G8 Addresses Developing Nation Economic Assistance, Reforming African Aid, Establishing Farming Investment, Food Security, Climate Change

Leaders of the world’s five biggest developing economies (G5) – Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa – joined the G8 summit on Thursday in an effort to get international financial institutions to use their “multi-billion dollar government bailouts to help developing countries emerge from the economic crisis,” AFP/Google.com reports. Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s president, said G5 leaders “are worried about the channeling of resources to restore international credit, especially in developing countries where credit and investment were particularly hard hit by the crisis.” He added that there is concern about the “surge in protectionist practices” (Doggett, 7/9).

The G5 said they plan to continue to “promote the reform of the international financial system,” Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal writes. “In particular, we pledge to devote appropriate efforts to fundamentally resolving the issue of under-representation and inadequate voice of developing countries in international financial institutions, which is urgently needed,” the group said (7/8).

On Wednesday, the G5, along with “special invitee” Egypt, called for a “resumption of the stalled Doha trade round. … Stronger multilateral trading, they said, would play a role in promoting development and reducing poverty,” AP/Yahoo! News reports. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have been “particularly vocal” that G8 expansion to “better represent the world’s population and economies,” according to the news service.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the G8 wants to reform the way it helps Africa and introduce an accountability mechanism. “We want our funds to go to precise investments, schools, buildings and so on,” Berlusconi said, adding that the group wants to establish an agricultural development fund for Africa (Barry, 7/9). The plan, which would “boost food security through increased farming investment,” is well-timed, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said. He added that the plan should focus on addressing hunger and malnutrition, as well as production.

“Drafts of the G8 pact have said leaders will agree to mobilize billions of dollars for agricultural investment, with the United States ready to give $3-4 billion over a multi-year period,” Reuters writes (Wroughton, 7/8).

Also on Wednesday, G8 leaders vowed to keep promises made to Africa and “make up a 25 billion dollar aid shortfall” by 2010, but “anti-poverty campaigners demanded action not words,” AFP/Google.com reports. The article includes reaction from several advocacy organizations (Clark, 7/8).

The G8 also agreed to “broad goals for reducing global warming, but hedged on timetable details and expected to fail to get developing nations such as China and India to go along,” the Detroit Free Press reports (Thomma, 7/9). They agreed to “try to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit) compared with pre-industrial levels and pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by between 50 and 80 percent by mid-century,” according to Reuters (Stewart/Falloon, 7/9).

In related coverage, Inter Press Service examines advocacy groups’ calls for G8 leaders to invest in women’s health around the world in order to promote economic recovery. “The big issues on the G8 agenda – food security, poverty, climate change and global health – are all connected to gender equality, they say. Many think investment in women is itself a solution,” IPS writes (Zaccaro, 7/8).

IRIN published an article that explores aid analysts’ reactions to the British government’s “just-released development policy paper, which detailed plans to allocate at least half of all new bilateral funding to fragile states.” Some analysts “question how the government can do the job well without shrinking other aid commitments,” IRIN writes (7/8).

allAfrica.com has a page of Africa-, development- and global health-related extracts from the G8 declaration. It includes a link to the full text.

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