Africa Supporters Share Demands and Disillusions

    The African Progress Panel is calling for higher investment in infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and communications. Funding these sectors could help to turn the current economic crisis into an opportunity for the continent to follow a clean development model that addresses climate change, according to the panel.

    "Investment in these sectors will not only generate jobs and boost trade in Africa, but also create markets for the world," argued APP's latest annual report, released June 11.

    The global economic downturn has probably affected Africa more than any other regions in the world and assistance is needed from rich countries. The continent "cannot tackle the current situation alone. There is a shared responsibility for the crisis that requires joint responses based on strong partnerships," according to the panel, which is chaired by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general.

    Indeed, developed countries must keep their aid delivery promises, APP stressed. APP also asked the members of the G8 and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to extend the deadline for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Program.

    The next G8 summit will take place July 8-10 in Italy. According to its official Web site, fighting poverty in Africa will be a central theme.

    Meanwhile, a report by One, the advocacy group, paints a different picture of G8 priorities, and especially of two of its members, Italy and France. The report assessed the performance of the G7 countries in meeting their aid objectives towards Africa since 2005, when commitments were made at a summit in Gleneagles. Only one third of the promised assistance was delivered and the report indicated that France and Italy were "80 percent responsible of that shortfall." For example, Italy has only delivered 3 percent of the increase it had promised, according to One.

    These figures led the report to claim that "based on its performance against the Gleneagles commitments, it (Italy) has no credibility to host discussions of such global importance."

    Annan is, of course, fully aware of this. He wrote the introduction to One's report.

    About the author

    • Antoine Remise

      Antoine is a former international development correspondent for Devex, based in Paris. He holds a bachelor's in political science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques of Lille and a master's in development administration and planning from the University College in London. Antoine has conducted researche for development projects in Chile, Senegal and Uganda, notably on education, health, local saving systems and housing issues. He is fluent in French, English and Spanish.