On Friday, at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations pledged to double their aid to impoverished African nations by 2010.
Bob Geldof, who organized last weekend’s Live 8 concerts around the globe to put pressure on the G8 representatives, called the summit a “qualified triumph.” “It is only time that will decide whether this summit is historic or not,” he said. “The check has been written and signed, now we need to cash it. We need Live 8’s 3 billion people to make sure it gets done.”
U2 frontman and activist Bono, who co-founded DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa) and performed at Live 8’s London concert, was more effusive. “We’ve pulled this off,” he announced. “The world spoke, and the politicians listened.”
To pressure world leaders to approve debt relief and aid for African nations during the G8 summit on July 6-8, Geldof’s Live 8 organized concerts in ten cities — featuring the likes of U2, Coldplay, Sting, Elton John, the Who, Pink Floyd and Green Day — and was televised and Webcast live worldwide on July 2nd. On the opening day of the G8 conference, tens of thousands answered the call to convene and protest in Edinburgh, Scotland, near the Gleneagles summit site. After meeting with the leaders of seven African nations, the G8 nations agreed to double their developmental aid to Africa over the next five years, increasing it to $50 billion.
Bono also outlined more tangible results of the increase in aid. “600,000 people will be alive to remember this G8 in Gleneagles who would have lost their lives to a mosquito bite,” he said. “Every country who delivers a credible plan to put their children in school will have the money to do so.”
In light of its ambitious scope and the resulting increase in aid, Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan called this year’s G8 meeting “the greatest summit for Africa ever.”