International Conference on Financing for Development (ICFD), Monterrey, Mexico 18-22 March 2002

Statement presented at the summit round tables

by Hellen Wangusa
African Women's Economic Policy Network/The Ecumenical Team
Thursday, March 21, 2002

Mr. Co-chairs,

The United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) has been lauded as the beginning of a new way of approaching development financing. The political reality of this process will be determined by its potential to continue bringing together the key economic power houses that have had an unbridled role in financing development. The Monterrey Consensus as it is, is not open to all as a way forward on specifics that are of central concern for all constituencies equally. This is one of the reasons why it is crucial to look ahead.

For the African women, Monterrey ought to have raised aspirations, goals and time frames for poverty eradication, access to resources that will ensure the elimination of gender bias in poverty and to go beyond the credit trap that formal micro financing has placed them in. In addition, of necessity any projections to the future need to ensure that follow up mechanisms accommodate the central concerns for the following:

Policy contradictions and the current dominant development models at the International, National and between mainline Ministries of Finance, Trade, Foreign Affairs and Social Services need to be eliminated to ensure accelerated development. This will require policy dialogue with civil society and other key players in development at all levels.

People in poverty who have not been central in setting the rules for financing in spite of their pivotal role in sustaining development and social cohesion need to participate in socio-economic governance and decision-making.

Trade must be just. Developing economies that are agro-based need to be protected from the structural and inequitable trade systems. Especially because they are built on a semi-colonial pattern of trade where developing countries were exposed to resource based commodities while the first world processed high value added goods.

Looking forward, the Monterrey follow up needs to consider creating avenues at Country level to develop trade policies that ensure food security and food sovereignty is not undermined by export led growth; and that commercial farming or agro-investment does not reduce further women's access to land.

Total Debt cancellation is one way of releasing resources that can be invested in social services since ODA has ceased to be a dependable source of financing development.

The New African Initiative (NAI) had raised hopes that Africa had found a comprehensive long-term strategy to help it emerge from poverty and conflict. However, some of those hopes have been dashed and replaced by doubts and concerns since the NAI has been renamed the New Partnership for Africa´s Development (NEPAD) which seems to be hijacked by the forces of neo-liberal globalization.