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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 July 2005, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Helping poor 'a lifetime's work'
A child in Malawi

Chancellor Gordon Brown says progress has been made in tackling poverty but it will take more than one G8 meeting to determine Africa's long-term future.

He told the BBC: "It is a lifetime's work where we empower the people of Africa and the developing countries to make decisions for themselves."

But he said agreement on two key areas - a doubling of aid for poor countries and 100% debt relief had been reached.

And he said the Live 8 events were an example of Britain at its best.

Live 8 crowd in Hyde Park

They were proof that "people can have power if they make their views felt".

G8 leaders are due to begin their three-day summit in Gleneagles in Scotland next Wednesday, with poverty and climate change high on the agenda.

"We have already seen an agreement in the last few days for 100% debt relief for the poorest countries," Mr Brown told BBC News 24's Sunday programme.

European aid for poorer states was also set to double.

Mr Brown added: "We've now got 13 European countries that have accepted a timetable for moving to 0.7% of their income spent on aid - something we've never achieved for 30 years despite all sorts of attempts."

"So, on one or two of the major issues there has indeed been a great deal of progress," he said.

But he stressed: "It is not a week's work at the G8 that is going to determine the long-term future of Africa or the developing countries."

The Pope has also joined in calls for world leaders to take action to stamp out poverty in Africa.

He urged them to take concrete measures to eradicate starvation and help poorer countries to develop.

Following talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac expressed hope for a possible deal on climate change. "We are waiting to know the American position," he said.

Trade hopes?

The G8 summit will be chaired by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

WHAT IS THE G8?
Name
Group of eight major industrialised states, inc Russia
Members
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK, US
Aims
Originally set up to discuss trade and economic issues
Now leaders discuss global issues of the day
2005 Summit agenda
Africa
Climate change

The UK government is promoting proposals, which came out of a report produced by the Commission for Africa, which he established.

The commission recommended: 100% debt cancellation for the poorest nations, the doubling of aid to Africa, the removal of barriers to trade with African nations, and improved governance.

While commitments have already been made on aid and debt relief, little concrete has been achieved on fair trade - which many African leaders and poverty campaigners see as crucial if the continent is to develop.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said that trade was the only way to convert humanitarian assistance into economic sustainability in Africa.

But he added: "It's not a simple we throw a switch, we pull a lever and we have reform overnight for the benefit of all developing countries.

"Different developing countries have different interests and different needs and we have to accommodate them all."

Last week, President George W Bush proposed doubling US aid to Africa over the next five years, a move which would see US aid rise to $8.6bn by 2010.

He said this would happen if African leaders made a commitment to honest government and the rule of law.

Scepticism however remains.

"We are still no where near a deal that will effectively tackle global poverty. So far the UK government is largely serving up spin and hype. On the eve of such a crucial summit, Africa deserves more," said Steve Tibbett, head of policy and campaigns at ActionAid UK.


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