The role of African nations in world affairs has been highlighted in the forthcoming G-8 summit in Canada. Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa have been invited to attend a special session at the summit in Huntsville, Ontario from June 25-27, 2010.
According to reports, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that he invited African governments as well as the governments of Haiti, Jamaica and Columbia in order to make the summit more inclusive. The theme for this summit is “Recovery and New Beginning.
While International anti-poverty campaigners expect many of the commitments for African aid and development to be fulfilled, special attention will be focused on Canada. However, the tentative agenda for the 36th G8 summit will include some issues which remain unresolved from previous summits.
According to reports, Canada wants to focus on its economy, reforming its financial sector, and getting European countries to put plans in place to return to fiscal stability.
“As hosts, our government will have considerable say over the agenda. It will be a tremendous opportunity to promote Canada’s values and interests; to advocate for open markets and trade opportunities; to assist on global action against global warming; and to champion values like freedom, democracy and human rights and the rule of law,” Prime Minister Harper explained.
Recently, both France and the United Kingdom have expressed a desire to expand the group to include five developing countries, referred to as the Outreach Five (O5) or the Plus Five: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa. These countries have participated as guests in previous meetings, which are sometimes called G8+5.
The G8 Summit has evolved beyond being a gathering of world political leaders. The event has become an occasion for a wide variety of non-governmental organizations, activists and civic groups to congregate and discuss a multitude of issues.
Angola, South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Egypt, Algeria and Libya were invited to the G-8 Summit in l’Aquilla, Italy, last year, and the inclusive gesture has been handed to the African governments again.
Traditionally, the host country of the G8 summit sets the agenda for negotiations, which take place primarily amongst multi-national civil servants in the weeks before the summit itself, leading to a joint declaration which all countries can agree to sign.
The 36th G8 summit will take place at the Deerhurst Resort. It will be the fifth G8 Summit hosted by Canada since 1976. The G8 summit will be immediately followed by the G20 summit in Toronto.
The summit created by France in 1975, initially for governments of six countries in the world: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, later included Canada in 1976 and Russia in 1997.