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SADC MPs-CSOs Communique on Africa’s Loans
16 February 2006
AFRODAD - http://www.afrodad.org
The SADC Parliamentary Forum, in collaboration with the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), convened a second Dialogue between SADC Parliamentarians and representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Windhoek, Namibia on 15 and 16 February, 2006 to discuss the question of Loan Contraction and Debt Management in the region. The workshop, which brought together about 12 Parliamentarians and 20 CSO representatives, was held under the theme ‘Dialogue on the Loan Contraction Process and Debt Management in SADC’ and was a continuation of an earlier Dialogue between Parliamentarians and representatives of CSOs that was held from 23 - 24 August 2004, in Harare, Zimbabwe. The following Communique was issued :
We, the members of Civil Society Organisations and the Southern Africa Development Co-operation Parliamentary Forum gathered at Windhoek, Namibia on 15 to 16 February 2006, and having deliberated on loan contraction and debt management and development in the SADC region:
Recalling the AFRODAD-facilitated first meeting between members of the SADC Parliamentary Forum and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Harare, Zimbabwe from 24 to 25 August 2004 and reaffirming our commitment to the recommendations made thereof
Agreeing that debt, especially for consumption and its related conditionalities is undesirable and should be avoided at all cost
Noting with serious concern the continued capital flight in the form of annual debt service payments and untaxed corporate profits
Reiterating that there is a need to involve parliamentarians as elected representatives of the people and civil society in loan contraction and debt management and in development in general.
Acknowledging that effective debt management and nationally-owned development strategies form the indispensable foundations for sustainable development in the SADC region and that they are the pillars for tackling poverty reduction, gender inequality and HIV and AIDS as well as other challenges.
Emphasizing the urgent need for an effective, comprehensive, durable and development-oriented solution to the debt problems of African countries;
Cautiously welcoming the decision of the G8 countries to cancel 100% of outstanding debts of eligible HIPCs to the IMF, IDA and AfDB, however expressing concern about the attached conditionalities and limited countries that will benefit;
Stressing the need to consider additional measures and initiatives including the fair and transparent arbitration process aimed at ensuring long-term debt sustainability through increased grant-based financing;
We therefore commit ourselves to:
1. Continue with the dialogue, share information and work together on debt management and development.
2. Invest in a stronger Parliamentary-CSO working relationship on debt and other development challenges particularly in the area of information sharing, research and bill sponsoring
We urge our governments to:
1. Set up debt management committees, institutionalise debt policies and improve data management on debt in our countries
2. Involve Parliaments in loan contraction processes as well as in the management of the debt thereof
3. Carefully consider project sustainability before loans are approved
4. Ensure Parliaments and CSOs are included in debt policy formulation and management
5. Allocate adequate expenditure to poverty reduction programmes and projects, HIV and AIDS and gender equality
We urge both our governments and donors to honour their commitments and to put the emphasis on sustainable development rather than sustainable debts.
And we demand:
1. A fair and transparent arbitration process as a mechanism for debt management under the umbrella of the United Nations.
2. Inclusive monitoring and evaluation of the use of all public resources
3. Mutual accountability between donors and aid recipient countries on development outcomes
4. Mutual agreement on loan policy conditions as equal partners with development partners
5. Poverty and social impact assessment on all loans where there is concern regarding impact on the poor
6. More and better and quality aid anchored on clear exit strategies
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