June 7, 2005


Blair and Bush near a deal to write off £20bn African debt (Rosemary Bennett and Roland Watson, 6/08/05, Times of London)

TONY BLAIR won crucial support from President Bush last night for a ground-breaking deal to wipe out the debts of the poorest African nations of up to $20 billion.

The pair also edged towards a breakthrough on aid at the G8 summit next month, despite British acceptance that the US would not sign up to one of its main funding ideas. “I am hopeful that we can get there,” Mr Blair said after a White House meeting.

Mr Bush committed himself to significant increases in US aid to Africa, raising hopes of a substantial deal when leaders arrive at Gleneagles on July 6 for the G8 summit of the world’s seven richest nations and Russia.

Mr Bush referred sceptics to the tripling of US aid to Africa since he came to office. “When I said we are going to help more, you can take that to the bank because of what we are doing,” he said.

New World Bank President Stresses Africa Development (Barry Wood, 07 June 2005, VOA News)

World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, in his first press conference since taking office June 1st, Tuesday stressed the importance of boosting development assistance to Africa. Mr. Wolfowitz is scheduled to visit four sub-Saharan African nations later this month.

He will arrive in Africa Sunday after attending a London meeting of the finance ministers of the world's seven leading industrial countries. The finance ministers will be planning this year's summit of the world's most industrial countries (July 6-8), hosted by Britain, which will focus on African issues. Mr. Wolfowitz says this will be the first of many trips to Africa.

"I'll be visiting four countries-Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Rwanda and South Africa. I think those countries reflect some of the diversity of sub-Saharan Africa but by no means all. I'm actually hoping to get back to Africa fairly frequently. There is a lot going on there. There is an enormous range of difference between countries," he said.

Mr. Wolfowitz, who for the past four years was the U.S. deputy secretary of defense, endorses British Prime Minister Tony Blair's call for a significant increase in development assistance for Africa.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 7, 2005 9:45 PM

This is good. But I'd prefer an announcement of a free trade deal between US and Britain and that Britain will not be joining the EU.

Posted by: AWW at June 7, 2005 10:58 PM

Bush owes Blair. We will make sure his current PR project is given every chance to succeed.

Unfortunately it will not succeed, but fail. As have all other transfers of wealth to Africa in the last 60 years.

Posted by: h-man at June 8, 2005 4:48 AM

I'll be curious to see if this gets any play from Bono.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis at June 8, 2005 9:22 AM

H-man - this is forgiving past debt, not sending new money. I agree money sent to Africa (and elsewhere) has been wasted in the past. But perhaps getting more democracies in Africa (and less kleptocracies) will help any money sent in the future be more productive. I also read something about doing microlending for very specific small projects to prevent a large loan that is more subject to graft/theft.

Posted by: AWW at June 8, 2005 10:44 AM