As far as I can tell, everyone who's attended the G8 Summit here in Heiligendamm leaves it with mixed feelings. Some are bitter that the G8’s announcement of $60 billion to fight disease failed to mention when it would arrive. Others complain that the Gleneagles promises have yet to be fulfilled.
But out of all this, what do I have to tell my people back home in Uganda when I return?
To get a steer, this afternoon I rushed down to a news conference given by two musicians who for years have been campaigning to rid Africa of poverty and disease: Bob Geldof and U2’s Bono.
I find Geldof describing the Summit as a total mess. “I do not want to see 2005 reiterated endlessly,” he tells the assembled journalists. “The richest countries of the world, trillions of dollars, swirling around that table… do me a favour! Get serious guys! This wasn’t serious. This was a farce. This was a total farce.”
All very well, I think to myself. But I need specific information for my own people, not just these soundbites. I had hoped for something more constructive to communicate to my people in Mbarara than this emotional dismissal.
Next it’s question time for the journalists. “My name is Collins Vumiria, I am a journalist from Uganda.” Faces turn to look at me. “After this summit, what news do I take home for my people?”
Referring to the title of the final document released at the close of the Summit, ‘Growth and responsibility in the world economy’, Geldof says:
“Conserving growth and responsibility in Africa? It’s absolutely sickening cynicism for this weekend. I am sick to my heart.”
So do I take this back to Radio West? Hmmm. It sounds a little downbeat.
But another contribution comes in from Kumi Naidoo, the chairman of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. He tells me:
“Ugandans and all Africans need to know that we have a responsibility to hold our leaders back home accountable. Whatever monies have been put on our table, African civil society need to mobilise to ensure that [it] is delivered to the people in need… in terms of anti-corruption, human rights, gender and other aspects.”
I think to myself: this sounds like something my people will want to take on. I just hope they do.