CAPE TOWN – The Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) has joined the civil society, activists, mining-affected communities, faith-based organisations, private sector and government representatives at the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) happening on February 5th to 7th, 2024, in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Alternative Mining Indaba is a global safe space for stakeholders to discuss, debate, highlight and provide solidarity for those impacted and affected by extractives, especially mining.
The AMI convenes an annual conference in Cape Town every February, which is a culmination of decentralised national processes that take place in more than 12 African countries. While initially focused predominantly in Southern Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in the East have also joined, with country-specific conferences and workshops within communities where extraction of mineral resources occurs.
This year’s theme is: Energy Transition Minerals: Putting Communities First for an Inclusive Feminist Future. AMI 2024 is expected to build upon the resolution made during the 2023 AMI, which emphasized prioritising “people first, not profits.”
This signifies a firm dedication to fostering a genuinely human-centred society rooted in the fundamental values of sharing. Furthermore, the 2024 AMI is anticipated to address the issue of inclusivity positively and to firmly integrate the feminist agenda into the progressive discourse
SAPSN on Tuesday hosted a session on environmental justice and feminism at the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) in South Africa on Monday aptly titled: Environment Justice: Reigniting the feminist in you as part of its vision to achieve economic, environmental, social and political equity and justice in Southern Africa.
The session adopted a Pan African Feminist approach, based on the lived realities of women, and use creative methods, such as sip and paint, poetry and documentary, to raise awareness and stimulate activism on environmental and economic justice issues.
It also aimed at educating women about the intersection of environmental justice and debt distress, create a safe space for them to share their stories, and highlight how environmental injustices worsen debt burdens for women.
SAPSN will also develop an action plan, with a series of demands to address systemic injustices and advance environmental and economic justice in Southern Africa. This plan will be monitored until the next AMI, to ensure continued progress towards a more equitable and inclusive future.
SAPSN’s participation in the AMI reflects its commitment to challenge the status quo, amplify marginalized voices, and champion a vision of Southern Africa where justice for women is justice for all. Through collaboration and innovation, SAPSN continues to work towards a more just and sustainable future for the region.
SAPSN is an institutional membership-based network that was formed in 1999 by economic justice movements across Southern Africa, who realized that political independence without economic justice was empty.
SAPSN has been working on various issues related to debt, trade, structural adjustment, poverty and globalization in the SADC region, and has been mobilizing citizens’ agency and voice to demand results and propose alternative pro-poor and people-centred solutions.
One of the key challenges that SAPSN has been addressing is the impact of debt distress on women in Southern Africa, where several countries are facing a debt crisis that has eroded social services and worsened environmental degradation.
Several countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, have seen their debt-to-GDP ratios soar above 60%, driven by a complex web of loans from various creditors, such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, private lenders and China.
The debt burden has forced governments to implement austerity measures, cutting social services, especially in healthcare and education, and hitting vulnerable groups, such as women and children, the hardest.