Mission and Development:
Directions for the Third Millennium

By Samuel Kobia

I. Introduction

Genuine development occurs when people in their contexts begin to articulate and implement their own initiatives for cultural and communal regeneration or transformation. Experience of the last four UN Development Decades has shown that global thinking and global solutions do not work at the grassroots level. What the development of the last four Development Decades has succeeded in doing is to enrich a small minority of people within and between nation states. Concomitantly it has also succeeded in condemning majority of the people especially in the South to deeper levels of poverty and despair. Contemporary economic globalisation is promising to succeed where development failed, i.e. raise the standard of living of the majority of the peoples of the world and bring greater happiness to the greatest number of people. And how does it propose to do this - by homogenising peoples lives, that is people all over the world must abandon their culturally specific local ways of living and dying, of the way they till their land and raise their livestock, of the way they relate to and care for each other, and subject themselves to the global economy. This approach to development resonates with development paradigms of modernisers who believe that global thinking is superior to local thinking and therefore the latter must subordinate itself to the former. (Later in this presentation we shall discuss the dialectic between homogenisation and hegemonisation.)

Under the guidance and tutelage of modernity, development meant marginalisation and exploitation of the "social majorities’ in the countries of the South. The Development Decades put economics above everything else. Economic globalisation has gone even further and made finance and trade sacrosanct. To them human beings are made for finance and not vice versa. In the third millennium therefore we must emphasise the paradigm of development as liberation and social reconstruction and consider our mission in it as that of enabling the people to gain the capacity to refuse to be seduced by global capitalism and to be controlled by economic laws. The ecumenical movement is called to facilitate the people in rediscovering and reinventing their local commons by ‘re-embedding the economy into society and culture; subordinating it to politics and ethics..."[1] The ethical dimension of development must be built into the new development paradigms. By ethical we do not mean simply what is wrong and what is right; we refer to the collective memory of what has impacted the lives of people positively as well as negatively and how that memory enriches and informs our actions today and better prepares us to act differently in future.

II. Ecumenical Contribution to Paradigmatic Shift in Concepts of Development: a Brief Historical Overview

Participatory element in development. The WCC 1968 Uppsala Assembly committed the ecumenical movement to deepen and strengthen its solidarity with peoples of underdeveloped countries. The programme through which the WCC would be deeply involved in development work is best expressed through the Commission on Churches’ Participation in Development (CCPD). From the early 1970s the CCPD carried out a highly spirited programme through which the meaning, the purpose and form of processes of development provided the foci for church's development agenda. Here I would like to identify two main features that provided a concept shift as far as development is concerned. One is the failure of the first UN Development Decade (1960-1970). Measured against the lived experiences of poor people in concrete situations the social economic conditions were many times worse at the end of the first Development Decade. The second feature is to do with deeper involvement in the development debate of the people in the so-called third world. Their involvement, which was deeply rooted in empirical realities, led to critical questions about the concept of development. It is this reality which challenged the ecumenical movement to look more critically at the concept of development as understood in the discourses within liberal economics as well as in the UN systems.

In the final analysis the ecumenical movement concluded that the development concept had major shortcomings, four of which are germane for our discussion today. The traditional understanding of development focused too narrowly on economic development per se and paid too little attention to non-economic factors in social transformation, such as cultural and religious divisions. It is in part because of that misconception that the typical measurements for development were increasingly attacked as inadequate. "Gross national product" and "per capita income" were defective because improvements in aggregate prosperity almost always obscured the real situation: the poor sectors of the population typically receive a disproportionately modest part of the bigger pie. Real transformation was to be measured by what happens to the people in the social change process, while the traditional notions of development tended to emphasise more abstract economic or political objectives.

Many discussions on development appeared to assume a too facile harmony of interests between the rich and the poor, while the real situation often was a conflict between the haves and the have-nots, at least in the short term. The structures, which promote the prosperity of the affluent at the same time, perpetuate the subservience of the poor.

Ecumenical reflections increasingly led to the conviction that, in the name of development, many national and international economic structures were perpetuating or even re-enforcing structures of injustice.

Given the enormous strain on the environment, which growth models of development implied, and in the face of increasingly visible signs of the earth’s limited resource and absorptive capacities, many began to question whether even the ideals of development were suitable goals.

The concept shift was reflected in three key emphases. Liberation was seen especially by ecumenical ethicists as more holistic and a biblical concept. If liberation were substituted, in conceptual terms, for development then social and political issues would also be addressed alongside the economic ones. Carried to its logical conclusion liberation denotes social justice which is now generally accepted as a critical factor in development.

