What We’re Reading 7/10/09: G8 Summit Day 3

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New York Times Op Ed Guest Columnist: Rebranding Africa
Bono writes a guest op-ed in today’s New York Times in advance of President Obama’s trip to Ghana about the “rebranding of Africa.” The piece links to ONE’s “Yes, Africa Can” video.

BBC: G8 Pledges to Boost Food Supplies
Today, at the final talks in L’Aquila, leaders of the Group of 8 nations pledged $20bn for efforts to boost food supplies to the hungry. The investment, which is $5bn more than had been expected, will fund a three-year initiative to help poor nations develop their own agriculture. The US will reportedly contribute $3.5bn to the program. President Obama said that the G8 nations had agreed to commit $15bn for the new initiative going into today’s meeting, but had then promised an additional $5bn in “hard commitments” during the talks. The initiative is supposed to put more emphasis on helping people feed themselves. It is unclear how much of the aid pledged at the summit is new money.

New York Times Editorial: A Lesson on Warming
The New York Times editorial board writes that in L’Aquila President Obama was eager to restore America’s leadership role on climate change, and to leave the summit with an agreement uniting rich and developing nations. Instead, “he got a lesson on how divided the world remains on the issue – and how hard he will have to work to pull off an agreement.” Before the G8 this week negotiators had drafted a communiqué committing to a 50% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However the agreement fell apart on Wednesday, when the developing nations involved refused to agree to the commitment.

NY Times News Analysis: Group of Eight is Not Enough, Say Outsiders Wanting In
Today’s New York Times looks back on this week’s G8 summit, asking “What relevance does the Group of 8 have when it seemingly cannot take landmark action without enlisting others?” The question, which comes up every year, has gotten louder this year as the G20 emerged in recent months as a potent forum addressing the global recession. The Times reports that President Obama has cast a skeptical eye on the G8, and his aides have portrayed it as a way station between G20 meetings. It says the summit this week produced statements on key issues but few breakthroughs.

And more on President Obama’s trip to Ghana…

Reuters: Goodwill Gives Obama Added Leverage in Africa
Goodwill for Barack Obama in Africa could give him extra leverage to push good governance for the continent and help American priorities of securing energy supplies and fighting terrorism. Reuters reports that the President can expect “a hero’s welcome” in Ghana this weekend, but that the US still faces competition for influence in Africa. The competition mostly comes from emerging economic powers like China which seek resources and new markets and put less emphasis on many of Obama’s priorities, such as good governance.

-Grace Lamb-Atkinson

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