The All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) will have its third annual conference, with the theme of “Empowering African Communities through African-led Development” on October 13-14, 2012 in Southeast, Washington, D.C.
Since 2007, AAPDEP has worked tirelessly to lead on the question of African development.
Not only have we developed a number of dynamic community-based self-reliance projects in Africa and African communities in the US, but we have consistently challenged the current charity and capitalist “development” models for Africa, exposing them as bankrupt strategies, completely incapable of overturning the conditions of existence that have been imposed on Africa and African communities around the world.
This conference is for those of us who have sat on the sidelines shaking our heads in frustration and disbelief at the game being played at African people’s expense.
This conference is also for those who have been working to address the conditions of existence of our people, but who have been doing so in relative isolation, disconnected from the global African community.
In our five years of existence, we have worked with individuals and communities from California to Sierra Leone to show what it means when we identify what our issues are and implement solutions that solve them.
It is now time for us to become part of the process of developing real solutions.
We recognize that in our communities many of us are engaged in problem solving projects, however we often find ourselves isolated in the work.
Essentially, this limits our ability to develop strategies that could be standardized and shared for the benefit of other communities in need.
This is why it is significant for us to hold a national conference that puts real African-led development on the agenda. It is only when we connect with each other that we can usher in a new reality for African people.
African development from the perspective of the African working class and poor
Rarely is the question of development in the African world discussed within the context of African people ourselves coming together to develop initiatives that address our material conditions.
More often than not, we hear of large global campaigns that include a conglomerate of national leaders with a mix of million dollar NGOs and world banking institutions.
Millions of dollars are spent for government officials and development “specialists” to participate in conferences for a few days talking about ways that “developing” and “underdeveloped” countries can contribute to the world economy.
Sometimes they do a good job, making statements like “12 percent GDP” or “five percent emissions tax” sound like it could play a large part in eliminating poverty, hunger and healthcare gaps within the effected countries.
What happens however, is the same thing that happens in previous conferences—there is a stalemate on decisions that could really make a difference, and people leave feeling frustrated from the entire process.
Many African communities suffer as a result, never having an opportunity to weigh-in on policies that mean, for example, the difference between getting basic equipment for local farming initiatives, or investment in corporate agribusiness ventures that increase food production for export, continuing a cycle that leaves local populations vulnerable to food shortages and famine.
This is one of the dilemmas that provided a basis for the creation of AAPDEP.
Some of the objectives of this conference are:
To gather Africans who have interest in or are engaged in the work of and achieving self-reliance
To build and expand our capacity in the U.S. by engaging with folks interested in building AAPDEP branches.
To provide details of AAPDEP’s Winter 2013 work project in Sierra Leone, West Africa
To connect with our world-wide membership, which consists of Africans from North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.
To facilitate a holistic approach that allows the rest of the African world to engage in practical work that really sets about solving the contradictions experienced by local communities.
It is with these goals that we anticipate our third annual conference will prepare all those who attend to identify where their skills and resources can immediately be focused.
This conference is for any African who is willing to use their skills toward development projects locally or across the African world, including:
Health care professionals
Technology and computer scientists
and AAPDEP members across the world.