As ageing rock stars Bono and Geldof were praising the G8 leaders for their aid and debt promises and Geldof was shouting down anyone who dared to criticise the summit's outcomes, African civil society groups gathered in Gleneagles were singing from a very different hymn sheet. They have issued a joint statement condemning what they regard as a 'disappointing' deal well short of their minimum expectations.
The 2005 Summit of the G8: Disappointed but resolute final statement
JOINT STATEMENT FROM AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE 2005 SUMMIT, GLENEAGLES, SCOTLAND 6-8th JULY
As the G8 Summit comes to an end on the 8th July, we representatives of some of the largest continental organisations and national networks headquartered in several African cities, bringing together women's organisations, labour, researchers, development and advocacy NGOs across Africa note the following;
Firstly, we express our total solidarity with the British people and our deep sorrow for the victims of the terrorist attacks on London yesterday.
Simply put, 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. A large component of the US$50 billion pledged is drawn from existing obligations. Further, both packages
are still attached to harmful policy conditionality.
"Today, the G8 missed a historic opportunity to write off the debt of over 62 least developing countries," said Hassen Lorgat of South Africa's SANGOCO.
Our work has just begun. Over the next six months, we shall intensify our campaigns for;
1) Total and unconditional debt write-off for all of Africa failing which debt repudiation becomes the logical conclusion for African Governments.
2) The G8 to meet the 0.7% GNI target for international development assistance and front load those commitments without donor imposed policy conditionality.
3) The WTO to recognise the right of African states to redress and protect their fragile economies without losing their right to access industrialized countries markets
4) Remove OECD market access constraints and end subsidies that lead to dumping of products on Africa markets, crowding out African farmers and producers.
Above all, Africa must look within for change. "The message from Gleneagles is clear to us in Africa. We will intensify our call to our Governments that have not secured debt cancellation to strongly consider repudiating their unjust and odious external debt," said Justice Egware of Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All in Nigeria. The HIPC
conditionalities do not suit the needs of most of our countries. Further, we urge them to exercise their right to protect our economies and essential services like health and education.
This year, we have been an integral part of a historic global campaign to end poverty. We will continue to mobilize internationally through the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and other global campaigns. The millions mobilized in Africa and around the world should not be disappointed. We will stay our course and remain vigilant until we secure
the conditions for Africa's renaissance.
Signed by the following African and regional civil society organizations and networks:
African Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD)-Harare, African Women
Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)-Nairobi, African Womens
Economic Policy Network-Uganda, Mwelekeo wa NGO (MWENGO)-Harare, SEATINI,
Pan African Literacy and Adult Education (PALAE), ANCEFA, SANGOCO-South Africa, CONGAD-Senegal, Eco-news Africa-Kenya, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All-Nigeria
ActionAid International, Africa Action, Foreign Policy in Focus, Trans Africa, Global Justice