News / Africa

G8 to Tackle Trade, Taxes, Transparency

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
Britain is hosting this year’s G8 summit, which gets underway next week (6/17-18) in Northern Ireland. Prime Minister David Cameron has listed the major issues he wants leaders to tackle when they gather at the Lough Erne resort.

G8 Research Center Director John Kirton said leaders have known for months the top issues on the summit agenda.

“David Cameron said back in November last year that he wanted his summit to focus on trade, tax and transparency. And since then, rising up on the agenda has been another T – terrorism -- and then of course the escalating war in Syria.”

Even before it starts, Kirton says the summit is shaping up to be one of “significant success.”

“A lot of their achievements actually come in advance – down payments – as countries try and accommodate to their partners on the long pre-announced British themes,” he said.

For example, this month’s London summit on malnutrition saw governments and business pledge an additional four billion dollars over the next seven years. That doubles current spending on malnutrition.

“So this summit has already done much good for the poorest countries and the poorest people. There’s still a lot more to be done because of course we’re all committed to reaching the eight Millennium Development Goals in 2015. That’s coming fast and a lot of them have not yet been met,” he said.

Progress, said Kirton, is also being made on trade. After four years, negotiations are in their final stage between the European Union and Canada on a Free Trade Agreement.

“So that would get the summit off to a good start. It would also give everyone in Washington the confidence that if they announce, here at Lough Erne, the start of formal negotiations for the much bigger free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States that Europe could actually deliver a big deal on a much shorter time frame, that the Americans need, than the four long years it took with Europe to get the Canadian deal done,” he said.

On the issue of taxes, the summit will address tax evasion and avoidance. The British government says the aim is to “strengthen international standards to allow countries to collect tax that is due them.” That would be done through greater sharing of information.

The third major issue of transparency concerns ownership of land and companies and business deals done with developing countries.

Kirton said, “On transparency, the key task here is to get poor governments, especially in Africa, to actually receive the money that they deserve from their vast oil and gas and mineral wealth and not have it syphoned away through bribes, through corruption. So if people would just publish what they pay – join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – that would go a long way to keeping African money in Africa working for them.”

In recent years, some observers criticized the G8 as being obsolete, saying that the G20 was more relevant. However, Kirton said the G8 reasserted its role during the global economic crisis. Both groups, he said, are needed.

“What we see here is that David Cameron has designed this summit to do trade, tax, transparency – key economic subjects -- as well as development and security. So I think what we see now is the two Gs – G8/G20 – actually working together giving the world two summits a year at a time when you really can’t just wait for, or rely on, one.”

The G8 Research Center is based at the University of Toronto.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs