Skip to comments.Mandela Demands Africa Aid, U.S. Snubs UK Plan (We Demand Reform)
Posted on 02/04/2005 2:40:24 PM PST by Cornpone
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's hopes of drumming up $50 billion a year in aid for Africa suffered a serious setback on Friday when the United States rejected London's plan.
Even Europe's backing seemed to be fading as both Italy and Germany said they would prefer something less ambitious than the proposal British finance minister Gordon Brown put to a meeting of the Group of Seven rich nations.
But former South African president Nelson Mandela said he would accept no half measures. It was an outrage to let Africa sink further into disease and poverty, he said.
"We are here to claim justice," the frail 86-year-old told the G7 ministers. "Do not delay while poor people continue to suffer," he said, demanding a full write-off of African debt and $50 billion extra a year in aid for the next decade.
"I urge you to act tonight," said the political prisoner turned champion of democracy, invited to London to draw attention to Africa's plight.
John Taylor, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary, rejected Brown's plan for what he calls an International Finance Facility (IFF) that would double existing aid by using rich countries' guarantees to raise money in the capital markets.
"Not only does the IFF not work for the United States, we don't need the IFF," Taylor said as he arrived in London.
German Finance Minister Hans Eichel said it would be better to start with something less ambitious even though he backed the British idea.
Italian Economy Minister Domenico Siniscalco said likewise and that he would propose something more modest.
"It's better to begin small and build, build, build," Siniscalco told Reuters in an interview.
Washington also said it was not keen on a separate Brown idea of rerating the undervalued gold reserves of the International Monetary Fund to finance a debt-write off.
It has its own plan to offer grants to poor countries with conditions that may be unpalatable to recipients.
British officials put on a brave face on the reluctance to stump up so much money so fast, something many say is the only way to meet a U.N. goal of halving world poverty by 2015.
The U.S. rejection of the plan for Africa may also be seen as a personal blow to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose unfailing backing for the U.S. over Iraq has not been rewarded with the support on debt he has sought from Washington.
The G7 includes the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada.
BACK SEAT FOR OTHER ISSUES
G7 meetings are more usually devoted to currencies and economic risks to the wealthy world but Africa's plight -- where millions die every year from hunger, AIDS and malaria -- took center stage in London.
Financial markets nevertheless were watching for any signs that the world's most influential policymakers had changed thinking on how to tackle problems such as record U.S. deficits, the dollar's slide and China's exchange rate policy.
With U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow not attending because of a cold, there appeared little chance of ministers straying from a year-old policy statement in which they called for less volatile currency markets and greater exchange rate flexibility.
The latter point is aimed mainly at China, whose minister Jin Renqing came to the talks but has already said Beijing is in no hurry to alter its yuan peg to the dollar -- at a level many say is too low and therefore painful for competitors.
Jin met Taylor and others before more talks on Saturday.
"We came away encouraged they recognized the importance of moving toward a flexible currency regime," a U.S. Treasury official said.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking just before the meetings, also suggested that policymakers, at least in the U.S. were content with the way the dollar was acting and imbalances were being worked out.
No money to the government. Private groups like World Vision, etc. do more good with less money than just handing over money to these governments. Most treat aid as their own personal bank accounts.
I'm glad we shot it down. I'm willing to bet 70% of african aid money ends up lining the pockets of gov't officials. Make it 90% if the UN is involved.
No! Africa is sinking itself further in to disease and poverty by allowing despots to use money designated for capital improvements as their own private slush find to pay for expensive European vacations.
Carter, Mandela, Gorbachev. The three stooges.
they have every resource they need to be thriving..no handouts
Dear Africa. You are on your own. You are no longer the White Man's Burden. We wouldn't want to offend you with our Western Ways.
How about reforming some of these money-pit governments so aid gets where it's supposed to go ? Case in point - Zimbabwe, once the jewel of the sub-Sahara but look at it now; or the potential of places like Zaire and Angola. Instead we see Botswana going downhill, ditto Namibia, ditto SA. Mozambique & Zambia seem to be making an effort so all is not lost yet.
Mandela, that old commie, should read the thread on the worthless Kenyan government and its misuse of the AIDS funds the West has sent them. Africans can't manage such things, apparently.
screw Mandela in his sorry arse, let him get $50bn a year from his commie pals
Have I missed something here?
Nelson "Necklace" Mandela (whose past atrocities have been conveniently forgotten) acts as though we owe something to them.
The US has sunk mucho dollars into the African aid programs, not only from our tax coffers, but from the hearts and pocket books of Americans.
I kinda resent this demanding attitude.
There is so much wrong in Africa that a 50 billion dollar a year extortion isn't going to change one bit of it.
It seems like every damn time that the checkbook is opened by all these other countries, the only persons that are capable of signing it are the Americans. Like someone else on this forum once said, when these folks dial 911, the damn phone rings in the USA.
When are some of these other countries gonna get an extension?
The parasites demand our money because they know our "leaders" are too spineless and brainwashed to refuse them. If they don't cough up the dough, the New York Times might write a scathing editorial about them, and they just couldn't BEAR that.
No...make it 100% and with UN involvement,150%.
I'm sure Bono will be heard from with more of his self righteous demands on Americans?
I have to say, I have never seen anything, ever, to dispute what he says or that indicates any improvement. It's a sad, sad thing.
Back to mud huts! Long live socialist republic of Africa!
Where is Jesse Jackass, Al Sharpton and rest of the African Americans? Your brothers need your money, help them!!!