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Celebrities Urge G8 To Dig Africa Out Of Debt


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
Celebrities from South African icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu to supermodel Claudia Schiffer are taking part in a letter-writing campaign urging the world's richest nations to work together to dig Africa out of debt.

The open letters, aimed at next week's meeting in London of finance ministers from the Group of Eight industrialised nations and the G8 summit in Scotland from July 6-8, will appear in newspapers in Germany, France, Britain and the United States.

"A child dies every three seconds from extreme poverty ... The world's greatest minds have shown that we can stop this. Ordinary people across the world are demanding action," says the letter signed by a host of international celebrities and stars.

The campaign, urging donor nations to slash the massive debts burdening Africa at the same time as boosting aid and easing trade rules that penalise the world's poorest continent, is organised by Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP).

"The G8 is the opportunity for leaders to demonstrate -- in actions not words -- their commitment to fighting poverty. We will be reminding leaders that anything less than this will be failure," GCAP's Coumba Toure said, announcing the campaign.

GCAP -- which includes the Make Poverty History movement that is planning a major march through Edinburgh on July 2 -- claims to be the world's largest anti-poverty coalition involving charities, NGOs, faith groups and trade unions.

It has signed up celebrities including campaigners Bono and Mary Robinson, actors George Clooney and Brad Pitt and Nobel laureates John Polanyi and James Orbinski.

The news came in the same week as Irish rocker Bob Geldof announced a series of concerts to take place on July 2 to put pressure on the G8 leaders just four days before their summit.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has made helping Africa one of the central pillars of Britain's year-long G8 presidency.

But his attempts to get fellow leaders to sign up to boosting aid to Africa and saving the continent millions of dollars a day in service costs by writing off debts have so far fallen flat.

He has got short shrift from his G8 colleagues who have budgetary worries of their own, and been turned down by U.S. President George W Bush whose national coffers are being drained by the war in Iraq.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to converge on Edinburgh and the Gleneagles Hotel 40 miles (64 km) away where G8 leaders will hold their summit behind a steel fence and amid security estimated to cost 100 million pounds ($182 million).