Bush plans to double African aid
reads the Beeb headline, headline. The Beeb goes on,
He said this would happen if African leaders made a commitment to honest government and the rule of law.
. . .
Mr Bush said the US would double assistance to the region by 2010, but stressed trade and good government were as important as financial aid.
He said the “primary focus” would be on “reforming countries”.
African leaders, he said, must be the “agents of reform” rather than “passive recipients of money”.
The announcement is in addition to $674m (£350m) in aid for Africa promised by Mr Bush in a summit with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this month, at which the writing off of debts owed by some of the poorest countries was agreed.
Tying American foreign aid to honest government and the rule of law is an excellent idea. Arthur explains why, and states,
the problem is that it’s been the West who has been a largely passive giver of aid, while the post-colonial leaders have been its very active recipients.
The Beeb article goes on to say,
US government development aid is lower than most Western countries when measured in terms of gross national product, but its non-governmental donations are much higher.
Shamefully, the BBCA TC newscast last evening didn’t mention the part about non-governmental donations. It also didn’t bother to say that USA foreign aid accounted in 2003 for 35 percent of the total amount given that year by all industrialized nations combined, or that the Bush administration has tripled the total American aid to Africa over the past four years. Instead, they had a former assistant secretary of state for Africa from a prior administration (forgive me, but I didn’t write down the lady’s name — and the Beeb didn’t mention which administration), who carried on at great length on why the Bush administration is wrong, since the USA should be contributing $80 billion annually, 0.7% of its gross domestic income to the cause of “official development assistance”, what I call the Plan for the Millenium tithe. At least the lady in question refrained from proposing that the funds be channelled through the UN, that paragon of transparency.
No effort was made by the Beeb to state the above facts on American foreign aid. If thay had, that indeed would have made the news.