New hope for Africa?

Mister President

I am a Frenchman living in Burkina Faso since August 1965. Thanks to the media I have been following your campaign with interest. I noted that at every rally the following message was displayed: 3Change is now”. I listened to the declaration you made in the city of Tulle on the evening of your victory. I heard you say : “The 6th of May should be a great day for France, a new start for Europe and new hope for the world.”

During your campaign and even after you were elected you never stopped repeating that you want to be judged on the merits of what you have accomplished in the field of justice. Already in July 2006 it was the concern for justice that led you and quite a number of French Members of Parliament to approve the report on negotiations for “The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the ACP countries (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific)”, called the Lefort Report.

The rapporteur Mr Lefort started his presentation of the document with these words:

“Ladies and Gentlemen,

A threat is hovering over sub-Saharan Africa and other regions of the planet: the threat of absolute, free trade. This is the case with the ongoing negotiations between the European Union and 77 ACP countries.

The negotiations, which were to have been concluded by the end of 2007, are at present conducted outside the realm of the power of parliaments, in order to liberalise trade between one group of 25 rich countries (of the European Union) with a GDP of 26 000 € per inhabitant and the poor ACP states with a GDP of 424 € per inhabitant.” …/…."


The rapporteur feels that one of the first answers to be handed to the ACP countries in this situation, should be a resetting of the negotiations. …/….


The rapporteur was able to measure, during his talks and visits, how much expectation there is among the ACP countries for some strong words from France and the U.K. …/…


and concludes:

Very rapidly we shall be able to see if Europe is going to commit a historical error or if it will save its partnership with the ACP countries."."

On that day you approved the report together with all those convinced that the EPAs which Europe wishes to impose on on Africa (and all the ACP countries) areindeed at threat for Africa and an error by Europe.

In fact the threat is very real, so much that many regions, such as West Africa have not yet signed. I write “not yet”, because Europe is again putting strong pressure to have the agreements signed rapidly. Europe is becoming ever more arrogant and appears to be wanting to force things through.

I do know that you have a large number of dossiers on your agenda, one more urgent than the other. But I also know that you are not alone. I am not just referring to the 18 million French citizens who cast their vote for you, most of them with the expectation that Europe and France would show the Africans more respect. I am thinking in particular of Mr Harlem Désir who has been following the EPA issue for several years. On my request he received me at his MEP office in the European Parliament in Strasburg. I wanted to point out to him the threat that the free trade agreements, hypocritically renamed “economic partnership agreements” , hold for Africa. We both agreed that these free trade agreements are indeed a threat for Africa and a mistake by Europe. Entrust him with this dossier, he will manage it very ably … for the benefit of Africa and for Europe!

You have reiterated that justice would be the hallmark of your presidency. Let us hope that it does not halt at the frontiers of France or of Europe.

Yours very sincerely

Koudougou, May 15th 2012
Maurice Oudet
Director, SEDELAN,

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