Cablegate: Commission for Africa: Secretariat Briefs G8
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 001228
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ETRD EFIN SF
SUBJECT: Commission for Africa: Secretariat Briefs G8
and EU Representatives
REF: A) London 2062 B) Pretoria 966
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. NOT
FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.
1. (SBU) Summary. Head of the Secretariat of the
Commission for Africa described the Commission's
recommendations as well received. Africa is making
progress, which leads to opportunities to work toward
the Millennium Development Goals. The international
community needs to provide more resources. The
Commission's goal is to build an unstoppable
coalition behind the report and get maximum support
at the G8 summit. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Myles Wickstead, Head of the Secretariat
of the Commission for Africa, told Pretoria-based
representatives of the G8 and the EU March 16 that he
was pleased with the favorable responses to the
Commission's Report: it was viewed as a serious
report. The Commission would use the time period
leading to the G8 Summit and the UK EU Presidency to
gain endorsement from donors and the international
community for the report's recommendations. The
Commission believes the report could help change the
nature of the relationship between developing and
3. (SBU) Wickstead described the report's
recommendations are a package. Africa must do its
part. Africa, he said, is making progress: NEPAD and
the AU are examples. There are fewer conflicts.
This progress leads to opportunities to work toward
the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in
health, education and agriculture. African leaders
see the report as an opportunity.
4. (SBU) Wickstead stated that the international
community needs to provide more resources to Africa
and donors need to coordinate better to use their
resources more efficiently. Tied aid should go.
Wickstead said the report emphasized infrastructure
because it is a key constraint on development. The
lack of infrastructure restricts trade among African
countries that is essential for growth. The private
sector had failed to provide the funds for
infrastructure development; therefore, the Commission
believes that donors and African governments must
assume this responsibility. Debt also constrains
development, and donors must move to eliminate it.
Africa needs an international arms trade treaty to
control conflict, and countries should also sign the
UN Convention Against Corruption. Wickstead
emphasized that the Commission's views and
recommendations are not necessarily those of the
British government. In some ways, they differ; e.g.,
the repatriation of assets in UK banks.
5. (SBU) The Commission's goal is to build an
unstoppable coalition behind the report. It wants to
get maximum support at G8 summit. He hopes the
summit will deliver on all the commission's
recommendations. He acknowledged that not all G8
members will agree to all recommendations, but he
hoped that between them they could endorse all the
recommendations. The Commission, for example, knows
that the U.S. will not support the International
Financing Facility but hopes that the U.S. could
double its funding commitment to the Millennium
Challenge Account. Wickstead said PM Blair would
want maximum buy-in for the Commission's report at
the G8 Summit.
6. (SBU) Wickstead observed that the Commission had
received positive responses in December from G8
capitals to its draft report. He had been pleased
that consultations with G8 members had focused on
areas of agreement rather than differences. He said
the Commission would have more discussions in
capitals over the next three months.
7. (SBU) During a discussion following Wickstead's
presentation, the EU representative noted that the
emphasis on infrastructure harkened back to
development philosophy of 30 years ago. Wickstead
agreed and observed that perhaps the development
pendulum had swung too far towards social
development. Asked how African governments could
show results, Wickstead said they could, for example,
show that corruption is not acceptable. More
countries need to sign up to the APRM.
8. (SBU) On the relationship between the
Commission's Report and the report of the African
Personnel Representatives, Wickstead said the Africa
Partnership Forum could be the mechanism to follow
through on the report's recommendations. In response
to the French representative's observation that
development and climate should be linked, Wickstead
said that while the report contained a section on
climate change, there was no formal link. He said PM
Blair made this decision but offered reason why.