Socialist Worker

G8 solutions: ‘Crumbs from the rich are not enough’

Issue No. 1960

Many of the organisations that have been involved with the Make Poverty History campaign are disappointed with the G8’s communiqué.

John Hilary, director of policy and campaigns at War on Want, said, “Bob Geldof may be content with crumbs from the table of his rich political friends. But we did not come to Gleneagles as beggars. We came to demand justice for the world’s poor.”

Oxfam has been accused of being too close to the government, but even it could find little to praise.

Its head of policy, Jo Leadbeater, said, “The G8 have recognised today that this is the beginning, not the end, of their efforts to overcome poverty. The world’s richest nations have delivered welcome progress for the world’s poorest people, but the outcome here in Gleneagles has fallen short of the hopes of the millions around the world.

“The G8’s aid increase could save the lives of five million children by 2010 —but 50 million children’s lives will still be lost because the G8 didn’t go as far as they should have done.

“If the $50 billion increase had kicked in immediately, it could have lifted 300 million people out of poverty in the next five years.

“G8 leaders failed today to kick-start stalled global trade talks. There was some positive language in the communiqué about poor countries being able to export their products to the rich world. Sadly, the G8 stopped short of setting an end date for scrapping their damaging agricultural export subsidies.”

Caroline Sande Mukulira, from ActionAid’s Southern Africa programme said, “What Africa needed from the G8 was a giant leap forward, all it got was tiny steps. The deal that has been announced falls way short of our demands.

“We have some aid, but not enough, some debt relief but not enough and virtually nothing on trade. Once again Africa’s people have been short-changed.

“While the announcement on debt is a welcome step forward, it falls far short of what is needed. Only 18 countries have had their debt cancelled, leaving 40 more waiting.

“After the G8 many poor countries will still be left spending more on debt repayments than they do on health and education.

“For these countries this is a major disappointment.”

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