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To alleviate extreme poverty the G8 have to make international trade more fair and increase aid

According to the Boston Globe:

Every month, more than 150,000 children die from malaria alone. Each year, AIDS kills 3 million worldwide, a number equal to 10 times the tsunami toll.

President Bush, Chancellor Schroeder and their G8 colleagues will meet in Edinburgh from July 6-8, 2005. The Make Poverty History campaign demands not only more debt relief than the G8 finance ministers have promised, but also more and better aid as well as trade justice. The Guardian describes how cultural advice from financial guru Warren Buffett helped Bono to enliste support for this campaign in the US.

A Foreign Policy article by President Bush's deputy assistant secretary of the treasury from 2000 to 2002, describes how US trade barriers hurt poor countries more than the US aid helps them, how aid played a key role in development in the past and why US security would benefit from alleviating poverty. Following are abstracts of both articles.

US Foreign Aid

In "Think Again: U.S. Foreign Aid" (Foreign Policy February 2005) Steven Radelet criticizes the US trade barriers:

Some analysts estimate that U.S. trade barriers inhibit growth in low-income countries much more than U.S. aid helps. Contrast the $350 million pledged in tsunami relief to the $1.8 billion in duties on imports collected from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India in 2004. The United States collected almost as much in import duties in 2004 from Bangladesh ($314 million) as from France ($350 million), despite importing 14 times as much from France. In addition, U.S. agricultural subsidies undermine the incomes of poor farmers around the world. Economist William Cline estimates that elimination of trade barriers by rich countries could inject $100 billion annually into the economies of developing countries.

The article stresses the importance aid:

A great deal of assistance has certainly been wasted over the years, particularly aid provided for political rather than developmental purposes. Corrupt governments pocketed some of the funds, while the United States and the Soviet Union showered money on proxy states during the Cold War with little regard for how it was spent. But aid has successfully supported development in many other countries, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Botswana, and, more recently, Uganda and Mozambique.

(…) Aid has proven particularly effective in boosting health and education, which improved markedly around the world during the last four decades. In developing countries, life expectancy at birth increased from 43 to 59 years between 1960 and 2002, and infant mortality rates fell from 147 to 79 per thousand. Although aid was not the most significant contributor to these trends, many analysts believe it played a key role. The United States could unquestionably increase the effectiveness of its aid by reducing bureaucratic overhead, increasing coordination with other donors, and aiming fewer funds at corrupt or incompetent governments.

Steven Radelet ends by reminding the Bush administration that US security depends on a substantial increase in foreign aid:

In sub-Saharan Africa, the United States provides a paltry $7 per African per year (one quarter of the $28 all donors together provide), with private giving perhaps doubling that amount. Meanwhile, 27,000 children die every day from preventable diseases, half the world’s population lives on incomes less than $2 per day, and resentment of the United States continues to grow. This is no way to create a more stable, secure, and pro-Western world. The United States may or may not be stingy with its aid, but it is clearly short sighted.

Read his full article in Foreign Policy. Click here for more information on the upcoming G8 Africa summit.

Bono' US campaign

The Guardian describes how Bono lobbied the United States to change its mindset in relation to Africa by "risking his own reputation and that of his band by associating with some of the most controversial figures in American public life." Besides, he told The Guardian how advice from legendary stock market investor Warren Buffett shaped his strategy:

"Warren Buffett told me, 'Don't appeal to the conscience of America, appeal to its greatness, and I think you'll get the job done'."

(...) At each of the 27 concert dates in the US over the last two months, he [Bono] has made a direct pitch to audiences of more than 50,000 fans to sign up to the US One campaign, telling them: "My first experience of America was watching Neil Armstrong on the moon. America looked like a place where anything could happen. That's what we're asking Bush - to bring mankind back to earth. We have the technology, we have the resources and the knowhow, but do we have the will?"

(...) Aid to Africa has nearly trebled under George Bush and the US in 2003 initiated a $15bn five-year programme on Aids.


The Berlin Blogger ("An American Does His Thing in Berlin") pointed out a mistake in the last quote from The Guardian article. The left leaning Guardian referred to Bono as saying that "aid to Africa has nearly trebled under George Bush." Berlin Blogger pointed out on the Berlin Blog and by providing a link in our comments section (see comment 3) that, Bono was misquoted.

Apparently Bono only said that President Bush promised to triple aid to Africa in the future.

Bono told NBC News' Meet the Press:

It offends me, it upsets me when the rest of the world thinks America is not doing enough. The president is right to say they're doing a quarter of all aid to Africa. He has doubled, even tripled if he follows through, aid to Africa. But they are about to double aid, the rest of Europe, to double aid, so that will leave America as one-eighth of all aid going to Africa if they don't match that. And that's not a place Americans want to be, one-eighth. And that will be Europe doing four times as much as America.

Susan E. Rice, President Clinton's Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs wrote for The Brookings Institution:

U.S. aid to Africa from FY 2000 (the last full budget year of the Clinton Administration) to FY2004 (the last completed fiscal year of the Bush Administration) has not "tripled" or even doubled. Rather, in real dollars, it has increased 56% (or 67% in nominal dollar terms). The majority of that increase consists of emergency food aid, rather than assistance for sustainable development of the sort Africa needs to achieve lasting poverty reduction.

According to her Foreign Military Financing has doubled and "actual development assistance, excluding food aid and security assistance, will have increased an estimated 74% from FY 2000 to FY 2005 in real dollar terms, or 89% in nominal dollars." Thank you very much, Berlin Blogger, for pointing out this mistake, incl. the links.

After the G8 summit Bono said about President Bush

We always want more on the numbers but there's no questioning the man's commitment to Africa. His money on malaria has been matched leaving this President in the enviable position of leading the charge against the world's most wanted killer diseases--HIV and malaria. I wish he would have matched the European challenge on overall assistance. He has a great idea for every country with a credible plan to put African children in school but by today's numbers, the Europeans are mostly paying for it.

The Economist writes about the G8 agreement

The G8 announced a $50 billion increase in development aid, but set no deadline for reaching this goal, which will make it too easy for members to let their commitments slip.


Atlantic Review on : One Year after G8 Summit on Extreme Poverty

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Due to leadership failures and aid cuts, little has improved since last year's G8 summit on Africa and the Make Poverty History campaign, writes the British Times: Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, is to chair an international group set up by Tony Bla

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Thomas on :

On Thursday 16 June, the European Commission's Headquarters in Brussels - the Berlaymont Building - was "wrapped" in a white band in support of the campaign for the "Global Call to Action against Poverty". Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday President Barroso said, “The European Commission is determined to keep development and Africa on Europe’s political map. This campaign, and the white band as its symbol, is a reminder to EU leaders to remember the wider world as they grapple with internal issues. 2005 is a unique year of opportunity for development. And we must take advantage of every key event in international calendar which will allow us to push this agenda forward. So even in a week like this, when the eyes of the world are focused on EU finances and the constitutional debate, I will talk about Africa. We must not allow ourselves to accept the present reality, in which 25,000 people die every day from hunger, in which 25 million people have died from AIDS in sub Saharan Africa. Europe is already taking a lead, but we can and we must do more."

Thomas on :

The Observer | Business | How Europe cheats Africa "If Africa is to be freed from poverty, rich countries must stop giving with one hand and taking with the other. While world leaders are promising to give increased debt relief and aid to the continent, taxpayers in rich countries are bankrolling lavish subsidies which pay for its producers to compete with the same people who will benefit from the G8's generosity. The most powerful commitment Europe could make to saving Africa would be to abolish the Common Agricultural Policy."

Berlin Blogger on :

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