Rendezvous in Kananaskis
G8 News Updates
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Getting to Kananaskis
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Articles focusing on the G8 and African Issues (up to April 9, 2002)
Note: take a look at this Graphic Representation of Declining G7 Foreign Aid to get perspective on relative aid figures. Also, check the Analysis - NEPAD section for more general information on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). To search for articles from an African perspective, try this List of African News Services. A search at the South African business journal Business Day will also turn up many results. For HIV/AIDS related articles, try this archive at the University of Zambia Medical Library.
Nice work, if you can get it (April 9, 2002 / Globe&Mail) Ken Wiwa, son of Nigerian human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, suggests on one hand that recent criticisms of NEPAD by various social movement representatives are justified, but then turns around and recommends that "if Africa is going to arrest its decline, business has the capacity and the wherewithal to transform the fortunes of the continent.... And until the developed world relents on such issues as writing off Africa's debt, and opts for a truly free market in people and goods and not the selective patchwork of free markets and protectionism (all stated goals, incidentally, of NEPAD) -- until such economic utopia is realized, then the claims of neo-liberals for the global economy will always be a bad joke on the weak." Well... relenting on the debt sounds right, but 'truly free markets' would be an Economic utopia? Maybe if you're one of them billionaires....
Rich nations obliged to fund Africa: Mandela (April 9, 2002 / National Post) "Colonial powers have exploited the continent, and it is time now that they put those resources back for the development of the continent," said Mandela, prior to having his interview with reporters cut short by Jean Chrétien. Also see: Nelson Mandela seeks G-8 help in the fight against AIDS in Africa (April 8, 2002 / CP)
Canada hosts forum on Africa's development (April 8, 2002 / CIDA) "Susan Whelan, Minister for International Cooperation, today announced that Canada will host a conference, entitled Canada and Africa: A New Partnership, in Montreal on May 4 and 5, 2002"
Middle East crisis will not override the G-8 agenda, Chrétien says (April 8, 2002 / National Post) "You know, we don't want this meeting to be hijacked by actuality," says Chrétien. More on same issue: Chretien won't let conflict alter G-8 (April 8, 2002 / Calgary Herald)
On the hot seat, Jean clams up (April 8, 2002 / Edmonton Sun) "Jean Chretien talks a good line about his 'carrot and stick' plan to overhaul Africa, but when the rubber hit the road yesterday, he backed off. Chretien refused to condemn South Africa's strategy on HIV/AIDs even though a document prepared by Canada's High Commission for his visit said the plan is 'not perceived as providing the leadership and support required to combat the (HIV/AIDs) pandemic.'"
G-8 summit won't be distracted: Chretien (April 7, 2002 / Toronto Star) "While the subject of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might be mentioned, it will not be the main subject of the discussions, [Chrétien] said in response to a reporter's question." Meanwhile, George W. Bush "foresees new sanctions against Iraq to neutralize Hussein" and 'attack dog' Tony Blair has been barking in unison with promises that Britain would support any military campaign deemed necessary.
Chrétien, Mebeki duck AIDS controversy (April 7, 2002 / Toronto Star) An estimated 1 out of every 4 adult South Africans are HIV positive, and yet Thabo Mbeki has stated that he doesn't accept that HIV is the cause of AIDS, and continues to resist calls for increased anti-retroviral drug programs. Jean Chrétien, meanwhile, won't criticize Mbeki's AIDS inaction, saying "The implementation of these programs within each nation, it's done locally.... It's not done by us, so I have no comments about how it's being implemented by one nation or the other." Another article on the same issue is: PM silent on South Africa's AIDS policy (April 8, 2002 / National Post).
Seeking new deal for Africa (April 7, 2002 / Toronto Star) An overview of the personalities behind NEPAD, and a superficial look at NEPAD policies. Excerpt: "In his meetings with African leaders, Chrétien promotes the notion of selectivity. The idea is that an elite group of African countries that have made significant progress should be singled out for enhanced investment and assistance, in hopes they will be an example for their neighbours."
