
terms of infrastructural development. If
more organisations, we could get into don't think it necessarily is, so long as we
you leave it simply to economic forces
difficulties. It will become too confusing. find a niche within the larger scheme of
you get a concentration of activity in
The establishment of new groupings may things. Certainly in terms of our geogra­
certain areas. That is not genuine regional
sometimes be an answer to legitimate phical position in the world there is
development. It is unequal and nobody
concerns or aspirations, but we mustn't something to be said for the isolation that
wants that. Even in industrialised coun­
get too carried away. We must realise that allows us to move at a certain pace. It
tries you get favoured regions that draw
we are far too small to begin splitting up. I allows us to be not too dependent on the
the economic power towards them, leav­
hope that while people may satisfy a need market system, and to have a way of life
ing the poorer regions to fare as best they
to express their identity, in terms of being which is sustainable.
can.
Melanesian or Polynesian or whatever,
that they still see themselves under a
► There are number of regional or­
► You hear this said in the European larger umbrella, as represented by the
ganisations in the South Pacific which
Community — a kind of 'golden triangle ' South Pacific Forum.
appear to be operating quite effectively.
based around Paris, Frankfurt, London
Bearing in mind what is happening here in
Certainly on economic issues, the and the Benelux countries.
Europe, and to some extent elsewhere in
Forum has focused, from the outset, on
— Absolutely. the world, what scope is there for more
trying to integrate economic planning, so
regional integration in the Pacific ?
that the region can develop as a bloc. We
► What about the Pacific as seen have to face realities. We have regional — It is quite surprising to see how
through European eyes. I suspect it is
interests which are very much in many organisations are sprouting up. Up
rather a limited and idealised image of a common. Let us consider the issue of a until now, we have had two major
paradise on the other side of the world. Is regional airline. The original concept regional organisations, the South Pacific
that something which concerns you ? never got off the ground because it wasn't Commission and the Forum. The Com­
properly formulated. Qantas and Air mission was set up at an earlier time, — Well, up to a point. You know, I
New Zealand — who were heavily in­when things were very different. I know have been here for two winters and I can
volved in it — claimed that it was a that in the past, a lot of people have see why the Europeans have an idealised
regional airline but the Pacific islands argued that there is unnecessary dupli­ vision of the South Pacific — the winter
were never really part of it and they felt cation but having worked, for short here is very severe ! At a certain level the
that their interests were being submerged periods, in both organisations, I have South Pacific does have a lot of attrac­
in the overall planning of the big two. But always believed that they complement tions. Yes, we are far away from the
now that the Pacific island countries have each other. The SPC deals with a different centre of world economic activity but I
had the time to develop, and to look at the grouping of islands and tackles different have seen places much closer that are no MEETING POINT
better off, where the problems are quite ment. Once you start setting up factories, completely. What do you see as the main
terrifying and where you wonder whether you are directly hooked into the world ecological threats, and what can be done to
there will ever be a solution. So in that economic system and, since we would be tackle them? In particular how do you get
sense the South Pacific has something right at the end of the process, when the political 'clout' at global level to
special to offer. But there is another side. persuade the big nations to change their things go wrong, we would be the first to
We have problems of economic develop­ suffer. In the end, we would lose our habits.
ment — indeed, of survival in the global independence altogether.
— Global wanning is certainly a threat
economy. We are always at the end of the
but the more immediate threat, which is
process. That is the side which we in the ► What then, in practice, is the way
already with us, is cyclones. You know
South Pacific have to project to the forward for development in the Pacific?
that with global warming, you will have
Europeans and others. In essence, the
— We, the Pacific people, understand desertification on the one hand and more
challenge for us and for our leaders is to
that our plans must incorporate develop­ cyclone activity on the other. In Western
find a form of development which suits
ment principles which take our particular Samoa, we have recently suffered two
our particular requirements.
strengths into account. We have to come very severe cyclones. Our crops were
up with systems which build on the totally destroyed and I don't know what
► That raises the whole question of the subsistence economy, adding on from the will happen if there is another cyclone in
outside what is needed to make it more 'development' concept, which some would the next six months.
