After two days of intense discussions, 272 delegates from 40 countries resolved to set up a new civil society network to tackle burning issues on the continent.
“We need to fight for economic development that embraces social inclusion and environmental care. We have a right to the ‘better life’ our governments have promised,” participants said in The Kilimanjaro Declaration issued at the end of the conference.
The movement will work towards expanding the space for civic and political action; fight for women’s rights and freedoms; focus on the right to equity and dignity; demand good governance and work towards achieving more justice in addressing the effects of climate change.
Participants agreed that intensive efforts would be made to reach out to as many people as possible.
Launch director Kumi Naidoo said it was hoped that the movement would be launched in every country to commemorate Africa Day on 25 May next year.
“We call on religious leaders to hold a day of prayer for peace, justice and dignity and for trade union leaders to organise workers on the day in some way on the shopfloor.”
Naidoo said the movement would be “built from the bottom up” and be inclusive of everyone who shared its ideals.
“Our challenges will not be resolved unless people get organised and change that.
“We can’t continue to lag in development because corrupt and inept leaders allow us to. This movement is a game-changer and we’re giving notice to everyone who wants Africa to remain a laggard that we’re not going to put up with that anymore.”
Hilma Mote of the International Trade Union Confederation-Africa and a member of the steering group noted that the overwhelming sentiment at the meeting was that Africa was facing a leadership crisis and that civil society needed to step into the breach to ensure conditions started to change soon.