The first meeting of the international representatives of the Africa Liberal Network took place on 12th – 15th June, 2003 in the Sandton Park Plaza Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting was well attended, with delegates from almost all member parties: the PDS in Senegal, the RDR in Cote d’Ivoire, CUF in Tanzania, the UC in Morocco, the PSL in Tunisia, the UPND in Zambia, the SNP in the Seychelles, UDF in Malawi, the UDP in Tanzania, the DA in South Africa, MFM in Madagascar, the PLD in Angola and ANADER in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Observers also attended from Liberal International, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and the National Democratic Institute.
The meeting was a great success. The founding principles of the Africa Liberal Network were set out in the Johannesburg Declaration, which appears on the next page, and a statement of support was issued for the MDC of Zimbabwe, who were unable to attend the event.
Welcome to the second edition of the Africa Liberal Network newsletter. There has been great progress since the time the last newsletter came out, and we should all be proud of the way our network is progressing. The meeting of party international representatives was a great success, and resulted in both a declaration of the founding principles of the ALN (The Johannesburg Declaration) which can be found on page 3, and a statement of support for the MDC of Zimbabwe who were unfortunately unable to attend the meeting due to the worsening situation in their country. This statement is on page 4 of the newsletter.
The next ALN meeting is the meeting of party leaders, which takes place in Dakar Senegal on 22nd October 2003, and is generously hosted by a great liberal leader, President Wade. This event coincides with the Liberal International Congress, which takes place for the first time in Africa. It is therefore fitting that the Africa Liberal Network should be applying for the status of co-operating organisation at this Congress, contributing to Liberal International’s growing strength in Africa.
The network is starting to attract new parties, some of whom will be attending the Dakar leaders’ meeting as guests, where they will be able to meet current member parties and see the network in action!
A series of future activities are planned for the ALN, starting with a training workshop to take place in winter 2003. The topic for this workshop will be decided in consultation with member parties during the meeting in Dakar.
Last but not least, the ALN will soon have its own website. The domain name has been chosen and reserved as www.africaliberals.org, and work has started on preparing the first pages. There will be links to member party websites, the history and principles of the ALN and details of future and past activities, so please keep us informed of what your party is doing, so that this information can be included.
I look forward to seeing you in Dakar, and continuing the good work!