Subject: [cwj 71] The summit of wasteful expenditure
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 18:14:22 -0700
Seq: 71

The summit of wasteful expenditure

From Shyam Bhatia
Deccan Herald, India

LONDON, July 21

The G8 summit meeting this week end in Okinawa, which brings together the
leaders of the US, France, Germany, the UK, Canada, Italy, Japan and
Russia, deserves to enter the Guiness Book of World Records for its
shameless flaunting of opulence and greed.

One small measure of the lavish hospitality on offer are the welcome packs
for journalists, which contain digital cameras, tape recorders, high-tech
tooth brushes and bottles of whisky.

But the 500 million pounds spent by the Japanese government on staging the
summit could instead have been used to write off the combined annual debt
repayments of Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Niger and Mozambique.

The same amount of money could have been used to write off forever the
total debt of Sao Tome and Principe. Alternatively, the money would have
taken care of 90 per cent of the total debt of countries such as Burundi,
Chad or Togo, or twice the total debt of Gambia.

Three hundred million pounds would pay for every child in the world to
attend school for a month with enough change left over to vaccinate 200
million children against hepatitis B.

One tenth of the money, 50 million pounds, would vaccinate children in the
developing world against pneumonia and meningitis which claim 400,000
victims every year. The remaining 450 million pounds would pay for a
quarter of the cost of providing prevention methods and basic healthcare to
prevent AIDS in Africa.

Oxfam says the cost of the summit would pay for providing clean water for
5.2 million people in rural Africa, or it could meet the cost of purchasing
sterilising tablets to purify 3.4 billion litres of water. It could also
pay for the running of 10,000 rural hospitals in
developing countries.

Some other projects the summit could pay for include vaccinating 500
million cattle in South Asia against disease, planting one billion acres of
maize meal in sub- Saharan Africa, clothing 6,000 street children in
Ethiopia, funding 33,000 midwifery kits to save the lives
of mothers and children in India, and providing 10,000 emergency shelters
for people still affected by the hurricane in Madagascar or waiting for
their homes to be rebuilt in Kosovo.

It all sounds so simple and possible: all for the cost of a single weekend
summit in distant Okinawa.

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Corporate Watch in Japanese
Transnational Resource and Action Center (TRAC)
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