THE SPIRIT OF LOMÉ, SEEN FROM SENEGAL
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CTA. 1998. THE SPIRIT OF LOMÉ, SEEN FROM SENEGAL. Spore 78. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/48241
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N'Diougou Fall is a farmer in Risso, a small village near Thiès. He is also secretary-general of the Federation of Senegalese NGOs (FONGS). The name sounds like it would be a voluntary sector group, but it is in fact a farmers' organisation....
N'Diougou Fall is a farmer in Risso, a small village near Thiès. He is also secretary-general of the Federation of Senegalese NGOs (FONGS). The name sounds like it would be a voluntary sector group, but it is in fact a farmers' organisation. Indeed, its leader stresses, 'It is a powerful federation. We have 3,500 groups spread through the ten regions of the country, and 150,000 paying members. From where we stand, the liberalisation of world trade looks like unfair competition', he asserts. 'In my village, Californian rice is sold at a lower price than rice grown here. The United States gives direct assistance to its farmers, which seems to me jolly close to subsidising their exports'. He raises his voice. 'What do we want? Do we really want millions of farmers from impoverished areas of Africa and elsewhere to flood into the towns? Then we really would have to use those 'safety nets' they are always talking about!' He calms down. 'I used to see the Lomé Convention as being an opportunity for farmers in ACP countries, even poor farmers, to earn a living from their products. And now people are tearing it to shreds because its economic results have been somewhat limited. It is as if they were preparing to pack it off to retirement. Europe would come out of this affair with honour if it managed to reform the instrument, which is the Convention, whilst keeping the original spirit of cooperation between North and South.' This is an invitation to explore how to balance the aspects of (de-)regulation with special dispensations for the least-developed countries. An invitation to find alternatives to the fast-track, single-minded implementation of global trading agreements using WTO rules. (1) Whether by means of the WTO or a future Lomé Convention, additional measures will be required for the gradual establishment of free exchange zones such as the Southern African Development Council, the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and the Economic Community of Central African States. Such 'transitional' aid has yet to be defined.
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