As leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations wrapped up a two-day summit in Deauville, France, they made new promises of billions of dollars for Arab states in support of their political transition and growth efforts.
However, considering the poor record of the G8 in fulfilling its international aid promises over the past years, it is debatable whether the huge sum will be delivered in time and in full.
No wonder that some non-governmental organizations dub G8 summits a “promise machine.” It is reasonable to doubt if this is just another batch of empty promises unless these countries can deliver on their existing commitments to help fight poverty in Africa. The new aid package may be timely, but the statement did not provide breakdowns of how much aid each G8 country will provide, nor when the funds will be put in place.
Worse still, there are growing concerns that the group’s new aid promises for the Arab world might risk detracting attention from the existing commitments to the poorest in the world, especially in Africa.
Of course, the G8 countries still offer the majority of global development funds, but though still enjoying the reputation as a “rich club,” G8 members today are not in their best financial shape.
With the collective rise of emerging economies, the Group of 20 (G20) is gradually replacing the G8 in dealing with a number of global challenges.
If the G8 wants to make a difference with their relatively declining strength and global dominance, the group should, while making new promises, first fully deliver on their past development, health and hunger pledges, and make up the existing default to win the trust of the world.
China Today, Beijing (June 2)