Evolution – Brief History
The African Consensus concept emerged during the 2011 World Social Forum held in Dakar, Senegal. Drafting of the African Consensus Resolution was undertaken by NGO leaders working throughout the event (late January and throughout February 2011). Key spokespersons of the process were West African celebrity rapper Didier Awadi who is known for his outspoken activism, and Alioune Tine who has been a peace mediator in both Darfur and Cote Ivory. Leaders of the African branch of the World Social Forum were also deeply involved in the process.
Recognizing that the World Social Forum only serves as a platform for diverse voices to be expressed, and seeing the need for the African Consensus concept to be brought into a formalized system under the African Union, these spokespersons brought the resolution as a working draft to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights NGO Forum held in Gambia in late April 2011. The document was further refined and evolved. The African Consensus Declaration that was adopted by African Commission for Human and People’s Rights NGO Forum in Gambia, in April 2011.
As anticipated by Awadi and Tine, the document had some very concrete influence within the African Union system. The African Economic Commission picked up on the ideas in the declaration and held a drafting session in October 2011 to draft the “African Consensus Statement to Rio+20”. It was presented at Rio+20 during the conference summer 2012, incorporating the vision into the ideas of inclusive sustainability promoted by the UN system.
The African Consensus Rio+20 statement further helps to construct the economic paradigm by building the body of internationally recognized documentation that supports the idea as it moves into the African Consensus Forum — a platform upon which to build an economic paradigm for Africa. The term African Consensus is becoming recognized and increasingly used in scholarly, development and political terminology.
However, this work to date is incomplete, and needs to evolve further into more concrete measures and specific policy agendas that can be considered by multi-lateral institutions and more particularly by the private banking, finance and business sectors. The concept of an African Consensus Forum as a multi-stakeholders meeting platform has evolved from this recognized need as the most efficient means in realizing these objectives.