Brown to press G8 for more progress on Africa

According to Andy Grice in The Independent Gordon Brown plans to continue to press G8 leaders to live up to their commitments on Africa:

Mr Brown’s four-point plan for the annual G8 gathering includes a $60bn boost for health care in developing nations, to recruit more health workers; extra money to meet shortfalls in a $1bn fund to stop 72 million children missing out on a primary education; and a food-crisis package. [Ed: I make that a 3-point plan?]

Say what you like about Mr Brown’s domestic political standing (I personally can’t see what he is supposed to have done wrong, apart perhaps from dismantling our civil liberties) but he continues to put real energy and passion into international development. Since I think that is two orders of magnitude more important and urgent than anything in British politics, that is enough for me.

A government source quoted in the same article gets it exactly right:

“It would be very stupid to give up on Africa because of the economic downturn – a big strategic error to save a relatively small amount of money. If we invest in agriculture in Africa, we could bring down the price of food. Half of the food produced rots before it gets to the market. It could become the breadbasket for the world.”

4 thoughts on “Brown to press G8 for more progress on Africa”

  1. I personally can’t see what he is supposed to have done wrong, apart perhaps from dismantling our civil liberties

    Aside from that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

    Still, I agree with the point.

  2. The general point could surely be expressed even more strongly: the global economic downturn is a powerful reason for doing even more for Africa (to counter-act the disproportionately harmful effects on developing countries of economic slow-down in the rich West), and certainly not an excuse for doing even less.

    BTW, I don’t know who the ‘editor’ is who could only count up to three of Gordon Brown’s four points. Perhaps I’m seeing double, but there seemed to me to be four there, loud and clear. (I agree that Mr Broon’s commitment to Africa is estimable, but less firmly convinced that this virtue outweighs all his countervailing defects, including his apparent timidity and reluctance to adopt even faintly controversial policies, his inability to make decisions and stick to them, and his inexplicably obstinate refusal to abandon or reverse even the most obviously perverse and indefensible commitments of his predecessor: ID cards, 42 days, aircraft carriers and fighter aircraft, Trident, ballooning Olympic budget, public/private partnership financing, Uriah Heep-like deference to Murdoch and the Daily Mail, continued privatisation of the railway companies, leaving troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to no observable purpose, inability to carry our semi-federal devolution constitution through to its logical conclusion of a fully federated UK — or even to complete reform of the House of Lords, frigid attitudes to the EU, and contempt for the views of his own party’s rank and file, the indispensable foot-soldiers for fighting elections (to name just a few elements in the toxic detritus of New Labour). But all this is tending to drift away from your sound point about Africa and development. Sorry!)


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