Africa aid policy a failure, PM says (April 6, 2002 / National Post) Chrétien claims that aid has not worked in relieving poverty. In fact, it has been shown to be increasingly effective in spite of the uphill battle created by the devastating effects of Structural Adjustment Programs and market liberalization (see: Now More than Ever, Aid is a Catalyst for Change (March 11, 2002 / World Bank).
Chretien defends African aid initiative (April 5, 2002 / Toronto Star)
PM will leave African tour for Queen Mother's funeral (April 3, 2002 / National Post) When King Hussien of Jordan dies, Jean Chrétien doesn't bother to attend the funeral service. But here we're talking about England, home to the great white imperialists - Cecil Rhodes, Rudyard Kipling, etc. - who wrote the book on African colonialism. Naturally, Chrétien wouldn't want to miss this one....
Put your tariffs where your mouth is (April 3, 2002 / Globe&Mail) This article is written as an obvious lobbying effort on the part of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, the agenda of which is to promote Asia-Canada trade. The specific goal of this organization regarding Kananaskis is to try to ride on the coattails of the African renewal project and have proposed tariff reductions expanded to apply to all LDC's (including Asian ones). In spite of this specific agenda, the article has a lot of useful information to offer relevant to this issue.
Chrétien visits Africa in effort to boost aid (April 3, 2002 / Globe&Mail) ... NEPAD is "a long-term commitment to increased aid to developing countries that embrace the required development model."
Africa tariff plan won't help or hurt, study says (April 2, 2002 / Financial Post) A study commissioned for the Canadian government concludes that dropping tariffs on textiles "would be of marginal benefit to the world's poorest countries but cause little harm to the domestic market either," yet the report predicts a "fearsome lobby from the [Canadian] supply-managed industries, dairy and poultry, and from textile makers over any suggestion of relaxation of tariffs." Something doesn't add up....
PM in Africa to forge new relationships (March 29, 2002 / Toronto Star) Spearheading the crusade against poverty, Chrétien and his wife Aline begin with "a week's holiday at an exclusive resort in the Moroccan city of Marrakech..."
Africans leaders meet to begin cleaning house (March 27, 2002 / Globe&Mail) The summit of leaders which took place in Nigeria has resulted in the announcement of new "peer-review mechanism" to enforce standards for governance across Africa.
African leaders discuss Western demands of reform-before-aid (March 26, 2002 / Reuters) Report on the outcome of the NEPAD-focussed summit of African leaders in Nigeria: "After meeting for five hours behind closed doors, the summit concluded Tuesday evening with a joint communique calling for the creation of an African Peer Review Mechanism and a 'Council of the Wise,' consisting of respected Africans, to monitor abuses of human rights and democracy and 'demonstrate to the rest of the world that African leaders are prepared to engage on the basis of integrity and mutual respect.'"
Ottawa targets trade barriers (March 25, 2002 / Globe&Mail) "An end to tariffs and quotas on some agricultural products will be at the centre of the package, but it could also include the elimination of protections for clothing and textiles as well as some other products, the sources say. The dairy industry and direct subsidies to Canadian farmers, however, are not on the target list."
Tough world out there for Africa's latest toddler (March 25, 2002 / Business Day) Is the political consensus in Africa necessary to keep NEPAD on track faltering?
South Africa's try for big league is overambitious (March 25, 2002 / Business Day) This Business Day editorial argues that Africa does not have a sufficiently large or sufficiently skilled elite to pull off something like NEPAD. The argument continues that South African interests are best served by charting an independent, non pan-African course.
Dlamini-Zuma punts Nepad in Canada (March 24, 2002 / Business Day) South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma calls upon the rich western countries to do away with Africa's foreign debt, describing it as "an albatross"
When all eyes turn to Africa (March 24, 2002 / Montreal Gazette) Tetteh Hormeku of Third World Network puts the African crisis in context with personal testimony of the betrayal that 'development' has represented for Ghana.
