Sunday, June 12, 2005

Strike a Pose

The recent announcement of debt relief for some of Africa's poorest countries is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. It is a very small step.
It is worth considering the deal in a larger perspective:
The debt deal is worth around $1.5bn [annually] - critical money to some very poor countries - but only 3% of total aid flows of $50bn per year.
It's also worth remembering that one of the biggest obstacles ( controlled by the G8) to African economic development is still in place:
Steve Tibbett, of the Make Poverty History campaign, told the BBC News website: "Trade is the biggest issue, where there is the deepest unfairness- it is the root of the problem."

If Blair and Brown are serious about the economic development of Africa, the protectionist policies of the G8 countries must be addressed. It remains to be seen how much movement there will be in this area.
(It might be worth pointing out that I'm trying to be pragmatic here. In an ideal world, I'd like there to be a much greater restructuring of the rules of the globalised economy. In the meantime, we ought to at least remove our own barriers and practice what we preach.)

Altruism in it's purest form

I was reading an Observer piece on the debt relief deal when I spotted this:
The deal is another example of the new working relationship between Brown and Tony Blair which first emerged when Labour's election campaign faltered. Downing Street was quick to claim some of the credit for Blair, who went to Washington last week for talks with President George Bush. 'Tony goes to Washington and essentially ensures the door is open for the deal we wanted to make this weekend,' said a source. 'It may be possible that Gordon then picks up the ball and runs with it hard, but it's a good one-two: Tony goes to Washington essentially to make all this possible.'
Doesn't that make you proud?

No comments: