Blogging the G20 Summit in London

The G20 Summit is coming to town next week and I have been selected as one of 50 bloggers from across the world invited to attend the summit as part of the G20-Voice. The official G20 meetings will take place on the 2nd April but there will be massive protests by various groups such as the Climate Change – Camp for Climate Action, , G20 Meltdown – a coalition of groups- all of whom plan to descend on various parts of the City’s square “financial” mile starting at noon on Wednesday 1st April. Meanwhile the G20 will be meeting on the 2nd behind closed doors safely locked away from the masses with only the media and a few select bloggers to contend with. Sparing with words is something the G20 leaders and their cohorts running the financial markets, have perfected. Nonetheless I am sure we are all prepared to use this opportunity to call them to account for the

My plan of action is to try to cover both the G20 summit and the Alternative G20 along with the mass direct action organized by G20 meltdown in the City. I am doing this because I believe there are going to be enough bloggers meeting with the so called NGO experts on the Wednesday including Daudi Were of Mental Acrobatics from Kenya and I think it is important that we also get to hear alternative voices. I have just noted that in the Alternative G20 there is not one single speaker from Africa or the Black British community – a serious indictment on the part of the organisers and a point which needs to be raised.

I am still trying to frame some key thoughts from an African perspective on the global financial crisis, climate chaos and the increasing poverty not just in the global south but here in the West as well. Economics is really not my forte and even if it was I would prefer to invite readers to contribute to a discussion so I am hoping bloggers from across Africa will leave their comments. Then along with Daudi Were we can present an “African position” – not an easy task given the diversity in all areas in Africa but I think this is preferable to just focusing on our respective countries. Some of the points we need to think of are what are the lessons Africans can learn from the failure of neo-liberal financial and development policies? The UN Secretary General proposes a $1 trillion in aid for Africa to get through the recessionary period – how long that will be is any body’s guess – is more development aid the answer? The BBC reported today that some 300,000 jobs had been lost in the copper mines in the DRC as businesses simply closed down leaving workers with no pay or support – should the workers received compensation and if so from whom?

Another point is when developing nations go through a financial crisis, the West through their agencies, the IMF and World Bank force these countries to drastically cut spending, raise interest rates to extremely high levels and privatise their industries. In other words they are forced to sell off their natural resources to corporations based in the West and as in the case of the DRC mentioned above, when the prices of these resources collapse, the corporations simply close up shut and run. However, now that economies in the West are collapsing, such as in the U.S. and U.K., a different set of rules are applied. Here the remedy is to increase spending to massive levels in figures none of us can even begin to comprehend, slash interest rates to all time record lows and then to bailout and nationalise the financial sector which is largely responsible for the mess in the first place. So why a different set of rules for the West?

I am sure I will come up with a host of other questions in the next few days but again please do contribute to the discussion. Here is a worthwhile essay on which raises a lot of questions on the choices and direction open to Africa… “What should be the response from Africa” by Demba Moussa Dembele

12 thoughts on “Blogging the G20 Summit in London”

  1. I will be back with a properly framed question but right now I will like to leave a few thoughts that I will personally be interested in reading about.
    Has the IMF reflected on its policies in Africa in the last 25 years? How do they feel about it? Especially in the Nigerian example.
    *the crisis has caused the evaporation of the margin accounts offered to firms by the big banks, what is the IMF doing to sort of fill that gap. so that buyers and sellers of commodities can still carry on with some form of trade?
    I will be back.

  2. Dear Sokari,

    Nice one and well done. As you know, we can never stop asking
    questions or talking about the Niger Delta situation until there
    are concrete and positive changes on the ground.
    The new Niger Delta ministry is turning out to be another mirage
    and time buying gimmick by the Nigerian authorities. The budget for this
    ministry to carry out developmental projects in the whole of the Niger Delta
    is less than the budget to build a single boulevard in Abuja. You know the
    story so I believe you will ask the right questions…

  3. What is being done about food shortages?
    When the skanky “World Bank starts talking about the poor and food shortages(as if they give a rat’s…) we all better worry big time! What are they setting us up for now?
    Poor farmers in Africa are being “encouraged” to replace their food crops with Biofuel crops.
    One day people will be standing with money in our hands and we will still die…because there is no food available…at least not enough for all.
    And because the global corporations like Monsanto have total world food domination and control as their number one aim in life (also genetically modified of course) tell me exactly who will eventually decide who lives and who dies?
    Let me guess…blacks and asians and those in extreme poverty already won’t stand a hummingbird’s chance in hell.

  4. What’s being done about gender equality and empowerment of women so they can be able to take care of thier childrend (if any) or have a better life?

    I will be back…

  5. Hi Sokari,

    you may also be interested in we20. A project to tell everyone that they can organize their own “G20″ with their friends, colleagues and neighbours and post their own proposals on our site.

    http://we20.org/

    phil

  6. Phil@ thanks will check it out though time constraints are starting to be a big issue this week!

  7. Oz, Standtall, Inemo – thanks for the input. There are so many issues to raise am having problems deciding which ones to prioritize given the time limits. I also feel there are sets of questions for a) the West, b) African leaders and c) NGOs. However the two most important areas at the moment concern African women – poverty violence (see 28th March post) and the Niger Delta – militarisation, continued rentier state and unquestioning support by the US and UK etc for the Nigerian governments militarisation of the region, environment etc. I feel the difficulty is between presenting a broad set of questions and being very specific. Am in a rush and have back pain, headache and off to a march so more later

  8. Sokari,

    I have somebody’s comment on the G20 draft communique which I think might be of interest to you. Do you think I might e-mail it to you? It’s a bit long (at 7 pages) for a comment.

  9. …And while we’re on the subject, here we go…a taste of the comment by David Woodward on the G20 draft communique:

    The draft G20 Communiqué leaked yesterday recognises explicitly, in its opening paragraph, that “A global crisis requires a global solution”. But at no point does it recognise any need for a global process to decide what that global solution should be. The G20 members appear determined that they, and they alone, should determine the future course of the global economy — and that it should be designed to protect their financial interests, with only token efforts to limit the damage to the rest of the world. They are trying to seize control of the global economy; but in doing so, they are amply demonstrating why they must not be allowed to succeed.

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