President Bush Restates Opposition to Doubling Aid to Africa in Advance of G8 Meeting
President Bush on Wednesday restated his opposition to doubling the United States' financial aid commitment to Africa in advance of the Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting in Scotland next month, the New York Times reports. Bush was meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki at the White House as part of Mbeki's two-week campaign to speak with G8 leaders about Britain's proposed International Finance Facility, which would frontload development aid to help Africa meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (Becker/Sanger, New York Times, 6/2). U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown at a February meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations proposed increasing aid to developing nations to $100 billion annually through the finance facility. Brown has said that more than 50 countries have expressed support for the initiative, although the United States so far has failed to fully endorse the plan. Although the Bush administration supports 100% debt cancellation for the world's poorest countries, the United States does not support the U.K. plan to raise funds for poverty alleviation, according to U.S. Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/18). During Wednesday's meeting, Bush said that doubling the U.S. contribution to Africa "doesn't fit our budgetary process." Mbeki -- who is urging wealthy nations to "choose their own ways to help" Africa -- said that the European Union is considering a new tax to finance Britain's initiative. "I am absolutely certain President Bush is willing to commit whatever is required," he added. However, because British Prime Minister Tony Blair has received opposition over the plan from Germany and Italy, Bush's opposition could "doom the effort" at the G8 meeting in July, according to the Times (New York Times, 6/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.