African Leaders to Discuss Continent's Recovery (March 24, 2002 / Reuters) Surprise summit will bring together African leaders in Nigeria over the next two days to formulate specific NEPAD resolution strategies.
Bush sets conditions for international aid (March 23, 2002 / National Post) Presently, the U.S. devotes "0.1% of its gross domestic product to official development aid, about one-third the world average, and a fraction of the 0.7% industrialized countries pledged to achieve by 2015." Bush declares that new money would be reserved for countries that follow "pro-market" economic policies.
Castro, Chávez Decry Inequalities, Condemn IMF (March 22, 2002 / Inter Press Service) NGO delegates applaud the statements by Castro and Chávez, and add that "The 'Monterrey Consensus', the final document to be signed by the official delegates, will not alleviate the problems related to poverty as it proposes to do, because it prescribes the same free- market strategy that created them."
Bonds that blind? (March 21, 2002 / Al-Ahram) More analysis of the African response to the Zim elections (and possible NEPAD repercussions)
Globalization Proves Disappointing (March 21, 2002 / New York Times) The Monterrey summit is producing admissions that globalization has been a failure for most countries, and yet this position is being used by people such as Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill to justify a 'need' for even deeper implementations of what are fundamentally neoliberal policies - as typified by the pre-approved Monterrey Consensus. Says O'Neill, in a statement which echoes the position of Robert Fowler (see the Feb. 15, 2002 / AP article below): "If we are going to have real economic development in the world, most of that will come from capital coming into those countries to create jobs. We are not going to do it with welfare." As is so often the case, Canada has been used to pave the way for U.S. policy. Incidentally, the article finds George Soros is in fine form, and quotes him: "The trend of globalization is that surplus capital is moving from the periphery countries to the center, which is the United States.... The U.S. government view is that markets are always right. My view is that markets are almost always wrong, and they have to be made right."
Canada drops to 17th among aid donors (March 20, 2002 / Toronto Star) "Canada's contribution of 0.25 per cent of national wealth in 2000 compares with an international average of 0.39 and pales in comparison to the country's high-water mark on generosity — 0.75 per cent in 1975." All of this was previously reported by the North-South Institute (see the Dec. 6 article below), but the facts deserve repeating on the occasion of the Monterrey summit....
PM plans to pitch aid on Mexico trip (March 20, 2002 / National Post) Well, not exactly - he is going to pitch the partnership (read 'blackmail') concept: i.e. when the poor start undertaking neoliberal reforms, and the rich will start 'giving' more aid.
Mugabe's treachery must not stop aid plan (March 17, 2002 / Toronto Star) This one doesn't contribute anything that we haven't heard before. Like some other mainstream media reports, it praises Chrétien's supposed charity and vision in placing the prerogative of NEPAD ahead of punitive considerations against Mugabe (in spite of sanctions having been imposed by Canada). Meanwhile, it is assumed without question that NEPAD is the answer....
Zimbabwe: The failure of 20 years of capitalism (March 14, 2002 / Marxist.com) Context for understanding the Zimbabwe situation (there is no explicit mention of NEPAD or the G8, but the relevance of this piece should be obvious).
Reconciling Mugabe and Nepad (March 13, 2002 / Zimbabwe Indymedia) by Patrick Bond. Offers some instructive background on how Zimbabwe ended up where it is at the moment, and how the situation may affect the fortunes of Mbeki and NEPAD.
Canada imposes limited sanctions on Zimbabwe, Chretien says (March 14, 2002 / CP) - While Chretien claims the moral high ground, African analysts "criticized the West for ignoring the most flawed elections on the continent - including one this weekend in the Republic of Congo - and focusing only on the vote in a country with a significant white population." Salih Booker, director of the advocacy group Africa Action, calls it a "sense of double standards."
