Cotton is a vital part of African sahelian economies where more than 10 million people owe their livelihood to cotton production. If cotton production disappears from this region the consequences in terms of poverty and rural exodus will be dire. Rural populations suffer most from the current cotton crisis in African producer countries, and rural dwellers in general are among the poorer segments of these societies. The crisis is amplified by the recourse which certain producer countries elsewhere, and in particular the US, have taken to trade subsidies, in defiance of international trade rules.
On May 16, 2003 four African countries appealed to the WTO to find a longterm solution to the cotton crisis. The current work assesses the results of this cotton initiative, which has provoked new movement and awareness and has established a better basis for taking African concerns seriously when considering globalization. Taking the issue beyond cotton, this latest initiative points up the limits of a globalization whose heralded benefits have been slow to be felt by Southern nations. Slow also has been the translation of commitments made by donor nations and institutions into concrete action, with the exception of French foreign aid. Resources need to be marshalled generally if African cotton producers are to be given the investment capacity necessary to restore and maintain their competitiveness.
— Preface by his Excellency Amadou Toumani Touré, President of the Republic of Mali,
— Afterword by Erik Orsenna of the French Academy, Vice-President of FARM (Foundation for World Agriculture and Rural Life),
— Eric Hazard, editor.
(Editions Maisonneuve & Larose, 204 pages,16 €)
In partnership with : Enda, FARM, AProCA, ACA