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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
G8 'is failing Africa'

By Mark Doyle
BBC world affairs correspondent

The British charity ActionAid has described the lack of progress by rich countries on implementing fair trade terms for Africa as a scandal.

Farmers on horseback in Ethiopia
Subsidies mean African farmers loose out
Ahead of Friday's G8 summit, ActionAid said promises made at the last meeting of the world's rich nations had not been kept and Africa was again slipping off the agenda in favour of Iraq.

Thursday's report by ActionAid is not a simple appeal for funds.

In fact it welcomes an increase in development aid to Africa over the past year, but it says it is just as important, if not more so, that there should be a level playing field on trade so Africa can improve its lot without charity handouts.

Africa is not doing enough to attract the positive attention of the world
Zicomo, Zimbabwe

It says the domestic agricultural subsidies paid to European, Japanese and United States farmers stop African crops getting fair access to external markets.

It also says that the selling of subsidised products in Africa - commonly known as dumping - compounds this injustice by distorting the market further.

The report said some individual G8 countries had made limited progress on the issue but that collectively the rich world had shirked its responsibilities.

Drug profits

The report's authors also condemned the US for blocking African access to cheap generic drugs in an effort to protect the profits of the US pharmaceutical industry.

At their last summit in Canada, the G8 countries promised wide-ranging progress on these issues after British Prime Minister Tony Blair described the plight of Africa as a scar on the conscience of the world.

But according to ActionAid the failure to collectively keep these pledges made a mockery of last year's summit resolutions.

The agency made a series of recommendations to the rich countries meeting in France on Friday.

These include an end to agricultural subsidies, dropping opposition to cheap generic drugs, and stopping the practice of tying aid to the sale of donor country products, which often means large amounts of aid never actually leave the shores of G8 countries.

Has the G8 helped Africa?
16 Jan 03  |  Business
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15 May 03  |  Americas
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28 Jun 02  |  Business
Africa demands swift G8 action
28 Jun 02  |  Business
What is Fair Trade?
18 Jun 02  |  Business
Cotton subsidies squeeze Mali
19 May 03  |  Africa


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