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New Communist Party of Britain

This is just one section of the Main Political Resolution adopted at the 2009 16th Congress of the New Communist Party of Britain.
An index to the other sections can be found here -> [2009 Policy Documents]


The Group of Eight, G8, has until 2010 to deliver on the promises made at Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005, to increase aid by $25 billion (€19 billion, £13 billion) a year in real terms. To give their promises a kick start, the G8 countries resorted to an accounting exercise by cancelling the debts owed by some “friendly” African countries. This exercise was relatively cheap as the actual value of the debt to the G8 was worthless because few, if any, debt repayments were being made and it also made little difference to the income of poor countries as they weren’t paying off the debt. Even with this kick start, by 2008 OECD member countries were giving on average 0.3 per cent of their national income, well below the 0.7 per cent target set by the United Nations. And this only brings aid levels back to those prior to the recession of the early 1990s. This aid is tiny when compared to the trillions of dollars used to bail out the banking sectors in Britain, US and Europe.

Even the giving of this low amount of aid is uncoordinated with multiple donors duplicating administration and setting priorities for funding themselves rather than taking their lead from the recipient. In Rwanda, for example, the government set seven objectives for health spending but more than three−quarters of aid went to just one, HIV−Aids, which has a high profile amongst G8 politicians. Aid has a distorting effect on economic management in that spending money on capital projects like building hospitals and schools also requires a revenue stream to maintain them. Many aid projects have been abandoned —a modern clinic that cannot be properly staffed, an irrigation scheme that falls into disuse because there is no money to pay for fuel or maintenance.

Aid is still tied to a neo−liberal agenda; prior to the 1970s state marketing boards provided a market place to which farmers sold their produce; these state marketing boards also provided transportation, fertiliser and seed subsidies, strategic reserves of grain in case of food crisis and maintained target prices by official intervention. During the 1970s aid became tied to the dismantling of these state marketing boards; the vacuum left by the wholesale withdrawal of the state resulted in farmers becoming disconnected from domestic and international markets; now aid is being tied to the G8s interpretation of political and further economic reform.

In the three years to the end of 2007, for 13 non−oil−producing African countries, including South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Senegal, the cost of oil bought was $10.6 billion: equal to three per cent of their gross domestic product. This was more than the sum of debt relief and aid received over the same three years. BP global profits during the first half of 2008 were $13.44 billion. With a limited electricity grid, diesel−powered generators are an important but expensive source of electricity supply. Also the need to transport food over long distances in trucks means that expensive oil also pushes up the cost of food. More than 30 of the countries defined as low−income net food importers by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation also import all or almost all their fuel — so the high food and oil prices have been very difficult. Is it surprising that the increase in food and fuel prices was met with riots in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea and Mozambique?

In an attempt to avoid missing their target the G8 countries, at their 2008 summit in Japan, tried to drop the explicit target made at Gleneagles. This produced a world outcry which forced them to abandon their plan. No doubt there will be more attempts to renege on the G8 promises.

The NCP will continue to campaign to ensure that the G8 honour it’s commitments made at Gleneagles, in 2005, and that the aid be given unconditionally.