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Many people feel cheated

By unknown | Jun 04, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

DAKAR - Suleimane Diallo has never heard of the G8. Nor have his two brothers, Alsine and Abdoulaye.

But these young Guineans, who sell fruit on the dusty streets of Senegal's capital Dakar, know what they need - money and jobs.

Two years after the Group of Eight industrialised states made lofty promises to end Africa's poverty - described by British Prime Minister Tony Blair as "a scar on the conscience of the world" - most Africans say they are still waiting.

"The rich should help us ... but we haven't seen much of it so far," said 22-year-old Suleimane in halting French.

Many say most pledges made at a 2005 "Year of Africa" G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland - to double aid by 2010, write off debts and end export subsidies - have not been delivered.

Apart from debt relief, where some African governments say they have seen some progress, the consensus from Tunis to Cape Town and from Dakar to Djibouti is clear - deliver.

"The G8 has not kept its promises at all, especially in the area of export subsidies," Gambia's Central Bank governor, Famara Jatta, said.

"There was a lot of rhetoric, but in terms of getting money on the table, it just hasn't happened," said Amina Ibrahim, who served as a development advisor to Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

As the G8 leaders prepare for their June 6 to 8 summit in Germany, development campaigners have published studies showing that real aid inflows to Africa from the club of wealthiest nations actually fell in 2005 and 2006.

Ibrahim said this had bred cynicism about the G8's promises.

"They need to meet their promises on aid and investment and they need to demonstrate how committed they are," said Collins Magalasi, head of ActionAid's South Africa Country Programme.

Many Africans, however, said their continent should do more to help itself. - Reuters


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