These two last G20 posts should have gone out on Thursday evening but my laptop crashed and has gone for repairs. However I still wanted to post them so here they are.
I finally began to enjoy being – meeting and talking with so many people and just the learning experience of how the media operates in these kind of forums. Having Environment Secretary, Ed Miliband and Bob Geldof give group interviews with bloggers whilst the mainstream media were hanging around on the outer circle desperate for their own slots and not being able to speak was great. So far we have had interviews with Al Jazeera, NBC Africa, BBC World Service. Everyone is uplifted for the recognition from the main stream media and politicians that bloggers are an important voice in the regional and global discussion.
There are small number of African journalists here and I managed to speak to a few about the Summit. I was interested to get their thoughts on African representation and their expectations for the outcome of the Summit. Kenyan, Joe Ageyo felt that the main emphasis should be on trade with African been given greater access to Western markets as well as breaking down some of the regional barriers to intra African trade. However he felt that the biggest sentiment from Kenya is cynicism that nothing tangible would happen as even past commitments such as those made at Glengales had still not been met. He felt that Both Obama and Brown were full of protectionist rhetoric talking about jobs and trade from an inwards perspective which of course was not good for Africa.
Julius Mucusnguzi who is a reporter with the Commonwealth News was a lot more optimistic. He feels that aid in itself is not inherently negative but it hasn’t worked because there are too many loop holes such as in the delivery mechanisms plus the weight of the conditions attached to aid and that both Africans and the donor countries are to blame. He also felt that there was considerable African representation – the African Development Bank, South Africa, NEPAD and the AU and though they were not part of the G20 itself this was a start. Another freelance journalist who did not want to be named also felt that Africa was well represtented and was positive about the outcomes. I also spoke with a Agnes Gitau a reporter with Kenya London News who hopes to organize a London based Africa conference, some Saudi journalists and of course the bloggers.
My thoughts – I found the views of the journalists quite conserverative, largely uncritical and their pro-aid stance depressing. I was accused of being a cynic and pessimist which I dont think I am – I just have a different set of expectations and hopes.