African leaders attending the G8 summit have called on the world’s richest countries to keep their promises to help the continent out of poverty,a situation made worse by soaring oil and food prices.
Activists said commitments made at the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland have not been followed through on. At that time the G8 agreed to double aid by 2010 to the equivalent of 32 billion euros, with half that money going to Africa.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick said: “How we respond to this double jeopardy of soaring fuel and food prices is a test of the global system’s commitment to help the most vulnerable. It is a test we cannot afford to fail.”
Even though food prices are rising, farmers in poorer countries are not benefiting. According to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete many in his country can’t afford to plant more to take advantage of high crop prices because the cost of fertiliser has jumped sixfold.
In addition, protectionist policies in the developed world are shutting them Africa’s farmers. Agricultural exports from Africa to Europe have fallen dramatically in recent years.
On the question of aid, the World Bank’s Robert Zoellick said the G8 leaders are discussing a system to better track the money to ensure commitments are honoured.
A report last month by the Africa Progress Panel, which was set up to monitor implementation of the Gleneagles commitments, said that under current spending plans the G8 will deliver only 20% of what it promised by 2010.