Skip to comments.Wealthy nations pressured to save Africans (Davos - World Economic Forum)
Posted on 01/27/2005 3:25:52 PM PST by NormsRevenge
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday questioned the Bush administration's $80 billion request to finance the war in Iraq when "a pittance" of that amount would allow the United States to double its aid and help end massive poverty in Africa.
Others at the World Economic Forum including Microsoft chief Bill Gates and British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined Clinton in urging rich countries to reach deeper into their pockets.
"You want to go save 4 million lives?" Clinton asked. "Give them the medicine. It's not rocket science, and it's so cheap compared to everything else all these rich countries do."
"Anybody who says we shouldn't do this because there's corruption and incompetence should be put in a closet," he added. "I mean, this is ridiculous."
Meeting the U.N. goal of cutting global poverty in half by 2015 was a top issue, though Middle East peace, bioterrorism and oil prices shared the spotlight Thursday at the World Economic Forum's annual gathering of top business executives, politicians and social leaders.
Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres said the recent Palestinian effort to move toward peace "exceeds our expectations," and he expected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to meet the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in "days, not weeks."
"I think we can move faster than we thought earlier - faster and better if nothing wrong will occur," Peres said at this ski resort in the Swiss Alps.
But the panel attracting the biggest audience Thursday featured Clinton, Blair, Gates, the presidents of South Africa and Nigeria, and U2 rock star Bono discussing whether the seven wealthiest nations and Russia - the G8 - will take action to end poverty in Africa.
A report to the United Nations this month concluded poverty can be cut in half by 2015 and eliminated by 2025 if the world's richest countries, including the United States, Japan and Germany, more than double aid to the poorest countries.
At stake is life or death for tens of millions of people, it said.
"We need this critical mass of resources to make a change, to make a difference," Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said.
Blair, who is making Africa a focus of his leadership of the G-8 this year, said the continent's plight is "a scar on the conscience of the world." He reiterated his call for an African Commission to analyze what's wrong and prescribe how "to put it right."
"The absolutely key thing is to agree that the end objective is a very substantial uplift in aid," he said.
Gates, who has amassed an estimated $48 billion as founder of Microsoft Corp., said millions of children in Africa could be saved if there were enough resources.
"The fact that we don't apply the resources to the known cures or to finding better cures is really ... the most scandalous issue of our time," he said.
Gates has been one of the largest contributors to alleviating global poverty and recently pledged $750 million to support immunization programs in developing countries.
Bono made his own pledge.
"People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves," the singer said. "What else are we going to be remembered for, our generation? ... We will be remembered for three things right now: the Internet, the war against terror, and what we did or didn't do about this glorious continent of Africa and its travails."
"I think we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty, I really do, and I think I will spend the rest of my life pledged to that commitment," Bono said.
Clinton said American voters would never punish a politician for embracing the fight against poverty and disease in Africa, and questioned the Bush administration's commitment to the issue.
"Let's get real," Clinton said. "The president just asked for $80 billion for the Iraq war for a year. For a pittance of that we could double America's international assistance in all these areas. This is cheap."
Fluctuating oil prices remained a prime topic at Thursday's panel discussions, with analysts warning China's voracious economic expansion was demanding more capacity. But questions about whether OPEC would tighten its oil supply remained ahead of a key meeting Sunday in Vienna, Austria. Sheik Ahmad Fahd al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti oil minister and the cartel's president, said the group would consider returning some of the oil it removed from the market in December, if needed.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, called bioterrorism "the greatest threat" facing the world, and warned the United States and other countries are unprepared for an attack he predicted would come in the next decade. Frist is a medical doctor whose Senate office received a letter containing the toxin ricin last year.
Well, the US is supposed to stop sticking our noses in other countries's affairs, so good luck <EU, drop us a postcard!
2 terms squandered in the White House and NOW he wants to save the world.
Oh, I'd better not print what I'm thinking...
In the last half of the last century, wars were fought to get the wealthy countries OUT of Africa.
Well, Bubba, you're rich now. Start buying medicine and sending it overseas. You first.
Can someone explain to me why a continent blessed with more natural resources then any other on planet earth, can continue to be such a basket case?
Someone should ask Hilliary if she seconds everything Bubba said...
Gates pledged $750 million. I must have missed it in the article, so how much are Bono and Bubba coughing up?
If you want to help them, build factories. Give them jobs. But if we do that, the lefties will say we're exploiting them. I guess starvation is better than exploitation in their eyes.
I don't know Bill, what did you give to save 800,000 lives in Rwanda? NOTHING!
If the road to hell is paved by good intentions, with regard to Africa it is papered by US dollars. Tens of billions have been spent on Africa since the vast majority of nations achieved independence in the early 1960s. For the most part it has been money down a rat hole. The US Agency for International Development is hard-pressed to point to a single major success in any African country. Yet despite the massive corruption, the socialist mindset, numbskulls like Clinton, Bono and Bill Gates insist that just a few more billions are needed. Hogwash!
I think money could help, but only briefly, if things don't change, you'd have to keep pouring it in forever. Africa should by be a wealthy continent in its own right, not needing welfare from white countries. Lots of resources of all kinds there. Being squandered by violence, discord and totalitarian governments.
Well, what ticks me off MORE is that Bubba sat there while all sorts of factual excrement was being peddled and never corrected the record. And apparently he helped shovel. Oh, am I TICKED.
Brilliant! Is he going to fund it himself? Does he understand famine and economics? Does he wonder why Zimbabwe is no longer the bread basket of Africa?
Yea, so then they can live longer and kill millions more by infecting the rest of the continent...
If it's such a hot idea why didn't Bubba do it? Heck, why didn't he intervene in Rwanda?
I have a better idea: Britain, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Holland, Portugal and the rest of the European nations who had colonies on that continent should pay reparations. This would soon help to end poverty.
LOL. The richest countries still haven't eliminated their own poverty. And I suppose we use the UN to distribute this aid. LOL again.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.