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G8 Summit on Economic Concerns Wraps Up in St. Petersburg


The annual G8 Summit on economic concerns has wrapped up in St. Petersburg, Russia. The leaders approved pledges to uphold fair competition in energy issues, increase investment in energy markets, steer growing global demand for energy in environmentally sound directions, cooperate in educational programs, and monitor infectious diseases.

Monday and Tuesday, the leaders of developing countries invited to the summit have their opportunity to review their development needs and the state of the world economy in joint meetings with G8 leaders.

Among those attending are South African President Thabo Mbeki and the chairman of the African Union (AU), President Dennis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, along with the leaders of Brazil, China, India, and Mexico. They will consider such issues as energy, security, African development, and epidemic diseases.

VOA English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser spoke with broadcast reporter Dumigani Nkwamba, presidential correspondent for SABC radio, the South African Broadcasting Corporation. “This morning, President Mbeki and of course the chairman of the African Union and the other leaders of the developing countries will participate in a roundtable discussion with their G8 counterparts. The same questions, relating to energy security and supply, will be debated.”

From St. Petersburg, Nkwamba told Howard that this year’s goals have an even more urgent tone because of the outbreak of hostilities in the Middle East.

“The issue that managed to steal the show is the issue of the conflict in the Middle East. You talk about, say, the recent bombings in India, in Mumbai or other issues. They don’t necessarily feature in terms of discussions here at the summit. But the Middle East is an issue of concern, not only for leaders of the developed world, but for leaders of these developing countries, including African countries. Obviously, the issue is for both sides to cease hostilities, as the developed nations, the G8, have said in their joint statement.”

Today’s discussions with developing country leaders are designed to bridge the dialogue between the G8 and developing nations on energy policy. They will also pay close attention to improving their facilities for monitoring the spread of infectious diseases.

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