Mixed views on a talkfest

As key issues got upstaged, I wondered: Why can't Africa try to help itself?


    Haru is Al Jazeera's correspondent in Zimbabwe
    I travelled to Germany to cover the G8 summit. My brief was mainly to report on African events.


    Unfortunately other events overshadowed key issues that desperately needed attention.

    These are my thoughts, as an African, on the meeting in Heiligendamm, which has just concluded.

    I asked Bob Geldof whether African leaders did enough to make sure Africa was taken seriously.


    He scolded me for not doing my part as an African to put pressure on my leaders to sort out Africa! Naturally I was taken aback! As far as I was concerned I came to the G8 summit to report on events, not get involved.


    Causing havoc


    I stared in confused amazement as thousands of protesters caused havoc outside the summit. I felt the German police were a little bit soft.


    They tried to disperse them using water cannons. Had it been Africa - in fact, had it been Zimbabwe my home country - they would have been tear-gassed and beaten half to death.


    I do not fully understand what the protesters felt they would achieve by coming here in the first place. I knew when I got here that this would just be another talking shop. What on earth made them think this G8 would be any different?




    To be honest, the protesters annoyed me because they stopped me doing my job. I missed an interview on Friday because they decided to block the road I used to get to the summit.


    I was an African at this summit, yet the prospect of more failed commitments to my people didn't make me lose any sleep.


    The G8 leaders came up with vague statements on climate change, Darfur, debt cancellation, HIV/Aids and more aid money for development.


    We got our money - all $60bn of it - but when will African countries see it? Besides, it's still not enough.


    'Deserving' countries


    A big issue for me is that the aid money, once it arrives, will go to "deserving" countries. That means Zimbabwe is off the list. What happens to millions of my people who need that money? Why are they being punished because the political climate is not up to standard?


    Throughout the endless press conferences and talks, I kept asking myself, why can't Africa try to help itself? We have China begging to make moves on our continent, so let's let them.


    We just have to be smart and careful in our decision-making. Those who want to invest in Africa have an agenda - but I would like to believe we have learnt something from our colonial past which can help us deal cautiously with this.


    My plan


    So this is my plan - use China to generate money at home; invest it by building infrastructure and manufacturing our own products; and then sell them on international markets. Of course we have to deal with issues of good governance and corruption.


    Had I been allowed to talk to Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, or any of the African leaders who attended the G8 - I would have asked then what they thought of my idea.


    Rather than waste money flying out six African presidents to Europe, stay home and come up with a plan where things will get done.


    The G8 is not the solution to Africa's problems. If something is not working, the formula must be changed.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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