Now More than Ever, Aid is a Catalyst for Change (March 11, 2002 / World Bank) - This study shows that contrary to periodic howling from right wing critics who claim that aid money is wasted, the use of development assistance has in fact been greatly beneficial and increasingly effective over the last 50 years. It also suggests that an additional $40 to $60 billion a year in aid will be needed to reach the Millenium Developmnet Goals — a doubling of current aid flows.
When in Chad, watch the vanishing-aid trick (March 9, 2002 / Globe&Mail) - A pessimistic look at the dilemma of misdirected aid. NEPAD is mentioned - but with a dismal lack of critical insight - and debt cancellation is conspicuously ignored.
G8 invites African leaders (March 7, 2002 / Rocky Mountain Outlook) - As many as 10 African leaders will be shuttled into Kananaskis for a "one- to two-hour closed-door luncheon" with the G8 leaders on June 27 (presumably followed by photo-ops) , and then whisked back to Africa.
A Partnership for Development and Peace (March 6, 2002 / World Bank) Here is James Wolfensohn promoting NEPAD with the slick, professional duplicity that we can generally count on from a President of the World Bank. The poverty alleviation rhetoric is laid on thick, and then, using a bit of sleight of hand, it is suggested that whatever positive results have accrued in the past have been largely due to private sector investment. This is in spite of the fact that the very same statistics used by Wolfensohn come from another World Bank report (Now More than Ever, Aid is a Catalyst for Change) which attributes the improvements primarily to foreign aid, and not to market liberalization.
PM to lobby Bush on plan for Africa (March 6, 2002 / National Post) - Chrétien continues to promote NEPAD and the idea that instead of being offered relief, Afica must export its way out of its problems (a classic IMF prescription - and largely disastrous for countries coerced into following it).
Africa a priority for G-8 (March 6, 2002 / Edmonton Sun) - "Chretien ...has a list of carrots to dangle in front of developing countries to entice them into improving their governments."
A Babel of Voices for World Summit (March 1, 2002 / Mail & Guardian -Johannesburg) - This article suggests that the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August will be used by South Africa to launch NEPAD.
Southern African Catholic Bishop's Conference statement on Nepad (March 1, 2002 / Southern African Regional Poverty Network) "NEPAD correctly states that current 'globalisation' policies fail to lift Africa out of socio-economic decline but then goes on to say that Africa therefore needs more of the same policies", said Mongezi Guma, director of the South African Council of Churches' (SACC) Ecumenical Service for Socio-Economic Transformation, pointing to paragraph 64 of NEPAD as an example. See also: Bishops blast Nepad's Plan (March 8, 2002 / Mail&Guardian)
Global Governance, NEPAD, and the G- 1/8 (March, 2002) article based on a presentation given before the Canadian Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Visionary All-Africa Plan Runs into Rich Nation Trouble (Feb. 22, 2002 / Gemini News Service) - this article is not so much critical of NEPAD as it is critical of the willingness of rich nations to hold up their part of the NEPAD 'partnership'.
A Look At the US's Stand On Aid, Trade And Nepad (Feb. 20, 2002 / Business Day) An Interview with Robert Zoellick, USTR, about NEPAD, AGOA, etc. Zoellick uses all the usual ploys, turning everything around to frame it within the ostensible benefits which will accrue to South Africa. Very slick, that Zoellick....
U.S. Trade Rep. Zoellick Sees "New Opportunity" for U.S.-Africa Trade (Feb. 19, 2002 / US Dept. of State Press Release) Kenyan President Daniel T. arap Moi revealingly talks about how NEPAD will remove old barriers that are limiting investors from investing in Kenya and across the region. Investors in Africa must be able to move freely from country to country, he said, if those investors and countries are to prosper.
South Africa could take a seat alongside the giants (Feb. 16, 2002 / The Sunday Independent) - an uncritical and uninspired report on the current round of negotiations between G8 envoys and leaders of the African countries spearheading NEPAD
African leaders cautioned against unrealistic expectations of attracting new aid, investment - (Feb. 15, 2002 / AP) Robert Fowler sets African leaders straight about the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD): "It's about putting in place the conditions that will allow investment to come to Africa, because private investment is going to bring to Africa far, far more than any foreseeable amount (of aid) could bring."
