The internationalization of the World Social Forum (WSF) will be redoubled in 2007, when the encounter is transferred to Africa. This decision, which was made yesterday, January 25, at a meeting of the International Council, ratifies the proposal presented by the African delegation in 2004.
Since 2002, when the second WSF was held, the Africans have been hoping to hold the event on their continent. First, however, it went to Asia and returned to Brazil, only then to be slated for the region where the negative reflections of globalization are the most apparent.
“We shall have to turn the World Social Forum into one of the major events of our history since independence,” affirms the Tunisian Taoufik B. Abadalah, secretary of the African Social Forum.
“Through the Forum, we want to confront all the forces that are intervening on the continent. [Africa] is the large base for financial institutions to promote their policies.
“We could say that the continent has been recolonized in the last 20 years. And we want to change this situation.” Africa is made up of thirty-three countries and divided into five sub-regions.
“This change is very important for Africa and for the World Social Forum. We face a big challenge in this path of expansion,” argues Sérgio Haddad, of the Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (Abong).
“Now we have to help them put together the Forum. They are the protagonists, and we are the back-up.”
In 2006, prior to moving to Africa, the WSF will have a different format. Simultaneous and interlinked forums will take place on at least three different continents. The format for 2007 has yet to be defined.
Victor Nzuzi, of the GRAPR, a peasant organization from Congo, and member of the International Council representing the Southern Jubilee, informs that so far only Kenya has presented its candidacy to host the WSF.
“But this is still open. There are other countries on the continent that would like to receive the WSF,” he says.
In any case, this will be the first time that the WSF will be supervised by entities organized on a continental scale.
In previous years, committees from Brazil and India staged the event, even though they counted directly on international assistance.
“Holding the World Social Forum in Africa will be a challenge for us. As it was for everyone. For the Indians, for the Brazilians. Everybody is learning, and now we shall have our chance,” Taoufik reflects.
Translation: David Silberstein