This report on the G8 debt deal reveals that for the 18 Sub-Saharan African countries included in the deal, IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank debts will be slashed by 64.4% on average, not 100% as claimed by the G8 in 2005. May, 2007
The 2005 edition of the Group of eight (G8) Summit that took place in Gleneagles, Scotland 6-8 July gathered leaders of the eight most powerful countries - the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia. This year's meeting was marked by the decision made by host Britain to build the meeting on two basic pillars: poverty in Africa and climate change.
Campaigners and NGOs around the globe effectively set poverty reduction as the main agenda for the G8 meeting uniting around the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), a world-wide alliance aimed at forcing world leaders to live up to their promises of reducing poverty. The "Make Poverty History" campaign - the UK version of GCAP- was too eager to use the political muscle of pop stars such as Bob Geldof, who led massive concerts (Live 8) around the world, with the aim of increasing political pressure on world leaders. Live 8 called for international aid, debt relief and trade justice but focusing exclusively on Africa.
Furthermore, British Prime Minister Tony Blair soon posed himself as the leader in the fight against African poverty, a move that many found to be a paradox since the G8 policies and its corporate liaisons are no doubt responsible for Africa's poverty and looting of its resources.
On the second day of the meeting, July 7, a series of bombs exploded on London underground and a bus while two of the leaders engaged in the 'war on terror' were meeting a few miles away in Gleneagles. The G8, aided by the mainstream media, failed to link the London episode with the war on Iraq, seizing the occasion to implement harsher measures against the 'threat of terrorism' instead.
Climate change was the other issue at the top of the agenda, but this turned out to be the biggest disappointment as US President George Bush thwarted Blair’s efforts to set firm targets for reducing greenhouse emissions. The final document on climate change contains no targets, timetables or committed funding to address the challenge of climate change.
The most publicized outcome of the G8 Summit was the $50 billion aid package for Africa and up to $9 billion in additional support for the Palestinians over the next three years. However, the G8 pushed the privatisation principle strongly in its communiqué(pdf document) in spite of several reports that documented how unfettered privatisation had ruined the economies of several strong and struggling nations alike. Not a word was mentioned about the agricultural subsidies in the European Union and the United States that make competition so tough they are crippling African farmers and their produce in their own land.
"A great justice has been done," Bob Geldof said after the G8's announcement of doubling the aid package for Africa to 50 billion dollars a year by 2010. However, others like GCAP's chair Kumi Naidoo ventured to disagree: “the people have roared but the G8 has whispered”. Groups campaigning for greater G8 commitments were far from ecstatic; and there were no reports of jubilation in Africa either. A closer look at the G8 offer would suggest that those not celebrating had far more reason on their side.
In 2005, the United Kingdom holds the presidency of the Group of Eight (G8). UK Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that the Summit, taking place in Gleneagles, Scotland between July 6 and 8, will focus on Africa and climate change.
A series of concerts took place on July 2nd in London, Edinburgh, Philadelphia, Berlin, Paris and Rome to call for complete debt cancellation, more and better aid and trade justice for the world’s poorest people.
At the Make Poverty History march, the speakers insisted that we are dragging the G8 leaders kicking and screaming towards our demands. It seems to me that the G8 leaders are dragging us dancing and cheering towards theirs.
Is it any wonder that even when Africa was at the centre of media attention during the G8 Summit, the voices that analysed and offered solutions to the continent's problems were predominantly European Africanists? A curious group of armchair theorists with supposedly better knowledge of Africa than the natives themselves. August, 2005
"Why in any case should leaders who preside over economies whose success is bound to pillage and injustice (historically and contemporarily|) be expected to take decisions against their own fundamental interests. Couldn't it be that we have underestimated the power and influence of corporations that shape the agenda of governments or have we overestimated the power of charity over fundamental interests?" asks Charles Abugre from Christian Aid.
This report looks into the development policies in Africa promoted by western leaders such as the G8 and International Financial Institutions and how they have proved to be unsuccessful and counterproductive.
The G8 should not be the object of our supplication. It should be the object of our protest and resistance. Make poverty history, yes please. But to do that, we also have to make the G8, and everything they represent, history.
