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G8 Summit Must Deliver on Two-Year Old Promises on Debt and HIV/AIDS
Wednesday, 06 June 2007 09:22

As the World’s Wealthiest Nations Gather, Africa Action Recalls Key G8 Targets on Debt and HIV/AIDS in Africa; Organizations Also Call Attention to the Threat of Vulture Funds

June 5, 2007 (Washington, DC) – The day before the Group of 8 (G8) wealthiest nations are to gather in Heiligendamm, Germany for their annual summit, Africa Action emphasized the lack of progress on key targets set by the G8 at their meeting in 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland. At the Gleneagles summit, in the stated interests of addressing the challenges faced by Africa, the G8 committed to provide debt cancellation to a select group of countries and to work towards making universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment available by 2010, among other targets.

Today, Africa Action released a new resource on the action needed now from the G8. In this resource, Africa Action stressed that these targets only represent a minimal step in tackling the roots of poverty and exploitation in Africa and that the U.S. and other G8 nations have demonstrated an absence of political will to address these issues. Africa Action also released a letter addressed to President Bush and signed by more than 100 religious leaders, demanding action from the U.S. at this year’s G8 summit.

Nii Akuetteh, the Executive Director of Africa Action said today, “The G8 must become serious toward Africa. It can and must do much more to assist the continent in responding to daunting challenges. In Heiligendamm this week, these wealthy nations must take two big steps. First, they must go further in canceling debt and increasing aid. Second, and even more important, they must seize this last chance to rescue their own credibility by keeping the promises they made in 2005. In the two years since Gleneagles, both debt cancellation and HIV assistance have lagged seriously behind the promises made. It is in the self-interest of the G8 to take these two steps.”

The 2005 G8 debt deal has resulted in only eighteen African countries receiving debt cancellation. As this handful of countries have begun to see the gains of this cancellation, Africa Action and other advocates have also called attention to the increasingly emerging threat of vulture funds. These companies purchase the debt of low-income countries at a reduced price, and subsequently sue that country for the full amount.

Africa Action underscored that vulture fund activity undermines G8 policies on debt cancellation. Africa Action further stated that the U.S. must not allow business interests to outweigh the imperative for effective debt cancellation in Africa and that the U.S. must support a strong statement against vulture funds at this week’s G8 summit.

Africa Action today released its annual resource, the Africa Action Talking Points on the G8 and Africa. This resource can be found here: http://www.africaaction.org/newsroom/docs/G8TalkingPoints2007.pdf

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