Africa, Blair and United Kingdom's commendablepush for development assistance
USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston,CLASSmagazine
USAfricaonline.comand TheBlack Business Journal
By Chinua Akukwe
Contributing Editor and Special correspondent of USAfricaonline.comand CLASS magazine
June 6, 2005: Ahead of the G-8 meeting July 2005 in Scotland, TonyBlair, the Prime Minister of Britain has been on a whistle-stop tourof key Western Capitals to drum up support for his country'scomprehensivedevelopment assistance for Africa. As outlined by the U.K powerfulfinance minister (Chancellor of Exchequer in Britain), Gordon Brown,the UK's bold comprehensive development assistance plan for Africarests on four critical pillars: immediate and unconditional debtrelief for the poorest nations in Africa; a new internationalfinancial facility with a major focus on comprehensive,age-appropriate immunization for all African children; removal oftrade distortions and agricultural subsidies by Western governmentsso that Africa can have a fairer chance in the highly lucrativemarkets of North America and Europe, and; a doubling of aid to Africaby 2015.
The UK Plan for Africa grew out of the Tony Blair Commissionfor Africa, made up of prominent Africans, Britons and a former USSenator. The Commission recently released a wide-rangingreport of development needs in Africa and articulated how bestAfrican governments and rich nations can work together todramatically reduce poverty and improve standards of living inAfrica. British Prime Minister Tony Blair commitment toAfrica's development is not in doubt. The humanitarian role ofBritish soldiers in ending the atrocities of Sierra Leone is wellknown. The Prime Minister has spoken on numerous occasions on theneed for greater development assistance for Africa. Mr. Blair hasalso pledged to increase the UK government's overseas developmentassistance as a percentage of GDP by 2012. Both Tony Blair and GordonBrown have shown strong commitment to African-related issues despitethe strident national disagreements between the United Kingdom andZimbabwe. The push by Prime Minister Tony Blair and hisgovernment for massive but accountable development assistance toAfrica is timely and commendable. However, the United Kingdom plan isgenerating some hostility, especially from the United States'president George W. Bush.
Bush while welcoming President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to theWhite House in May 2005 expressed reservations about the UnitedKingdom Plan, especially the proposed International FinancingFacility which seeks to scrap some of the continent's debts. Thesupport of France, Germany and Italy may not be guaranteed due to acombination of domestic political and economic concerns, and thestability of the each nation's bilateral development programs.
There is a possibility that the G-8 nations may not announce awide-ranging development assistance program for Africa.
What to do before the G-8 meeting in July 2005? First, the UKgovernment should recognize the development assistance programs ofG-8 nations to Africa. This is a very touchy issue, especially forthe US government. The Bush administration, for example, would likeample recognition of its $15 billion, 5 year global HIV/AIDSinitiative in 15 countries, including 12 African countries. TheFrench government would like appropriate recognition of the impact ofits communicable diseases and humanitarian assistance programs in theFrench-speaking parts of Africa. President Chirac will surely wantserious discussion on his earlier proposal for an internationalairport tax for Africa's development.
Second, it is critical for the current UK plan to quickly become aG-8 Development Assistance Plan for Africa. I do not believe thatother rich nations will sign up without significant tradeoffs theplan of another rich nation regarding development assistance. It ismost likely that other G-8 nations will modify the UK plan especiallythe proposed international finance facility which is likely to runinto strong opposition from the United States. A compromise could besubstantial increase in expenditure for age-appropriate immunizationsusing current implementation channels and facilities.
Third, the UK government may need to focus on few, big ticket,verifiable items that it can decisively influence during the nation'sG-8 presidency. The issue of 100% debt relief for poorest Africancountries without any technical, administrative or legal mumbo jumbois feasible. At the end of the G-8 conference next month in Scotland,its leaders should announce 100% debt relief for specific Africancountries. The only conditionality that should be attached to the100% debt relief is the set up of verifiable mechanisms that cantransparently show how resources earlier used for debt servicing byAfrican countries is being utilized for health and educationprograms. Another feasible deliverable at the next G-8 meeting is theneed to untie aid to Africa. For serious meaningful developmentassistance, African countries should not be forced to buy goods andservices from donor countries. Instead, goods and services from donorcountries should be an attractive option for recipient countries, inaddition to other viable alternatives.
