Alexandra Downer writing in today’s Australian has reiterated that:
“Long-term hope for the world’s poor — in Africa, in Asia and elsewhere — will also depend on removing trade barriers and creating a more vibrant and open global economy. When coupled with good governance and sound domestic reform in developing countries, trade liberalisation is one of the key drivers for sustained global prosperity and ending poverty.
Reform of agriculture, which provides a living for so many of the poor in developing countries, is the key. The most telling statistic is that the amount of money the European Union and the US spend subsidising their farmers is four times more than the total amount of global aid provided to developing countries.
The World Bank estimates that real global trade reform under the Doha Round could increase the incomes of developing countries by $US350billion ($470 billion) — far more than can ever be provided through direct aid. Developed and developing countries alike must act together to remove trade barriers and secure a successful and ambitious conclusion to the Doha Round. The World Bank estimates that 140 million people around the world could be lifted out of poverty by 2015 if this occurs. That would be something to sing about.”
Tony Blair said publicly, in a speech towards the end of the summit, that the “plan of action” for Africa includes a “new deal on trade”.
But this new deal does not appear to have anything to do with reducing subsidies in Europe and the US, at least not according to the information at the G8 website:
“The G8 in return agreed a comprehensive plan to support Africa’s progress. This is set out in our separate statement today. We agreed:
1. to provide extra resources for Africa’s peacekeeping forces so that they can better deter, prevent and resolve conflicts in Africa;
2. to give enhanced support for greater democracy, effective governance and transparency, and to help fight corruption and return stolen assets;
3. to boost investment in health and education, and to take action to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other killer diseases; and
4. to stimulate growth, to improve the investment climate and to make trade work for Africa, including by helping to build Africa’s capacity to trade and working to mobilise the extra investment in infrastructure which is needed for business.
The G8 leaders agreed to back this plan with substantial extra resources for countries which have strong national development plans and are committed to good governance, democracy and transparency. We agreed that poor countries must decide and lead their own development strategies and economic policies.”
Freeing-up trade could have been a media focus over the last couple of days, instead terrorists diverted attention and the focus has been on death and destruction in London include pictures of a blown-up London bus.