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Pledges on Africa not being met, says leading aid agency

01.01.70

LONDON (AP) - A year after the publication of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Africa Commission Report, many of the reforms on trade and conflict are yet to materialize, global aid agency Oxfam said Saturday.
Oxfam said that though significant advances had been made on aid and debt relief, opportunities were being missed on trade and arms dealing.
The agency said it was concerned that rich countries were backtracking FROM `en_their` commitment on ending poverty, and said that Britain -- which had taken a lead last year in tackling poverty in Africa -- was shying away now FROM `en_taking` a stand.
A spokesman for Blair, speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, said much progress has been made, but more needed to be done.
The Africa Commission Report, a British-led initiative published last year, aimed to make major changes in African development.
It called on wealthy nations to increase aid to Africa by US$25 billion (euro21 billion) dollars a year by 2010, and by a further US$25 million (euro21 million) each year by 2015.
The report also called for debt cancellation and the removal of trade barriers.
A Group of Eight summit in Scotland followed the report, with the leaders of the world's leading industrialized nations agreeing to write-off US$40 billion (euro34 billion) of debt and agreeing to the commission's report for aid increases.
Oxfam said that though the Blair government should be praised for its leadership efforts in debt relief and aid, it was not following through promises on trade.
The British government was allowing the European Union to push a trade deal that harmed poor countries by offering no substantial cuts in agricultural subsidies, while demanding that poor countries open their industrial markets to unfair competition, Oxfam said.
The aid agency said this policy could seriously undermine Africa's future economic development.
Trade negotiators FROM `en_the` European Union, United States, India, Brazil, Japan and Australia meet in London this weekend to discuss the Doha development round.
"If the British Government is genuinely serious about its role as a champion of Africa's needs, then they need to speak out publicly and rip up the bad deal being sought by the E.U.," said Oxfam's director Barbara Stocking.
Blair's spokesman said that much progress had been made since the publication of the report on Africa and the meeting of the G-8 leaders last year.
"But the Prime Minister is the first to say that we need to keep pushing down the track, and we will do so. But I think people should recognize the progress that equally has been made," he said.

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Le College de France
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