G8 summit opens with focus on Africa (Lead)

July 7th, 2008 - 6:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Toyako (Japan), July 7 (Xinhua) The leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialised nations met their counterparts from seven African countries to discuss development in Africa as part of their three-day summit starting here Monday. Climate change, world economy and African development figure high on the agenda of the Toyako summit of the G8, which includes Britain, Canada, Italy, Japan, France, Germany, the US and Russia.

The G8 leaders Monday met the presidents of Algeria, South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia, and discussed assistance to Africa and other issues.

The meeting took place at the hilltop Windsor Hotel at the resort town of Toyako in the northern Island of Hokkaido.

With the spotlight on Africa on the first day of the summit, some non-governmental organisations urged developed countries, mainly the G8 nations, to fulfil their promises on helping the African continent, fight poverty, diseases and build infrastructure.

Max Lawson, policy adviser of the British charity Oxfam, told the press that the G8 would miss its pledge of doubling aid to Africa at the Gleneagles summit, as it has delivered only a small part of the promised aid.

The G8 had promised at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 to increase aid to developing countries to $50 billion by 2010, of which $25 billion would go to Africa.

The G8 has delivered only 14 percent of its promised aid to Africa - three years into the five-year promise, Lawson said.

“We are very worried that the aid promises would be watered down and that some of the key promises left out,” he said.

The G8 leaders would meet for exclusive discussions Tuesday before extending their talks on the third day to include leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa for an outreach session.

Later Wednesday, leaders from Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa would join the G8 leaders for a major secession on climate change and energy security.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who is playing host for the G8 gathering, would speak to the press Wednesday to sum up the results of the summit.

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