As we have been reminded by Samuel Parmar the so-called under-developed peoples will be doomed if they waited to be "developed" by others. The responsibility of changing their social economic conditions lies solely with themselves. Dr. Parmar continues to argue that

"In economic history one has to search rather diligently to find instances where the "haves" or the possessing classes have willingly given up any of their privileges. The "have-nots" had almost invariably to wrest their rights through agrarian movements, workers movements, trade-union activity and so on. What has happened in our societies to lead us to believe that we can create a welfare-world without pressure on the privileged groups?

... If we engage in development through international co-operation we must recognise that basic changes become necessary in developing and developed nations and also in the international economy. ‘Development is the new name for peace’. But development is disorder, is revolution. Can we attempt to understand this apparently paradoxical situation which would imply that disorder and revolution are the new name for peace?"

The views of Dr. Parmar greatly impacted development discourses within the ecumenical movement. They resonate very well with the CCPD’s main concepts, which were correctly summarised by yet another prominent Indian economist, Dr. C.I. Itty. As we would all recall the latter was one of the best known advocates of economic justice, liberation and peoples’ participation in the affairs that vitally affect their lives. In one of his statements C. I. ltty advanced the concept of economic justice:

"Development is essentially a people’s struggle in which the poor and oppressed should be the main protagonists, the active agents and the immediate beneficiaries. Therefore the development process must be seen from the point of view of the poor and oppressed masses who are the subjects and not the objects of development. The role of the Churches and Christian communities everywhere should be essentially supportive."

The second emphasis is participation. By mid-1970s "people are subjects of development" became part of the ecumenical vocabulary. It was through participation that people could be seen to be subjects in earnest. At the centre of this notion is the argument that justice should be not merely distributive but participatory. "Thus a society could not be considered developed, even moving towards development, when those who are governed do not have a share in determining where their society is headed." This notion counters the one in liberal economics, which encouraged concentration of power rather than its distribution.

The linkage between development and democracy in this notion is apparent. At the 1975 WCC Nairobi Assembly and the subsequent years the linkage was made more explicit in the theme of "Development, a struggle towards a Just, Participatory and Sustainable Society (JPSS)." Though JPSS remained basically a concept and was not translated into a programmatic thrust in the following twelve or so years, its basic elements are reflected in the WCC programme on Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.

The third emphasis is the people. The 'people dimension' in ecumenical thinking was greatly influenced by the ideas and work of Urban Rural Mission (URM). The IJRM focussed sharply on people as having countervailing powers and the role of the ecumenical movement was therefore to facilitate them to realise that potential. What the new ecumenical concept of development emphasised was not participation in general, but priority was put on participation by the oppressed and marginalised people who hitherto had been written off and peripherised as mere pawns in the development arena. It sought to put greater significance in what was seen as periphery rather than at the ‘centre’. Added to the ecumenical vocabulary during that period was "God’s preferential option for the poor" which provided the biblical basis for the emphasis on the marginalised and excluded people.

To articulate the concept shift even more clearly the ecumenical movement adopted a new definition of development: "The development process should be understood as a liberating process aimed at justice, self-reliance and economic growth. It is essentially a people’s struggle in which the poor and the oppressed are and should be the active agents and immediate beneficiaries."[2] This definition was a reversal of processes of accelerated modernisation that was termed "development" in the postcolonial period. The process was determined by the economic, political and technocratic links between the elite in the South and their partners in the rich countries. There was need to propose a development process that was mainly inspired and carried by the people themselves.

Already in the mid-1980s the ecumenical movement was questioning the concentration of wealth in the rich countries and was critical about the structures that enhance further concentration. The interesting point to note is that IMF policies were blamed to have led to "international food disorder and hunger related diseases"[3] in developing countries. The policies of this institution have continued to bring misery in developing countries such as the Asia Crisis. The Churches and ecumenical movement were urged to go beyond pointing out the unethical consequences of the decisions made by global institutions to concrete actions. We must do a self-critique in determining whether we have done much in this field.

