News / Africa

Euro Debt Crisis Sidelines G20 Efforts to Focus on Developing World

Development groups push for more progress on development aid, accountability and corruption

Multimedia

Audio
William Eagle

The president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, had planned to use his leadership of the G20 this year to highlight some of the needs of the developing world. Instead, the focus of G20 summit in Cannes has been on the threat of a Greek default and destabilization of the eurozone.

Europe’s financial crisis affects more than the 27 members of the European Union.

“There is a direct relationship between the crisis in Europe and flows of resources to Africa and development efforts around the world,” says Sam Worthington of InterAction, the largest U.S. coalition of non-profit organizations devoted to debt relief and development.

“Europe is one of the biggest centers of remittances around the world,” he explained. “As Europe gets poorer, those remittances begin to dry up. European banks have a large presence in Africa, bank credits will also continue to dry up. And as European countries begin to try to deal with their own fiscal crises, one of the first areas where we fear we will see cuts is in official development assistance.”

Famine and food prices

It’s ironic, Worthington said, that the debt crisis in the eurozone comes at the same time as the first famine of the 21st century in the Horn of Africa, with 13 million people being food insecure and another 750,000 people at risk of starvation. Contributing to the situation is the growing volatility of food prices, an issue that is also to be considered by G20 leaders.

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) walks with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, after Obama's arrival at Espace Riviera for the G20 summit in Cannes, France, November 3, 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) walks with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, after Obama's arrival at Espace Riviera for the G20 summit in Cannes, France, November 3, 2011.

“The solutions being offered here in Cannes,” said Worthington, “are important but not sufficient. One of the big proposals being debated in the communiqué right now are issues of food stocks in West Africa. At this point in time, it looks likely that some form of food reserves will be put in place but only for humanitarian uses in Africa. The broader question of regulation of food prices and the deeper fulfillment of the commitment made by the G8 at L’Aquila for f 22 billion dollars [in development aid] still remains elusive.”

Strengthening the safey net

Another goal of the G20 is to find new ways to improve the social safety nets of developing countries and support for development, education and climate mitigation. One proposal, back by Microsoft entrepreneur Bill Gates, calls for a tax on international financial transactions.
Some countries, including the United States, Britain, Japan and Brazil, oppose the tax.
“The UK will clearly not be on board,” said Worthington, “so it will come down to Germany, France and other euro countries, a process that will need to make it through to [European Union headquarters in] Brussels.

“It is unlikely France will act alone,” he continued. “We are seeing some support from South Africa and other groups. African countries have largely been silent in support for this tax, but if it is put in place it could generate up to 60 billion dollars in revenues.”

He said supporters of tax are using a two-part approach.

“The real question is what will be its uses?” he said. “Some in Germany say it should be used to offset deficits within European countries themselves. The battle for the tax itself is a big one. But the bigger battle is will this tax be used as a tool to finance some of the repayment effort s and financial efforts associated with Greece ?

The concern of NGOs, he said, is that the poor and development projects will not benefit in the long run.

French gendarmes stand near an anti G20 demonstrator who takes part in protest against globalization and tax havens, at the French-Monaco border in Cap d'Ail, November 3, 2011.
French gendarmes stand near an anti G20 demonstrator who takes part in protest against globalization and tax havens, at the French-Monaco border in Cap d'Ail, November 3, 2011.

“Our real cry here in Cannes,” said Worthington, “is that the problems the developed world is currently experiencing should not mean solutions are done on the backs of the world’s poor.”

He adds that with global interconnectedness, the answers to the sluggish world economy require inclusive solutions.

Inclusive growth means support for development efforts.

“The growth in Africa and in other parts of the world are now central to the well-being of people [everywhere],” he said.

“So there is now a direct economic relationship between development efforts in Africa, growth in African countries and the longer term global recovery,” said Worthington

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs