Dayton forum promotes conflict-free trade principles
Dr. Boikai Twe (Harambee Coffee Roasters Co-op President) and Dr. Daniel Iselaiye (Harambee Vice-President) speak at the Biashara Afrika Forum in Dayton on October 5, 2013.Photo: AFSC / AFSC Dayton
How we spend our money matters. Our dollars can promote peace and prosperity, or unintentionally contribute to great suffering.
That’s the finding of two interns with AFSC’s Economic Justice Program in Dayton. In early October, the interns –Njeri and Wambui Migwe – joined with the AFSC Dayton-Mandela Institute and the Harambee Coffee Roasters Co-op Board to create awareness about Congo conflict minerals and conflict-free trade principles formulated by the interns last summer.
The forum attracted 20 participants, including youth and young adults from African immigrant communities and African American leaders in Greater Dayton.
Migwe Kimemia, who directs AFSC’s work in Dayton, said he thought the forum was well received as evidenced by the participants’ enthusiasm and follow-up questions after the presentations.
“To my surprise, most people are not aware that their purchasing power in the marketplace can either stop or contribute to conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Migwe said. “I feel very excited that the Mandela Institute’s youth leadership initiative has empowered two college students to formulate ‘conflict-free trade principles.’”
The seven principles encourage consumers to boycott products that promote, among other things, child soldiers, child labor, militias and rape as a weapon of war – as seen in the Congo. The conflict-free trade principles call for sustainable peace and prosperity for all in the global marketplace, including fair wages and transparency.
Migwe said the forum was timely as AFSC embarks on building capacity for the Harambee Coffee Roasters Co-op Board in Dayton.