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!!!
Thank you for an excellent post. I hope everyone reads it. One little inconsistency though. After a long description of experience with death he said he was pretty much immune to the effects unless, 'accidental.' A little confusing. Regards.
"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!!!"
Better yet, go there and show them how easy it is to build an economy and get rich.
British East Africa, French West Africa, the Belgian Congo, etc.
By Francis Harris in Washington and Andrew Sparrow
The Telegraph (UK)
President George W Bush has rebuffed Gordon Brown's plan to double aid to Africa, days before Tony Blair arrives in Washington to argue its merits.
In a humiliating slap down for one of the Chancellor's pet projects, Mr Bush voiced his administration's dislike of the idea in person for the first time.
"We've made our position pretty clear on that: that it doesn't fit into our budgetary process," he said after a meeting with South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki.
Downing Street yesterday played down Mr Bush's remarks, with officials pointing out that the Government was still in negotiations on the issue that will continue until the G8 summit in Gleneagles next month.
But an official at No 10 added: "You should not be too surprised if not all members of the G8 are signed up to everything we want to do. The Prime Minister has deliberately set the bar high on Africa because he believes that we need to make a really significant move forward to help the continent." Despite this, Mr Blair was very keen to get a "critical mass of support" for the idea.
Mr Blair arrives in Washington next Monday for talks with Mr Bush that will cover the African aid proposals. Mr Brown has invested huge personal political capital in the scheme. Both he and Mr Blair are touting the plan, which would double development aid to African countries by £27.5 billion a year.
America was not consulted on the scheme. But, to assume its share of the burden, it would be expected to raise a total of $12 billion (£6.6 billion) a year at a time of severe budgetary cutbacks.
Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, was asked yesterday why Mr Bush had been so "dismissive" of the British idea. There are "many, many areas where we agree", he replied. But, he added, the president had made plain his own stance on the Africa plan.
The American position is likely to enrage aid campaigners such as Sir Bob Geldof, who has urged a million demonstrators to take to the streets of Edinburgh to demand more aid for the continent before the G8 summit. The pop singer this week warned the G8 leaders to come to Scotland only if they were ready to take real action to help Africa.
The Treasury has been trying to persuade its American counterpart of its plans for the scheme known as the international finance facility, funded through borrowing on the capital markets, for much of the past year.
Mr Brown has also lobbied for the cancellation of £22 billion in debt for the world's poorest countries but has run into American objections. Washington has backed the idea but wants to deduct the sum from future aid budgets. The British want to make the debt write-off a gift. Part of America's irritation with the debate on Africa is the way the rest of the world downplays or ignores its own increases in aid.
But the poor personal relationship between Mr Brown and America's treasury secretary, John Snow, is also to blame for the tension between the two counties. While the Bush administration feels affection for Mr Blair, most notably for his support in Iraq, there are no signs that it feels the same warmth for Mr Brown.
They came out with Plan A last week. Milk the richest countries, the US, Japan, etc..India. The usual America haters. Do more, give more, shut up, sit down, solve the world's problems, don't poke your nose where you're not wanted, etc.. But gimme, gimme, gimme.
Amazing essay, thanks!