John Hilary, Campaigns & Policy Director, War on Want. Heading up to Gleneagles tomorrow for the demo, but we've spent much of today number crunching so as to work out exactly what the G8 are preparing to serve up as their answer to global poverty - and also to work out how on earth the government has managed to get the good press it has when it is offering such derisory crumbs from the rich man's table. So, specially for Red Pepper readers, this is what we know.
According to the stats we have, the G8 package of $40bn debt stock cancellation agreed last month translates into around $1bn a year in cancelled debt repayments for the 18 lucky countries which have 'qualified' to get it - instead of the $45bn in cancelled annual repayments which we'd see from 100 per cent write-off of the debts of the 62 poorest countries. That's quite a shortfall - roughly 98 per cent short, in fact.
On aid, if the G8 were to reach
the 0.7 per cent GNI target they signed up to in 1970, they'd need over $125bn
extra on top of what they give today. And what are they offering? $25bn -
barely 20 per cent of what's needed - and much of that's already been pledged
so can't be passed off as 'new' money anyway.
Worse still, any good achieved which might be achieved by aid and debt cancellation will be wiped out by the forced liberalisation which has been foisted on the poorest countries both at the WTO in Geneva and through the World Bank and IMF. In fact, the countries which have managed to 'qualify' for the debt package above have only done through agreeing to the neoliberal policies which will bring them deindustrialisation, unemployment and mass poverty when their markets open up to competition from the world's most powerful multinationals.
That's enough figures - if you want the whole story, have a look at the War on Want press release G8: Massive shortfall exposed in Gleneagles deal.