G8 Pledges Billions Toward Mideast Democracy, African DevelopmentPublished on Friday 27th May 2011
G8 leaders have pledged $20 billion in assistance for the democratic transformations in Egypt and Tunisia and address development and security needs in sub-Saharan Africa. The pledge came on the final day of their summit in Deauville, France. G8 leaders said in a final communique that the money is intended to shore up the so-called Arab Spring, following requests by Tunisia and Egypt for massive aid following their popular uprisings this year.The International Monetary Fund also says it is ready to offer billions of dollars in loans to help spur economic growth and jobs in the region. Britain and France have already pledged additional aid.But any financial assistance to the region is likely to come with strings attached. That was the message delivered by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as he discussed future European aid to Tunisia and Egypt."Our aid is conditional. We'll do more if they'll do more. More support if they are ready to go further in terms of democratic reforms," Barroso said.Ivory Coast's new President Alassane Ouattara also appealled to G8 leaders for financial assistance to help his country get back on its feet after years of conflict. Ouattara told France's Europe 1 radio that Ivory Coast needs between 15 and 20 billion euros - or about $21 to $28 billion - over the next five years to build democracy and reduce poverty. Analyst say that again, any G8 assistance is likely to come with accountability strings attached.