productive without fundamentally chan­say has been elaborated largely by people
As for the longer term effect of global
ging it. in the industrialised world. There may be a
warming, we are talking about the disap­
tendency to equate the subsistence
We have certainly developed a more pearance of places like Tuvalu. One of the
economy with poverty, which does not
money-oriented and market-oriented worrying aspects is that people tend to
seem appropriate in the Pacific context. Is
economy and this provides the main measure catastrophes in terms of the
there any feeling that industrialisation and
engine of production for export. But I numbers of people affected. Obviously, in
development are being imposed from
believe that it is possible, in all of our some places an earthquake can wipe out
outside and does this pose any sort of threat
countries, to operate a dualistic system. If thousands of people. In the Pacific, we to the cultural values and systems of the
70% of your population is employed — have small populations and it is more Pacific countries ?
relatively successfully — in subsistence difficult to convince others of how
activities, then that is not going to change potentially serious the situation is. — On this issue, the term that is in
very quickly. fashion at the moment is 'sustainable
As for what we can do about it, in the
development'. Have you noticed how we What you have to be is inventive
end it is up to the industrialised countries.
always come up with a phrase. Previously enough to direct your subsistence I think we are beginning to recognise the
we had 'rural development' and every­ economy so that you can export your
causes of environmental damage but
body talked about it without really surpluses. Obviously, there is a problem whether the industrialised countries have
understanding what it was. of competitiveness. Take bananas, for
the ability — the political will — to
instance. Someone with two acres of reverse the process remains to be seen. In If we are to talk about genuine,
bananas is not going to have the technical
the meantime, as far as our own political ecologically sustainable development,
inputs — say to guard against diseases — 'clout' is concerned, all we can do is to that is where our economic system, with
which are needed to compete with a
keep on working together — through the its emphasis on subsistence, is of interest.
thousand hectare farm in Ecuador, on the Forum, to try to change things. I think Professor Fiske of the Australian
Australian or New Zealand market. Yet
National University coined the phrase
we have local people who have acquired
'affluent subsistence', which describes ► The objective of the Treaty of
the ability and technical know-how, and
very well the way in which the economy in Rarotonga is to establish a nuclear-free
who have access to capital which allows the Pacific should be viewed. Up to now it zone in the South Pacific. For this to be
them to invest in production. If you are has provided the people with a standard achieved in practice, various third coun­
inventive enough, you can direct your of living which is adequate in terms of our tries would have to accede to the Protocols
subsistence economy to certain crops basic needs. The aim on top ofthat — and which are attached to the Treaty. What
which are able to find a market niche, this is the challenge for planners in the
likelihood do you see of this happening in
without abandoning the basic system. Of South Pacific — should be to pick out the foreseeable future ?
course, 'we have to be realistic. This those elements of the western model of
— I think the climate is improving in approach requires, on our part, a lot industrial development that can fit into
terms of nuclear-free activities in the more work, imagination and willingness our subsistence-based economy, instead
Pacific. Certainly, with the collapse of to take certain decisions but it can be of simply adopting the whole model 'willy
Communism, things are looking brighter. done. nilly'.
