Notes to broadcasters
This script addresses several of the MDGs, including goal #1 (eradicate extreme poverty), goal #3 (promote gender equality and empower women), and goal #4 (reduce child mortality). The script is a drama which takes place in an imaginary court room. In this court room, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other defendants are on trial. They are accused of taking actions which, rather than benefiting the poor nations which they are supposed to be helping, are actually causing further damage to already fragile economies and communities, while deepening poverty and economic inequality.
The words and opinions in this script are those of the script writers and not everyone will agree with them. They represent serious criticisms of global and national institutions. The arguments, though at times perhaps severe and harsh, deserve to be heard and discussed in a reasonable fashion.
Counsel for the prosecution
Counsel for the defence
Sini Casi, a student
World Bank representative
Gnageba, a farmer
International Monetary Fund representative
Gnanieba, a village chief
Government of Mali representative
Economical partnership agreements, Structural Adjustment Programs and progressive policies promote the development of a society based on progress and growth. The liberal system has shown its ability in rich countries. Are these countries not examples of what we want Mali to become? Thousands of Malians come to live in Western countries. We offer you jobs in our best cotton manufacturing plants – using cotton imported from your countries! Mali has quality products, but not the skills and capacity to process them. So we are obliged to do it. The economy must go on and we don’t have time to stop and hear your concerns and your fears.
Wealth, my brothers and sisters, wealth! This is what the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been trying very hard for years to sell. They think hard about policies that developing countries must adopt to reach that goal. Year after year, they have a summit meeting to think and discuss your problems. African people have remained disadvantaged for centuries because they have not shown the capacity to do things for themselves. Your corruption and management problems, coupled with your laziness, obliged us to intervene.
The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are the best management institutions that underdeveloped countries can hope for at present. Even if they take decisions for you, they are listening to your needs and your demands. As evidence, we integrated Africa into the G8 Summit. We set aside time for politicians from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to speak at a recent meeting with the European Union. We are acting in good faith and it is up to you to show us that you have the ability to integrate our plans. (Pause) Thank you.
At this time, I would like to follow a line of reasoning which is shared by many people who know the history of this continent and its people. I dedicate this reflective thinking to African youth, for whom I wish to create some hope and a willingness to work for better days.
Our brother Europeans explain to us that every debt must be repaid with interest, even if it means selling human beings and entire countries, without asking their consent. But we can also demand what is owed to us; we can also claim interest.
How much money has slavery and colonization brought to rich states at the expense of the African people? What shall we call this – plunder? Shall we call it despoilment? Genocide? Saying so would lend credibility to those who say that European States have been developed thanks to the blood and the sweat of their brothers in African and other lands.
After so many centuries of this loan from Africa to Europe, we are entitled to ask questions. Have our European brothers made a rational, responsible or at least productive use of the resources so generously lent by the AMF, the African Monetary Fund? (Pause for five seconds)
Regretfully, we must answer no. From a strategic point of view, these funds were wasted in wars. European countries have shown that they cannot do without monetary annuities, raw materials and cheap energy from Southern countries.
This being the case, we are forced then to demand capital and interest repayment, a repayment that we have generously postponed from century to century. It is clear that we will not descend to the depths of charging our European brothers the odious and cruel interest rates of 20 to 30% that they have asked us to pay. We will limit ourselves to demanding the return of all our funds that have been generating income in the North, plus a modest fixed interest of 10% per year, compounded over the last 300 years.
To argue that Europe, over several centuries, has not been able to produce sufficient wealth to repay this modest interest, would amount to admitting its absolute financial failure or the irrationality of capitalism.
Therefore, we demand the immediate signature of a letter of intent obliging the European continent to repay their debt by undertaking a rapid privatization of Europe, so that this Europe be delivered to us, as a whole, as the first payment of a historical debt.
(Pause, and more softly) Ladies and gentlemen, we know, you and I, that this will never happen. But we can at least hope for something better from countries which, too often, told us what was right to do.
For all these reasons, I request the entire and unconditional cancellation of Africa’s debt and I demand from African governments that, from now on, every investment be conducted in cooperation with the African people and their representatives, whether they be from political or from civil society. Thank you.Courtroom sounds fade up, hold for 10 seconds, then fade out.
Do you have a comment to make on this week’s drama and the issues it raises? If so, call in to the radio station at (insert phone number). We would like to hear from you. Thank you and good night (morning, afternoon, evening).
- Contributed by: Members of the Mali Community Radio Network (ARCOM)
- Reviewed by: Charles Jennings, Educational Intern, Greenwood College School, Toronto, Canada.