Davos Newbies Home

And some potentially good news 

Africa’s bloodiest war nears end“: “The leaders of the main rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been sworn in as vice-presidents in a new power-sharing government aimed at ending nearly five years of war. The transitional administration composed of once bitterest enemies should pave the way for the country’s first democratic elections in two years’ time, if all goes according to plan.”

Estimates are that 3 million people have died in this barely reported five-year war.

15,000 dead yesterday  

As if the statistics below weren’t bad enough, Jeff Sachs adds to the misery in today’s FT.

Jeff writes about yesterday’s donor meeting of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (which Jeff was instrumental in establishing). The fund needs $3 billion for programmes in 2004 and it isn’t going to get it.

“The US is a case in point. Here is a country with a national income of $10,000bn that has refused to commit more than $200m next year for the Global Fund. That amounts to a derisory 70 cents per American – or, to put it another way, just 2 cents per $1,000 of US income. Mr Thompson noted at the meeting that the US contribution might be nudged up to $500m or more by Congress but he did not mention that Mr Bush had so far opposed that initiative.”

Europe is almost as bad. “Earlier this year, Jacques Chirac, the French president, sought to mobilise a European contribution of $1bn for next year. This would amount to about $3 per European — roughly the cost of one beer. The donor meeting on Wednesday was initially envisaged as the occasion where that $1bn would be announced. But it was not to be. Big countries such as Germany and the UK were unwilling to increase their budgetary outlays to a level commensurate with their size and responsibility.”

Jeff’s conclusion? “But while the rich countries may continue with their excuses, they count for nothing with the dying people of impoverished countries. On Wednesday, while the rich countries gave their speeches and paraded their paltry generosity, Aids, tuberculosis and malaria claimed the lives of another 15,000 Africans.”

Frightening statistics 

Martin Wolf in yesterday’s Financial Times pulled out some frightening statistics.

The OECD countries — essentially the world’s 30 richest nations — spent $311 billion on domestic agricultural subsidies in 2001. They spent $52 billion on aid to all countries. The 2001 GDP of sub-Saharan Africa was $301 billion.

Worse, the annual dairy subsidy in the European Union in 2000 was $913 per cow. The average income in sub-Saharan Africa was $490 per capita. The EU’s annual aid to sub-Saharan Africa was $8 per person.

These are truly shaming figures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *