News; News & Events

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Campaign begins for a Basic Income Grant for the entire Southern African Development Community

SADC BIG Coalition

SADC BIG Coalition

[Karl Widerquist]

Representatives from 20 organizations across 10 southern African countries have initiated a campaign for a Basic Income Grant (BIG) across the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC). The campaign got officially under way at a two-day “Campaign Strategy Workshop” in Johannesburg on November 18 and 19, 2013. The SADC is an inter-governmental organization comprised of 15 southern African nations. One motivation for an SADC-wide BIG is that although the region has extremely valuable resource extraction industries, it also has great poverty. A BIG will ensure that every person in southern Africa receives a share in the region’s mineral wealth.

The SADC-wide BIG Campaign Workshop had four goals: First, it finalized a draft Campaign Strategy. Second, it discussed the principles of the SADC BIG Coalition. Third, it provided a form to present the economic research on the cost, affordability and financing of the SADC-wide BIG. Fourth, the workshop nominated the SADC BIG Coalition Steering Committee and discussed its functions. The Workshop summed up the coalition’s goal as, “To ensure the roll-out of a universal SADC BIG to all SADC citizens including refugees, economic migrants and asylum seekers by 2020.”

For more information on the workshop see this link. :

For more information on the coming campaign, and for several reports on BIG in the SADC, go to this link.

For a report (in PDF form) on the Campaign Strategy Workshop click here.

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 884 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website ( More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.

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  • Lambrecht Christina

    The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger,
    and so on, are human created problems which can be resolved through human effort,
    understanding, and a development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood.
    We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share.
    Dalai Lama of Tibet (Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech)

    “Peace flows out of justice and equality is essential to human life and well- being”, (Archbisho Desmond Tutu)

    Last year, together with my friend Hugo Lueders we wrote a letter to his excellency , the Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa Desmond Tutu.

    See also:
    2006 11th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network. Archbishop Tutu applauds the work of the Basic Income campaign and makes a plea for social transfers to combat poverty and hunger. For more information

    But his Excellency could’nt join the first WWI symposium in Brussels and we never had a reaction on this letter.
    But today we discover this interesting development in South Africa! (see below)

    Our letter:
    Brussels, 10th June 2013
    Centenary of the First World War –
    Unconditional Basic Income for Social Peace


    At the ‘Basic Income Earth Network’ Congress in Cape Town, on 4th November 2006, you made an impassioned plea for peace and social security to combat poverty and hunger and you applauded the worldwide BIEN campaigns for ‘Unconditional Basic Income’.

    In 1984 you received the ‘Noble Peace Price’ and as such you are invited at the ‘Great War’ peace symposium in Brussels this year, again on the 4th of November.

    The ‘First World War centennial’ is only some months away. A wide variety of events and commemorative ceremonies will take place around the world during the coming four years to mark the 100th anniversary of this terrible historical period. But what are we going to ‘commemorate’?

    In case the ‘Centenary of the First World War’ will simply remind us of the terrible suffering, of national pride and remembrance, it will be repetitive and will easily provoke ‘commemoration fatigue’, especially for the young generation. Therefore, if needed ideas for human security and ‘social peace’ will not emerge during these remembrance years 2014-2018, we all have failed.


    The ‘Peace Nobel Price 2012’ was awarded to the European Union for its achieve-ments in bringing peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights to Europe.

    “This prize was the strongest possible recognition of the deep political motives behind our Union: the unique effort by ever more European states to overcome war and divisions and to jointly shape a continent of peace and prosperity” (Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council).

    The European Union was founded in order to bring together nations emerging from the ruins of devastating world wars 1914-1945 and during the last 60 years, the European Union has reunified the continent around values of respect for human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

    The year 2010 was named the ‘European year for combating poverty and social exclusion’, and the European Parliament launched a resolution on the 20th October 2010 (EP-resolution2010/2039(INI), reading inter linea:

    para 34. Believes that the various experiments with minimum incomes and with a guaranteed basic income for everyone, accompanied by additional social integration and protection measures, show that these are effective ways of combating poverty and social exclusion and providing a decent life for all (…)

    para 44. Calls on the Commission and the EU Member States to examine how different models of unconditional and poverty-precluding basic incomes for all could contribute to social, cultural and political inclusion, taking especially into account their non-stigmatizing character and their ability to prevent cases of concealed poverty (…).

    And yet, today countries of the Union are far from reaching the 2020 target in the fight against poverty and the worsening of social situation caused by the economic crisis is under-mining the sustainability of social security systems. Millions of citizens in the world and in Europe are on the side-lines, both from labour and from social inclusion and integration.

    The worsening of the social situation, the growth of poverty and precarity in the world and in the European Union should be considered as the biggest threats for peace!

    Therefore, the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War offers the opportunity to present new perspectives for social peace and security for all citizens of the world!

    As you may know, in January this year the ‘European Citizens Initiative’ for the introduction of the ‘Unconditional Basic Income’ was launched. The objective of this Citizens Initiative (‘ECI for UBI’) is to ensure an unconditional income for each individual person in the European Union to have his/her basic needs met for a life of dignity and for the empowerment to participate in society.


    Having in mind your words:

    “Peace flows out of justice and equality is essential to human life and well- being”,

    we would like to suggest and, if we may, to ask you to talk about the worldwide initiatives for ‘Unconditional Basic Income’ and to present the ongoing European Citizens Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income to your colleagues and thus to make this great idea for social peace and human security and dignity the key message of the Brussels peace symposium in November this year.

    Thank you in advance for your attention and support.

    Sincerely yours,


    For those who are interested:
    Events, research projects and commemorative ceremonies will be taking place during the four years of 2014 to 2018, marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

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