West Africa: Oxfam Reaction On New Sahel Partnership

The G7 Leadership and Extended G7 members as they pose for the “family photo” at the G7 Extended Partners Program on August 25, 2019, at the Hotel du Palais Biarritz, site of the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.
press release

In reaction to today's announcement at the G7 in Biarritz of a new partnership on the Sahel region led by France and Germany, Oxfam's spokesperson, Robin Guittard, made the following statement:

"Today's announcement of a new partnership on Sahel seems to be only new in words. While increased attention on this region is worthwhile, France and Germany have failed to make any new real commitments in the fight against poverty and inequality in the region, or convince their G7 partners to commit at a time it is urgently needed. Only 1% of the total G7 development aid goes to the region.

"The multiple crises the people in the Sahel face -- humanitarian, environmental, security -- are all rooted in dramatic inequality and injustice in the region. However France and Germany's attention seems to be disproportionately on military responses rather the development needs.

"President Macron rightly put this region on the agenda, but we need more than talk. The Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world, where the richest 10% own twice the wealth of the poorest 40%, and where half of the population lacks access to drinking water. The region is also hardest by climate change.

"Increased security spending in the region has so far come at the cost of the already fragile and underfinanced social budgets, and precisely when they are most needed to target poverty and inequality.

"Worse yet, countries in the region aren't able to raise much needed resources through taxes: ECOWAS countries lose an estimated $9.6 billion to corporate tax incentives for multinational companies. This would be enough to build about 100 modern and well-equipped hospitals each year in the region. But the G7 continue to pursue and protect the interests of the richest and corporations, failing to commit to global tax reform."

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