Africa: G8 Deaf to African Voices, 06/06/03

Africa: G8 Deaf to African Voices, 06/06/03

AFRICA ACTION Africa Policy E-Journal June 6, 2003 (030606)

Africa: G8 Deaf to African Voices (Reposted from sources cited below)

This posting contains three statements released on the occasion of the G8 Summit: the first is a joint statement from African NGOs and trade unions denouncing the summit a "stunning" failure to address African concerns, while noting that the G8 still have outstanding obligations and commitments to fulfill. The second is a press release from the annual meeting of African Ministers of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, with several pointed resolutions on issues requiring action by the G8. And the third is a statement issued before the G8 summit by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, calling attention to the failure to advance sufficiently on the agreed Millennium Development Goals.

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Tuesday, 3rd June 2003


The outcome of the 2003 Summit of the G8 reveals that the political will of the eight most powerful nations to meet their obligations to Africa has simply dried up.

2001 saw the G8 summit heavy on rhetoric, 2002 saw the release of a G8 Africa Action Plan, but the outcome of the 2003 Summit has been stunning on its failure to make progress on the Debt, health, trade and agriculture issues.

Quite apart from the obligations of the G8 to Africa or the meeting of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, the G8 has failed to match the progress reached by the African Union over the last year.

Aid, the Monterrey Commitments and Debt

1. We, representatives of five of the largest continental organisations and national networks headquartered in five Africa cities, bringing together women's organisations, labour, researchers, development and advocacy NGOs across Africa, recognise that there has been some progress on raising the US$6 billion promised by the G8 in 2002. However, the G8 is still a long way off meeting the US$25-35 billion required by the UN to halve poverty in Africa by 2015. Much of the new pledges announced recently including the well appreciated US$10 billion offered by the US for Global AIDS programmes or the money to fill the HIPC finance gap are not on the table yet. It should be noted that the G8 continues to spend less than 0.3% of their gross national product on aid. In all, the G8 Summit closes with offers of assistance in the range of less than 1% of what was spent on the war in Iraq.

Health and HIV/AIDS

2. In the light of the deadlock in the last Doha WTO Inter-ministerial, the G8 summit is a lost opportunity for progress on the right of African countries to import, produce and distribute cheap life-saving drugs such as anti-retroviral medicine for AIDS and other life threatening diseases.

3. This G8 has failed to indicate sufficient progress in raising the resources to eradicate polio, combat tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS. The amount allocated is still a far cry from the $10billion the UN fund needs, to treat and prevent these diseases.

4. We reaffirm that the right to clean, affordable and accessible water is critical both to African growth, fighting AIDS and arresting common pandemics such as cholera etc. We are concerned that the international policy discourse on water is dislocated from the experience in Africa of privatisation schemes that leave private suppliers unable to supply water at affordable rates for the poor and more importantly, poor people without water.

Trade and Agriculture

5. The 2003 G8 was ultimately a disaster for African farmers. It failed to adopt even limited proposals for a moratorium on reducing European and American tariff duties and subsidies for US and European agriculture. These policies are perverse. While millions of African farmers, most women's livelihoods, are ruined by these policies, European livestock are ensured major state subsidies.

6. We note the commitment of the G8 to refocus on support to African agriculture, but the G8 avoided translating this commitment into a tangible amount.

Lessons for Africa

7. One or two drops of aid out of Evian amounts to a small patch for the haemorrhaging economies of Africa. Without a change in world trade rules, the rhetoric of ensuring a fresh start for Africa will not translate into meaningful action or a new partnership for Africa. We strongly urge Africa leaders and citizens to take forward the initiative and the primary responsibility for resolving Africa's development crises. Key on our horizon is the need to prepare a common African position in the lead up to the WTO Inter-ministerial in Cancun, Mexico.

8. Despite the failure of Evian, the G8 continues to have outstanding obligations and commitments to Africa. For this reason, Africa must remain on the agenda of the G8 until these obligations are fulfilled. We shall continue to track, lobby and inform public opinion of these obligations.


Representatives of five of the largest continental organisations and national networks headquartered in five Africa cities, bringing together women's organisations, labour, researchers, development and advocacy NGOs across Africa, met and signed this statement.

