The G8 summit gets under way in Italy today and I understand that on top of the agenda is the effect of the credit crunch on folk in the developing world.
Yesterday I wrote about the Millennium Development goals as well as the fact that Italy is one of the countries that has failed to meet the pledge it made to the developing world and has been accused of creative accounting.
Assuming that this assertion is right, can Italy justify its actions? Stepping into the role of devil’s advocate, parts of Italy are very poor, I can’t forget a Bus ride from Naples airport to the train station! We drove through some of the poorest neighbourhoods I have ever seen in Europe in fact because the windows were down the neighbourhood children threw broken china through the windows for fun! Should Italy send money to Africa or use that money to tackle problems of poverty in its own back yard?
Does Italy’s “refusal” to meet it’s pledge expose a much wider issue, one of sustainability perhaps? Can we in the west sustain sending AID to Africa?
According to economist Dambisa Moyo the answer is no and if there is one thing the recession can teach us is that if your own needs are not met then it is impossible for you to help others. Could that be the reason that France and Italy have “failed” to meet their pledges? They need the funding for their country’s folk?
One of the issues that is up for discussion at the G8 Summit is the economic down turn and how that has affected people in the developing world. At this point I turn to another for of AID be it an unreported one, REMITTANCES. This is the money that Africans in the diaspora send home to their relatives and at some point this amounted to between 4-6 billion dollars!
Such was the concern about the dependency this creates that the head of the Ugandan Investment authority pleaded to the Ugandans in the UK to stop sending this money and instead invest it in meaningful/income generating ventures. “you are making us dependant” she pleaded, and you don’t realise this is a form of AID” at the time when we are trying to stand on our two feet and develop sustainable investment and means of income this is near impossible.
“We need to learn to go out and work and make ends meet but if you give us money week in week out that encourages us to sit back and wait for it and ask for more”
Well I say, with the recession it would appear her pleas were answered! But the twist in the tale here is that it was reported earlier this year that people in Africa are said to be sending money to the people in the UK who used to send them money!
The point of this, is that the people back in Africa want to sustain their people in the UK and when the economic situation improves that money would start flowing back to Africa. If the people in diaspora return to Africa, that is pretty much the end of the Money!
So there you have it folk, governments that pledged more money for Africans can’t afford it nor can the diaspora. Is it time for a new deal for Africa? Will folk at the G8 summit in Italy come up with new way and sustainable ways to lift the bottom billion of the developing world?