Fourth, African professionals living in the West should become anindispensable strategy for sustainable development assistance toAfrica. As a major beneficiary of the services provided by Africanprofessionals who initially trained in Africa, the UK governmentshould work with other G-8 nations with sizeable African professionalpopulations such as the United States and France to implementincentive programs that allow these professionals go back to theirnative lands for specific periods of time and to work on specifieddevelopment projects. African professionals living in the West shouldbe the fulcrum of international development assistance since most ofthese professionals maintain strong familial, economic and socialties with their native lands.
The G-8 annual meeting in Scotland in July 2005 should end with alegacy of verifiable development assistance for Africa. The next stepis to develop and implement a comprehensive G-8 developmentassistance plan for Africa. During Britain's leadership of the G-8,Africa should benefit from a comprehensive, verifiable G-8development assistance. Stakeholders in G-8 nations and Africa shouldhave no doubt on the specific programs, expected outcomes and theagencies responsible for implementation of comprehensive developmentassistance from the richest nations on earth.
Dr. Akukwe, specialcorrespondent for USAfricaonline.com, discussed some of the issues inthis article in the BBC 24-Hour Prime Time News on June 3, 2005.
CLASS: The heritage excellence and stylemagazine for Africans in north America, described by The New YorkTimes as the magazine for affluent Africansin America. It is published byprofessional journalists and leading mulitmedia leaders andpioneers.
Click image for the latest2005 cover editions of CLASS magazine Vol. 2.5 and2.6
Subscribe@Classmagazine.tv-- 8303 SW Freeway, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77074.Phone: 713-270-5500. Cell direct:832-45-CHIDO (24436)
Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide. By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror?
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Arafat's duplicity, terrorism at the heart of Israeli-Palestinian crises. By Barry Rubin
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials
Conflicting emotions, feeling of disappointment, timing of revelation that Rev. Jackson fathered a child with former aide lead to charges of "right-wing orchestration."
Nigeria's Presidential Election: Is it just for the Highest Bidder?
Nigeria at 40: punish financial thuggery, build domestic infrastructure
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfricaonline.com contributing editor Ken Okorie. Commentary appears from NigeriaCentral.com
Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (left) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting
Wong is wrong on Blacks in Houston city jobs
Why is 4-year old Onyedika carrying a placard against killings in Nigeria?
How Nigeria's Islamic Sharia crises will affect the U.S.
USAfrica INTERVIEW "Why African Catholics are concerned about crises, sex abuse issues in our church" - a frank chat with ICCO's Mike Umeorah
Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu The Economics of Elections in Nigeria
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
COUNTERPOINT 'Why is Bill Maher spreading racist nonsense about HIV/AIDS and Africa on ABC?
Hate groups' spin by Lamar Alexander benefits anti-Blacks, anti-Semites, and racists
Annan, power and burden of the U.N
The Civilianizing of African soldiers into Presidents
At 39, Nigerians still face dishonest stereotypes such as Buckley's, and other self-inflicted wounds.
JFK Jr.: Death of a Good Son
'Why is Bill Maher spreading racist nonsense about HIV/AIDS and Africa on ABC?
National Summit on Africa, Congresswoman Jackson-Lee hold policy forum in Houston
'100 Black Men are solutions-oriented' says Thomas Dortch, Jr., Richard Johnson and Nick Clayton II as they share perspectives with USAfrica's founder on the national organization.
Community Service Awards bring African-American, American policy and business leaders together with African community at Texas Southern University
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game
Nigeria, Cry My Beloved Country
Will the rash of Ethnic Violence disrupt Nigeria's effort at Democracy?
