Leaders of the Group of Seven nations (G7) including the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, are scheduled to meet for a three-day summit in the UK from 11 to 13 June 2021.
Their discussions will focus mainly on issues relating to COVID-19 recovery, climate change and trade. Ahead of the G7 summit, Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) conveyed the following three points, which capture Africa’s expectation from the G7 leaders.
Ms Songwe echoed the need for a “historic vaccines roadmap where the G7 stop hoarding, start sharing the financing, the doses and the manufacturing capacity needed to deliver on vaccine access.” This, she added, would mean “one billion doses donated soonest, with two billion donated by the end of the year; the ACT Accelerator and the African vaccines facility fully funded, and the tech shared so we can manufacture vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics locally.”
Her second point was on the urgent need for a historic green recovery financing and coordination agreement, leveraging the IMF Special Drawing Rights and World Bank balance sheets, meeting the $100 billion climate finance pledge, and doubling individual climate finance pledges by G7 countries.
This will ensure that African countries have access to liquidity and concessional finance to invest in a sustainable green jobs boom for the youth of the continent and to counter the surge of extreme poverty due to the pandemic and its aftershocks.
The UN official’s third point was an interrogation on the G7 aid cuts, which disproportionately hit and hurt African nations (cut by two-thirds), disproportionately hit women (cut by 80-90%), and disproportionately hit the UN system agencies like UNAIDS, UNFPA UN Women.
“As an African, a woman, and working for the UN, imagine how this makes us feel about the UK as fair play partners as we face these crises together.”
Her message included a call for the British PM to “listen to the conscience within his own Conservative Party, and across the generous hearted British nation, and keep the pledge he made to Africa. This would go on record; down in history as having shown enlightened leadership on Covid and on climate when the world most needed it.”
The message was delivered on behalf of Ms Songwe by Nita Deerpalsing, ECA’s Director of Communications, during a media briefing organised by ONE Campaign on 10 June 2021 with former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr John N. Nkengasong, Executive Director of Advocacy, Campaign and Policy for Save the Children Fund, Kirsty McNeill, and England Rugby Player Maro Itoje.