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Last Updated: Monday, 4 July, 2005, 22:22 GMT 23:22 UK
Q&A: What do G8 protesters want?
Protesters in Nairobi, Kenya
Many Africans say that fairer trade will do more to help them than aid
Leaders of the world's eight most industrialised nations are about to meet in Scotland amid a charged atmosphere.

Debt relief, aid for Africa and global warming are on top of their agenda, but critics say the world's leaders are doing too little too late.

BBC News looks at what the anti-poverty campaigners want - and what the leaders are likely to promise.

What do campaigners want ?

Firstly, campaigners want an increase in aid and want the richer nations to boost their giving to 0.7% of annual gross national income by 2010.

They say aid should not be linked contracts or economic conditions.

Another key demand is the total cancellation of unpayable debts which critics say are an unfair burden on poor countries that stunt development.

Campaigners also want a total overhaul of global trade rules, which they say favour the rich and perpetuate poverty.

What has been agreed?

The biggest breakthrough so far was last month's agreement to offer debt relief on money owed by poor countries to the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The front entrance of the Gleneagles Hotel
Security is intense at the Gleneagles Hotel

There also seems to be agreement on a plan to boost aid to Africa by $25bn by 2010/15.

As many as 13 European countries have also agreed to boost their aid budgets to 0.7% of gross domestic income.

But there has been little or no movement on trade issues.

How much will the agreements help?

That depends on who you talk to.

For the cynics, it will do little other than pad the bank accounts of corrupt African leaders and belittle a continent which already feels it is being patronised by richer nations.

The more optimistic say the agreements are a first step to setting right years of exploitation.

Even supporters of the plan say there are problems with what has been agreed.

Many African countries do not qualify for the debt relief, while others have had to negotiate less favourable terms.

Questions also remain about how the debt relief will be funded and there are concerns the grand gesture may fuel irresponsible borrowing in the future.

The picture surrounding the increase in aid is not all that clear either, and the plan of UK Chancellor Gordon Brown to double aid flows quickly by borrowing money from financial markets has not found much support.

Should aid be forthcoming, there are worries it will be tied to conditions such as reducing corruption, opening up domestic markets to foreign firms, and buying goods or services from donor countries.

What else can they do?

Ask most analysts and they will tell you trade is the key to a resurgent Africa.

It also is the most tricky issue and so far all sides have failed to find common ground.

Protester in Edinburgh ahead of G8 summit
There have been violent and peaceful protests in Edinburgh

At the heart of the issue are the trade subsidies paid to farmers in rich nations that allow them to sell products such as sugar and cotton at less than cost price.

These nations have also limited access to their consumers by erecting trade barriers that increase the price of imported agricultural products.

Farmers from poorer nations are consequently priced out of the market.

So far, the US and the European Union seem unwilling to make concessions on this issue.

In response, many African and poorer nations are resisting calls to open up their markets.

What will happen after the G8 and the demos are over?

Talks are set to continue, with global trade negotiations scheduled for Hong Kong in December.

A lot also will depend on what exactly comes out of the meeting.

Some analysts have questioned whether it will be possible to keep the enthusiasm and momentum going among protesters should the G8 become a damp squib of a meeting.

Others have said the events in Scotland may end up energising a generation and galvanising the resolve of politicians to make lasting change.


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