France has discontinued testing and I
think that there will be a gradual move In Western Samoa, 70% of the people ► Turning to environmental issues,
away from nuclear armed ships in the are dependent directly or indirectly on some of the future scenarios which have
Pacific. Things are moving in the right subsistence. 70% of the labour force is been put forward— notably as regards the
direction and I don't anticipate any employed in the subsistence economy. I effect of global warming — are extremely
dramatic change unless a new threat alarming for the Pacific region. I am don't see that changing and I don't
blows up. o necessarily want it to change because that thinking particularly of the possibility that
one or two atoll nations will disappear would involve a move to factory employ­ Interview by Simon HORNER
The Courier no. 135 — September-October 1992 ACP - EEC
Trom ancient kingdoms
to present-day systems'
Annual Round Table of the European Centre
for Development Policy Management
Simultaneously with the 'Kings of pendent on the fulfilment of certain party systems also have their limits in that
Africa' exhibition (see section on 'Culture conditions. The question which arises is most of civil society remains margina­
and the Arts'), a seminar devoted to the whether these programmes, and espe­ lised. A return to precolonial traditions
examination, through the lens of African cially their methods of implementation, and methods would appear to be a
history, of institutional aspects of the have a negative impact on the construc­ utopian option, given the changes which
interaction between the state and civil tion of new relations between the state have taken place in African society. There
society was held in Maastricht from and civil society. is a certain amount of resistance from
29 June to 1 July. The Round Table was civil society to the importation of external
co-sponsored by the Commission of the methods of organisation. The majority of The one-party system failed to provide
European Communities and the Dutch the people, and rural populations in for the effective participation of civil
Foreign Ministry, and it brought together particular, are largely alienated from the society in the exercise of power. Multi­
34 participants — 14 Europeans and
20 nationals of ACP countries. Officials,
representatives of civil society, diplomats,
academics and politicians were able to
meet in an atmosphere which was espe­
cially conducive to fruitful dialogue in
that each was speaking in a personal
capacity.
The issues underpinning the seminar
discussions may be summarised as fol­
lows.
Reference to history makes one better
able to identify the cultural elements
which govern the behaviour of Africans
— leaders and civil society — today.
Genuine democracy relies as much on the
institutional system which has been
constructed as on the state of mind and
behaviour of the various agents with a
part to play in consensually agreed forms
of societal organisation.
Such behaviour is influenced at one
and the same time by history and by
current realities. It is important therefore
to look at those elements of Africa's
cultural heritage which still govern the
behaviour of operators and the work of
institutions in the present day.
Africa is engaged in a struggle on two
fronts — to emerge from economic crisis
and to democratise society. The link
which has been established between
democracy and development raises great
hopes in civil society, whose members see
in pluralist democracy the solution to all
their problems and, most notably, an
improvement in their living standards.
Africa is involved today in two-pronged 'Halt the invader' (in this case, the French army)
programmes of economic 'structural Statue of Behanzin, the last free King of Abomey (Benin)
adjustment' and 'democratic adjust­ Reference to history makes one better able to identify the cultural elements which
ment', with assistance from donors de­ govern the behaviour of Africans AC P-Ε EC
systems which have been set up and with
which they do not identify. The question
which can then be asked is whether Africa
can continue evolving Western forms of
democracy, at the risk of marginalising
the majority of the civil population, or if
it must seek new forms of effective
association for civil society. In short, it is
the problem of choosing between 'elitist'
democracy and 'popular' democracy. In
any case, everyone agrees that civil
society must participate effectively in the
exercise of power if Africa is to emerge VIVA O^
from its difficulties. XX ANIVERSÁRIO/f WÈÊF IONISA·
The real challenge, therefore, is to find h PARTILO -ç
a way of giving the key players in the
development and démocratisation pro­
cesses the means of performing their
respective roles to the full.
Three categories of agents are involved
in these processes : the state, civil society Reminders of a bygone era — slogans on a wall in Guinea Bissau
and the donors. The dividing line between 'The one-party system failed to provide for the effective participation of civil society
state and civil society is sometimes a in the exercise of power'
theoretical one and there are gradations
Civil society invokes certain traditional gradual process of devolution or decen­within the various groups — but the
values but references to traditional struc­ tralisation, possibly going as far as current processes of economic recovery
tures are inadequate because, as the fédéralisation, must be clearly set in and démocratisation will, in any event,
decline in such forms of community motion, with the risk of ethnic and urban/ only succeed if each one abides by the
organisation in particular reveals, they rural disputes being allowed for through rules of the game as defined and fully
plays its role. The resources of the key are now devoid of content. the establishment of mechanisms for
agents in civil society and the state must conflict resolution. A code of reference The state is at the same time both
be strengthened at the same time. The and a blueprint for society must be sought strong — as a predator — and weak — as
role of each must be well defined, and the out. Here there could be a useful role for a service provider. In general, its capacity
means necessary to enable them to the churches and Islamic movements. for communicating with civil society is
perform their respective roles must be low.
