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Vol 55 No 16

Published 8th August 2014

The science of summitry

Seasoned Africa summit organisers in Paris, Beijing, Tokyo and New Delhi looked on with more than a hint of competitive concern as the United States launched its own variant, the US-Africa Leaders Summit, in Washington this week. Well they might, as the US event quickly surpassed the relatively low expectations on all sides by breaking new ground on the commercial, financial, diplomatic and military front. 'Suddenly, the US has put together an Africa policy,' a Washington policy specialist remarked. 'Let's see if it's still standing in a year's time.' He cautioned that the comparison of financing pledges at the summits – the USA claimed US$37 billion this week, the European Union claimed $39 bn. in March, Japan claimed $32 bn. last year and China claimed $20 bn. in 2012 – were 'statistical confections, full of double counting and recycled money' but still essential to the summiteering game.

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