Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Saturday, 9 July 2005 17:19 UK

G8 summit diary: Your responses

Here we publish a selection of comments received in response to the pieces written for the BBC News website by Kenyan journalist John Kamau on his experiences at the G8 at Gleneagles, Scotland.

People like John Kumau must learn to say thank you before they ask for more. It is provocative to call an offer of $50bn a disappointment. Unfortunately, a small group of noisy Africans-mostly priviledged journalists and corrupt politicians without shame - have come to believe that aid from the rich countries is an inalienable right as defined in the Constitution of the United States. The fact is such people are the first and sometimes the only ones to profit form such aid while the teeming poor continue to suffer. They are already thinking of new cars and fruitless seminars organized in luxurious hotels. Let me say thank you to the G8. But they must make absolute certainty that every dollar goes to reduce mass poverty, and not to increase the ill-gotten wealth of a greedy few.
Samuel Adonoo, Keta, Ghana

Having worked many years in Africa, I have strong opinions on this topic. I believe that Mr. Kamau's analysis is spot on, with his statement that it is only Africans that can solve Africa's problem. What I would like to see is major trucking roads in a north south corridor and an east west corridor to promote trade within Africa. Strong market analysis' need to be done to determine what areas will produce and or manufacture what items. This will increase the need to have peace and it will get Africa ready for international trade. It is my opinion that trade is one of the economic answers for Africa but she must first establish trade within her own continent and then the internatioal arena.
Deborah Adelsperger, USA

Typical African response. When will Africans learn that their problems are their's and not everyone else's responsibility? Africa should not be a discussion topic in foreign summits. World leaders have far more critical issues to discuss like terrorism, which is becoming the new reality, and environmental issues. Why bother to discuss a continent of people who continually choose to remain backward no matter how much assistance they are offered?
Muthoni Waihenya, Nairobi, Kenya

Mr Kamau's diary is reflective and penetrating in scope and content; and it is representative of how majority of Africans feel on the double standards of the world's industrial and economic power-houses. I don't believe that they actually mean business as far as their "intentions" of eradicating poverty in Africa are concerned. Indeed, development aid is money and resources taken from the poor of the rich nations and given to the rich of the poor countries. In my view, this is one of the reasons development aid has not had any significant impact of poverty reduction in Africa.

Yes, Tony Blair has said that Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world. However, their rhetorics miserably do not seem to match their actions. And I think they are aware that G8 Summits are just talking shops. For them, I believe, the millinium goals, debt relief, poverty eradication, free and fair global trade, development aid, the digital divide, investment in Africa, and many of the hot global issues are mere public relations or publicity stunts, intended only to reap political capitals.
Nyenetu Jarkloh, Odessa/Ukraine

What is conspicuous by its absence is any comment on where most of the money will go. John Kamau knows well that less than 10% will ever reach the people. Mr Kamau you are in a unique position to shame these leaders, do you not have the courage to do so.

Canceling debt is really only canceling what has been stolen and would never have been repaid anyway. It's like offering a reward for a robbery that is worth more than what was stolen and when the thief shows up you don't ask him to give back what he has stolen and then happily hand him the reward. What a mad world we live in!
Richard Jones, Cardiff, Wales

Good Job Kamau, It takes a strong journalist to put the word out the way you did. If Kenya and Tanzania had ten people who can point the issues at hand as you did, we "East Africans" could be heard and solve many of our political communication problems.

John's story reflects the haughtiness of African leaders and the contempt with which they view the oppressed masses of the continent. Debt relief for Africa is an opportunity for African leaders to enrich themselves. This has been done before, by individual creditor countries, and all the African leaders of the time did was to enrich their foreign bank accounts with the money that would otherwise have gone to service the debts, and to buy fancy toys like expensive cars and private planes for theirs and their families use.

