30/05/2003

Report claims rich countries are 'failing' Africa

Africa continues to be let down by the world's richest countries, according to a report by development charity ActionAid, which has been released ahead of today's summit of G8 nations in France.

The report - entitled 'Wishful Thinking' - examines what each G8 country has done to tackle the issue of development aid since the launch of the Africa Action Plan, unveiled at last year's G8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada.

According to the report, there has been a failure on a broad scale to commit to realistic action on any of the proposals contained within the Action Plan, which is now supplemented by the danger that Africa's problems could be sidelined in favour of focusing on the situation in Iraq.

The greatest failure, ActionAid says, can be seen in the area of trade negotiations. The charity blasted the US for blocked negotiations which could have given poor people access to cheap drugs for AIDS, and several European countries which have yet to dismantle agricultural subsidies which help undermine the livelihood of farmers in the developing world.

Charles Abani, director of ActionAid Nigeria, said: "It is no good the G8 nations telling us they will get round to Africa's problems some day. Children cannot wait for their education. People with AIDS cannot wait for drugs. Our message to the G8 leaders is, don't keep Africa waiting."

(CL)

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