GCAP Africa Takes Big Action for the Tiny Tax!
GCAP National coalitions across Africa call on the African Union and European Commission to support a Financial Transaction tax to help eliminate poverty and achieve the MDGS.
ON the eve of the 17th Ordinary Session of the AU Summit in Equatorial Guinea, GCAP National Coalitions across Africa came together on 22 June to take part in the Global Day of Action to call on their leaders to support a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). The day also coincided with a major EU summit in Brussels and actions took place across Europe, the Americas and Asia in support of the FTT.
In Africa, GCAP Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Mali, Niger, Liberia, DRC, Cameroon, Tanzania and Ethiopia took action– modelling Robin Hood hats and delivering letters to their Government and to the Head of the EU Commission in their countries. The letters petitioned African leaders to ensure that the African Union demonstrates support for a European-led FTT at the 17th Session Ordinary Summit of the African Union.
“While price volatility caused by speculation means bagging of huge profits for traders, basic necessities are pushed beyond the reach of the poor in Africa. Industrialist cause climate change just for erratic whether to mercilessly hit the peasant farmers, “ said Mwangi Waituru coordinator of GCAP Kenya during the day of action “ A Robin Hood tax targeting the speculators and industrialists on their way to the bank must be put in place to redress this anomaly. In this discourse, leaders in Kenya and Africa in general cannot just sit back while the world seeks solutions to the challenges facing the people of Africa. They must speak in a loud voice- it is time for FTT”
In Rwanda the campaign took place from 21 – 23 June and included mobilisation and awareness raising activities with a focus on young people in particular . “The FTT mobilization particularly aimed at engaging citizens to play major role in demanding that the country leaders support FTT, that revenues being directed to climate change adaptation and poverty reduction process in developing countries,” says Rene Niyonteze of GCAP Rwanda “The campaign included a mass conference in which participants were given the opportunity to ask questions about the FTT and the relation between FTT and MDGs commitments and promise so that they themselves felt empowered to create a civil society platform and raise awareness on FTT.”
Since 2009 GCAP has supported the demand for a Financial Transaction Tax , also known as the Robin Hood Tax. It is believed that the FTT will help secure some of the funding needed for moving forward on poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals and helping low income countries cope with the impacts of climate change, at a time when fiscal deficits are beginning to threaten aid flows. The call has gained political support, most notably in the form of the French President Sarkozy and the Government of Germany and Austria and Brazil who are actively promoting an FTT as well as initiating discussions within the G8/20 on proposals for the inclusion of FTT discussion in the upcoming G20 Summit. With France hosting the G20 Summit in 2011, many campaigners believe the opportunity is ripe to push for the FTT to become a reality
Over 1000 economists recently wrote to the G20 to state their support for FTT, joining the many more who have already spoken in favour of the campaign such as Jeffrey Sachs, Joseph Stiglitz and George Sorros. Earlier this year, Finance Ministers from 28 low-income Francophone countries also called for an FTT to finance development.
Support from other governments around the world and regional organizations such as the African Union is essential to ensure that pioneer countries in Europe show international leadership on the FTT, and that the revenue is spent on global public goods which is additional to existing overseas aid commitments.
According to GCAP Ghana the day of action was successful in “creating awareness among GCAP membership” and has created a “strong network to continue to work on the issue.”
Pictures on the FTT Global Day of Action Activities from CSOs around the world can be accessed here: http://fttjune.posterous.com/
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