Until African leaders and their equally corrupt administrations cease their corrupt ways and put the people of Africa ahead of their own selfish gains, no amount of debt relief, live aid benefits or what ever you may call it will rid Africa of its poor masses, disease, illiteracy, civil wars and the like. Can anybody tell me how African leaders suddenly become so wealthy no sooner had they been elected into office?

It was great for me as an African in Scotland and involved in the Make Poverty History campaign to meet John and the other African journalists covering the G8 Summit.

The bombings in London are not only sad but have diverted the focus on the African agenda.

John should not only keep up the good work of trying to keep Africa informed of issues but should also continue to network with British journalist to keep up the pressure for the G8 to own its words and deliver on its promises. The question is what next after the marches and the G8 summit in Gleangles ? Should Africans wait for the next G8 summit or find urgent solutions on trade, aid and the debt problems. What can the African diaspora in the UK do to fight poverty back home ?
Norman Chipakupaku, Hawick -Scotland

John Kamau's story gives more of a street-level perspective than do the expensive media vans that he describes. And add an Africans perspective to that, and the total inaccessibility of the G-8 leaders in a world ripped by violence and poverty.
Mike Wahl, Rochester, N.Y. U.S.A.

This journalist somehow lacks the real feel of what the G8 is all about. A lack of understanding western ways of thinking shows through
J, Crowther., Christchurch uk

Hang in there, John. i support your way of thinking and find it a refreshing break from the entertainment that is being passed out as "news coverage"
bob massa, alton, illinois, usa

The focus never really was going to be on Africa anyway! I share John's sentiments regarding the barbaric acts of terrorism. I hope finally the anti-I.D.card crusaders will see the importance of this venture. My only worries are that when the G8 leaders turn south to London, they will note without fear nor favour that the seeds of terrorism must be uprooted. If they allow the sale of arms to blacklisted states and do nothing much to curb mercenary activity from the cities out there, then the monster will come back to haunt them.

It is time the world turned its attention to help find a lasting solution to the Somalia crisis (I hope this now brings Africa to the G8 agenda)as a failed state is breeding ground for these cowards called terrorists. But all in all, if we in Africa are expecting much in terms of debt write-off, surely Christmas will have come a bit early!
Joe Kokonya, Nairobi, Kenya

Aloha John, thank you, soooooo much for, sharing your candid impressions and reflections of the 2005 G8 Summit. You have accomplished more with your pen, paper and Internet connections than all those other journalists with their weapons of seduction and destruction. Your report just goes to show that we still are experts of Doing More With Less. BRAVO, my Brother! Forward!
Prema, Hawaii, USA

John Kamau´s G8 diary is an interesting and thought-provoking read. It is a refreshing change to read a report from a different angle, from someone who understands Africa from first-experience and who can really persuade us of the importance of the summit. I lived in Kenya until four years ago and I can understand and empathise with his sentiments, particularly those references to the Nairobi bombings a few years ago. It is great to read Africa reporting on a British website and, as John Kamau says himself, how can they refuse to admit African journalists to a summit about Africa?! Please keep writing - it is wonderful!
Anonymous, Oxfordshire

I think John's diary is quite interesting, it's not very often that you get the opportunity to read stories on important issues that concerns Africa from African journalists. We're often fed with stories from the western media who have very little understanding of Africa and its problems. Anyway, its a shame that there are no many journalists from Africa covering the summit. We're partly to blame, because it appears that we rely so much on their media houses rather than write our own stories. Keep it up John! i look forward to reading more stories from you.
John Kuusaana, Accra, Ghana

Can someone explain to me the point of the media circus attending each G8 summit ? Journalists do not sit in on the sessions, and so have to content themselves with written communiques, that could be transmitted more easily and cheaply directly to media outlets. The unnecessary, and no doubt, expensive hordes of media types at G8 meetings can only serve to give the oxygen of publicity to anarchists and their ilk whose sole aim is mayhem and destruction. John Kamau writes well, but seems a tad bored and under-utilised. Wouldn't he be better occupied giving the world glimpses of everyday life in his own country, and leaving Gleneagles to the hacks of his profession ?
Colin Berry, Antibes, France

