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G8 Summit Concludes with Little Mention of Africa

The G-8 summit concluded in St. Petersburg, Russia, Monday with little attention focused on Africa – except for a session attended by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and the African Union.

However, one Africa analyst does not agree that Africa was short-sighted by the meeting.

Yolanda K. Spiers is the head of the Protocol and Diplomacy Unit of the Center for International Political Studies at the University of Pretoria. She told English to Africa reporter William Eagle “I didn’t expect as much from this summit as I did from last year’s. I think if people did they were slightly naïve.” She says she sees encouraging signs that the G8, and in particular Britain and France, remain consistent in their support for Africa: “ Britain… rallied other countries to start the process of writing off debt to the most indebted countries, and (we find encouraging) France’s pressure for a progress report for the summit next year in Germany…Those (two) countries are committed to a process of getting Africa out of the poverty trap.”

Ms. Spiers says it’s important for Africa to have G-8 support, but she says the continent’s leaders need to take responsibility for happens within their own countries. Political oppression, she says, stunts economic growth. She says the continent needs to pull itself up by its bootstraps.

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