In the immediate aftermath of July 7th, the G8 statement on Africa went largely unnoticed. Although government sources have denied the coincidental nature of this, there is real cause for concern.
Thespoof.com has learned, mainly from actually reading the statement, that Multinational Corporations will be expected to take a leading role in tackling world poverty. The recently inaugurated Investment Climate Facility, a $550m fund which will be financed by the UK's foreign aid budget, the World Bank and the other G8 nations, is a prime example of how Multinational firms will be expected to take an active role in ‘making poverty history', the ICF although financed by the UK foreign aid budget will be driven and controlled by the private sector.
The fund was launched by Niall Fitzgerald, currently head of Reuters, who has been quoted as saying that he wants it to help create a "healthy investment climate" which will offer companies "attractive financial returns compared to competing destinations."
At the funds inauguration, speakers from shell, British American Tobacco, Standard Chartered Bank, and De Beers stated their commitment to tackling global poverty.
Athough Sir Bob Geldof and U2 frontman Bono have praised both prime minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush, not everyone from the Global Call to Action Against Poverty is satisfied with the outcome , "The people have roared but the G8 has whispered," said Kumi Naidoo its chair.
Many commentators have expressed deep concern at the idea of allowing firms like Shell take a lead role in tackling the problems in Africa. However a government spokesperson quashed any idea of the plan being ill-conceived. "It goes without saying that a firm such as shell having played a huge part in creating the awful situation in Nigeria is ideally placed to take a lead role it putting it right. After all with their vested interest the people at Shell must surely want to the see the situation change, how could they possibly have the gall to continue to exploit non-existent environmental and labour laws after the out pouring of concern we have seen expressed through the live 8 concerts?, I'm sure being a public limited company they will realise that they have a responsibility to more than just their shareholders."
It remains to be seen whether linking aid to trade liberalisation and privatisation, and allowing Multinationals a greater say in Africa's development will reverse the continents decline. However it goes without saying that further enhancing the policies that have thus far failed the people of Africa so dramatically can only be the right course of action. The consequences of allowing Africa the chance to develop in a protectionist environment would be devastating, for the world's richest nations and their biggest firms.
Government sources both sides of the Atlantic have denied that protectionist policies were the founding principles of the developed worlds success, one source cited the Agriculture sector in Europe, and Steel industry in the US as prime examples of the virtues of liberal trade regimes.