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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs