Foreword by Dr. Helen Kijo-Bisimba?Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHR C)
The introduction of free market economy in 1980’s necessitated Tanzania into changing its economic policies and laws for the purpose of coping with ongoing changes in the world economic system. In this respect, Tanzania in the early 1990’s started to open doors for large-scale foreign investment especially in the mining sector. This led to a dynamic development of the economic sector, increase of local and multinational companies operating in Tanzania. Consequently, between 1980 and 2009 there were almost twenty five (25) laws which were enacted to cater for the new economic system of the market economy. Tanzania is now among the three largest gold exporters in the African continent, the country is also vested with enormous amounts of diamonds and tanzanite.
CONFERENCE: “Social Movements in West Africa: Between the Ravages of Economic Liberalism and the Promise of Political Liberalism.” (17. – 19. June 2014, Hotel Ngor Diarama)
In June 2012, the West Africa Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation organised an International Conference on “What alternatives for Africa? Which actors to carry them?”. The basic idea was that we had to move beyond the criticism of neoliberalism and existing institutions to address the critical issue of alternative political and economic paradigms as well as that of the actors who may carry out the much needed radical breaks. During the exchanges, most participants more or less agreed that far from being a panacea, the so-called “liberal democracy” is part of the problem to be overcome by the African continent. Similarly, while the hope for significant social change in Africa lies today in social movements, it was recognised, however, that they tend to suffer from lack of autonomy vis-à-vis the political systems in place. Better, the early 21st Century social movements would even appear to have been lost in the woods (see Ndongo Samba Sylla (ed.) R e thinking Development, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, 2014).
Since the Conference, the Foundation has sought to study in depth two main issues, particularly in the context of West Africa: the relationship between the crisis of liberal democracy and the resurgence of social movements; and the potential of contemporary social movements in terms of social transformation. Thus, with the help of its partners, the Foundation took in 2013 the initiative to coordinate a study on social movements in West Africa.