Linked to our presentation of Moving politics … to the people on January 25, 2006.
Also linked to our presentation of THE KENYA DEBT RELIEF NETWORK on January 25, 2006.
She worked actively for preparing the World Social Forum WSF 2006 in Mali.
She is also one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Wahu Kaara – Kenya
She says: “African women are not dying for Africa anymore, they want to live for Africa.”
She works for the Kenya Debt Relief Network (Kendren), the African Social Forum and the Kenya Social Forum.
Wahu Kaara, a 53-year-old widow, describes herself as a global social justice activist. The former history and Kiswahili teacher says she has been radical from an early age, having been involved in promoting social justice and economic democracy for 30 years.
Her political activities define her radical nature. Despite the repression from the government and the hard times she experienced when her husband was forced into exile, the mother of four relentlessly worked locally and is today involved internationally in the African Social Forum and the Kenya Debt Relief Network, and she is also one of the main leaders of Katiba Watch, the main lobby group spearheading the ongoing mass mobilization in Kenya around the demand for a new constitution.
She writes: The Debt crisis is a critical factor in retarding the achievement of sustainable development in Africa. It has been and continues to be one of the biggest barriers to development in Africa and is the most powerful tool that the Western countries are using to keep the whole continent in bondage. Africa’s total Debt as of 1999, stood at US$ 231 billion. At the same time, annual Debt service payments from Africa amounted to US$ 15.2 billion. Thirty three of the 41 countries classified as Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are in Africa.
The biggest challenge facing Kenya today is to increase the economic growth and the pace of development in order to improve the standard of living for the majority of its people. This requires an appropriate model that would engender a people-centered and sustainable development process. It also requires that scarce productive resources be harnessed and channeled to sectors and activities capable of promoting efficient production and the equitable and efficient distribution of the outputs to benefit the majority of the country’s population. Resource outflows, which militate against increased production and sustainable improvement in people’s standard of leaving, should be minimized.
Kenya, with a population of around 30 million people is saddled with an unmanageable Debt which is hampering the country’s economic growth. The country’s Debt has being attributed to several factors. These include the oil crisis of the 1970’s, the deteriorating terms of trade, low export growth, misuse of borrowed funds and corruption and poor governance. The answer probably lies in a combination of all these. But whatever the reason, it cannot be denied that Kenya’s Debt crisis is one of the major causes for the economic crisis facing the country today.
In 1970, Kenya’s total external Debt was less than US$ 5.5 billion. Ten years later, it stood at US$ 53.4 billion. It continued to grow sharply during the 1980’s and the early 1990’s, reaching a maximum of US$ 57.4 billion in 1995. It then decreased slowly to about US$ 4 billion in 2004. Read the rest on this pdf-text.
pictures and text on protests;
The dept crisis;