The majority of the people of Africa remain the poorest, yet the continent is endowed with so many resources. One of the biggest challenges of our time in international development is how to assist the poorest in a very sustainable way. The aid, advice and technical assistance from development agencies and rich nations including the G8 should not be conflicting. This explains why I felt honoured as an African to come face to face with the G8 Sherpas in Vancouver, Canada on 16 April 2010.
The Civil G8 Dialogue was preceded by a Town hall meeting on the 14th of April 2010 at the Coal Coast Harbour Hotel in Vancouver. The aim of the town hall meeting, organized by Make Poverty History Canada was to provide some an opportunity for activists from Vancouver and overseas to interact, discuss and share development issues and concerns; as well as enable those from Vancouver who would not attend the summit as a result of limited capacity to learn and share ideas about the issues that would be addressed at the Civil G8 Dialogue.
Since the Halifax Summit communiqué in 1995, relations between the G7, as it then was, and civil society have undergone tremendous shifts. The forthcoming summit in Muskoka, Canada will doubtless not be the last the world sees of the G8 (the “leaders of the major industrialised nations” namely, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, Russia, United States, Canada & United Kingdom) but it marks another historic turning point in the evolution of global leadership.
It appears that Canada is quite enjoying its time in the spotlight these days. As if hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver (and becoming gold medalists in hockey) wasn’t enough, Canada is also the official head of the Group of 20 nations this year, and will therefore play host to the world’s most influential leaders this summer at the G8 and G20 Summits in and around Toronto.