OIF adopts 10-year 'strategic' framework

Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- The 10th summit of heads of state and government of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) adopted a 10-year strategic framework at its 26-27 November meeting here pledging to intensify the fight against poverty and to ensure sustainable development.
The framework is based on solidarity, justice, fair trade, cultural and linguistic diversity, shared respect for each other, preservation of the environment and extension of the health security belt.
The right to safe drinking water, health, food and minimum education are the new priorities of the OIF, which also desires to be the voice of the voiceless.
At the opening of the summit, the Belgian representative set the tone, noting that development should be based on caring and attention for the well-being of the humankind.
Even though the summit was dominated by the Ivorian crisis, majority of the participants emphasised the establishment in the OIF of a real solidarity as part of a renewed multilateral co- operation.
African Union Commission Chairperson, Alpha Oumar Konare, noted that this international co-operation should be seen as a right to which well-off people should contribute to establish and guarantee it in a show of solidarity.
Heads of state from the OIF space emphasised the need for total writing off of Africa's debt that may lead the continent on the way to development.
Summit host President Blaise Compaore noted that "if populations are concerned with daily questions of survival and ignorance, it will be difficult to pretend about sustainable development".
Advocating the establishment of a fair trade to put an end to grants, Konare appealed to OIF not to abandon African cotton growers confronting a drop in the cotton price this year.
According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a kilogram of cotton lint sells at less than 500 FCFA in 2004, compared to 800 FCFA in 2003.
In the short term, the drop in cotton price will lead to the collapse of the African cotton structure, according to Ibrahim Maloum, chairman of African cotton companies.
According to WTO statistics, United States annual subsidy to some 26,000 farmers is nearly 4 billion dollars.
Appealing for a greater OIF support, Maloum called for urgent measures in order to protect African productions, otherwise, he warned "they will lose any competitiveness if these US subsidies continue".
According to experts, with this drop of the cotton price, Burkina Faso will lose about 50 billion FCFA in receipts for year 2004 alone.
In view of this situation, OIF opted for the establishment of the international global taxation whose receipts will help to finance the development of Africa.
In addition to global taxation, OIF will focus its support on the popularisation of micro-finance.
According to French President Jacques Chirac, more than 60 million poor people throughout the world managed to get through and get into modern economic circuits thanks to the micro-finance policy.
To this end, OIF, in conjunction with France, is to organise in 2005 in Paris an international conference on the issue.
It also plans to budget funds in order to make easier the guarantees for the development of the micro-finance system in French-speaking countries.
Micro finance and global taxation are the two instruments OIF is basing on to initiate the economic boost of French-speaking countries of the South.
The OIF has, therefore, urged French-speaking countries to mobilise for the adoption of the global taxation by the UN.

28 november 2004 19:29:00

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