Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

G8 Summit

I didn't talk about the G8 Summit because I'm very suspicious of the motives of The West. All of a sudden, they want everyone to believe they have this benevolence for Africa. Well I don't buy it. After all the research I've done trying to find how they diagnose, treat, and quantify HIV/AIDS I'm very skeptical of anyone trying to unilaterally say Africa's biggest problem is HIV/AIDS especially if you look at the public and private views of HIV/AIDS and you will see that there are two very different stories being told. Now if you couple that with a recent study done by the South African Medical Research Council, which demonstrated that the HIV test given there is 83% inaccurate, then I am suspect of a conference that want to give more money to treat something that may not even exist in this population. It is obvious to me that Africa needs help. However, there are more important issues that could easily improve the quality of people’s lives in Africa if The West was concerned such as helping Africans obtain clean potable water, decouple the classification of treatable & preventable diseases from HIV/AIDS, etc., etc. Surely, we all know that diseases such as malaria, TB, dysentery are not the same thing as HIV/AIDS. It is interesting to note that Ousman believes it is not enough to give African leaders billions of dollars, but these leaders have to be held accountable for the aid they receive since most of the monies will not end up helping the majority of the people.

Now lets see what positive things came out of the G8 conference: Africa did receive promises for aid; after all - the leaders of the conference did cancel the debt of the 18 poorest nations and boosted aid by $50 billion. At least one reporter thought the Summit was a success. Although the reporter qualified his statement by saying it really depends on how you use measure success. If you look at it this way, the G8 summit agreed to renew efforts to forge a trade deal, pledged $3bn for the Palestinian authority, and said it would increase access to Aids treatment. The summit also broke new ground by bringing poverty campaigners and leaders from developing countries face to face with the world's eight most powerful leaders. In the words of Tony Blair: "It isn't the end of poverty in Africa, but it is the hope that it can be ended. It isn't all everyone wanted but it is progress - real and achievable progress."

According to other sources, the G8 Summit offered Africa very little and it offered it with a price. For instance, the G8 offered help in building "the physical, human and institutional capacity to trade, including trade facilitation measures.” But not a word 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. I guess it is not the West intention to allow Africa to gain autonomy. What ever happen to teaching a man how to fish?

Another article said that the G8 condemned Africa to miss the Millennium Development Goals. The article went on to say, “The final communiqué is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of campaigners who listened in good faith to the world leaders’ claim that they were willing to seriously address poverty in Africa. More importantly, it is a disaster for the world’s poor. The agreements on trade, debt, aid and climate change are nowhere near sufficient to tackle the global poverty and environmental crisis we face. “We are furious, but not surprised. Calling on the G8 to Make Poverty History, this year was always a brave attempt to put aside 30 years of knowledge of G8 failures and suspend our disbelief at the notion that the countries responsible for causing so much poverty could become the solution.

Finally, some may think this is a positive, but I don't. The leaders at the G8 conference were clear that it would continue it unjust wars as a direct results of the bombings in London (The war against terrorism will continue), which is a buzz word for we will continue to fight anyone that controls resources we want. Right now that means we will fight Islamic countries, later on, this will change.

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