Janet Bush: They just couldn't walk the talk: goodnight, G8, you left the poor to help themselves

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He did trumpet a promise to double aid to $50bn (around £29bn) as a genuine achievement - but the headline is better than the text. One flaw is that, according to Oxfam, less than half of this is "new" money. Then there is the fact that it isn't due until 2010, which, as Mr Naidoo put it, is "like waiting five years before responding to the tsunami". The rich countries pledged to raise the amount of aid they give to 0.7 per cent of their national incomes. They did so in, wait for it, 1970. France currently plans to hit the target in 2012, 42 years later; Britain 43 years later, and Italy and Germany 45 years later. Japan, the US and Canada haven't even reaffirmed this target.

On debt, G8 finance ministers announced early in June the "historic breakthrough" of 100 per cent debt cancellation. It sounded fabulous; it is less than that. The deal includes IMF debt - which is positive - but only covers 18 recipient countries (with the promise of more in the future), saving them around $1bn a year in debt servicing over the next 10 years. But Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development, calculates there are 62 countries paying $10bn each year that need total debt relief if they are to meet the Millennium Development Goals. That countries like Kenya, Angola and Haiti are excluded gives you an idea of the limits of this deal.

In addition, the debt cancellation comes with the damaging conditions that Make Poverty History has been campaigning against, including privatisation of basic services and what the G8 has described as "the elimination of impediments to private investment, both domestic and foreign". Thirdly, the cancellation applies only to three multilateral institutions (the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank); it excludes 19 other multi-lateral creditors. So, for example, five Latin American countries are left paying the Inter-American Development Bank $3.3bn in debt service over the next 10 years. Even the Make Poverty History campaign, which many observers had criticised for acting as the civil society arm of the Treasury in the run-up to Gleneagles, took Gordon Brown to task for over-hyping the offer.

And so to trade. There is now broad agreement that trade discrimination by the developed world against the developing world on a truly staggering scale, along with a parlous post-colonial record of political leadership, has held Africa back. Look at export numbers: in 1979, Africa's share of world exports was 5.2 per cent; by 2004, for all the fabulous wealth of this continent's natural resources and a robust expansion in world trade overall, it had more than halved to 2.5 per cent. A large part of the answer lies in another set of figures: in 2003, governments in the 30-member Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) subsidised farm exports by $350bn - compared with $22bn in aid to Africa.

We all know what has to be done: export subsidies, punitive barriers to the imports of the developing world, and huge subsidies paid to rich country farmers all need to be scrapped. The Common Agricultural Policy shouldn't be reformed, it should go. The US, which preaches the free market to the poor countries of the world but practises protectionism for its own, must stop. Will they? The answer, on current evidence, is a resounding no.

Ernesto Zedillo, the former president of Mexico and an authority on trade and development, said in Edinburgh, at a meeting hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, that the big countries have just not moved. The trade round, he added, is in "big trouble" if not "deceased". Far from removing protections against developing world imports, the rich countries are motoring ahead with bilateral free trade deals that open up developing country markets for their own products. The European Union is in the process of negotiating "economic partnership agreements" with 77 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. These will replace existing agreements that give some preferential access to EU markets and will open up their own to EU exports. The US is doing the same.

The UN estimates that unfair trade rules deny poor countries $700bn every year, dwarfing the value of debt cancellation and aid. Rumour has it that the UK and France have worked well together at Gleneagles on aid, but can the revived entente cordiale deliver an end to the CAP and in the process throw down a gauntlet to the US and Japan on farm subsidies? Pigs, as well as Chinooks, were seen flying away from Gleneagles.

So the real conclusions of this summit, despite all the energy and passion put into it by campaigners and the public, are that the rich world doesn't deliver and Africa should stop expecting it to; and that it should continue to fight, along with civil society and colleagues with clout such as Brazil and India for a level playing field, full debt cancellation and fair trade. Then it should roll up its sleeves and use its ingenuity, imagination and energy to lift its people into prosperity. The message is clear: Africa can rely, in the end, only on itself.

Make poverty history in the Middle East

We had got Africa sussed. We accepted our interdependence; we made the links between trade and development; we put collective pressure on the G8 leaders to come up with more than the usual mean-spirited stagger towards social justice; we felt good.

And then, it appears, Middle Eastern terrorists hit London. On a glorious summer's morning at the G8 summit in the Scottish Highlands, reality returned with a vengeance; and the thought occurred that we have hardly given a thought - in this year of Making Poverty History - to the poverty and deprivation of the Middle East. This omission is no longer viable. We need to educate ourselves.

For a start, we need to see beyond oil and our assumption that all Arabs are rich because of it. The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has countries with oil and without; the former are three times richer than the latter. On the United Nations Development Programme's ranking of 177 countries, we have Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar at 40th, 44th and 47th - but Iran, Syria, Sudan and Yemen at 101st, 106th, 139th and 149th. Saudi Arabia comes 77th, giving ample evidence that its vast oil wealth has not been distributed equitably.

The Middle East has a huge young generation and not enough jobs. In 2000, 37 per cent of the population was under 15 and 58 per cent under 25, according to International Labour Organisation figures. In 2003, the MENA youth unemployment rate stood at 25.6 per cent, the highest in the world.

Overall unemployment has stuck around 12 per cent for a decade. Annual per capita incomes fell by 1 per cent in the 1980s and grew by a measly 1 per cent in the 1990s - better only than sub-Saharan Africa.

Due to low growth and high unemployment, the Middle East has a monumental debt problem. In 1999, the combined budget deficit of the Arab countries was more than $30bn (£18bn) or 5.7 per cent of their combined GNP. As in Africa, the need to service these debts forced governments to slash investment in education, health and social security, leaving the unemployed youth of the region not only disheartened but destabilised.

If we are ever going to react intelligently to the violent inanity of terrorist attacks, we are going to have to learn about the needs and complexities of the Middle East and try to help, even while we defend ourselves.

Janet Bush is a director of Advocacy International

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