Vatican paper sees G8 summit as race against time for Africa

The Group of Eight industrial nations' summit underway at Gleneagles in Scotland must be a race against the clock to save Africa, according to the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

"In sub-Saharan Africa, a child under 5 dies every 30 seconds from malaria," stated an article in Wednesday's Italian edition of the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper.

"In southern Africa, one out of every three persons dies of malnutrition and, in the region, the population that depends on emergency food aid has increased in one year from 3.5 million to 8.3 million," reported the paper.

"The G-8 leaders must undertake a race against the clock to help the populations of Africa," said the front-page article. "Because time for Africans, above all for children, is not a path to the future but, too often, a cruel itinerary toward death."

"There can be debates on the strategies to be adopted," it added, "but we cannot allow the luxury of new deferments."

CAFOD, the Caritas Catholic aid and development agency for England and Wales, said Gleneagles is the last opportunity for G8 leaders to show that they are serious about ending extreme poverty. If they fail to deliver, the disappointment will be measured in premature and preventable deaths and blighted lives across Africa.

George Gelber, head of policy, said: "In a world that spends one trillion dollars a year on arms and armies it is inconceivable that the richest countries cannot find the extra $50 billion dollars a year a twentieth of this sum that will help put an end to the cycle of poverty and despair across the developing world.

"But it's not only money we are asking for we are demanding a dramatic change to rules that deny developing nations the chance to earn their own way in the world."

Caritas partner and head of the Justice and Peace Commission in Zambia Mulima Kufekisa said: "All across Africa people are demanding a new approach. More of the same is not an option.

"With Africa and climate change at the top of the agenda and with millions of people in the UK and around the world calling for an end to paper promises, there is more pressure then ever before to deliver the resources that could lift millions out of poverty and create a more just world."

Henry Northover, policy analyst, said: "It should be clear that this is only the beginning. The peoples of Africa are demanding an end to the handout mentality. They want policies that will deliver the economic justice and rights that will enable them to take their place as equal citizens in the world.

"This means ending the unfair trade rules that rob Africa of $1.3 billion a day in export earnings, providing an extra $50 billion in aid now and resolving the debt crisis once and for all. This time, there can be no broken promises."

G-8 Summit Seen as a Race Against Time for Africa (Zenit 6/7/05)
CAFOD calls on G8 to seize the moment (Independent Catholic News 7/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia - Make Poverty History

Church joins rally to end poverty (CathNews 5/7/05)

Trócaire urges G8 leaders to deliver a fair deal to the poor (catholicireland.net 7/7/05)

8 Jul 2005