Africa / France / North Africa

G-8 leaders throw weight, and promised funds, behind Arab and Africa ‘Springs’

Women protesting in Tahrir Square

Egyptian women protesting in Tahrir Square (photo credit: Joseph Hill, nebedaay’s Flickr photostream).

The UPI reports that ‘the world’s leading economic powers closed their G-8 summit in Deauville, France, this Friday [27 May 2011]  by pledging aid to new democracies in the Arab world and Africa. The Group of Eight—the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia, plus the European Union—offered a total of $20 billion to Egypt and Tunisia, whose new prime ministers were in attendance, and to sub-Saharan Africa . . . . The new Ivory Coast president, Alassane Ouattara, was on hand in Deauville, along with leaders from Algeria, Ethiopia, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and South Africa. . . .’

A ‘Deauville Declaration’ produced at the meeting speaks of ‘an enduring partnership with those countries engaging in a transition to democracy and tolerant societies. Our common goal is to develop the rule of law and citizen engagement as well as foster economic and social reforms to meet the aspirations of the people. We have adopted a declaration on the Arab spring. In Deauville, we have renewed a strong partnership with Africa, building on commitments made for over a decade.’

Before he set off for this meeting, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade had predicted in a New York Times opinion piece that Africa would be heard at this G-8 Summit.

‘. . . This year Africa brings to the table its own good news. Senegal, for one, is preparing for a world where the assumptions of yesteryear no longer stand. . . . I cannot help but notice as I head to France that international investors appear to find Senegal more credible and a better bet than Europe’s laggards. . . .What’s attractive in the world of investments has shifted. . . .  G-8 leaders will be reminded that the world is waking up to the intrinsic value of Africa’s economic promise and that serious investors are arriving. . . .

‘Having now reached one billion inhabitants, Africa’s promise lies in its robust markets and hundreds of new companies, the measurably improved management and returns of its massive commodities, its growing service industries and educated consumer classes, and its rapidly improving infrastructure and sub-national governance. . . .’

Read the whole article in the New York Times, Africa will be heard, by Abdoulaye Wade, 26 May 2011.

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