Today the problem of increasing world inequality, poverty, unemployment and environmental destruction has not been resolved. This scenario has created a worldwide protest by the civil society. The project of globalisation has brought more negatives than positives as statistics and life experience show. The World Council of Churches has raised this issue during the General Assembly in Harare, in 1998, "The logic of Globalisation need to be challenged by an alternative way of life of community in diversity." Churches were called to reflect on this issue. How much have we done today to resolve the issue of ownership both between nations and between people? Why should the top three billionaires in the world hold assets worth more than combined GNP of all 48 least developed countries (LDCs) with their population of some 600 million? Why should 19,000 people in the poor countries die daily of poverty-related causes? Why should the world have three billion poor people in the midst of so much wealth? ("Poor" in this last respect means one who survives on US$1 per day.) Why should the gap between the rich and the poor continue to widen? Why is there no political will to change things and how long do we want to see people dying and destruction of environment continuing? These questions must be at the centre of our mission and must be asked and answered by churches and the ecumenical family as we continue our journey together during the early years of the third millennium.

III. Key Elements in Mission and Development in the Third Millennium

The first key element is to adopt a truly integrated approach to development. In this respect development in its current usage does not adequately capture and define what is implied by ‘integral approach’. Hitherto development has been too anthropocentric; now we must look at development in more cosmological terms. That is why I wish to begin by the quest for a new vision of the world.

The creation of a new vision for our world, based on biblical paradigms, must be at the heart of our mission and development. It is here that our future as "God’s agent of change" in the world lies. Our hope therefore goes beyond ideological confinements because our reason for doing what we do is an exemplification of the mission and calling of the church.

"Without a sense of mission, there can be no vision, and without vision there can be no meaning or purpose in life. And what happens to a people without a vision is that they die, they become extinct."[4]

In articulating a new vision for the WCC in particular and the ecumenical movement in general, Konrad Raiser has identified five key elements,[5] three are particularly relevant to this brief contribution.

Relational element. In spite of the astronomical advances that human beings have made in science and technology, a corresponding advance in the art of just human relations remains a distant dream. The communication revolution has reduced the world to a small village where knowledge about one another is but a digit apart. Yet human beings do not know how to live with one another even within the same community. The sense of insecurity has invaded the lives of human beings right to their communities and even families. The source of the insecurity emanates from none other than fellow human beings. Death from starvation in the midst of plenty is a reality not only in the poor countries but even in the USA, the richest country on earth, and other industrialised countries. Today, third world characteristics such as street sleeping and begging are common in the metropolises of Europe and North America. A new ecumenical vision must seek "to strengthen processes which heal broken relationships and enhance the viability of human communities".

Reconciliation - a costly reconciliation. Repentance and forgiveness are significant requisites for reconciliation. During the second half of this last millennium human beings have oppressed and inflicted so much pain upon other human beings that the need for reconciliation cannot be overemphasised. At the dawn of the third millennium it is gratifying to see the growing need on part of the human beings to seek reconciliation to right the wrongs of the past. This challenges the ecumenical movement to actively seek ways of facilitating the art of forgiveness both at the level of communities as well as between nations. It is through genuine reconciliation that the grief of the victim may be healed and the guilt of the perpetrator forgiven. It is only after forgiveness that both the victim and the perpetrator can recover their deepest qualities of humanity once again, and the future can be liberated from the haunting legacies of the past. If we are to build a more humane society in the third millennium humanity must be rid of the historic baggage of the second one. A compelling point of departure is to seek reconciliation "based on the belief in the liberating power of forgiveness, which can break the spiral of violence and transform enmity into friendship". Then we could say that healing of painful memories has begun in earnest.

Wholeness and fullness of human life and that of the rest of creation. This vision which also promises the inclusiveness of all, is a huge challenge to the process of globalisation which tends to promote exclusion and fragmentation. It is a vision, which embraces the African concept in which the worthiness of individual persons is measured not against their capacity to consume but against the quality of the relationships between them and their fellow human beings. That is what makes each one to say with confidence "I am, because we are, and since we are, therefore I am." This also means that the fullness of life promises safety not for a small minority but for all, just as the whole flock finds enough pasture in God’s grazing field. In such a context where genuine caring for life and for one another is a matter of course, knowing each other also becomes possible. The knowledge is, in this case more than just casual acquaintances; it means to under-stand each other making it possible for one to feel the weight of each other’s problems and needs. When one’s knowledge of the other’s problem reaches that level then sharing becomes more meaningful and the wholeness of life is restored for all. This wholeness of life is not limited to the lives of humans only but is also for all creation. Development in the third millennium must be all embracing and all encompassing.

The second key element is the need to be fully aware of the economic and cultural colonisation in the third millennium. Whatever else it may be, globalisation is a potent conveyor of values. We must therefore be deeply concerned about the ideological dimension of contemporary globalisation.

