Summits | Meetings | Publications | Research | Search | Home | About the G7 Research Group
Edited by Vanessa Corlazzoli and Janel Smith
Civil Society and Expanded Dialogue Unit
G8 Research Group
June 24, 2005
Download the full G8 and Africa Final Report (PDF, 68 pages)
The G8 Research Group is an independent organization based at the University of Toronto. Founded in 1987, it is an international network of scholars, professionals and students interested in the activities of the Group of Eight (G8). To date it is the largest source of independent research and analysis on the G8, its member states, and related institutions in the world. The G8RG also oversees the G8 Information Centre, which publishes, free of charge, academic analyses and reports on the G8 as well as makes available official documents issued by the G8. With very few exceptions, any and all G8 documents referred to in this report are available on the G8RG website without cost.
This report was compiled by the Civil Society and Expanded Dialogue (CS-ED) Unit of the G8 Research Group under the leadership of Vanessa Corlazzoli and Janel Smith. The CS-ED Unit conducts research and analysis on the G8s ongoing relationship with major external stakeholders, namely Africa, prospective new G8 member states (China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa), and with civil society and non-governmental organizations. It follows up on G8 and Africa Interim Report: An Overview of the G8s Ongoing Relationship with African Development from the 2001 Genoa Summit to the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, the report issued in March 2005. In addition to the G8 & Africa Final Report, the G8RG CS-ED Unit is also releasing parallel reports on the G8 & Climate Change and the G8 & Major Developing States. All of these reports are available at no charge on our website at <www.g8.utoronto.ca> as of July 2005.
The G8 Research Group also hosts the G8RG Analysis Unit, which releases two reports per year detailing the G8s compliance with commitments made across a number of issue areas in the interim year between summits. These parallel reports contain further analysis on issues pertaining to the African continent as well as other issue areas of G8 activity defined more broadly. The G8RG Analysis Unit also releases a pre-summit report detailing prospects for the upcoming leaders meeting according to country and issue area with the latter featuring numerous themes related to Africa. These are available under Analytical and Compliance Studies at <www.g8.utoronto.ca>.
The G8 Research Group welcomes responses to this report. Any comments or questions should be directed to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. We are grateful to the many individuals from numerous communities who responded to our invitation to comment on an earlier draft of this report. Responsibility for its contents lies exclusively with the authors and analysts of the G8 Research Group.
[top of page]
In 2005, African development has come to the fore of the international policy agenda. In addition to the United Nations summit to review its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September, the United Kingdom has made Africa (along with climate change) the centrepiece of its agenda as it assumed the presidency of the G8 in January 2005 and the semi-annual presidency of the European Council in July 2005. In March 2005, the Commission for Africa, commissioned by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to develop bold recommendations for how the G8, the European Union and African states could pull the continent out of under-development, released its final report. Entitled Our Common Interest, the report recommends sweeping policy changes for the G8 including an increase in foreign aid by US$25 billion per year by 2010 and another US$25 billion per year by 2015 and the cancelling of all multilateral debt for the worlds poorest countries.
The question remains, however, whether the political desire and financial capacity exist among the wealthy states to translate the bold words of the Commission into bold action by the G8. It is the assertion of the G8 and Africa Final Report that future behaviour is best predicted by past actions. As such, this report situates itself as a compendium to the Commission for Africa, detailing what the G8 has achieved for Africa across 13 issue areas since the 2001 Genoa Summit as well as what it may commit to do for the continent at the 2005 Gleneagles Summit. In particular, it follows progress made on the Africa Action Plan (AAP) (see Appendix A), a comprehensive initiative agreed to by the G8 at its 2002 Kananaskis Summit to promote economic and human development of the continent. In many respects, the AAP is the forerunner of the plan to be agreed upon by the G8 at its 2005 Gleneagles Summit and is the best benchmark by which to gauge the capacity and consistency of the G8 with the African development portfolio.
Overall, this report concludes that the G8 has exhibited an engaged yet uneven record of adherence to its commitments regarding Africa since the 2001 Genoa Summit. Issue areas that garner the largest degree to attention from the G8 are those that require little coordination among G8 states, involve little obligation beyond the commitment of funds and produce ends that are both easily quantifiable and media-friendly. As such, the G8 has delivered an excellent record on debt relief (with its Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative), the bilateral financing of the Global Polio Eradication Campaign and African peace training centres, and the provision of funds and supplies, but notably not troops, for the African Union (AU) mission in Sudan. The recent commitment of the UK, France, Germany and Italy to raise their foreign aid to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) also moves official direct assistance (ODA) into this category. The noted exception to this trend is funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which, despite being similar in nature to other issue areas in this category, nonetheless demands such high levels of funding from G8 member states as to foster non-compliance.
The G8, however, registers far more poor levels of performance on a broad range of issue areas that demand a much different form of engagement from the member-states. Namely, these are commitments that require a large degree of long-term policy coordination and collective action of the part of the G8 states. As a loosely affiliated organization that does not host a secretariat, the G8 is not well suited to these tasks. This partly explains why large-scale G8 strategies on water and famine and food security, and even the development of the African Peacekeeping Force have been attracted little attention from G8 member states, let alone funds. The G8 also performs poorly on issue areas that lack clear quantifiable policy outcomes or policy wins. For example, good governance and the African peer review process are both critical portfolios in African development that, due to their open-ended nature and lack of clear, measurable policy successes, attract only moderate G8 attention.
As the following text details this policy track record of the G8 regarding Africa over the past four years, it is the overall assertion of the report that the 2005 Gleneagles Summit will represent a notable moment but not a watershed in the course of Africas development. The US$40 billion debt relief plan for HIPC countries agreed to by the G8 on June 10 will be symptomatic of many of the G8s action in Gleneagles: the package goes a long way in relieving the economic strain on Africa, but does not amount to a sweeping investment in the continent needed to radically change socio-economic conditions and the chance for development. The G8s debt deal, while a positive beginning, only clears one-sixth of Africas US$300 billion external debt. This pattern will likely hold for the issue of ODA where the G8 (perhaps without the US) will agree to boost aid levels but not by the amount of $50 billion per year by 2015 as the Commission for Africa had mandated and not through the International Finance Facility. The most significant surprise would involve Canada joining the UK, France, Italy and Germany in committing to 0.7% ODA/GNI although this is unlikely. As for agricultural subsidies, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) will likely see an agreement to lift all quotas and tariffs on their exports to G8 countries. Middle-income developing countries, including population giants India and Brazil, will likely have to wait for the outcome of the World Trade Organizations Hong Kong Ministerial in December 2005 to see if their farmers will be awarded a more fair deal.
On smaller issues, the G8 will likely release a polio action plan that commits to eradicating the disease within the next 2-3 years as well as an HIV/AIDS statement that possibly endorses funding the HIV Vaccine Initiative through a smaller, targeted version of the International Finance Facility. In terms of African peacekeeping, it is widely expected that the G8 will finally release an action plan to detail how it intends to keep its promise to train 75,000 African peacekeepers by 2010. On the Darfur file, few G8 breakthroughs are expected; the leaders will likely thank Canada for its commitment of troops and endorse North Atlantic Treaty Organizations offer of military advisors and transportation assistance to the AU mission operating in the region. Issue areas including water, food security and an international arms trade treaty will likely stall due to a lack of interest and may be dropped from the agenda altogether.
G8 Research Group
University of Toronto
June 24, 2005
|This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library and the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.|
|Please send comments to: email@example.com
This page was last updated February 09, 2007.
All contents copyright © 2005. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.