From the Slave Trade to 'Free' Trade Ebook

How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa

Publication: Fahamu
 
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2005 saw a mass mobilisation around the world, calling for ‘trade justice’. The campaigners were lobbying for the introduction and implementation of new world trade rules, ones that would work for all people, instead of benefitting those who already have the most. They argued that the global trading system should be rebalanced, taking into account the needs of the poor, human rights and the environment. But, can trade in the era of globalisation be ‘fair’ or ‘just’? This collection of essays was first published in the award-winning electronic newsletter Pambazuka News. Drawing on lessons from the slave trade, studies of the international trade system and the experiences of people struggling to make a living, they provide insights into how free trade policies have a profoundly negative impact on democracy and justice in Africa. Whether it is the absence of women’s voices at global trade negotiations, the decimation of a country’s health system as a result of World Bank policies or the sacrificing of community rights in the interests of multinational corporations, it is clear that ‘free’ trade polices impose a profit first and people last regime on Africa.

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From the Slave Trade to 'Free' Trade