You have made me cry! For some "strange" reason, reading about a summit about Africa held in Scotland seems extremely out of geographical perspective. I still don't believe that these men and woman(G8) have any idea of what it is to live with a dollar a day. It's incredible that they have to deliberate on the need to feed hungry human beings. It should be the natural response of sensible human beings. While they are talking children are dying. And they are still talking, and talking and talking... I know your pen and paper will take a sincere message to your people even if it takes longer and to us in the other side of the world.
Natalia Prats, Puerto Rico

To John Kamau's remarks that the summit should be held in Africa is right on. Then there would be little opportunity for all the G8's grandstanding antics and photo ops. These G8 personalities are so far out of the reality loop when it comes to understanding Hunger and want and having any compassion for the less fortunate...
William Dunne, Roseburg, Oregon, USA

I liked John's idea of the G8 summit to meet in Africa and live on a dollar a day or so.... change the perspective at the top of the Western hierarchy, and all money saved then donated to local projects, schools, clinics. Set up a kitchen tent for G8 accommodations.......
Iris Sedore, Goderich, Ontario, Canada

A real pleasure to read. This kind of sincere, thoughtful, and truthfully-expressed perspective is possible only when the people who live in the places under discussion are empowered to have their words expressed in international media.
maya devi, penang, malaysia

An illuminating diary, but hey, some of the comments - particularly by Yussuf - are short-sighted and simplistic. I was born in Tanzania and raised in Kenya, and I experienced the struggles of those on the wrong side of the poverty gap at first hand. My biggest struggle was with institutionalised corruption in high places in our own dear government, and with the great god 'Dash' [bribe]. I should like to see at least a nod in that direction from you, John. Consider this: the poverty gap between the North and South is miniscule compared to the one between the WaBenzi and the Wananchi [rich leaders and the poor] of Kenya - and let's not even mention all the other countries in Africa. No good the 'affluent West' pouring good money into a Mercedes shaped hole for the corrupt leaders of too many African countries to enjoy. With privilege comes answerability, and THAT is the one equation our African leaders appear not to want to accept. So forgive me if I don't exactly click my heels and shout 'hooray !
Dani Kaye, Royston, England

Thanks for your diary, John and the comments from around the world. Most countries especially 3rd world countries rely on resource exploitation, agriculture, mining to survive and sometimes they get out of the cycle either by exhausting those resources or not having that option and get to a manufacturing base from which more jobs and better wages push those countries out of the poverty cycle i.e. Japan etc. Africa and South America, which has been neglected somewhat in the poverty issue, have to develop their own manufacturing base, and the rich countries must help create the conditions for this to happen: markets, capital. Chile is a resource based economy but slowly is manufacturing its way out of poverty, likewise India.
Martin Quartermaine, Pucon, Chile

Thanks Kamau and thanks BBC for the forum. I am convinced the solution to African problems, poverty included will be found on the African continent by Africans. When the African people realise that "the reasons that explain your present state are historical and academic; the responsibility for the shift from your present to desired state is exclusively yours" and start working towards the realisation of their dream will the continent see change. Hungry in the sea of poverty in Africa, wounded in the conflicts of the continent and depressed by the troubles of the African people are sons and daughters of the African mother dreaming to replace dependant hope with confidence. The challenge for Africa lies in developing for these people a pedestal from which they can wake up and realise the continent's dream. The only product of the Scotland meeting will be media stories, which sadly, due to the London attack, may not make any headlines. Arise Africa.
Chege Osodo, Nairobi, Kenya

No matter what will be the results of G8 but still changes in a Africa will not come, African leaders they are not committed, We need to change ourselves first, before no body can change us. Accountability and democracy is not there in Africa which result in corruption.
Ali, Portsmouth,UK

