1611 AEFJN-UK Antenna Meeting in November 2016

A large group of AEFJN-UK Antennae met last 2nd -3rd November 2016 at Wistaston Hall, Crewe. On the first day, the opening prayer was followed by a brief session explaining the vision and mission of AEFJN as a unique organisation in the Catholic Church which focuses on the economic issues affecting relations between Africa and the European Union and its member states. In small groups, they discussed their hopes and concerns about the future of the UK Antenna, the steps they might take to work together more effectively and to share out the organisational work.


During the afternoon session, they considered the background of international Trade as it operates today especially the effects of Free Trade Agreements.  There was a brief outline of how Trade relations between the EU and Africa are structurally flawed so that the richer country exploits the poorer country and how powerful transnational companies plunder the precious natural resources of Africa with impunity. Other issues were developed during the session such as the behaviour of Agribusiness and extractive mining companies. The session ended with some suggested actions which could be taken to stand in solidarity with the African people and exposing the injustices that have been perpetrated. The Antennae had an IT workshop on how download a YOUTUBE video and save it for off-line viewing or for inclusion in a PowerPoint presentation.


The Second day started with a session on Climate Change. After a reflection about Laudato Si and the current climate crises, the Antenna reflected about how we, as citizens and religious can save the Earth but maintain growth. The present political dogma measures growth in terms of GDP based on the neo-liberal dream that the measure of success is the accumulation of wealth. There needs to be a shift of emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s wellbeing. After an update on land grab issues, with emphasis on the UK funding of a Canadian company operating in the DRC, there was an Antenna business session with a review of the roles covered by AEFJN-UK members, the need to share the running of the antenna and plans for the future. The next UK Antenna meeting will be held on 20/21 March 2017.


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