One year on from Gleneagles, Civil Society calls on the African Union to hold G8 to its promises

Published: 27 June 2006

Banjul, The Gambia – Four leading African and International non-governmental organizations today called on African Heads of States, gathering in Banjul for the 7th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, to hold the leaders of the G8 to account for the last year’s promises on Africa at the upcoming G8 Summit in St Petersburg, Russia.

The four organizations specifically called upon the African Union Heads of States to:

  • Assertively demand deeper and wider debt relief for all African countries that need it during the G8, and failing this, actively consider declaring a moratorium on debt repayments and if necessary, repudiation of these debts

  • Fully implement the commitments by African Governments on Education for All and African common position on universal access to treatment

  • Seek agreement on multilateral trade rules that meet the interests of the people of Africa and resist the Economic Partnership Agreements in their current form

At the joint press conference attended by representatives of World Vision, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, the Education for All Campaign Network of The Gambia and Oxfam, the organizations reviewed the progress of the promises made at the last year’s G8 summit in Gleneagles in Scotland. The four organizations work in over two thirds of Africa and have been monitoring the delivery of African and G8 commitments made over 2005.

“While G8 leaders continue to congratulate themselves on their own pledges, one mother dies every minute and a child dies needlessly every three seconds due to the lack of serious delivery of those promises. At the same time African Governments must keep their own promises to tackle corruption head on and increase spending on education and health.” said Irungu Houghton of Oxfam.

Although the debt cancellation deal agreed last year was a significant step, the delivery of the deal is not fast enough and does not cover all the countries that should benefit from it. Charles Mutasa, Executive Director of AFRODAD said, “Debt continues to tear down schools, clinics and hospitals in a way that is more devastating than war. Is our generation going to be more than a series of broken promises? How we live is far removed from how we ought to live.”

The full amount of finance available since Gleneagles for poor countries to fight poverty is much less than that is announced by the G8, as 80% of this increase consists of the one-off debt cancellation for Iraq and Nigeria. Amboka Wameyo, Africa Advocacy Advisor of World Vision, challenged the G8, “If the G8 leaders meeting this year do not live up to Gleneagles pledges, 15 million children affected by HIV/AIDS will have no hope of surviving beyond the age of 18. Leaders must show their commitment to these children urgently, or lose their relevance and legitimacy in the eyes of the public.”

The Education for All Campaign Network in The Gambia urged all member states of the African Union to take the commitments made in Dakar 2000 and Gleneagles 2005 on education for all seriously. Matarr Baldeh, the Network’s coordinator said “Civil Organizations have done a lot of advocacy on these commitments, now it is time for action. We know education is one of the tools that could eradicate poverty, and for African integration to move forward, the education agenda must be high on the African Union Agenda.”

Contact Information

For further information and interviews, please contact:
Taylor Thompson, Oxfam, Washington, DC: +1-202-496-1173
Lauren Gelfand, Oxfam, Dakar: +221-639-4178
Takumo Yamada, Oxfam, Tokyo: +220-7034632 (mobile)