G8 counter-conference kicks off in Mali
Hundreds of activists from around the world gathered in the dusty town of Katibougou, Mali for the opening of a poor people's summit organised to counterbalance the G8 summit in Japan.
In her opening statement on Sunday organiser Barry Aminata Toure of the Malian coalition on debt and development (CAD-Mali) stressed that social justice "is an obligatory and unavoidable phase" to ensure "a durable and definite solution to the problems of development in the world".
"The governments of the G8, heavily industrialised countries, are most responsible for climate change and the international food crisis which are raging over the world," she added.
"We are exhausted. Our cotton is under-priced. African farmers grow crops but they cannot live off their work. They are killing us!" one Malian farmer at the summit told AFP.
The Group of Eight (G8) summit brings together Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States in Japan from July 7-9th.
To counterbalance the Japanse summit the Malian summit will tackle themes like "education in Africa"; "cooperation for development" and "African leaders and their people".
"Here in Katibougou we are in the fresh air, as you see. At the G8 they are holed up in Japan surrounded by thousands of bodyguards. That's because they are not at peace with their conscience," said Toure.
She said the poor people's summit would especially focus on the situation of women and young people on the African continent.