The Gleneagles hotel, which is owned by UK drinks multinational Diageo, is not the only venue hosting a G8 summit today. The official G8 Business Summit is taking place in London, hosted by Business Action for Africa and chaired by former Shell boss and current Anglo-American PLC chairman, Sir Mark Moody Stuart. But who is behind this initiative and where does it come from?
As Lucy Michaels of Corporate Watch reports in this month’s Red Pepper (see 'Our Corporate Interest'), Business Action for Africa is only the latest incarnation of a corporate coalition intent on profiting from the underdevelopment of Africa.
Business Contact Group
In July 2004, a ‘Business Contact Group’ was established by Gordon Brown and Reuters chairman, Niall Fitzgerald, to involve corporations in consultations for the Commission for Africa. The Group was made up of 16 corporations including: De Beers, Rio Tinto, Shell, Unilever, British American Tobacco, GlaxoSmithKline, Anglo-American and Diageo. Its programme was managed by Koosum Kalyan of Shell International. (see corporate watch for profiles of their activities). Niall Fitzgerald recently co-chaired the World Economic Forum summit on Africa.
Commission for Africa
The Commission for Africa report was released in March 2005. For assessments, see 'Africa's second 'last chance'' by Yao Graham, coordinator of Third World Network, Africa; Paul Cammack's breakdown of who the commissioners were or these alternative proposals. Corporate Watch’s report on The Commission for Africa can be found here.
(Image: Africa Commission comes clean on its true intentions)
Anglo American PLC
Anglo American PLC has been a key player in corporate lobbying of the G8. But a recent report by Human Rights Watch exposed the human rights record of its subsidiary the AngloGold Ashanti group, which it criticises for working extensively with mercenaries and warlords in order to gain access to the precious metals of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sir Mark Moody Stuart
Sir Mark Moody Stuart was formerly chairman of Shell, who’s dodgy human rights and environmental record needs few introductions. In 2002, Moody Stuart successfully lobbied at the Johannesburg Earth Summit against regulation of corporations on behalf of the cunningly named ‘Business Action on Sustainable Development’.
Moody Stuart is also co-chair of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/Aids, which includes the main pharmaceutical giants that in 2001 accused the South African government of violating patent rules over legislation that sought cheaper generic versions of branded Aids drugs. For more on Moody Stuart, go here