Analysis

Fooled again? G7 leaders missed an opportunity to raise their game

For all the talk of building back better, the G7 has failed to show economic leadership, writes Phil Thornton

Monday 14 June 2021 14:56
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<p>Oxfam activists wearing papier mache heads representing G7 leaders perform during a protest near Falmouth</p>

Oxfam activists wearing papier mache heads representing G7 leaders perform during a protest near Falmouth

For an economy that desperately wants to put the horrors of Covid-19 behind it, hosting the G7 summit is a great fillip. The gathering of the G7 leaders in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, was an opportunity for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to preen alongside their American and European counterparts.

Every seven years (or eight, when Russia was briefly allowed in) the UK hosts the gathering – as it did in 2005, when the then prime minister Tony Blair was subjected to intense, emotional lobbying by music stars Bono and Bob Geldof, accompanied by The Who’s rendition of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

At their Edinburgh summit, the then G8 promised a whole host of measures to help poor nations in Africa and elsewhere, including a commitment by its European members to raise foreign aid to 0.56 per cent of GDP by 2010, and 0.7 per cent by 2015. Some of the measures were delivered; others were not. And one – the 0.7 per cent target – was met, but then rescinded by Boris Johnson’s administration this year, only weeks before leaders were due to meet in Cornwall.

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