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Leading up to the 200th commemoration of the abolition of the slave trade and the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence, Pambazuka News carried a series of four special issues during 2006 and 2007 that included articles designed to raise awareness and debate on issues of trade and justice. These and other articles from Pambazuka News have been gathered in this book. We have chosen a deliberately provocative subtitle for this book: 'How trade undermines democracy and justice'. Two years ago saw large mobilisations around the world, calling for 'trade justice'. The campaigners were lobbying for the introduction and implementation of new world trade rules, ones that would work for all people, instead of benefiting those who already have the most. They argued that the global trading system should be rebalanced, taking into account the needs of the poor, human rights and the environment. But, can trade in the era of globalisation be 'fair' or 'just'? Drawing on lessons from the slave trade, studies of the international finance institutions and the struggles of many African people to make a living, these essays provide insights into how free trade policies have a profoundly negative impact on democracy and justice in Africa. Whether it is the effects of trade policies on informal street traders, who in Africa are often women, the decimation of a country's health system as a result of the World Bank's obsession with low inflation, or the sacrificing of community rights in the interests of multinational corporations, it is clear that 'free' trade policies impose a profit first and people last regime in Africa.


Book chapter


Fahamu, Networks for Social Justice

Publication Date



77 - 86