AWEPON African Womens Empowerment Network Helen Wangusa, Coordinator, Kampala, Uganda Mob Tel :+256-77-522-717 Off Tel: +256-41-286-916

COSATU The Congress of South African Trade Unions Neva Matgetla, Head, Policy Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa Mob Tel: +27-82-5636968

FEMNET African Womens Communication and Development Network Muthoni Wanyeki, Executive Director, Nairobi, Kenya Mob Tel: + 254-733605812 Off Tel: +254-2-3741301/20

MWENGO Mwelekeo wa NGO Ezra Mbogori, Executive Director, Harare, Zimbabwe Off Tel + 263-4-721469 Hm Tel: + 263-4-884306

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Brian Kagoro, Coordinator, Harare, Zimbabwe Mob Tel + 263-91266430



Economic Commission for Africa



Issued by the ECA Communication Team P.O. Box 3001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Tel: +251-1-51 58 26; Fax: +251-1-51 03 65 E-mail: Web:

Addis Ababa, 2 June 2003 (ECA) -- Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development ended their annual meeting yesterday with specific proposals aimed at advancing the agenda on issues that are critical to Africa's development.

A summary of key issues raised in the Ministerial Statement issued at the close of yesterday's Conference follows:

On Aid and Development Effectiveness, the Ministers:

- Welcomed the accession by 15 African countries to the African Peer Review Mechanism envisaged under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), urged these countries to move forward with peer review, and urged others to sign up;

- Welcomed progress on aid quality and ODA commitments, but warned that the level of aid flows to Africa remained a major concern and needed to be further increased;

- Welcomed the proposed International Finance Facility (IFF) as "the first of its kind designed to mobilize additional resources for the poorest countries to meet the MDGs";

- Urged Africa's partners to ensure that all policies impacting on African development, including those in the areas of ODA, trade, market access, and agriculture, were consistent with the MDGs, and recommended that Africa's partners adopt domestic policy measures that would increase FDI flows to Africa;

On Trade, the Ministers:

- Expressed their deep concern on the negative impact of OECD agricultural subsidies on the African agriculture sector, and called for action by OECD countries to front-load the benefits of trade liberalization for the poorest countries by providing immediate duty-free and quota-free market access, removing non-tariff barriers, and developing an appropriate price stabilization mechanism;

- Warned that negotiations on the key elements of the Doha Development Round had achieved little, with key deadlines for market access for agricultural products, TRIPS and public health, and special and differential treatment missed; and

- Urged Africa's development partners to respond positively to African proposals so as to make the September 2003 Cancun WTO Ministerial Meeting a success

On Debt, the Ministers:

- Warned that the enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative was not delivering long-term debt sustainability and called for the rapid establishment of a legal technical assistance facility to help HIPC deal with creditor litigation;

- Recognized that domestic debt in many African countries requires urgent attention because it reduces fiscal flexibility, raises domestic interest rates and crowds out investment; and

- Endorsed the Economic Commission for Africa's plan to convene an African Expert Group Meeting on debt relief in September 2003 to be followed by an International Conference on African Debt in early 2004, to "meet the challenge of defining the policies, instruments and initiatives that can constitute the next step in the international community's efforts to reduce Africa's debt burden".

On the role of the IMF, the Ministers:

- Recommended that the IMF assist African countries in developing a menu of policy options, impose fewer structural conditions, and provide for "floating tranches" or outcomes-based conditions where appropriate;

- Urged the Bretton Woods Institutions, bilateral partners and the African Development Bank to avoid cross-conditionalities that impede African access to much-needed resources;

- Recommended that to provide greater fiscal flexibility, the IMF should also analyze the linkages, trade-offs and policy choices required to attain the MDGs, as a basis for discussions with development partners on mobilizing the additional resources required for progress towards the MDGs.

- Proposed that evaluating exogenous shocks -- commodity price volatility, natural disasters and aid shortfalls -- should be a standard feature of IMF discussions with member states, and that access to concessional lending should be extended to countries suffering from exceptional exogenous shocks such as terrorist attacks and the onslaught of new communicable diseases.

