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G8 ministers re-affirm Arab Spring 29-billion-euro pledge

Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

G8 finance ministers meeting in the French port city of Marseille have signalled their continued support of the Arab Spring by re-affirming a pledge of 29 billion euros for Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan over the next two years. 

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The money is aimed at supporting reform and helping new governments manage short-term economic instability in the wake of popular uprisings that began in Tunisia before spreading to Egypt and Libya.

The 29 billion euros for development and democracy was first promised at the G8 summit in Deauville in May. Half of the aid was supposed to be raised from institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund with the rest coming from the Gulf states, Turkey and other countries.

But this week both Egypt and Tunisia, which are due to hold elections before the end of the year, said they had so far received little or nothing.

Tunisia's Finance Minister Jalloul Ayed told the Financial Times that his country had received not a pennny, while his Egyptian counterpart said only ê500 million had come through.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

On Friday, the finance ministers vowed tough measures to get the global economy back on track but were short on detail.

The G8 ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States differ widely on what approach to take to slowing growth in the world economy that threatens to turn into another recession.

The Americans are clearly in favour of using stimulus measures to boost the economy while the Europeans are determined to push reform and austerity measures through parliaments.

Most European nations used stimulus spending to temper the effects of the recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis, but have now focused on cutting their deficits given their high debt loads.

 

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