Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Under Secretary-General of the UN, and the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT stressed that there was a need to make globalization work for local people, create decent jobs, and provide decent shelter for the urban poor who are stranded in the slums and squatter settlements surrounding the cities of Africa. Mrs. Tibaijuka was speaking as the Chairperson of the second session, at the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WCSDG) held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 6-7 February 2003.
The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WCSDG) was established with a view to examining ways in which international organizations and other actors can contribute to a more inclusive globalization process that is fair and acceptable to all. Amongst the invited dignitaries and participants were H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Tarja Halonen, the President of the Republic of Finland, Mr. K.Y. Amoaka, the UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and Mr. Juan Somavia, the Director General of ILO.
In his opening address as the co-chairperson of the conference, His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa, the President of Tanzania stated that for globalization to succeed, it must solve the problems of the people. President Mkapa pointed out that it was encouraging that the debate on globalization was increasingly shifting from whether globalization is “good” or “bad” to one focussing on ways to ensure that the benefits are shared more widely.
Also speaking at the occasion, Her Excellency Tarja Halonen, the President of Finland, who was also the co-chairperson of the conference, expressed regret that the significance of Africa had declined in world politics and the international economy. She said that the situation in Africa was a form of deglobalization. The reason for this, according to President Halonen, was that at the moment only about one per cent of the world's gross income is generated in Africa and the portion of foreign direct investment in the continent was less than one per cent.
Participants at the workshop discussed three main issues, namely: "Regional Integration and the Challenges of Globalization", "Globalization and its Impacts on the Economic and Social Development of the African Region", and "Strategies to Create Employment and Fight Poverty in Africa". Mrs. Tibaijuka chaired the session on presentation of National Dialogues Reports.
At this meeting, Mrs. Tibaijuka stressed that as cities around the world are the loci for much of the global economy, African countries must formulate coherent national urban development policies. She also said that there was the need to help Africa build its capacity by mobilizing the people. She said that regional economic integration was vital for the success of globalization and that it was important to create the necessary conditions for investment at the local as well as the international level.
In his contribution, Mr. K.Y. Amoako, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), stressed that globalization had facilitated the development of new technologies and products and had encouraged and increased efficiency in the use of domestic resources to enhance competition and also provide opportunities for poor countries to earn much-needed foreign exchange. He said that in spite of these achievements, globalization had not worked for everyone and concerns continue to be widespread.
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