High school student Salwa Aman from Addis Ababa gives the impression of someone older than her years. And the 16-year-old has a lot on her mind. “There are a lot of street children in my country who are not able to learn. There are many children who lost their parents because of HIV/AIDS. It is hard to think about it,” she says.
Salwa is one of the young Ethiopian delegates attending this week’s Junior 8 Summit in the town of Wismar, around an hour’s drive from the official G8 venue. For a teenager, she cuts an impressive figure.
We conducted our interview in our native tongue Amharic, but Salwa also speaks excellent English - surprising given that she’s been educated at a state-run school, where the standard of education can be poor.
The J8's participants are groups of eight children aged 13 to 17 years from each of the G8 member countries. This year’s J8 also included delegates from developing nations: Ethiopia, Tanzania, Algeria, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon and Sierra Leone are representing Africa.
While many are sceptical of the G8’s ‘African agenda’, Salwa tells me she believes the G8 leaders are taking African problems seriously.