IN THE HOUSE OF MANDELA: A SILLY CRY FOR REPARATIONS By Prof. Chimalum Nwankwo
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
EndGame in Kinshasa: U.S must boot Mobutu for own interest, future of Zaire and Africa
Why Powell's mission to the Middle East failed. By Jonathan Elendu
General Tunde Idiagbon: A nationalist, an iron-surgeon departs
Abiola's sudden death and the ghost of things to come
Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua's prison death, Nigeria and The Ghost of Things to come .....
Abati's Revisionisms and Distortions of history. By Obi Nwakanma, USAfrica The Newspaper contributing editor and award-winning poet
Reuben Abati's fallacies on Nigeria's history and secession. By Bayo Arowolaju
How Abati, Adelaja and others fuel the campaign of hatred against Ndigbo. By Jonas Okwara
"Obasanjo, secession and the secessionists": A response to Reuben Abati's Igbophobia. By Josh Arinze, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor.
Abati and other anti-Igbo bigots in Nigeria. By Chuks Iloegbunam, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor and author of Ironsi
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy was livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.
Anambra's rigged 2003 elections: Chris Uba's confession at WIC 2004 in Newark, USA. In a matter-of-fact manner, PDP's chieftain in Anambra Chris Uba stood up and astonished all that were present in Newark when he said, "We, the PDP, did not win the election (of 2003). I have gone to church to confess. The election had no document. I called the result before 12 midnight. I gave INEC the money and asked them to call the result." The revelation caused an uproar as well as some applause in the hall. "The person we took his thing is here," Uba said, pointing at Peter Obi (the APGA candidate) who was sitting among the audience, in the back row.
USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.
DEMOCRACY WATCH: Obasanjo raped Nigeria's constitution by suspending Plateau Assembly and Governor. Prof. By Prof. Ben Nwabueze, leading constitutional scholar in the Commonwealth for almost 45 years, former Nigerian federal minister and SAN.
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
Investigating Marc Rich and his deals with Nigeria's Oil
Through an elaborate network of carrots and sticks and a willing army of Nigeria's soldiers and some civilians, controversial global dealer and billionaire Marc Rich, literally and practically, made deals and steals; yes, laughed his way to the banks from crude oil contracts, unpaid millions in oil royalties and false declarations of quantities of crude lifted and exported from Nigeria for almost 25 years. Worse, he lifted Nigeria's oil and shipped same to then embargoed apartheid regime in South Africa. Read Chido Nwangwu's NEWS INVESTIGATION REPORT for PetroGasWorks.com
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post?
Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa
Nnamdi Azikiwe: Statesman, Intellectual and Titan of African politics
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents." These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.' Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president. By Al Johnson
The Life and Irreverent times of Afrobeat superstar, FELA
Obasanjo: "Let me say this to you, when you put the question of 10,000 -- 10,000 people dying in Nigeria, of course, for a population of over 120 million people...." But USAfricaonline.com Founder and recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), Chido Nwangwu, who appeared on the same program as as a CNN International analyst (Africa) pointed out that "when (President Obasanjo) answered that in a country of 100 million that 10,000 people are said to have died, as if that was a small number, that in itself reflects a disconnect with the concerns of Nigerians. The second one is that when the risk is civil disagreement, the police are required to intervene in the country. And the deployment of the armed forces of Nigeria requires at least some consultation, however modest, with the parliament." Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Times continued that "the third factor that is equally important to underscore is that the armed forces of Nigeria moved in for a punitive action rather than just containing a civil disagreement." He noted in USAfricaonline.com backgrounder "it was revealing and interesting interesting discussing Nigeria's issues with its leader - under the current circumstances of an increasingly out-of-schedule elections and the gathering storm of an impeachment process by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, predominantly by Obasanjo's party members." See rush transcript of the CNN International news program.
Steve Jobs and Apple represent the future of digital living. By Chido Nwangwu
The coup in Cote d'Ivoire and its implications for democracy in Africa. By Chido Nwangwu
(Related commentary) Coup in Cote d'Ivoire has been in the waiting. By Tom Kamara