Bush Foreign Aid Budget Called Way Too Low (Feb. 13, 2002 / San Francisco Chronicle)
G-8 Leaders Show Support for NEPAD (Feb. 12, 2002 / allAfrica.com) brief analysis of basis of G8 support for New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). One of the stated reasons is that by "supporting NEPAD, the G-8 should defuse some of the antiglobalisation sentiment that turned violent in recent years."
What does NEPAD stand for? (Feb. 11, 2002 / Voice of the Turtle) - by Raj Patel. An important critique of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) which dismisses the initiative as a 'compradorist' sellout. The article concludes with this call for solidarity: "In Africa itself, activists, teachers, trades unionists and women's groups are mobilising against NEPAD. This mobilisation needs solidarity. It deserves international support, not because it can't be defeated without it - NEPAD cannot be allowed to happen - but because everywhere are facing exactly the same problem, of elites asset stripping countries, undemocratic government, increasing inequality and declining social services."
African Leaders Woo G8 (Feb. 9, 2002 / Kampala Monitor)
Conflict Used to Mask Theft (Feb. 8, 2002 / allAfrica.com) - "Global Witness, an NGO that operates in areas where conflict is fuelled by the extraction of natural resources, has called for tough measures against companies implicated in such activity.... Global Witness called on French President Jacques Chirac, who was to host the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) on Friday, to press for transparency over resource revenues to prevent NEPAD coming to stand for 'National Evasion of Public Accounting and Development'."
Blair Urges New Help for Africa Aid (Feb. 8, 2002 / AP) - Says Blair: "We need to be equal partners working together, and not like donor and recipient." Well yes, Tony, that's exactly the point - and the sooner there is comprehensive debt relief, the sooner the idea of being 'equal partners' will become a possibility.
Blair's 'heal Africa tour' doomed without full debt cancellation (Feb. 7, 2002 / Jubilee Movement) - aid must be backed up by comprehensive debt cancellation if the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people suffering extreme poverty is to be met.
AFRICA: NGOs Demand Arbitration Court on Debt (Feb. 7, 2002 / IPS)
Blair warns African poverty could have ripple effects in West (Feb. 7, 2002 / AP)
Blair's 'heal Africa tour' doomed without full debt cancellation (Feb. 7, 2002 / World Development Movement) - "recent welcome calls to increase aid flows, unless accompanied by wholesale debt cancellation for the poorest countries, will result in any new aid being squandered on debt repayments"
Blair Fires Warning to West as He Flies to Africa (Feb. 6, 2002 / Reuters)
Should African social movements be part of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)? - Notes from a speech given by Trevor Ngwane to the African Social Forum's African Seminar at the World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2 February 2002
U.S. Officials Cite Importance of African Oil to U.S. Economy (Feb. 1, 2002 / US Dept. of State) A VERY revealing article. As tensions in the Middle East mount and non-OPEC production falls, the U.S. plans to develop African sources, upping its reliance on African oil from the current 15% of total supply to 25%. Certain "prime energy locations" are mentioned, notably West Africa, Sudan, and Central Africa. A Defense Department official states that this means "U.S. trade, freedom of movement, government transparency, protection of U.S. interests are even more important in these [regional] areas, " and specifically mentions the need to "improve today's security for U.S. investments and operations" and "increase the level of accountable government and overall economic development that comes with adherence to rule of law, freedom of the marketplace...." The report continues with quotes from an economic specialist from the State Dept. who says: "By 2003, investment in the African oil industry will exceed $10 billion [thousand million] a year. Between two-thirds and three-fourths of our foreign direct investment in Africa will be in the energy sector."
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien addresses the WEF plenary session (Feb. 1, 2002) Jean Chrétien starts off nicely, but once he has secured the moral highground, it is back to business. The mask of good intentions is cast off and replaced with a call for "new foreign investment opportunities". Chrétien intones that "to sustain high levels of economic growth, Africa also needs more private sector investment and more trade." Here we go again.