Large amounts of foreign debt act as an albatross around the collective necks of many low and middle-income countries in the Global South. Funds that nations could be allocating to social expenditures such as education, health care, water, and sanitation are instead being diverted to repay foreign debt. The burden of high debt levels is also exacerbated at times by the intensity and intrusiveness of conditions attached to loans. Although the G-8 debt plan is a step in the right direction, efforts to relieve poor countries’ debt burdens remain insufficient. (pdf format) November, 2005
In July, 225,000 people marched through Edinburgh demanding that the G8 cancel the developing world’s debt. Yet the G8 failed to deliver. Only 18 out of 153 developing countries stand to receive anything, leaving more than 5 billion people living in countries that are mired in debt. September, 2005
What does the G8 recent debt cancellation to poor nations represent for women in those selected countries? An interview with Zo Randriamaro, a human rights and gender activist from Madagascar. "Despite the official speech which placed a concern for justice and equity in the forefront of the G8’s preoccupations, I do not think that justice and equity played a significant role in the G8’s decision which is essentially the result of a technical assessment process based on criteria such as the completion point in the HIPC Initiative’s framework". September 2005.
This report is in two parts. The first is a close reading of the G8 debt plan and some of the interpretations and proposals about the plan that have emerged since July. The second is an analysis of its implications. September 2005.
World leaders are now preparing for the millennium summit to be held in New York next month, described by the UN as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions". Yet the current draft outcome simply repeats what was agreed on aid and debt last month in Gleneagles. The reality of that G8 deal has recently emerged - and is likely to condemn the New York summit to be an expensive failure. August 23, 2005.
Anti-debt campaigners leaked a document Tuesday showing that the World Bank is considering extending additional loans to countries eligible for a widely-publicised debt cancellation plan by the world's richest nations, a scheme that they say would defeat the purpose of the write-off. 2 August 2005.
The Gleneagles Summit was a litmus test of the G8's ability to make a positive contribution to making the world a better place if it had the will to do so - and it has failed miserably. Even with key global issues at the top of the agenda, the G8 still proved incapable of making any commitment to fulfil its past promises.
The G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland, was a time of high drama, hope, and disappointment. No previous G8 summit has done as much for development, particularly in Africa. However, along with other organisations and fellow campaigners, Oxfam is disappointed that in the light of undisputed need and unprecedented popular pressure and expectation, neither the necessary sense of urgency nor the historic potential of Gleneagles was grasped by the G8. August, 2005
As expected, the G8 leaders ratified the debt relief proposal recommended by their Finance Ministers on June 11 unchanged. The G8 continues to ignore the fact that many of these debts are “odious”, that is they were contracted by dictatorial regimes and not used for the benefit of the people. While the quantity of debt remission is inadequate, more damaging still are the conditions attached for the countries that will receive debt cancellation. August, 2005
Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, the Prime Minister of Japan committed to increase Japan's Official
Development Aid (ODA) to developing countries by US$ 10 billion for the coming five years. However, as soon as he returned to Japan, he has unable to live up to his own promises.
At the beginning of July, the G8 nations set forth a precedent-setting “100 percent” debt relief plan for qualifying African and Latin American countries. However, the majority of Latin American debt is owed to parties not included in the plan. For debt relief to be successful, a new, more generous, more inclusive process must be implemented that allows a Latin American nation to prioritize its socioeconomic needs and dictate the tempo of its own development.August, 2005
G8 leaders announced the cancellation of debt for 18 poor countries, four of which are Latin American: Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guyana. The debate on poverty is now focused on aid to Africa. Without a shadow of a doubt, African countries need to be taken into account. Notwithstanding, the widespread poverty in Latin America also calls for immediate action and in this sense this announcement seems quite insignificant.
"G8 Heads of State must understand that the very limited actions they took last week only mean that the debt campaign will go on – as vigorously as ever before – and governments should be aware that NGOs will continue to watch them and continue to campaign hard for debt cancellation for all those countries of the south that need it – as a matter of urgency and as a matter of justice".
The recent partial external debt cancellation approved by rich countries in favour of some underdevolped nations is conditioned on an increased indebtedness and submission, as warned by two specialised institutions.
"Debt relief alone won't relieve third-world poverty. With President Bush at the table, the "spin masters" who put a victorious gloss on all his actions had little need to lower expectations concerning the outcome of the G8 meeting at Gleneagles - agreement by the G8 to debt relief is a major event. But we should not be fooled; much of the debt would not have been repaid in any case".
This is an in-depth critical analysis on the G8 communique looking at what it really says on aid. Many of its policies are either too thin on detail (like just what conditions will be attached to potential new aid flows) or lack robust enforcement mechanisms (pledges on aid increases and enhancing aid effectiveness have no real enforcement mechanism to ensure they will happen) leaving one to question just how much will actually be put into practice.
This report 'The Making of an Impoverished History: From G8 to Live8' is an unrefined and uncompromising commentary from an African British perspective about the social and cultural politics behind Live 8, the G8 summit and the British media’s eurocentric reporting and often distorting of Africa’s current political, economic and cultural standing. It is not meant to be viewed simply as criticism but instead as an unapologetic critique. (PDF document). August 2005.
