G8 'sherpas' still haggling over Africa aid pledge

7th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 July 2005, EDINBURGH - Senior officials at a meeting of the world's top G8 industrial nations Thursday were still haggling over whether to pledge a doubling of aid to poor countries to USD 50 billion (EUR 42 billion) a year by 2010, diplomats said.

7 July 2005

EDINBURGH - Senior officials at a meeting of the world's top G8 industrial nations Thursday were still haggling over whether to pledge a doubling of aid to poor countries to USD 50 billion (EUR 42 billion) a year by 2010, diplomats said.

Sources at the Group of Eight (G8) meeting in Scotland said the U.S., Canada, Germany and Italy were still reluctant to mention a specific aid figure in a final summit statement to be issued on Friday.

Half of the USD 50 billion a year commitment is expected to benefit African nations.

"The deal is still not done," a G8 source told DPA, adding that discussions among officials - known as 'sherpas' - would probably continue until Friday morning when several African leaders will attend the summit.

G8 leaders are under strong pressure from aid charities, rock stars and celebrities to step up efforts to fight poverty in Africa.

Anti-poverty campaigners and rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono have spearheaded the drive by organizing a series of concerts highlighting public support for an increase in aid.

The G8 summit - attended by leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia - will issue a detailed 15-page statement highlighting G8 nations' determination to boost development in Africa.

Although the final aid pledge remained controversial, G8 sources said there was agreement on other parts of the statement, including a promise that rich nations would maintain their current focus on Africa.

A draft of the final statement said several African governments were working to boost development, education and fight HIV/AIDS but warned: "Further progress in Africa depends above all on its own leaders and its own people."

African governments must improve governance at the regional level and across the continent, it said, adding: "Better governance, stability and peace are necessary for the private sector to grow and create jobs."

The statement added that G8 nations would enhance support for the development of Africa's capacity to resolve conflicts and keep peace and also help the continent's drive to encourage the growth of the private sector.

It confirmed last month's decision by G8 finance ministers to write off the debt owed by 18 of Africa's poorest nations to multilateral aid agencies including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

DPA

Subject: German news

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