Globalisation homogenises as it hegemonises. In the globalisation discourse a lot has been said about the homogenisation of production and consumption. However, the discourse and analyses of globalisation have said a great deal less about another consequence of globalisation, namely hegemonisation or emergence of a hegemonic centre. My compatriot, Prof. Ali Mazrui, has made a very interesting comparison between these inter-related consequences of globalisation. This particular remark has borrowed his ideas.

On the one hand we witness "increasing similarities among world societies" (homogeneity) while on the other we observe ‘an increasing world domination by a specific power or civilisation’ (hegemony). The communication revolution, the mobility and the power of advertising have created both the taste and demand for similar consumer goods across the globe. This includes the way the majority of people dress and eat. ‘But the dress which is the same is overwhelmingly western dress code’, and the same food they eat is more likely to be a hamburger and coke (MacDonald's product) than anything else. It is also evidently clear that at the end of the twentieth century we are closer to having world languages than the case in the nineteenth century. But a closer look at the world languages reveals that it is disproportionately European languages — viz. English, French and Spanish. Arabic is puffing a strong challenge but hitherto remains more provincial than global.

Mazrui continues to correctly observe that at the dawn of the new century and millennium, we are closer to a world economy than we have ever been in human history, but the powers who control that economy are disproportionately western — especially the G-7.

Expanding homogeneity occurs also in the areas of communication media (especially internet) and educational systems but again their nerve centre and paradigms are disproportionately USA and European. The cultural hegemony in this respect becomes more potent when we go beyond the mechanistic and technological aspects of communication media and consider the content. It is in large measure because of the impact of "what" is communicated that we observe the convergence of ideologies and the triumph of the market economies at the end of the twentieth century. The hegemonic side of the ideological convergence and the supremacy of international finance is that, "the people who are orchestrating and sometimes enforcing marketisation, liberalisation and privatisation are western economic gurus — reinforced by the power of the USA, the World Bank, the IMIF and the European Union." (Mazrui)

Thirdly, there is need to affirm anew the critical importance of rooting the ecumenical commitments in biblical and theological soil. The consequences of homogenisation and hegemonisation of economic globalisation were not lost on the concerns of 4,000 participants at the Eighth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches (1998, Harare, Zimbabwe). The alarming accounts of individuals and groups participating in the Padare had a clear message - the World Council of Churches has to take action against the devastating social and ecological effects of economic globalisation.

They were convinced that economic globalisation presented a challenge right to the heart of the churches common witness for the God of life. One of the recommendations points out that:

"The vision behind globalisation includes a competing vision to the Christian commitment to the oikoumene, the unity of humankind and the whole-inhabited earth.

The logic of globalisation needs to be challenged by an alternative way of life of community in diversity. Christians and churches should reflect on the challenge of globalisation from a faith perspective and therefore resist the unilateral domination of economic and cultural globalisation. The search for alternative options to the present economic system and the realisation of effective political limitations and corrections to the process of globalisation and its implications are urgently needed."

Just one year before, the 23rd General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches had decided unanimously to call the churches for a process of covenanting for justice in the face of economic injustice and ecological destruction. It was only logical that WCC and WARC joined hands and embarked on a series of Symposia on the consequences of economic globalisation. In the meantime also other organisations such as LWF, YMCA, YWCA, WSCF and the Roman Catholic students organisation Pax Romana aligned themselves to this initiative, forming an ecumenical coalition for alternatives to globalisation.

The first fruits of the co-operation between WARC and WCC were two Symposia held in Seoul and Bangkok held in 1999, another one in Budapest with focus on Central and Eastern Europe will follow in June next year. The Bangkok Symposium was prepared in close co-operation with CCA, providing leadership in the process through Prawate Khid-Arn (who also organised this conference). I want to express our gratitude to him at this occasion and also to his friends from the Church of Christ in Thailand and the Asian Cultural Forum on Development who helped to identify representatives of fishermen, farmers, industrial workers, urban dwellers as well as Buddhist monks, Thai scholars and speakers from movements from other countries in the region.

The stories shared at these two meetings and the analysis of the situation by speakers and participants gave a very clear picture of the role and destructive impact of major actors in the process of economic globalisation, such as the International Financial Institutions, the World Trade Organisation, the financial capital and transnational corporations. But also the often-ambiguous role of the churches and the lack of a truly ecumenical witness were addressed. One of the most significant messages of the Bangkok Symposium was a message to the Christians in the churches of the North to realise that they are co-responsible for this situation, need to change and show solidarity with sisters and brothers in the Global South. There is no other way to liberate themselves from the bondage of Mammon and become true disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the context of economic globalisation we need to have this global view of our faith.

