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Meet our President

A welcome message from President Benjamin Ngachoko

Today, we are dependent on each other at a global level, we all face the same threat, whether it's communal security threats, global warming or commercial exchanges across countries. Living in the United States, in Europe or elsewhere, we are individually and collectively dependent on people who live in other countries. Therefore enlightened self-interest on various issues and challenges facing the world should not be the response.

Globalization should also be about social justice on a global scale. The West has an "enlightened self-interest" in tackling poverty. Where there is injustice and poverty, hopelessness and despair are bred. How do we speak about security to people who are hungry, and do not even have access to safe drinking water? How do we promote dignity for people who feel humiliated, discriminated, and ignored through our everyday actions?

The best way to fight terrorism is to tackle the roots causes of terrorism, which are injustice, poverty, discrimination, frustration, humiliation, exploitation, and dictatorship. They create angry, hopeless and vulnerable people who can easily be recruited by terrorists or extremists. The fight against terrorism would have been easily won if the focus had been on reforming policies, reaching out to people, and breaking the circle of recruitment and hatred. This would be much more effective than simply adopting the politics of capture and killing.

Talking about the delicate situation of Africa; it is well known that millions of people in Africa are living in extreme poverty today. Not only have past management, economic and unfair trade policies formulated and imposed by financial institutions and international community failed to produce positive outcomes, but countries now face mounting debts without the resources to pay them back. Can development aid develop Africa and other developing countries? A system of Development or foreign Aid conceived to make corrupted leaders rich while shackling poor countries with debts they can never fully pay back has not made our world better and safer. Exclusively funding relief and emergency programs will never end poverty. The lack of effectiveness of development aid can be justified by the fact that most of foreign aid has often, since the cold war, been provided for many other goals than to promote development in Africa. Although the political, social and economic crisis in Africa can be attributed to past mistakes of the international community for their role in funding non sustainable development programs and supporting corrupt and illegitimate regimes in part; currently, African leadership must take responsibility for the lack of development in their countries as a result of bad leadership, authoritarian regimes, brutal repression, senseless wars, capital flight, mismanagement of countries resources, lack of accountability and transparency, and rampant corruption. These factors have led to squandering, misuse and more often misappropriation of development funds and national resources.

What makes the situation in Africa so complicated and unique is the combination of multiple factors: poverty, diseases, low national saving rate, weak human capital, low and negative growth rates, insufficient inflows of private and foreign capital, weak institutions, dictatorship, lack of accountability, and a nonexistent independent judicial system, just to mention a few. To the above, it can be added that most of the groups in power in several Sub Saharan African countries did not reach the power through free and fair elections. These groups have hijacked their “government”: Opposed to any democratic governance and free elections, they manage to stay in power by all means not to serve their people, but to enrich themselves, their political clan, and their military and paramilitary cronies with the blessings of foreign interests groups or governments. It is only by changing the nature and the ways international development has been conducted and adopting new strategies with more human and precise priorities that we can end extreme poverty and provide long-term sustainable development solutions.

Thus far, there has been no consensus within the international community on the most effective way for governments and development agencies to bring about an end to the political and economic issues which have led to the dismal state affairs of the continent of Africa. The poverty situation in which million of people live in has become recognized as a threat to long term global peace and security. Poverty is not created by poor people, it is artificial, impose and maintained on people by bad or poor policies, corrupt systems and weak institutions. The political and econimic repressive environment and poor leadership are the main cause of poverty in Africa. We know that most of the governments are not democratic: not many African countries have an independent electoral body that can freely organize elections from the voters’ registrations to elections’ results, nor an independent justice system. Not many administrations are transparent with elected officials or leaders respectful of institutions and accountable to their citizens. Democracy is more than a multiparty system where people have no right to assembly and media are controlled by the government or ruling party. A democratic system of government isn't a system where candidates have no access to media and are prevented to organize campaign meetings? A democratic system isn't a system of governnace where people are prohibited to create private owned broadcasting media. We believe at the IIJD, that Democracy is more about individual and collective freedom, justice and equity for all, transparency and accountability in the management of the affairs of the country. It is also about the protection of minorities rights in the government of majority formed after elections. Elections are only expression of power vested in every citizen to assess the performance of their leaders and choose new ones if not satisfied with the work or policies being implemented by current leadership of their country. In most African countries, colonial and illegitimate institutions have not been replaced, and today African governments are asked to apply legal theories and practices that, at the end, play into the hands of the international financial institutions and transnational corporations. the existing superstructure of laws, systems, institutions and policies trap people in poverty forever; and more often, developed democratic countries have failed to assist pro-democratic groups or have chosen to go with authoritarian and corrupted leaders who have paralyzed their people with systematic barriers that can only be dismantled with international assistance.

Until more effective people centered policies and long-term measures towards poverty alleviation are put into place, it seems likely that the majority of innocent citizens will continue to live in poverty and desperation with no hope for a better future. While most development organizations emphasize the need to remedy the symptoms of poverty, IIJD works to confront its underlying causes by insisting on institutions reforms, infrastructure and capacity building. Rather than speculating on the needs of communities and imposing generic solutions, IIJD’s initiatives are based on the active participation of local citizens. To ensure that local citizens directly participate and benefit from our initiatives, the organization carries out its work by collaborating with local experts and organizations to design and implement cost effective programs, which address all aspects of the problems and ensure that long-term solutions are found.

Let’s be clear on something. African poverty will not be solved through emergency and relief programs. Institutional reforms and capacity building are what we should be focusing our resources and time on. The promotion of an independent judiciary and of a fair and accessible justice system that adheres to the principles of democratic governance and Rule of Law will help advance democracy, protect human rights abuses, bring accountability, and secure private and foreign investments. Only through the reform of the institutions of the systems of government can we combat corruption, demand accountability, secure investments, and most importantly stop the massive brain drain of educated and capable Africans who are willing to contribute to the development efforts of the African continent. In order to have a durable impact on Africa development crisis and its persistent poverty, we must address their underlying causes. To that effect, Africa needs development aids that help get rig of outdated, corrupt and illegitimate institutions of governance, with a special focus on reforms that can strengthen democratic governance, establish transparency and accountability, protect human dignity and freedom, stop corruption, establish rule of law, guarantee trust and provide confidence to investors.

My dear friends, it is in this spirit that the institute's programs, projects, and web site are being set up and maintained. We hope that together, we will make valuable contributions to assessing the gains made in recent years, and to contemplating the challenges that still lay ahead.

I know that it is an ambitious and challenging proposition, but it’s one that would begin to change dramatically the way international development works have been conducted for decades. We are committed to making a difference. For a better and a safer world, we will overcome the challenges ahead of us.

If you share our vision and are committed to contribute; if you believe that our world can be safer and better for our kids and generations to come; then, your place is among us, please joint us at IIJD. Your support and contributions are always needed. In addition, be aware that International Institute for Justice and Development (IIJD) Inc. is a tax Exempt Corporation under the US Treasury Regulations section 501(c) (3) of Internal Revenue Code (IRC): Contributions to IIJD are tax deductible; Bequest, devises, transfers or gifts to IIJD are also tax-deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the IRC.

Please join us in this exciting journey. Do not hesitate to contact IIJD for any questions you might have. We all will be very happy to provide more information.

Together, we shall make it happen!

Thank you for your attention and for your support!

Benjamin Ngachoko

President - CEO

International Institute for Justice and Development, (IIJD), Inc