As G20 leaders prepare to meet in Cannes, just 500 miles from the African coast, anti-poverty group ONE has urged them not to overlook the opportunity on their doorstep or to forget the ongoing food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
The Cannes summit comes at a crucial moment with efforts to boost economic growth and bring stability to markets at the top of the agenda. David Cameron this week wrote that 'unlocking global trade' was vital to 'resolve the crises at hand and come through them with an economy that is stronger and fundamentally fairer'. ONE believes that Africa's 500 million-strong workforce and burgeoning middle class present many opportunities for UK and European trade as well as African development and should be a core part of the G20's drive for global economic growth. But there is a real risk that leaders will fail to keep their promises to invest in Africa, leaving a huge hole in their economic strategy.
Meanwhile, 13.3 million people remain at risk of death in the Horn of Africa. Last night ONE teamed up with the Mayor of Paris to remind G20 leaders of their responsibilities to deal with the food crisis. The square of the Hotel de Ville was plunged into complete darkness while ONE's 'F-word: Famine is the real obscenity' video, which features George Clooney, Idris Elba, Bono, Annie Lennox, Colin Farrell and Bill Nighy, was projected onto the wall of the Town Hall.
Speaking ahead of the summit Adrian Lovett, Europe Director of ONE, said:
"G20 leaders have never met this close to African soil, but they might as well be on a different planet. In the middle of this economic crisis lies a golden opportunity. Consumer spending in Africa is close to $1 trillion a year and rising fast. Well-spent aid and private sector investment from G20 countries will create even more demand for goods and services in Africa, boosting the global economy while lifting millions more people out of poverty.
"We cheered President Sarkozy when he put global development at the heart of the G20 agenda earlier this year but he has yet to deliver on his promise, and time is running out. Millions of people around the world are counting on him and his G20 friends to act boldly to break the vicious cycle of famine and build a virtuous circle of prosperity for Africa.
"While David Cameron has demonstrated his commitment to Africa, we urge him to show greater leadership within the G20 to convince his fellow leaders that they must do the same."
ONE is calling on G20 leaders to deliver concrete outcomes in three areas that can help ensure Africa is part of the solution to the global economic crisis:
Prevent future food crises by immediately introducing measures to regulate commodities markets to fight food price volatility. G20 leaders must also act now to ensure the humanitarian appeal for the Horn of Africa is fully funded and make smart long-term investments in agriculture in developing countries.
Endorse the measures expected to be outlined in Bill Gates' report on development finance and commit to implement its recommendations. Leaders should reaffirm all existing commitments to aid quantity and quality and redouble efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Commit to putting in place transparency laws that require companies engaged in oil, gas, and mining to disclose financial information on their operations in every country they have a presence, including the payments they make to governments on a project-by-project basis, and full country-by-country reporting. This will allow African citizens to find out how much money is coming in to their countries in return for the resources that lie beneath their feet and give them the information they need to hold their governments to account.
Adrian Lovett continued:
"We've seen the devastating effects of famine this year in the Horn of Africa, where 30,000 children died in just three months. This is a man-made problem that can be prevented. Our petition, signed by 400,000 people around the world, calls on G20 leaders to tackle the underlying causes of famine, including long term action to support the agriculture that will help break the cycle of famine once and for all."
ONE believes the report to be presented to the G20 on Thursday by Bill Gates will offer a powerful call to action. He is expected to argue that leaders should bring resources, innovative ideas and leadership together for greater impact in a new world of global development, and call for a new partnership of innovation between the developed world, emerging powerhouses like Brazil and India, the developing world and the private sector.
Adrian Lovett said:
"Africa used to be on the agenda of global summits only as an issue for hand-wringing and despair. Now with 500 million people of working age, and six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world, the G20 should look to Africa as a solution for growth and demand. This can be accelerated with the type of radical ideas for development that Bill Gates will present to leaders this week. The G20 should sit up and take notice."
Notes to Editors:
1. ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2.5 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org
2. ONE will be on the ground at the G20 summit in Cannes from November 2-4 and will have staff available for interviews and policy briefings in French, English and German. Please contact Verena von Derschau in Cannes on +33 6 31 22 89 68 or email@example.com, or Katherine Sladden on +44 7584 470 644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Last night ONE's F-Famine video was projected onto the wall of the Hotel de Ville in the centre of Paris. The names of thousands of people who signed ONE's petition, which calls the G20 leaders to break the cycle of famine, were also projected on the building in the center of Paris.
5. ONE's Hungry No More campaign is calling for the G8, G20, and African governments to:
Urgently fill the $600m financing gap for emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa and ensure that all those in need are reached.In the case of Somalia, greater regional and international political will is required to support an inclusive multi-stakeholder process - including a prominent voice for Somali civil society - that conclusively addresses the underlying causes of insecurity.
To live up to their 2009 L'Aquila commitment to invest $22 billion in agriculture and for African governments to fulfill their Maputo pledge to spend 10% of their national budgets on agriculture.
Invest in longer-term agriculture and food security initiatives to stop the cycle of extreme hunger, such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.