Views of the G8 Summit: A Tanzanian Fishmonger

African poverty is on the agenda at the G8 summit. In Tanzania, a man who sells fish at a local market offers Jason Beaubien his views on how the summit could help his country.


President Bush has arrived at the actual site of the meeting, which is in nearby Gleneagles. He's going to meet with the leaders of the other G8 nations--Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia. They will discuss trade and global warming. President Bush has said he's not going to sign any agreement on greenhouse gas emissions that would look like the Kyoto protocol, which he earlier rejected.

The G8 leaders may find more harmony on increasing aid for Africa. They've already set some aid packages, and a pact to grant debt relief to African nations is nearly complete. This week on our program during the G8 Summit, we've asked NPR's Jason Beaubien to ask Africans about what they would hope the world's richest countries might do for them. In Tanzania, Jason spoke with a 59-year-old fishmonger in the central market in the port city of Dar es Salaam.

Mr. ABDALLAH MUHAMMED KUNYANGA(ph) (Fishmonger): My name is Abdallah Muhammed Kunyanga. I'm selling some fish.

JASON BEAUBIEN: Kunyanga's is in the back of the bustling Haryaku market. Armed with a fly swatter, he presides over a long table covered in newspaper and piles of dried fish.

Mr. KUNYANGA: This is shark fish and kingfish and also here we have tilapia from Lake Victoria.

BEAUBIEN: On a good day, Kunyanga says he can earn 2 or $3 in profit. He says his biggest problem is that most of the people in the market can't afford fish.

Mr. KUNYANGA: Our business is going very slow because customers, they have no money.

BEAUBIEN: More than half of Tanzania's population survives on less than $2 per day. The fact that the country had run up almost $10 billion in debts is mind-boggling to most people here. Kunyanga has heard that the G8 has offered to cancel billions of dollars in loans that Tanzania owes to Western creditors. He says he's pleased to hear this, but he's unsure how it will affect his life.

Mr. KUNYANGA: I have eight children and one wife. And I can't afford the education for my children.

BEAUBIEN: Kunyanga would like to see assistance from the G8 for traditional social services in Tanzania.

Mr. KUNYANGA: We are asking them to do for us the health care, building of our roads, and anything that can give us a life in our country.

BEAUBIEN: A real life, he adds, like you have in Europe or America. Jason Beaubien, NPR News.

CHADWICK: Another voice from Africa tomorrow. Jason speaks with an unemployed shoe shiner in Nairobi, Kenya.

I'm Alex Chadwick. Stay with us on DAY TO DAY from NPR News.

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