  • When the poor are excluded, both logically and legally, from the God-given goods of this earth,
  • When the minds of billions of people in North and South are increasingly colonised by global media and advertisement, just to give more room for the expansion of the economic interests of the already rich,
  • When earth herself suffers from a merciless attack on the integrity of Creation,

Then the response demands an awakening of the church because the people of God and God’s Creation are the targets of destructive powers of evil unleashed by the prevailing economistic ideology. Therefore, I fully agree with the following statement made in the report of the Bangkok Symposium:

..... the globalisation project challenges the Christian faith of all ages, including long-standing confessions that the earth is and should remain the Lord’s in its fullness, that the human spirit should be free and never be subdued to other interests, and that the fruits of God’s earth are there to be shared by all."

This is our understanding of mission in the new millennium. In this understanding, mission is no longer conquering the world for Christ. Rather, it is promoting spaces for sharing the diversities of the cultures and experiences of the peoples in all parts of the world. The rich heritage of the Asian peoples, the Africans as well as Indigenous Peoples in the Americas are to be welcomed and allowed to impact our understanding of mission and spirituality, themselves key ingredients in sustainability of development. Our understanding of the Gospel of Christ could only be deepened and broadened by such experiences.

God’s household of life is meant to be home for human beings and other creatures. It cannot be reduced to natural resources and human-power which are just viewed as input into the economy that works in favour of the very few, but rich and powerful.

The testimonies of representatives of different sectors of society in the Symposia have shown how, for example, the Asia financial crisis led to a ripple effect of impoverishment of the already poor that continues to exist. The report speaks of first-order, second-order and third-order effects on the people and concludes, I quote again:

"The crisis has spread like a cancer throughout the whole society, causing continuing damage at the level not only of so-called ‘human’ capital (deterioration in health, school dropouts), but also of social capital (loss of sense of trust, community, social peace) and natural capital (loss of care for the land, use of more aggressive fertilisers, sale of forests...).

All this raises serious doubts, to say the least, about the net benefit of transnational capital for the countries of the two-thirds world - capital which can go out again just as easily as it came in. It casts serious doubt upon the ‘blessings’ of the present pattern of enforced globalisation and liberalisation."

The complicity of those who see themselves as winners of this process in North and South has its equivalent in an ambiguous and unclear position taken by many churches on these vital concerns for the future of life on earth. Too little attention is given to what a further stimulation of the acceleration of economic processes and consumption implies for the poor and the environment. The space for survival economies gets smaller and smaller, condemning millions to a destitute life and death.

Fourthly, it is necessary to do a critical analysis of developmentalists’ debt to the poor. The poor entered the development arena with a hoe and came out of it with a hoe, only this time it had a broken handle. Modernity, the ecumenical movement included, owes an apology to the poor for wasting their hope; for indeed development of the past decades turned out to be an exercise in a waste of hope of the grassroots people. In all parts of the world the poor and marginalised peoples put their trust in the international organisations and the experts who promised to deliver them from their poverty and misery through the magic formula of development. The ecumenical movement too fell in the trap of this magic. To that extent we too have let the people down. Their hopes and aspirations were even higher when the promise for better life came from the people of faith. The hegemonic designs of the Cold War so dominated the affairs of the people of the world that even the best-intentioned initiatives were hijacked and re-directed to serve the interests of the super powers.

Designer development therefore led not only to disempowerment but also to dismemberment. Many ordinary people in the villages and towns are still going through the pain of dismemberment of their communal conviviality and traditional ideals of hospitality. Traditional knowledge and practices are not acquired easily. They take generations to form and in most cases are a result of empirical living; real experience, by real people, in real situations. Take the example of the communal hospitality of the Tepozalan, an Indian community in rural Mexico. Once upon a time their king had gone on a long journey. He returned in rugged and shredded clothes and entered the village where his people were having a big feast. Unrecognisable to them they threw him outside. He went to his palace in the mountain, washed up, put on his royal garb and returned to be given an open-armed welcome to the feast, being offered the best food available. He took the food and splattered his clothes with it saying: "You hosted the clothes, not the person inside them. Let these clothes, then, have your food; it has not been cooked for real men and women. Immediately, he returned to the mountain. Since that day, the doors and houses of every Tepoztec remain open to all their many feasts and barrio celebrations."[6]

