G8 Leaders Expected To Discuss Increased Aid, Debt Relief for Africa During Summit
Leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations this week during the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, are expected to reach agreements on proposals to increase aid to Africa and forgive the debt of the world's poorest nations, the AP/ABCNews.com reports. During the summit, which begins on Wednesday, leaders likely will discuss a proposal from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is hosting the meeting, to immediately double aid to Africa to $25 billion annually, with the goal of reaching $50 billion annually by 2010 (Crutsinger, AP/ABCNews.com, 7/6). Although most G8 governments have agreed on proposals to fight poverty and disease on the continent, there are differences among the Bush administration and other wealthy nations on the issue. Bush last week announced a $1.2 billion initiative targeting malaria in Africa and has promised to streamline the Millennium Challenge Account (Stevenson, New York Times, 7/6). He also pledged to double U.S. aid to Africa from $4.3 billion in 2004 to more than $8.6 billion by 2010 (AP/ABCNews.com, 7/6). However, Bush has repeatedly rejected proposals from anti-poverty advocates to increase U.S. foreign aid to 0.7% of the country's gross national income (New York Times, 7/6).
At the meeting, G8 leaders also are expected to officially endorse a debt relief plan proposed last month by their finance ministers (AP/ABCNews.com, 7/6). The proposal would cancel at least $40 billion in debt owed by the world's 18 poorest nations. Under the agreement, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia will receive immediate forgiveness for the more than $40 billion they owe to the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The deal will save the 18 countries about $1.5 billion annually, which they could use toward health care, education and poverty alleviation programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/13).
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on Tuesday said that increased financial aid to Africa should be one component of an "integrated approach" to alleviating poverty that includes fighting corruption and expanding trade and private-sector investment on the continent (Freeman, Globe and Mail, 7/6). Advocates meeting in Gleneagles on Tuesday in advance of the summit said they are planning a "final push" to persuade G8 leaders to take action on African issues after Saturday's series of Live 8 concerts in 10 cities worldwide, according to the Los Angeles Times (Daniszewski, Los Angeles Times, 7/6). A coalition of U.S. Christian groups also has been advocating for increased action on African poverty issues, saying that the G8 summit is an opportunity for leaders to take action for the world's poorest countries. The coalition also is urging African nations to establish responsible governments (Waters, Washington Times, 7/6).
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey examining public opinion in G7 nations on key financing issues for HIV/AIDS spending in developing countries is available online (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 7/5).