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WSF 2007 in Africa: The Last WSF or the First of a New Stage?

The World Social Forum 2007 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from January 20 to 25, 2007. (The Davos Forum will take place from January 24 to 28.) A Kenyan Organization Committee has been set up. It will be supported by an East African Committee. The Conference Center in Nairobi has already been reserved. The surrounding park and the nearby university are also available. All of the Forum venues will be located right in the center of Nairobi in territorial continuity.

The WSF 2007 in Nairobi could be a participatory and popular event. It could be the first major demonstration of African civil society since the fights for independence. Estimates range from 50 to 100 thousand participants in Nairobi in January 2007, 20 thousand of which would be Africans from outside of Kenya and 10 thousand from outside of Africa.

Social Forums constitute significant civil-society assemblies. They certainly do not cover the totality of citizen initiatives fighting for a world in solidarity at the beginning of this century, but they can contribute to the emergence of a global community, and have done so. In this perspective, ever since the very first WSF, in January 2001, Allies have insisted on the need to go beyond the mere protest dimension, which although indispensable, is insufficient to open the roads to new alternatives.

Consequently, they have always underscored the tools and methods needed to visualize the proposals resulting from the many self organized activities and to draw strategic perspectives from them collectively.

Social Forums, the local and regional ones in particular, are the illustration of the extension and rooting of this dynamics, but its extension to new actors and new regions where it is practically unknown (China, Russia, Middle East, Central Asia, etc.) is not easy.

If the process succeeds in extending to regions and spheres that are practically absent from it, and if the new ideas manage to find ways to move forward, especially if promoted by young and new players, the Social Forum process will continue to open paths so that not only the “alterglobalization movement,” but also all citizens can make each other stronger in pressing forward with their fights and proposals. Otherwise, this experience will be limited to an experience, generous but powerless in helping citizens to take up the challenges of this early century.

The WSF 2007 in Africa could then be the last World Social Forum or the one that will contribute to re-energize civil society’s momentum and continue to make this event an essential pillar of global citizenship in this early century.

Gustavo Marin

Program Coordinator
Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind – Paris, France.
Member of the International World Social Forum Council.


Gustavo Marin
Director of the Forum for a New World (...)
+ 26 article(s)

Themes involved

-Social Forums
-Think tank

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