A Cry For Help From The Congo (Jan. 17, 2002 / Canadian Newswire) - "A Canadian Bishop who returned today from a fact-finding mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) says the country feels it has largely been abandoned by the international community...The 'forgotten war' in the Congo has claimed between two and three million lives, directly or indirectly, since 1998. A recent UN report stated that more than 2 million people are still homeless; 16 million desperately need food; and health and education services, as well as infrastructures generally, have either been destroyed or are in a pitiful state. Vast portions of the country are under the control of foreign troops, and the Congo's natural resources, such as diamonds, gold and lumber, are being pillaged by foreigners.... Increased Canadian aid is more necessary than ever, both for the Congo and all of the African continent."
G8 Must Move to Reverse The Slide in aid to AFRICA - AMOAKO (Dec. 21, 2001 / Addis Tribune)
How CIDA aid does gross harm (Dec. 14, 2001 / National Post) - a right-wing critique of how Canadian foreign aid is spent. Appended to the article is a letter written by Gerry Barr of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) who maintains that the real problem with Canadian aid is that there isn't enough of it.
North-South Institute urges Finance Minister to increase ODA (Dec. 6, 2001 / North-South Institute) - Excerpt "In a letter sent to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Finance Minister Paul Martin, NSI President Roy Culpeper emphasizes that the foreign aid budget has been cut by 40 per cent over the past decade. 'Canada used to stand among the top five or six of the world’s most generous aid donors. Under your government, Canada’s position has fallen to 17th in 2001.'"
Will Africa pay the price for the war on terrorism? The War we Forget (December, 2001 / Alternatives) - Excerpt: "80% of African exports are derived from natural resources (minerals, natural gas and agricultural products). The prices of all these products are falling on international markets. Just to avoid a rise in poverty (and not to eliminate it) the World Bank estimates that $10 billion per year is needed. Meanwhile, over the past ten years money earmarked for development has been slashed dramatically. In Canada, for example, there is talk of reducing the aid budget by 30%, leaving Canada a long way from its stated aid objective of 0.7% of GNP [Presently, Canada's aid contribution to Africa represents about 0.27% of GDP]. The United States, Great-Britain, France and other developed countries have all reduced their aid by saying that in the era of globalisation Africa will be able to help itself by doing more business. Ten years later, the facts stubbornly refuse to correspond to the propaganda: African trade accounts for less than 1% of global commerce." The article goes on to talk about the debilitating influence of chronic conflicts in Africa, and it is sceptical that the current infusion of military support under the guise of the 'war against terrorism' will have any beneficial effect.
Africa will not be forgotten: Chrétien aide (Nov. 23, 2001 / Reuters) - report on Robert Fowler's early statements promising that Afican issues will be prominent in the next G8 agenda.
Tempelsman: 'Deals and Dialogue' Make Philadelphia Summit a Success (Nov. 9, 2001) An interesting interview with Maurice Tempelsman, former chairman of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), and who played an important role in framing the NEPAD. Notice how wishy-washy he gets when faced with the last question about how business intends to address the poverty gap in Africa (the clear answer would be: "it doesn't").
Bouteflika pour “un partenariat fécond” (Nov. 8, 2001 / El Moudjahid) - A report on Algerian President Bouteflika promoting NEPAD to Western business interests and Walter Kansteiner, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, at the Africa-U.S. business summit in Philedelphia. Bouteflika suggests that Africa expects FDI and security input from Americans as their part of the new 'partnership'. Algeria is the third largest oil producer in Africa.
Mammon mad (Sept. 19, 2001 / Al-Ahram) - Egyptian report which includes a brief but scathing appraisal of the New African Initiative (NAI), the project which was later renamed 'NEPAD'.
State slammed by anti-globalisation crowd (July 21, 2001 / Sunday Independent) - news report from South Africa about opposition to Genoa
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