Tuesday, July 05, 2005

G8 (Too Little Too Late)

The G8 kicks off tomorrow at Gleneagles just outside Edinburgh. The key question is: will it make a difference to all that people have been campaigning for on behalf of Africa?

I don't believe it will. Besides most of the leaders saying they will do their best, it is their own countries that they will support before any other. Bush said "I go to the G8 with an agenda that I think is best for our country", which means that he will oppose anything that might hinder economic growth such as when he rejected of the Kyoto treaty on emissions in 2001.

The G8 leaders have also talked about development programmes and debt-relief schemes. However, this is dependant on democratically controlled countries and visible distribution to the people. In the past such funds have remained in the hands of dictators and their people have seen nothing. According to Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, head of giant mining group Anglo-American, 100% debt relief and doubling of aid will do nothing until the "growth in Africa [is] up from its very low levels, to six or seven percent otherwise poverty will not be addressed."

Source: BBC Website: Africa's Economy, Poverty, 2005

North Africa fares better than the rest of the country due to better trade routes, higher tourism and a lower spread of AIDS affecting the working population. Rich countries "dump" low cost products on African nations which undercut home grown products preventing growth. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been accused of forcing developing nations to open their markets to the rest of the World but failing to lower rich countries' tariff barriers in return. If nothing changes, it would take Africa 150 years to reach the poverty reduction targets agreed in the optimism of the UN Millennium summit five years ago.

The key is securing an agreement on fairer trade terms for Africa. The aim is to cut world farm subsidies, so that African farmers could trade on fair terms, while lowering tariffs, and improving capacity in Africa to compete. But will the key fit the deadlocks?


Anonymous Lou said...

Even if Western govs make money available there is only such much that can be done because of the existing dictatorships. Bill and Melinda Gates have put up $20 billion through their own org and other health orgs to produce practical soulutions, eg with vaccinations. They have helped to set up a HIV care system in Botswana equivalent to America and that was only because that gov there was willing to cooperate rather than spreading ridiculous AIDS propaganda.

3:18 am  
Anonymous Emer said...

I agree. The blame for the poverty in Africa, is, among other things, corrupt dictatorships and lack of democracy. Robert Mugabe has a lot to answer for as does his wife Grace who can only be compared to a contemporary Imelda Marcos. Both Mugabes and their entourage live the opulant high life while their country rots with AIDS, poverty and starvation, buckling under the weight of a National Debt. Have these people no shame?

1:07 pm  

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