A success for CADTM: the world assembly of the network, held in Dakar from 13-16 November, 2021

16 November 2021 by CADTM International

The Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM) network held its conventional World Assembly from 13-16 November 2021, at Dakar, Senegal. This was the third World Assembly after the first in Morocco (May 2013) and the second in Tunisia (April 2016), all held on the African soil. This major event was held for 4 days, simultaneously in person (with 37 delegates, 19 women and 18 men) and online (34 participants), with a large women’s representation.

The delegations physically present in Dakar were from 16 African countries (South Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia), 1 Latin American and Caribbean country (Haiti) and 2 European countries (Belgium and France).
In addition, there were delegates from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, India, Pakistan and Japan who participated online from their respective locations. In sum: delegations from 30 countries participated at the CADTM World Assembly.

The sessions of this World Assembly were held in three languages: English, French and Spanish, with simultaneous translation.

The meeting took off with a general presentation of CADTM objectives in the current context. This was followed by a report on the international political and economic situation. This report analysed the general economic context, the evolution of the COVID pandemic and the global health crisis, the ongoing climate and environmental crisis, the increase in authoritarian and/or dictatorial forms of government on a global scale, the offensive of Capital against Labour and the patriarchal offensive as well, the level of resistance and the state of the movements contesting the capitalist and patriarchal system and finally the major challenges facing CADTM.

The above report on the international situation was drawn up from 4 continental reports (Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Asia). The discussions were enriched by interventions made by the various delegations.

A very rich assessment of the Shared International Secretariat (SIS) of CADTM network was presented by ATTAC CADTM Morocco and CADTM Belgium. It covered the activities organised, the training courses, the press releases and declarations, the websites and Facebook pages, the electronic newsletters, the publications (books and magazines), the educational videos, the synergies with the different global associates, the expansion and strengthening of CADTM, the financial resources, etc.

The Coordination of Feminist Struggles of CADTM, which is a women-only space created in 2017, also presented its assessment and the progress in the reflection, commitment and integration of the network. The Coordination of Feminist Struggles organised the fourth seminar on women, debt and micro-credit from 8-11 November, 2021 in Dakar.

The political charter of the CADTM network, established in January 2009 and amended by the International Council of CADTM in September 2019, has been updated. The main points added are: illegitimate debts in the North, illegitimate private debts, the ecological crisis, the women’s movement, and legitimate debt for a transitional programme. The amendments to the organisational charter concerned the sanctions to be taken in case of sexist behaviours. The integration of the Coordination of Feminist Struggles in the charter of CADTM Africa is an exemplary initiative that should be followed by the CADTM members in the other continents. The shared international secretariat is in charge of producing the final edition of the two amended charters based on the contributions to the discussion.

The World Assembly of the network then ratified the new memberships of the North African Network for Food Sovereignty, Kenya Peasants’ League, Citizen’s Front for Audit in Puerto Rico and also of the African feminist collective, Womin based in South Africa, which will be operationalised in the coming months.

Building on their participation in the World Assembly, participants travelled to Lake Wouye in Malika, a working class neighbourhood in Dakar to take part in a programme organised by CADTM Senegal. The CADTM international delegates met with some thirty people who, through their association, are involved in a project to safeguard the local ecosystem.

On the last day of the World Assembly, participants reviewed the major activities in which their organisations and the CADTM network as a whole would soon be involved. These include, in December 2021, the African Alliance for Food Sovereignty which will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, and also the General Assembly of the North African Network for Food Sovereignty which will be held in Tunis. CADTM will continue its campaign for lifting patents on vaccines, medicines and treatments to combat the coronavirus. In 2022, the CADTM network will participate in the World Social Forum (WSF) which is scheduled to take place in the Mexican capital in May. Just before the WSF, the CADTM Latin America and Caribbean (AYNA) will also meet in Mexico City to hold its annual meeting. In 2022 there will also be other international activities in which the CADTM will actively participate: in August, the Assembly of Caribbean Peoples in Haiti and the European University of Social Movements in Germany organised by the ATTAC; the counter-summit to the annual meetings of the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

and the IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

in Morocco, in October; and probably in November, the Peoples’ Forum in Mali.

Translated by Sushovan Dhar.

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