In the final analysis, the objective must provided effectively.
How can state and civil society be be the establishment of a state of law
reconciled? What are the possible con­The official conclusions of the seminar which includes practical arrangements
straints and the solutions? will be published at a later date. Some of for cooperation and communication, the
the common ground which emerged setting up of mechanisms for controlling The constraints are multiple and va­
among the participants can, however, be and sanctioning government, and the rious: first of all, the twin challenges of
identified at this stage. emergence of a new form of citizenship : development and démocratisation are
all this, in the knowledge that there is a incompatible with the split between the The current emergence of civil society
price to be paid for democracy in both state and civil society. More specifically, is being reflected in new forms of organis­
money and time. there is an absence of effective communi­ation created by that society itself. This is
cation structures and too much central­not to say that such forms did not exist in
The seminar debates as a whole re­isation. On top of this, there is the previous African history. While it is not
vealed that, in addition to the historical behaviour of donors — in particular their possible to generalise on the basis of only
burdens, current constraints require a failure to coordinate and their insistence partial historical studies, one can state
redefinition of the role of the key players, on setting formal conditions which do not that participatory structures existed in
aimed at ensuring the effective particip­relate to the actual content of the policies. African society — a code of reference to
ation of civil society in the exercise of which the emperor had to submit, One has also to take account of
institutional power, with a view to under­
countervailing forces and certain forms illiteracy, the absence of a democratic
pinning the transition to development of decentralisation. culture, latent ethnic problems, disorient­
and democracy.
ation among young people, the speed of By transforming citizens into subjects
urbanisation, the role of the middle and by establishing or strengthening In the process of policy­making within
classes and the army, and the role of
centralisation, the colonial period de­ Africa, this involves moving from a
competition between the parties and prived traditional systems of their con­ monopolistic to a competitive manage­
structures of civil society.
tent. The post­colonial states continued ment system, invoking the past as a
in the same way, thus creating the split Solutions must be looked for, first of 'memory­key' directly linked to winning
between state and civil society. all, in a re­establishment of confidence. A legitimacy in the eyes of society, o D.D.
The Courier no. 135 — September­October 1992 COUNTRY REPORTS
Selling petrol in one of Conakry's many black market outlets. In Guinea's capital, the informal sector reigns supreme
Guinea turns to democracy
The southern trees, they bear a strange collect more than some of the household in front of the Ministry of Finance every
day, more and more workers squeezed fruit, sang Billie Holiday, the unforget­ waste clogging the roadsides, one more
table Lady Day, in one of her finest blues, hazard in an already difficult traffic out of privatised or liquidated firms and
dedicated to the victims of all the lynch- situation. ever-increasing numbers of fresh
ings of the period. The fruit hanging from graduates seeking work. There are more
But the people of Conakry take no than 14 000 altogether and this year, the trees on the Conakry sea-front may
notice. The Rio Conference may well not be quite so tragic, but these finishing election year, there are temporary teller's
touches to the ruin of an already ugly have got the environmental message jobs for 5000 of them — at what they
across as never before, but pollution think is laughably low pay. And they are coastline, the blue and white plastic bags,
problems are the last of their worries. are almost as unpalatable. Guinea's still waiting for the 1860 public service
capital city is literally overflowing with Their immediate concern is the mounting jobs and the launching of the famous 400
rubbish and, now the rainy season is with cost of living — inflation is more than 'bankable' projects mentioned at a meet­
19% p.a. — and, especially, higher rents ing with the Head of State, potentially a us and everywhere is awash, sooner or
and the soaring cost of things like later it ends up in the sea, only to be more permanent solution to their prob­
dumped back on the shore and sucked hydrocarbons. There is worsening un­ lems.
down into the water again, endlessly, with employment too, with terminated ('de­ Add to this the mounting insecurity,
flates') civil servants holding silent de­the tide. The overworked municipal perpetual traffic jams and paradoxical
authorities clearly are not managing to monstrations for better redundancy pay shortage of public transport which makes

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