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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs