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Poverty Weekend 2005

7.01.2005

Well, from here on in this weekend is likely to be overtaken with the issues of Africa and the Make poverty History Campaign. That is of course before one considers the Live8 gig tomorrow. The talking heads will be consumed by the whole G8 summit on wednesday at which there is actually work to be done for a change.
This is a wonderful opportunity to educate the broader population about the issue of Africa and the way our lifestyle can contribute to their current plight. Of course this is not simply a time for public guilt fest and ignorance of local issues but this weekend has the potential to do something rather big.
It also has the potential to rather little at all. It is this G8 summit that will lay the ground for the rich countries response/preperation for Hong Kong this summer, and it is toward such negotiations we should all look for real movement on the issue of market subisdies and access. In the run up to events like the G8 and Hong Kong it is not only Bob Geldof whom we should be looking at, there must be mobilisation of African campaigners and politicians and developing world coopeatives where the demands rest. Tomorrow is a chance to give a voice to more than the interests of the west.
The prospect is that on Debt the majority of private debt will remain, on Aid there will be a nominal boost with strings attached, on trade one can only see further liberalisation beofe access is guaranteed.
This is unmanageable so we must be aware of what is success and what is failure before the spin kicks in. Failure is more of the same. Failure is increasing dependency on Aid without offering the prospect of wealth generation. Failure is the enforcement of western liberal solutions instead of support for homegrown solutions. Failure is the continuing blind eye turned to African Death and Civil war. Failure is the reluctance to ensure support of all democratic campaigners and securing those with the bravery to speak out.
Success is the adoption of string free debt relief, the cooperation of private debt holders in relieving deb, the increase in conditionless aid, the promotion and protection of pro democracy campaigners, the strengthening of current democratic regimes and the reform of export markets to allow fair competition.
The odds are a middle of the road fudge of all the above and spun to our satisfaction. Still the headlines and the interest generated by MPH and others is commendable in provoking interest in learning on African issues.
im sure at this stage i dont need to tell you to get behind the efforts. but i will.
RR

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