G8’s $50bn aid uplift for Africa

8 July 2005

The leaders of the G8 group of developed nations have reaffirmed their commitment to Africa, expressing the hope that their promise of a US$50-billion uplift in aid would seen as a “stark contrast” to the terror that hit London on Thursday.

In a statement released after the summit on Friday, host British Prime Minister Tony Blair promised a range of measures not limited to financial aid to help put Africa on the path to development.

Blair referred to the “remarkable” campaigns Live8 and Make Poverty History, and how these had raised expectations around the summit.

“It isn’t the end of poverty in Africa, but it is the hope that it can be ended,” Blair said.

The G8 leaders agreed to double aid for Africa by 2010. Aid for all developing countries will increase, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, by around $50-billion per year by 2010, of which at least $25-billion extra per year will go to Africa.

The recent write-off of the debt of heavily indebted nations by the Paris Club and the G8 Finance ministers was endorsed. This write-off amounts to $17-billion.

In addition to the announcements on financial aid, the summit leaders promised:

  • To provide extra resources for Africa’s peacekeeping forces.
  • To give enhanced support for greater democracy.
  • To boost investment in health and education, and to take action to combat HIV/Aids.
  • To stimulate growth and to improve the investment climate.

The G8 leaders promised to phase out farm export subsidies, as African leaders had demanded, but failed to give a date for this.

Blair admitted that “it isn’t all everyone wanted, but it is progress.”

The assembled leaders believed that together these measure could double African economy and trade by 2015, and help lift tens of millions of people from poverty each year.

In response to Blair’s statement, Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo took the opportunity to condemn the previous day’s terror attacks.

He called the meeting of the G8 and African leaders a “great success.”

The summit was less successful in dealing with climate change, the other major issue on the agenda, noting only “that climate change is happening now, that human activity is contributing to it, and that it could affect every part of the globe.”

The issue will be revisited in a November meeting.