It is a shame that Yussuf Dayib Ali is unable to accept one truth - poverty unites us all. The central European Balkan states are impoverished. So are many parts of the rural USA. We "Europeans" are well aware of the meaning of poverty - otherwise we would not feel the need to help African countries recover from problems which in general they have brought upon themselves by indulging in mindless ethnic violence and genocide (Rwanda, for example), racist oppression (Zimbabwe) or inept and corrupt leadership (just about everywhere else). Do not forget that in 1984 it was Mengistu who tried to conceal Ethiopia's famine from the rest of the world! European nations have compassion and understanding - we want to help! More co-operation and less cynical stereotyping would lead us all further down the road.
David, Kent, UK

It's a crying shame that anarchists have nearly succeeded in tearing attention away from what the summit is all about in the first place. We all have our share of loonies, but for the genuine among the protesters it must have been a harrowing experience being caught up in the melee. However, that being said it's all fine and dandy demanding our pound of flesh from the G8 leaders, but the real issue is whether that AID will reach those who really need it as much as Obasanjo failed so miserably to assure us.
Lenox Mhlanga, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Well done John Kamau and well done BBC for publishing your Diary. I salute you for being so bold and being one of few African journalist at the Summit. I wish some journalist from my beloved country Zimbabwe and across would emulate this.
Godfrey Zimunya, Harare Zimbabwe

It's a great suggestion to have the G8 summits in Africa. If the leaders of the Western World have a sincere concern in African poverty they should go see it. There needs to be more work done, by the G8, to listen to the African people and take action to help them in the way in which they want to be helped. The G8 is, currently, making plans for Africa without listening to what Africa says it needs.
Ronald Warner Brooks, Chicago, Illinois, USA

John, in the end, your writing may do more good than much of the aid that has been wasted in many African countries. I emphasize the word wasted because even when the intentions are sincere, the conditions for receiving it are not. First reduce protection of local industry (i.e. free trade), the you have very well paid expatriates supervising the projects and lastly the mostly outdated technology that is the content of the package.

Aid is big business... for the West. So there is little incentive to look for better solutions in an organized fashion.

I believe technology transfer and Trade are what needs to be discussed but they never seem to be. There are countries in sub Saharan Africa where there is no war and no famine but also no plan to help them trade more grow more as good examples. Good governance? I am still trying figure out, just how much the growth of China is being affected by communism. I suspect none. I also suspect that the Chinese will soon surpass the G8 in direct investment in sub-Saharan African because they are taking the time to find out the truth on the ground.
Weke Maina, Tokyo, Japan

I am a Kenyan. It's a pity that we do not have Africans reporting on their own plight. It's a failure on Africans that they should have to ask for help overseas to get anything done. Why can't we innovate our own way out of the mess we are in? It's time to stop blaming the West for trying to be part of the solution and start looking at ourselves as part of the problem and be part of the solution. The list is endless of how any problems we have, example is Kenya buying imported rice and refusing to buy from their own farmers and letting their rice rot in the granaries, thus stifling the growth of the local farmer.

Africans, try and be part of the solution and not the problem. Thank you Mr Kamau for reporting for us. We need more of you out there to point out the problem.
Zebby, Houston, USA

Thank you, Panos Institute, and thank you John Kamau, for an excellent, very warm account of Scotland and its people, in what is otherwise a depressing situation. We are all proud of John in Kenya, and throughout the world, and we hope to hear more from him, reporting of the goings on in our world.
Osunga Okello, Los Angeles, USA

Let us all hope that the current interest on Africa will yield positive result for the downtrodden on our continent. What follows "debt reduction" must be on the table NOW!! There must be transparency, accountability and responsibility by African governments. Someone must plan for that NOW!!
Damil Ghartey, Cary, N. Carolina; U.S.A.

You are an inspiration...give it full momentum and grease your way through the Glens. We are hungry for info....As a successful chef in this part of the world, I appreciate what you have gone through.... to get past the gates!
Dominic Muriuki, Belfast, N.ireland

Africa needs to make their current crop of politicians history before poverty can ever be made history. Africa needs a revolution, it needs managers to manage its vast resources effectively and profitably. It needs people with integrity that will genuinely stamp out corruption.