Twenty years after Live Aid Sir Bob Geldof will take his charity music show to the stage again in multi-city concerts scheduled for Paris, Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem is amazed that 20 years after Live Aid events like these are still being planned and executed without visible participation of Africans. The whole process, he says, is “like trying to shave someone’s head in their absence”. June 2005.
Live 8, "the greatest concert" ever aired live, has been presented to World public opinion as an "awareness campaign" in solidarity with Africa. Its stated objective was to put pressure on the Group of Eight leaders (G8) to increase foreign aid flows and cancel the debt of the World's poorest countries.
In July 2005, world leaders gathered in Gleneagles, Scotland, and announced a plan to cancel debts, increase foreign aid, and make changes to international trade policy. One year later, it is important to look back and take stock. On the positive side, some debts have been cancelled for 21 nations, and the money is being put to good use. But much more remains to be done: 9 out of 10 people in the developing world will see no benefit from the 2005 debt deal. (pdf format)
The campaigning in the run up to the G8 put a spotlight on world leaders and demanded action. But the response was disappointing. Even the most promising of the G8’s commitments, on debt cancellation, has become stuck in an implementation quagmire and is in danger of being massively underfunded. (pdf format)
1.2 billion people are still living in abject poverty as Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to St. Petersburg for the annual Group of 8 (G8) meetings. With new promises on energy and security waiting in the wings, it is timely to reflect on how far the G8 has moved on its pledges since last year’s Gleneagles Summit.
Without a doubt, the people roared. And without a doubt the response from the politicians was a whisper, offering $50 billion extra aid by 2010, cancellation of the debt of only 40 countries, and no movement on trade whatsoever. But a whisper is not silence. Those changes have made a difference to some. Not only that, many lives will be saved and futures improved. (July, 2006)
Four leading African and International non-governmental organisations today called on African Heads of States, gathering in Banjul for the 7th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, to hold the leaders of the G8 to account for the last year’s promises on Africa at the upcoming G8 Summit in St Petersburg, Russia. June, 2006
The July 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles delivered promises on debt, aid, trade, security and climate change. The cancellation of the IMF debt is part of the deal struck by the G8 to cancel debts owed by up to 40 of the world’s poorest countries to the World Bank, the IMF, and the African Development Bank. Of course, miracles should not be expected in a year, but substantial progress can and should be. June, 2006
One year after the Gleneagles G8 Summit and what has been delivered on debt? And what remains on the books? This paper reports that even though campaigners considered the deal presented by G8 Finance Ministers was far too limited (it covered neither 100% of countries nor 100% of debts), the rest of 2005 still saw rich country governments and the World Bank squabble over the details. These disputes threatened to seriously derail and delay implementation of the deal. June, 2006
In July 2005, the G8 agreed to cancel some of the debts of some of the poorest countries in the world. Campaigners’ sustained and determined efforts over many years were absolutely crucial in securing this step. With the last, and largest, element coming into effect on 1 July 2006, we can now see what this deal really means. June, 2006
What is really new in the promises made by the G8 leaders in Gleneagles? What should we demand from the leaders of the world when they meet next September in New York? In order to help answer those questions, the Social Watch secretariat has compiled a table comparing the language agreed by the heads of State and Government in different recent Summits: The World Summit on Social Development (1995), the G7 meeting of 1999, the Millennium Summit in 2000, the Financing for Development Summit in 2002 and the most recent G8 meeting in Scotland. July 2005.
The outcome of the summit of the Group of 8 (G8) in Gleneagles last week has been disappointing from both the development and environment viewpoints. While Bob Geldof, the pop star in the forefront of Live Eight concerts, was euphoric, giving the G8 "ten marks out of ten" for aid, others claimed "the G8 leaders have offered too little, too late". July 2005.
The G8 alternatives Summit brought together leading human rights campaigners, political activists and environmental thinkers from all parts of the world to do battle with the ideas and strategies fo the G8 leaders meeting in Gleneagles. The site contains information on the plenary sessions held on subjects like the future of Africa, privatisation, climate change, war, racism and globalisation.
Two months ago, celebrity campaigner Bob Geldof declared the 2005 G8 Gleneagles summit as a “qualified triumph” in the fight to end poverty. Responding to this view, Charles Abugre argues that G8 promises are unlikely to translate into delivery and questions whether progressive civil society should legitimise a fundamentally unaccountable global governance arrangement. September 2005.