This is not to say that I am advocating for a return to ‘paradise lost’ for its sake. The communal remembrance has to be done critically. We are aware that in many cases the hospitality of the Asian, African and Native Americans was exploited by the colonising powers to the latter’s advantage. My own people in Kenya lost their land as a result of our communal hospitality. The first white people to arrive in our country were a handful of missionaries. Our culture demands that strangers must be welcome and looked after. When the missionaries announced their desire to stay around for some time, our people had pity on these poor landless people and resolved to give them land. Not only did they give them land; they volunteered their labour to help in clearing up the bushes. That was common practice under such circumstances. It was the greatest shock to my people when, later on, now under the protection of colonial crown the missionaries claimed private ownership of the land. That was the genesis of landlessness in many African countries. Of course the subsequent arrival of settlers and imperial companies led to alienation of millions of hectares of land from the African people.

Fifthly, we will have to face up to the challenge of facilitating solidarity and mutuality in partnership between and among the people themselves. Very often we talk of solidarity as extended by the donors to the recipients - solidarity being expressed vertically from North to the South. We must go beyond this concept of solidarity and talk of mutuality because vertical forms of partnership lead to one-sided vulnerability. Yet one of the essential characteristics of partnership is mutual vulnerability whether we are talking in social terms (marriage, deep friendship, etc.) or in economic terms (business enterprises). Even the story-telling that has been embraced as a sound methodology leads to the vulnerability of the story-teller (south) but normally is not reciprocated on the part of the listener (North). But if the partnership is horizontal as well, then there is likelihood of greater resonance between stories of the peoples of the South. Mutuality becomes real and meaningful; partnership and vulnerability are shared.

Here there is a great deal to learn form the legacy of Afro-Asian contacts and solidarity in the pre-colonial era. I fully agree with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that Asians and Africans "have a task to repair a breech and refuse to tolerate a chasm between Africa and East Asia which emerged, not because either you, as Asians, or we, as Africans, sought to manufacture it. This chasm came to define our interaction because time and space, history and others other than ourselves intervened as a force that stood between us, creating the circumstance in which it became inevitable that as continents and as peoples we drifted apart."[7]

Here Thabo Mbeki is referring to well-established contacts as expressed for example by the landing of Admiral Cheng Ho and his Chinese fleet during his voyage of 1421-1424 to the East Coast of Africa. Following that visit "Official relations were established between the Ming Court and the Mogadishu, Malindi, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Dar-es-Salaam and Kilwa." It is also to be remembered that nine years earlier (1415) a gift of a giraffe was shipped by an African king, "probably from East African town of Malindi, sent to an emperor of China of the Ming Dynasty." Of course the most live evidence of the deep relationships between Asia and Africa is the lndo-Malaysian African peoples who now populate the islands of Madagascar and Mauritius. We must allow ourselves to be informed and impacted by those age-old solidarity and partnerships that were based on mutual respect and genuine celebration of humanity.

Let me conclude by calling for the re-establishment of the Indian/Pacific Oceans rim and make it an active avenue for social, cultural and economic linkage between our continents and our people. If such linkage was once possible through the monsoon winds, how much more it should be through the jet and the Internet? This wish could only come to pass if we were truly intentional about it. Hence let me be even bolder and dare to propose the establishment of an Afro-Asian ecuspace to facilitate the movement of people and ideas between Africans and Asians. There already exist, particularly here in Asia, but also in Africa, institutions that could offer training courses so designed as to meet specific needs and aspirations of our people. This is practical, it is doable, and I believe the time to start is now. If these were realised then it will brilliantly lighten the direction for our mission and for development in the new millennium.


  1. Gustavo Esteva and Mahdu Suri Prakash, Grassroots Post-Modernism. ZED Publications, 1998. p.194.
  2. CCPD, Betting on the Weak: Some Experiences in People’s Participation in Development, WCC August 1976
  3. WCC/CCPD, The International Finance System: An Ecumenical Critique. 1984
  4. Donders, Joseph G., Non-Bourgeois Theology, An African Experience of Jesus, Otis Books, 1986.
  5. Raiser, Konrad. To Be Church, Challenges and Hopes for a New Millennium, WCC Risk Books Series, 1997 (ch.6)
  6. Grassroots Post-Modernism, p.101
  7. Mbeki, Africa: the time has come, Tafelberg Publishing Ltd., Cape Town, 1998, p.225.