Alternative summit challenges G8
While the US and France debated world trade policies at the G8 summit this weekend, the people who are at the sharp end of their trade policies gathered at a counter summit called the People's Forum, in Mali, West Africa.
Cotton farmers from Mali and Burkina Faso discussed the devastating impact of American cotton subsidies on cotton farming in West Africa. Farmers from across the country also took part in a debate on the impact of the global market on agriculture in the developing world.
Another feature was a symbolic international market where locally produced goods competed against subsidised imported produce from rich countries.
The event, organised by Jubilee 2000 in Mali, looked at the effects of privatisation of goods and services, such as water, and the conditions often attached to IMF and World Bank loans, which force western trade policies on poor countries.
"The idea is to debate the issues and come up with credible alternatives from a grass roots perspective," said Aminata Barry, organiser of the forum and president of Jubilee 2000.
"It's important that the people who make the decisions at a high level, particularly G8 leaders, know how their policies will affect people from poor countries, such as Mali. This conference aims to give such people a voice".