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The G8 summit of world leaders in France in May 2011 announced billions of dollars of 'aid' for the Arab Spring. Yet it was the G8 who armed and financed the dictators of Egypt and Tunisia, who have now been overthrown.
Once again, as the budget looms, the government is looking down the wrong end of the economic telescope.
Seventeen miles outside the Mozambique capital of Maputo sprawls the Mozal aluminium smelter - a huge industrial complex that cuts into the red earth and scrub woodland of the Boane district.
As I have observed in previous articles arising from my 2011 Ghana trip, economic and political life here is comparatively stable and prosperous, and there has been substantial growth over the past decade - but how benefits are assessed very much depends on perspective. Structurally, and in terms of levelling income and power distribution, things look much less rosy, for sure.
The G20 nations are flying in to Seoul in South Korea today for the start of the two-day summit which will see a new development agenda discussed.
Tonight, heads of state will gather for a working dinner before meeting tomorrow around the negotiating table proper. But for many of them it will only have been days since they saw each other last, with the US courting India and Cameron skirting the human rights elephant in the room during trade tête-à-têtes with the Chinese supremo.