French President Jacques Chirac had said that he intended to make the desperate situation facing Africa a key theme of the Evian G8 summit. Development agencies and aid charities lobbied hard for at least some indication of a joint effort by the worlds developed countries to help alleviate the increasing poverty, indebtedness and disease facing Africa. They were bitterly disappointed. As a spokesman for Oxfam put it, Not only are there no firm commitments, even their rhetoric is watered down compared with last year.
United States President George W. Bush deliberately upstaged the proposals on trade and aid to Africa that Chirac had hoped to make by announcing before the summit that America would spend $15 billion over the next five years on HIV/AIDS. Then at the three-day summit, which Bush left early, Chirac and the other leaders were so concerned to give an appearance of post-Iraq unanimity that they allowed the US to block any movement over areas that affect the underdeveloped world.
The trade issues on which Chirac had specifically proposed actionagricultural protectionism by the West and access to cheap drugs for AIDSwere dropped.
The desperation of the aid agencies in having to cope with a worsening situation in Africa is revealed in a series of documents produced by charities and campaign groups in the run-up to the G8 summit. Pointing to the Africa Action Planthat was agreed last year, Actionaid give a detailed list to show that on aid, debt relief, HIV/AIDS, provision of clean water and trade protectionism, there has been less action since last years G8 summit than there was before.
Jubilee Debt Campaign that mounted the first demonstrations at the G8 in 1998 point out that the supposed debt reduction schemes introduced by the International Monetary Fund mean that the majority of the worlds poorest and most indebted people remain enslaved by debt, with no real hope under existing policies of being freed from indebtedness.