"The G8 summit which ended on 8 July 2005, was a victory for civil society and a failure of leadership on the part of the political leaders of G8. All the civil society organisations around the world, can take some comfort from the fact that we are uniting like never before to make poverty history while not ignoring the history of poverty."
"We are disappointed in the outcomes of Gleneagles. The resolutions fall far short of our expectations for a comprehensive and radical strategy to make poverty history in Africa. The Summit has simply reaffirmed existing decisions on debt cancellation and doubling of aid. The debt package only provides only 10% of the relief required and affects only one third of the countries that need it". July 2005.
"What is it about us that allows these folk to behave so? For how much longer can we allow Northern development agencies and charities to portray us either in the form of ‘development pornography’" This is a collection of articles written by africans regarding the image of Africa portrayed in the northern campaigns against poverty.
The G8 meeting should be seen as a gathering of the descendants of the Berlin Conference in 1894-95, when European governments met in Berlin to 'negotiate' the carving up of Africa. "We shouldn't be begging them to be nice about it. We shouldn't be begging them to carve us up 'fairly'. Let's end this charade about 'fighting poverty': turn, instead, to fighting those who cause and profit from impoverishment".
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, host of the G8 summit, poses as the leader in the fight against African poverty, while at the same time quadrupling Britain’s arms sales to the continent. In this interview with Pambazuka, African commentator Issa Shivij is not optimistic about the summit’s proposed “solutions" for Africa.
For Africans this G8 is déjà vu all over again. Ahead of the 2002 G8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada, a small self-appointed group of African leaders led by South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki launched the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – parties, parliament, trade unions, churches, civil society groups and social movements were not consulted. Dubbed Africa’s ‘last chance’ by both its African elite promoters and Western supporters like Tony Blair, NEPAD’s far reaching neoliberal economic policy framework places what it calls ‘African Renaissance’ in the hands of greater market liberalisation, competition and foreign direct investment within a globalised economy. African states also pledged to create ‘good governance’ via a ‘peer review mechanism’. June 28, 2005.
Since the G8 leaders in Gleneagles chose no other than the World Bank to be in charge of financing a "new framework" for addressing the climate change crisis, it is interesting to review some key facts...
It’s getting harder to hide the climate crisis. Global warming threatens to make the international targets on halving global poverty by 2015, the “Millennium Development Goals,” entirely unattainable. The bottom line: there’s nothing much being done by the US government, but it’s a dangerous nothing. August 2005.
As the G8 communique shows, the White House is beginning to move on. Instead of denying that climate change is happening, it is denying that anything difficult needs to be done to prevent it. The other G8 leaders have gone along with this.
The final statement on climate change, issued at the Group of Eight Summit that took place 6-8 July 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland, shows that leaders are still divided and have made no real progress in the fight against climate change.
Around 500 activists in Glasgow said goodbye to the G8 Summit with a street party against climate change Friday, rejecting "any market-led techno-fixes to the climate crisis by an unelected global elite".
That set the theme for the G8 week: the silencing and pacifying and co-option of real dissent and truth. It was Frantz Fanon, the great intellectual-activist of Africa, who exposed colonial greed and violence dressed up as polite do goodery, and nothing has changed, in Africa, as in Iraq.
"So let us tell Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair, Mr. Berlusconi and Mr. Koizumi: we will not allow you to use the rhetoric of fighting poverty in Africa to deflect our attention from your criminal occupation and violations of human rights in Iraq." Speech delivered at the massive 250,000-strong "Make Poverty History" in Edinburgh , Scotland , on July 2, 2005, timed to
coincide with the Group of Eight annual meeting.
At the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles, G8 leaders pledged to cancel US$ 40bn in debts owed by some of the world’s poorest and most heavily indebted nations. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that the 2005 G8 Summit would become known as the "100% Summit". Almost 2 years later, how far has this promise been kept? How much debt did the G8 really cancel in Gleneagles? May, 2007
Despite repeated promises, G8 leaders have thus far failed to fulfill their 2005 Gleneagles summit pledges for increased international aid and debt relief. This World Economy and Development in Brief article calls on the G8 to go beyond "important sounding announcements" and "small sectoral initiatives" at the 2007 Heiligendamm summit and instead show leadership in addressing world poverty and ensuring achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. May, 2007
Of all the thousands of global meetings in the political calendar, the G8 summit has become most famous for its grand promises to tackle global poverty. For campaigners, it is a crucial moment to hold world leaders to account for delivering on those promises. Two years on, the dust has settled, and the G8 is preparing to meet once again in Germany. Africa, HIV and AIDS, health, and climate change are all on the agenda. May, 2007