On HIV/AIDS, the Ministers:

- Projected that the HIV/AIDS epidemic will cut approximately one per cent from GDP growth rates, significantly diminishing the prospects of realizing the economic expansion necessary to reduce poverty;

- Articulated the crucial leadership role of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in mobilizing sufficient resources to confront the disease and identifying strategies to mitigate the adverse socio-economic impacts of the epidemic;

- Stressed that additional resources were urgently needed to support Africa's efforts in confronting HIV/AIDS; and

- Urged the Bretton Woods Institutions to consider revising the eligibility criteria for assistance to middle income countries afflicted by the AIDS epidemic, and to find ways of ensuring that countries could expand expenditure on health and social welfare without violating conditionalities that impose limits on public spending.

The Conference was organized by ECA on the theme 'Towards greater policy coherence and mutual accountability for development effectiveness', and was being held back-to-back with the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (ADB), taking place at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa. The Annual Meetings Symposium, held today and previously a hallmark of the ADB Annual Meetings, was jointly sponsored by the ADB and ECA.


For the full text of the Ministerial Statement, a well as all other documents related to this year's Conference, please visit . Documents from previous conferences, including Ministerial Statements, are also available at the same site.

For more on the Annual Symposium and the African development Bank Annual meetings, visit

For more on the IFF, visit

For more on the IMF, visit


Press Release - June 2, 2003

SG/SM/8730 DEV/2415


Following is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals at the Group of Eight Summit (afternoon working session) in Evian, France, on 1 June:

Sustained growth and development require not only sound national and global economic policies and the absence of conflict nationally and regionally, but also a universal sense of global security. The investments in counter-terrorism need to be complemented by actions at the international level, for example in the area of trade, to restore the relatively optimistic global political mood that prevailed when the Millennium Declaration was adopted.

We face many development challenges, but it is no good tackling them piecemeal. Each of them affects all the others. We need to tackle them all together, with a common strategy, a clear timetable, and measurable targets.

Fortunately, we already have them: the eight Millennium Development Goals - or MDGs - adopted by all nations less than three years ago, and confirmed at last years conferences in Monterrey and Johannesburg as the core agenda of international development cooperation. Allow me to remind you that some of you were at Monterrey last year, and all of your countries signed on to this agenda.

You may recall that you also asked me to issue periodic progress reports. So how are we doing? Let me give you a few highlights from the scorecard:

-- The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has actually increased in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Only East Asia and the Pacific are on pace to meet the poverty Goal, while South Asia is making good progress.

-- Africa, South Asia and the Arab States need to greatly accelerate their progress if they are to achieve universal primary education.

-- Progress in promoting gender equality and empowering women has been made in all regions, but sub-Saharan Africa lags behind. The same holds true for efforts to reduce child mortality.

-- Only two countries - Thailand and Uganda - have managed to reverse the spread of AIDS once it reached crisis proportions.

-- Many regions are making progress in upgrading slums, improving access to safe drinking water, and integrating the principles of sustainable development into policies and programmes. But in some places, such as East Asia, efforts to ensure environmental sustainability are far too slow.

As you can see, formidable challenges lie ahead if we are to even come close to meeting the Goals. As for the eighth Goal - to develop a global partnership for development - this meeting can make an important difference.

Of course, development goals have to be attained mainly in, and by, developing countries. Many of them are putting the MDGs at the centre of their development strategies. And they are applying the very policy prescriptions that you, the G-8 countries, have asked for. Their efforts deserve your support, since most cannot reach the MDGs on their own.

They need deeper and faster debt relief, so that even more spending can be shifted from debt service to basic needs.

They need better access to global markets, which means a Doha Round that lowers agricultural subsidies and brings down barriers to imports from poor countries. This Round also needs to ensure that poor people have access to affordable medicine.

And they need more and better aid -- official development assistance that helps them carry out good-faith domestic reforms. Most of you, I know, have really shown your commitment by increasing aid and, while we are still far from our goal of finding the extra 50 billion dollars a year that is needed, at aminimum, to achieve the MDGs, I think it's a very good signal that we must continue.

I know you are looking at a number of innovative ideas, such as the International Finance Facility proposed by Gordon Brown.

Also new and innovative partnerships have come out of Johannesburg, especially in the area of water and sanitation, and we applaud the water initiative of the European Union.

But we also need a healthy growing economy. And the countries around this table, which represent the larger economies both from the North and the South, have a special responsibility to steer the global economy and pull all countries along with them.


Message-Id: <> From: "Africa Action" <> Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 14:54:40 -0500 Subject: Africa: G8 Deaf to African Voices

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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