Wednesday, June 01, 2011

International Aid A Priority at G8 Talks-- Especially For Britain!

Aid talks are at the top of the agenda of the G8 summit. Specifically, regarding aid packages for Egypt and Tunisia. President Obama has already pledged 2 billion dollars and billions more are coming from other international organizations. Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, has promised 110 million pounds over 4 years from its aid budget.

David Cameron spoke at the recent G8 summit in France. He wisely asserted the benefits of addressing infrastructural problems in countries such as Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. "If we can secure great democracy and freedom in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, that is good for us back at home. It will mean less extremism and more peace and prosperity."

Cameron recognized that the world's leading nations have not been keeping up with promises made regarding foreign aid. Cameron stated that there is currently a $19 billion gap between the amount of aid pledged and what was actually being given by the richest countries in the world.

During his speech he recalled watching the Glen Eagle Summit G8 Summit in 2005 at which world politicians made pledges to the developing world, especially Africa, to aid in their development. "When you make a promise like that to the poorest people in the world, you should keep it," Cameron stated.

The reality is that the G8 has not kept this promise. The accountability report produced at the summit shows exactly what each country has contributed and what is has not to meet their aid commitments. Britain is the only country that has reached this pledge. "Britain will not balance its books on the back of the poorest," Cameron asserted at the conference. Britain will be the first G8 country to hit the 7% grid by 2013.

But, as Cameron mentions, it is not just about money. It is about promoting growth, trade and responsible, transparent infrastructures. For this reason, Britain is urging other G8 countries to engage in free trade with Africa and to support next month's London Conference, which will support the Global Alliance of Immunization and Vaccination.

Way to go Britain!

-Gabrielle Gurian