Hiroshima, Japan: Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries have gathered in Hiroshima, Japan, for a three-day summit in which they are trying to come together on some of the world’s biggest challenges.
Throughout the summit, experts from all over the world are taking stock of the gathering of leaders from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan along with the European Union.
The bishops representing Caritas organizations of 23 African nations appeal to the governments of the seven key industrial nations, to deliberate concrete measures to help Africa address its food and climate crisis and ever-growing poverty.
Ahead of the meeting, the bishops representing Caritas organizations of 23 African nations appealed to the governments of the seven most developed countries to deliberate concrete measures to help Africa address the multiple crises it is currently facing.
In their statement, the bishops voice their deep concern for the increasing poverty in Africa, which has worsened since the COVID-19 crisis. Growing levels of food insecurity, they say, are exacerbating conflict and social tensions in many African countries “making governance more fragile”
Similarly at G7 Summit, French officials also said, “The Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations need to take more responsibility in boosting crisis financing for vulnerable countries across the world and work with them to reform the post-war financing system.”
France will host on June 22-23 the “Summit for a New Global Financial Pact”, which will tackle reform of multilateral development banks (MDB), the debt crisis, financing for green technologies, the creation of new international taxes and financing instruments, and special drawing rights.
“It’s urgent for us to act and rethink collectively the international financing architecture,” a French presidential official said, adding that Paris had lobbied its G7 partners ahead of next month’s conference.
“Africa is heavily indebted and we are paying the price of crises that have followed, including now the Ukraine crisis, so the G7 has a responsibility,” one French official said.
Rather than dealing with Africa debt on a country by country basis, the official said it was vital to find a systemic way to handle it.
Africa’s debt woes are coupled with the inability of some of the world’s poorest countries to adapt to the green transition, while also struggling to finance a response to the climate crisis as they suffer its impact.
Paris hopes a roadmap can be agreed in June for the next 18 to 24 months with efforts consolidated throughout 2023 at the G20 leaders summit in India, the general assemblies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and the COP climate change conference in Dubai.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) May 20, 2023
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also joined the G7 leaders in Japan, an appearance French President Emmanuel Macron called a “game changer” for Ukraine’s international support. Already the summit in Hiroshima is shaping up to be a game changer in a number of areas as leaders address issues ranging from artificial intelligence to Russia and China.
During the Summit in Hiroshima, Western officials were seen more vocal about Beijing’s use of trade restrictions in political disputes.
China’s use of punitive trade measures has been among the closely watched topics at the G7 summit, amid calls for coordinated action to push back against Beijing.
“The world has encountered a disturbing rise in incidents of economic coercion that seek to exploit economic vulnerabilities and dependencies and undermine the foreign and domestic policies and positions of G7 members as well as partners around the world,” the G7 leaders said.
In their communique released on Saturday, the G7 leaders struck a balance between seeking cooperation in areas like climate change and pushing back against Beijing’s increasingly assertive posture, which has upended decades-old assumptions about the global balance of power.
The G7 also expressed concerns about Beijing’s claims in the East and South China Seas, as well as its crackdowns on freedoms in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang.
However, China on Saturday expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with a communique issued by G7 leaders that took aim at Beijing on issues including the South China Sea, human rights and alleged interference in their democracies.
-Dr. M Shahid Siddiqui (PhD), Follow via Twitter @shahidsiddiqui