Most importantly it needs humans to lead them, not rats that want to eat anything and everything that comes their way. No matter how loud Geldof shouts at the current crop of African leaders, they will not hear a thing. They will go back to their "kingdoms" and continue doing nothing but enrich themselves, as their people die of poverty and disease. The main problem is that the people who deserve to lead don't have the money to support campaigns during elections and hence do not garner support from the electorate. The rich corrupt politicians end up winning as they have the resources to move to the villages and dish out money to the poverty stricken electorate and effectively buy themselves votes. God! save Africa
A. Omar, Reading, UK

'Poverty' yes the G8 hope to discuss poverty in Africa during their summit that is good and kudos to Mr. T. Blair and his finance Officer for championing the game. However, I will want African Leaders to map up plans on how they intend to properly utilize the dept freedom, if granted, for the benefit of the masses. AU take note.
Samuel, C. Wachuku, Kiev/ Ukraine

Go Man, You are our living witness to this great Event, Hope they really do something about African poverty, Not Just empty diplomatic rhetoric.
Phil, New York, US

From Zimbabwe to Sudan to Liberia to the Congo and Somalia, etc. all the aid will go into the pockets of the corrupt political leaders. What a joke, with all the money sent, unlike any other area in the world the leaders keep getting richer and the people sicker and poorer. ZERO AID FOR AFRICA until it gets its own house in order!!!! By the way, where are the world leaders in Africa, at the UN in their big fancy cars and at parties all night long. I know, I see it each and every day.
Mike, New York USA

Maybe history will show that you are lucky to be born in Africa in 21st century, not in Russia or Kyrgyzstan for example. I doubt that someone in EU will seriously help to tackle poverty in Russia for example. Europe and UK feel guilty for its' past plus current political situation (problem of illegal immigration) makes governments to think about Africa so much.
Vladimir, London, UK

Excellent writing John. So refreshing to read things seen through African/Kenyan eyes again. Please continue to tell the story as you see it and not as the big news agencies. We need the perspective of African eyes.
Clive, Milwaukee, USA

You see the G8 countries knows the problems of mother Africa; all they want is to see us killing one another,cos they very rich since they stole all their wealth from Africa. They want to be watching us like a cinema, is high time for Africans to be aware.
Baboucarr Ndiaye, Banjul, Gambia

Hi John, I'm a Nigerian journalist covering the G8 as well with my cameraman. I work with channels tv ,Lagos. The security has been tight but we are learning new ways to wake up even earlier. for coverage, let us take responsibility in the fact that most media owners see no need why they should spend money to cover issues that affect Africa from an African perspective, which is really sad, and we blame the west. So many things are going wrong with us because we don't take responsibility for our irresponsibility... Bob Geldof is putting pressure on the G8, how many African activists are putting up accountability campaigns in Africa? They are few...we must get more responsible!
Betty Dibiah, Lagos, Nigeria

It is so great to hear that the people of Africa are taking a more active interest in affairs that will directly affect them. I am worried that too many Africans living in poverty are under the illusion the western life is a perfect dream. It is not and its obsession with material wealth is a direct cause of hardship to all the world's poor. Please do what you can to dispel the dream of the West. We have a lot to learn from the indigenous communities and their low impact approach to living and their respect for Mother Earth.
Christy Collard, Cork Ireland

You soldier on Bw. Kamau, and I wish more of your colleagues could have made it even without invites... We have to learn to fight our own battles instead of always letting others fight our battles. All African papers should have used their papers to help fight for debt relief! When Africa realises that we would make our own best advocates, then we will begin to see change, and the same applies to the fight against poverty, we have to want it so bad that we accept nothing less from our leaders, the Millennium Development Goals are but the basic necessities of what a government should provide for its people, and we shouldn't have to be convinced to adopt and work towards these noble goals.
Nyambura Kimani, Nairobi, Kenya

