This week at the G-8 in Edinburgh the European Commission will be arguing for a significant boost on development assistance for developing countries. This money is needed for Africa and this aid has to be accompanied by a debt relief and a policy that in the end would enable this continent to benefit from global trade. Debt relief and humanitarian aid have rock star advocates. Unfortunately, aid for trade has none of this high-profile glamour. Yet, this matter is essential for Africa’s development. A 1% increase in Africa’s share of global trade would deliver seven times more income than the continent receives in aid.
Christian Aid has shown in a report that 20 years of free trade had proved to be a failure for those countries. It is right but the NGO’s conclusions on trade are wrong. The poor countries need to have the means for trade by diversifying their economies, opening our markets to their exports and developing their infrastructures and means of transportation. It is also necessary that they develop their financial infrastructures.
Doha’s negotiation agreement has to be enforced. According to the World Bank it would produce 269 billions of dollars yearly for Africa. This is the G-8’s challenge.

The Independent (U.K.)

To erase poverty, Africa needs both trade and aid”, by Peter Mandelson, The Independent, July 4, 2005.