Friday, July 08, 2005

G8 Packages $50 billion for Africa

Via The UK Guardian:

As London and the world recovers from the newest wave of terrorist attack, the G8 Summit came to a close today by announcing a $50 billion package for Africa. Tony Blair insisted that all G8 heads of State must sign the official communique at the end of deliberations. Mr Blair told reporters the leaders would be "held by this, bound by this". "Hold us to it," he said.

And we will!

According to The Guardian, Mr Blair said the Africa plan included a $50bn (£28.8bn) increase in aid, the "signal" for a new deal on trade and the cancellation of the debts of the poorest nations. It also involves making Aids treatment "as close as possible to universal access in the next few years", a commitment to a new 75,000 strong peacekeeping force for Africa and a commitment by African leaders to democracy and good governance. But Mr Blair admitted he had failed in his attempt to get a date of 2010 set for an end to the trade tariffs and subsidies that undermine African exports.

Blair stated that "You don't simply, by issuing the communique, do the work," he said. "The work now has to be done. "But if we double aid, if we cancel debt, if we open up our markets, if we allow conflict to be resolved, if we deal with the main killer diseases in Africa ...Wee will save thousands of lives every day, and millions of lives in the future."

However there are some voices of dissension about this package. Oxfam said the communique had "fallen short of the hopes of the millions around the world campaigning for a momentous breakthrough". In a statement, Christian Aid said: "This will not make poverty history. It is a vastly disappointing result. Millions of campaigners all over the world have been led to the top of the mountain, shown the view, and now we are being frog-marched down again."

My two cents:
Half bread is better than none. A lot now depends on African leaders to show their mettle, and demonstrate to the whole world that they are responsible, and are men of integrity- by running their respective nations with conscience and sound sense of purpose.
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