The Post (Lusaka)
July 29, 2002
THE G8, IMF and World Bank are the source of African countries’problems, Women for Change (WFC) executive director Emily Sikazwe has charged.
In an interview with Canadian Broadcasting (CBC) Corporation national radio, Sikazwe said the G8, IMF and World Bank have no moral authority to begin restructuring African countries’ economies. She said the G8, IMF and World Bank should stop pretending to care so much about Africa when they had been the source of the continent’s problems.
“What I ask instead is your solidarity in our fight against the terrorism that sees ten thousand of Africa’s children die every day of poverty-related diseases. I believe that a better world is possible. Africa and its children will rise,” she said.
Sikazwe said the G8, IMF and World Bank should stop imposing what they thought were solutions to Africa’s problems.
“They must leave us alone to determine our destiny,” she said.
Sikazwe said New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was based on the same development and economic model crafted by the G8, IMF and World Bank that has been in place for the last 20 years, with catastrophic effects.
“As the group of eight richest and most powerful countries meet in Kananaskis, on their agenda is the so-called NEPAD. It’s been hailed as a plan developed by Africans for Africans – a kind of Marshall Plan to lift Africa out of poverty. But in reality, NEPAD was developed by African leaders, without consulting their people,” she said.
Sikazwe said the G8, IMF and World Bank policies have destroyed Zambia’s economy, ruined its social safety net and devastated the nation’s environment. “To illustrate, let me tell you the story of Mary Ngoma. Aged just 14, she now heads her household because her parents died of AIDS. Everyday, Mary sees her younger sister and brother cry from hunger but there is no money to buy food.
When they are sick, they cannot go to the hospital because they cannot pay the user fees that are charged.
So Mary has decided to sell her body on the streets as a prostitute. Even though she risks getting HIV, she tells me she can make money to feed her family,” she narrated. Sikazwe said the G8 were forgetting that there was a connection between poverty, HIV/AIDS and foreign debt.
“Because Zambia is forced to service debts which the G8 insists we owe the World Bank and IMF, our government has no resources left to take care of its citizens,” Sikazwe said. “The World Bank and IMF behave like a very rich person who takes the bread out of the mouth of a very hungry child.” Sikazwe said there could be no new partnership with Africa before there was total debt cancellation.
“We don’t owe the G8 anything. Rather it is the G8 countries who are indebted to us as a result of the slave trade, colonisation and now extraction of our mineral wealth,” she said. While in Canada, Sikazwe joined the international community in protesting against World Bank and IMF policies.