Trade liberalisation has cost sub-Saharan Africa US$272 billion over the past 20 years.
Had they not been forced to liberalise as the price of aid, loans and debt relief, sub-
Saharan African countries would have had enough extra income to wipe out their debts
and have sufficient left over to pay for every child to be vaccinated and go to school.
Two decades of liberalisation has cost sub-Saharan Africa roughly what it has received
in aid. Effectively, this aid did no more than compensate African countries for the losses
they sustained by meeting the conditions that were attached to the aid they received.
And these losses dwarf the US$40 billion worth of debt relief agreed at the recent
meeting of G7 finance ministers.
If new aid and debt relief comes with strings attached that require countries to liberalise
trade, it may well do more harm than good. When they meet at Gleneagles, G8 leaders
must agree to stop demanding harmful conditions as the price of aid and debt relief.