Sacred Promises

JOHANNESBURG – A promise to the poor is particularly sacred. It is an act of grace and great leadership when all efforts are made to keep these pacts, and that is why those G-8 countries that are leading the charge for the poorest, especially for those in Africa, deserve much credit.

But we who praise must also be prepared to censure where it is clearly deserved. It saddens me that great nations like Italy and France are going in the wrong direction and falling behind with the pledges they made four years ago at the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. We must all campaign to encourage leaders at the forthcoming G-8 meetings to get back on track and do what is right.

Of course, African development must be driven by African citizens – from all areas of society. But we also need and welcome international support in our struggle against poverty and injustice. That means support from governments, and from good citizens in countries like Italy.

I expect that most of us tend to be deeply distressed– and often devastated– when we look at the news and see what is happening in Darfur, Zimbabwe, and the Congo. “When are we going to get good news?” we ask. Well, I want to tell you that there is good news from Africa.