As much as I hail what you are doing Mr Kamau I don't think it will accomplish much. Poverty in Africa and the oppression of the African people in not a new topic. The question is, how much have been accomplished? For years Africa has received "aid" from the West and big loans that we are now trying to repay. If the West had sincere concern for Africa, poverty would have been a thing of the past by now. In fact, instead of Africans repaying debts at the expense of their own lives, it is the West that should be paying for all the injustices that they have committed against Africa and the African diaspora. It is all about values and priorities, who is a superior human being and who has to prove that he is a human being in the first place. If we all believed that all people are equal, we wouldn't have to hold conferences to decide whether some people should be left alone to die of hunger, wars, sicknesses, and poverty or not, we would act urgently.

Therefore, a time has come when Africans should prove that they are real humans who deserve equal treatment by assertively demanding their rights. Otherwise if we wait for others to continue talking on our behalf it will continue to be "same old, same old" How about if all African countries agreed to default paying all the external debts, would we be auctioned? Good food for thought....
J. Mumbi Mugambi, Mankato, USA

Your refreshing honesty is a great relief to read since we inattentive North Americans have such a big brother media about the realities from another's perspective. Thanks and you may be surprised how many of us won't lose interest.
Monica Hose, Carbondale,Colorado, USA

Excellent job, Mr Kamau, and thanks to the BBC for hosting your diary. Africa is heavy with anticipation and expectation. I hope you will authoritatively break down for us the daily happenings there as they unfold. Your diary may well sustain Africa's hope and redeem the G8 from accusations of sheer self-interest.
Nyaga Munyi, Seoul, South Korea

Yes, Mr Ali, Europeans have been on the wrong side of things very often. We may be sinners and have blood on our hands. But before you criticise us, please have a look at your own nation and your own leaders, who do not know poverty, either, and who know only too well luxury paid for by aid from abroad and the taxes of the poor of your country.
Ryan Currie, Airdrie, Scotland

The AU has been meeting in Libya during the week. That is a bunch of people with a lot more influence on the future well-being of Africans than the G8. I wish Sir Bob would go and shout at them as well. Steve, Guildford, England

I would love to see Africa be allowed to go its own way, and maybe in time if the result of this G8 is positive, this will happen. Until then the continent of Africa will continue to rely on others to feed it or to care for it.
Jim Donovan, Halifax, Canada

High public office brings temptations of a lifestyle that isolates those representing us from reality and distorts their natural understanding and empathy with ordinary lifestyles. It creates disaffection through disempowerment and the insult of showbiz condescension and tedium.
Carol Tarrant and Bob Corn, Bucks, England

The Western world knows that aid is not what Africa needs. They know they have a hold on Africa, and as long as they continue to give aid, the more hold they have. Jobs are what Africans need - not aid. Stop giving handouts. Encourage more trade, businesses, entrepreneurship, etc.
Damola Akeredolu, Virginia, US

If there is any other nation that knows the colour, the strength, the size and implications of poverty, it is Sierra Leone. Tell those leaders that they don't consider us today, but we are determined to turn this nation round. Tell those leaders that we will fight. We will struggle, but we will survive and succeed in the end.
Abdul Bangura, Sierra Leone

Please keep writing John. The United States need to hear what's happening even though our own media thinks we have the attention span of a nanosecond.
Ken Ingram, Harrisville, West Virginia

The G8 are discussing nothing new. The old norm of session papers in European cities. Come home Mr Kamau and watch local media coverage instead of being wrestled down by a drama activist pretending to be protesting for African poverty eradication. Europeans nations don't know the meaning of poverty and its impacts.
Yussuf Dayib Ali, Nairobi, Kenya

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John Kamau is attending the G8 summit in Edinburgh with assistance from the Panos institute, a non-profit media organisation that works with journalists in the developing world.

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