Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bush Exaggerates Data....About His Aid to Africa

Bush apparently has never met a statistic he couldn't bend to his purposes and momentary needs. Reality is merely a starting point for the Bush Administration, to be stretched and embroidered to suit his fancy and appetites.
From Common Dreams....

Bush Exaggerates Increase in U.S. Aid to Africa by Jim Lobe

U.S. President George W. Bush has been significantly exaggerating the amount of money his administration has provided in aid to sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new study released here Monday.

Instead of a tripling of U.S. aid to Africa between 2000 and 2005, as Bush has frequently insisted, Washington has increased aid by only 56 percent in real terms, according to the report by the Brookings Institution.

The report, entitled ”U.S. Foreign Assistance to Africa: Claims and Reality”, is almost certain to increase pressure on Bush to announce a major new initiative to bolster development in the world's poorest continent in the run-up to the Group of Eight (G8) summit meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, to be hosted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair Jul. 6-8.

The pressure on Bush to be more forthcoming toward Africa has grown steadily despite his agreement to join a debt cancellation plan with other G8 nations that should benefit about a dozen of Africa's poorest nations.

The G8 represents the world's most industrialized nations: the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

During his visit here earlier this month, Blair stressed that increased aid and other support for Africa will be among the top agenda items at Gleneagles. Along with the United Nations and the World Bank, he has called on industrialized countries to double aid to Africa over the next few years as part of a series of measures, including debt relief, to substantially reduce poverty and sustain economic growth in the region.

After Blair's visit, the leaders of several African nations who had been invited to the White House publicly criticized the administration for not disbursing aid from Bush's new Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) more quickly to needy nations.

Several days later, several influential conservative black clergymen who had been wooed by the administration sent a letter to Bush calling for him to offer full support for Blair's Africa-related initiatives, including comprehensive debt relief and a doubling of official development assistance (ODA) to Africa to 50 billion dollars a year. Read the rest here....

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