A four-day conference of the World Social Forum gets underway Thursday in Bamako, Mali. The forum is an annual event that was started in 2001 as an alternative to the World Economic Forum, held in the Swiss town of Davos. The meeting will be attended mainly by civil society groups that vigorously oppose globalization. It’s the first ever such meeting to be held in Africa.
One of the Forum’s organizers, Mamadou Goita, told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje it is significant that the meetiong is taking place in Africa for the first time. He says the forum enables African activists to network with international groups involved in issues of globalization. Mr. Goita says forums such as this "let African decision makers know that anti-globalization groups are part of a worldwide movement – and not fringe elements." He says the forum provides for a discussion of where “Africa stands today in the area of political, social and economic development – and the direction it should chart for its future.”
Mr. Goita says issues to be addressed during the four-day meeting include “militarism, economic issues, relations with international financial institutions, women’s rights, immigration, and, of course, governance.” He says at the conclusion of the four-day forum, delegates will come out with “a wall of proposals.” He says these will include “a range of alternative ideas on how Africa should proceed in all areas of globalization.”