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G8 disappoints sub-Saharan Africa

media G8 leaders pose for the cameras at the end of the Deauville summit Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

This year's G8 summit in Deauville wasn’t just about the eight most industrialised countries which make up the group. For the first time, the Arab League was invited, as well as leaders of nine African countries. But while the Arab countries might be satisfied with the outcome of this G8 summit, commitments to Africa did not go much further than well-intentioned words.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the G8 group intends to provide 40 billion US dollars (28 billion euros) to help democratic reform in north Africa and the Middle East.

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France itself committed one billion to help social and political change in Egypt and Tunisia.

Sub-Saharan Africa was represented by leaders such as Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Alassanae Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire.

But a joint Africa-G8 declaration lacked hard commitments.

Firmin Adjahossou, who works with the Episcopical Conferences of Africa and Madagascar said he was disappointed.

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He thinks G8 countries might be committed, but restrained by pressure from multinationals.

“They have a strong influence in the political arena and there are links between politicians and the private sector,” he says. “And since many multinationals are from the G8 countries they think it is an opportunity to commit themselves.

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“On the one hand they agree that they are rich and support a partnership with African countries. On the other hand they are not ready to put in place a good policy and strategy to achieve this goal.”

France will also host the G20 summit which will be held in November this year, at the seaside resort of Cannes.

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