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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007, 10:34 GMT
World Social Forum opens in Kenya
World Social Forum banner in Nairobi
The five-day forum brings together grassroots activists
Thousands of anti-globalisation protesters have marched in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, at the opening of the annual World Social Forum.

More than 80,000 people have gathered to address a wide spectrum of social problems facing the world, including a focus on African issues.

Set up in 2001 as a rival to the World Economic Forum, the forum will cover HIV/Aids, the landless and migration.

It will also emphasise the struggles faced by deprived Africans.

Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda waved the march off in Kibera, Africa's largest slum, at the start of a route into central Nairobi.

Trade debate

The World Social Forum describes itself as a platform for ordinary people to exchange ideas opposed to a world dominated by capitalism and imperialism.

In keeping with an organisation opposed to prescriptive solutions to the challenges facing the world, the multitude of meetings and activities are what is called "self-organised".

Among the pressing issues to be discussed are Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) currently being negotiated between the European Union and countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

Intended to free up trade, many attending the forum believe the EPAs will penalise developing nations by requiring them to open up their markets to unfair foreign competition.

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