African business, politics and lifestyle
How has the G8 delivered on its Africa Action Plan?
This week’s G8 summit in Japan marks 6 years since the group of the world’s top industrial nations adopted a comprehensive action plan to support initiatives to spur the development of Africa. The G8 Africa Action Plan adopted at a summit in Kananaskis, Canada, in 2002 was seen as the biggest boost to Africa’s own home-grown development initiative, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD. The G8 Plan pledges to help Africa tackle the main obstacles to its development — from promoting peace and security, to boosting trade and implementing debt relief to expanding education, health facilities and fighting HIV/AIDS.
As a followup to the Action Plan, the G8 at its 2005 summit in Scotland agreed to double aid by 2010 to $50 billion, half of which would go to Africa. But as G8 leaders prepared for this year’s summit in Japan, the Africa Progress Panel set up to monitor implementation of the 2005 commitments issued a gloomy report last month. It said under current spending the G8 would fall $40 billion short of its target. Other aid agency officials accused the G8 of backtracking on its pledges to Africa.
But some analysts argue that agreements reached at the 2005 summit were just a part of the G8 Africa Action Plan which offers a far more comprehensive framework for dealing with the continent’s problems. Britain under Prime Minister Tony Blair played a leading role in placing Africa’s problems at the top of the G8 agenda. The UK progress report details London’s implementation of the G8 Action Plan including its role as lead international partner in Sierra Leone after helping to end civil war in the former colony in 2002. US President George W. Bush has won praise in Africa for commiting more of the administrations’s resources to Africa’s war against HIV/AIDS.
But overall, has the G8 kept faith with Africa in the implementation of the Africa Action Plan? How have the decisions of the G8 helped your country or your personal life? Has NEPAD shown enough capacity to keep the G8 focused on its pledges? Is the G8 likely to switch its focus from Africa to more pressing global issues like soaring oil prices and the threat of inflation and recession in its own member countries? Have your say.