The previous weeks to the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, witnessed the adoption of positions and vibrant calls in favor of Africa, a theme usually avoided by the dominant media. The acting president of the G8, British Primer Minister Tony Blair, had presented the assistance to Africa and the fight against the climate warming as the key aspects of the meeting. At the same time, organizers of the 1995 Live Aid giant concerts had decided to do the same thing during the weekend previous to the Summit with the purpose of collecting funds for Africa and urging the leaders of the G8 to be generous with this continent. Finally, they became a huge promotion operation of the Summit and its organizer, Tony Blair, for he was praised by those in charge of these musical activities.
In this conditions, the debate about Africa and the assistance that can be offered to the continent remained confined to terms desired by the leaders. Dissent was expressed through these concerts. The only distinguished antagonism in the mainstream media opposed those who believe the best way to help Africa is to, above all, increase the assistance and those who defend the need of opening the economies to globalization.

Kofi Annan’s adviser, Jeffrey D. Sachs, denounced the meanness of the rich countries and mainly the United States’ in a text spread by Project Syndicate and reintroduced by La República (Peru), the Jordan Times (Jordan) and L’Orient-Le Jour (Lebanon). He admits good governance is indispensable for the development of Africa but believes the continent is suffering because of its poverty, first of all. He solicited the implementation of emergency plans for the agricultural production, health and the development of infrastructure. Susan E. Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs of the Clinton Administration and researcher at the Brookings Institution has also claimed the United States has not contributed with enough funds for the assistance of Africa. In the Washington Post, she affirmed that most of George W. Bush recent announcements were just simple speeches or the presentation of already promised sums. For her, Washington should be involved in assisting Africa because it is a good way to fight Islamic terrorism. The security argument was also used by former British Prime Minister John Major in The Guardian. If poverty develops even more in the continent, there will be more wars and crisis. Nowadays, a member of the Carlyle Group, manufacturer of equipment for the Pentagon and manager of families Bush and Bin Laden’s fortunes, Mr. Major shows himself as the upset ex responsible who fights his own conscience: If I would have given more to Africa!

For the president of the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representatives, Henry J. Hayde, the development of Africa does not depend on the existence of better contributions. Thus, he considered in the Chicago Tribune the British approach was not right. Paternalistic, for him, Africans are not ready to use these contributions and the only way of supporting them is to apply the principles of the Monterrey Conference which were reintroduced by the Millennium Challenge Account: to condition the assistance to the opening of the African economies.
For European Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson this approach is a little bit rough. In The Independent, Tony Blair’s ex minister advocated for an increase of the development aid but also, and above all, for an implementation of the new measures of the WTO as well as an opening of the poor countries’ economies. Abdou Diouf and Don Mckinnon, the secretary generals of the International Francophone Organization and the Commonwealth, defended this viewpoint in Le Monde. They made a call to the G8 leaders to work harder in order to increase the amount of money allocated for the development aid. The authors demanded too negotiations at the WTO regarding the suppression of the agricultural subsidies to be continued. This claim will not surprise our readers who will remember that in the midst of the debate on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Don McKinnon made a call to the Commonwealth countries to attack this policy through the WTO. Let’s keep in mind also that the opposite of the elimination of agricultural subsidies in the negotiations at the WTO is a larger opening of the developing countries’ economies to the big enterprises of the rich countries.

In view of the preeminence gotten by the G-8 regarding the aid to Africa, the representatives of regional or international organizations have tried to recover their positions in the debate.
The president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barrosso, made emphasis in Le Figaro and the International Herald Tribune on the importance of the European assistance and defended the right of the European Commission to be in charge of the efforts directed to Africa and asked for a larger opening of the African economies. On his side, and always in Le Figaro, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan leaned on the G-8 Summit to make a new call to change the UN. He welcomed the fact the aid to Africa was discussed in the Gleneagles Summit and reminded these issues were key elements of the UN Millennium Goals.

Journalist and documentary maker John Pilger could not stand the inoffensive debate. In the New Statesman, he showed himself irritated because of the unanimity and the self-praise of the achievements of the G-8. However, what could be the motive of this sincere satisfaction? Present promises have the same chances of being met that the previous ones and the aid is given if internal markets are open to the enterprises of the G-8 countries. For the author, this Summit was nothing but an obscene representation at the service of Tony Blair personal propaganda which is in trouble after the invasion of Iraq. Therefore, I make a call to Left wing parties not to be fooled.