G8 and International Development

On the third day of meetings at L’Aquila next week, more than 20 African leaders have been invited to participate in discussions with G8 countries on development assistance. The global economic crisis has changed the financial circumstances of the leading industrialized nations, and their continued support for aid is put in doubt.

In this video, Gregory Chin interviews Dr. Diery Seck, Director of the Centre for Research on Political Economy in Senegal, on his expectations for new aid commitments to Africa at L’Aquila. In 2005, the G8 committed to double its aid to Africa by 2010, as a percentage of GDP. With the deadline quickly approaching, many from the group have not made significant increases. Dr. Seck notes that the Gleneagles pledges, and the ensuing Commission on Africa, raised a lot of hope that new resources would be mobilized for African states. However, “recipient countries feel that these commitments have not been met.”

The Italian hosts of this year’s summit have announced that it will seek to deepen accountability of such commitments in the future. Yet, based on the previous track record, Dr. Seck sees more of the same, business-as-usual approaches by the industrialized world to Africa. There persists a system without enforceability, where leaders are not obliged to carry-through with pledges at the domestic level made during informal international meetings.

The emerging powers of China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico will feature prominently at the L’Aquila summit, where the final report of the Heiligendamm Process will be released. These countries have also enacted new aid strategies through South-South Cooperation and direct assistance. Dr. Seck identifies the BRIC countries as a potent source of different aid arrangements, with a different skill-set and willingness for assistance than the traditional DAC member donors.

Disclaimer: This blog is solely intended to spur discussion, while the opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI, Chatham House or their respective Boards of Directors.

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