Annan Supports International Airline Ticket Tax To Finance HIV/AIDS Fight in Africa
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday expressed support for a proposal to impose a tax on international airline tickets to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, the Financial Times reports. Annan said a $1 to $2 additional charge per ticket would provide a constant source of supplementary income for the fight instead of requiring additional aid from the governments that already have given large contributions to the cause (White et al., Financial Times, 7/7). French President Jacques Chirac first proposed the idea of a small tax on airline tickets in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Chirac also proposed taxes on international financial transactions, aviation and maritime fuel, or capital movements in and out of countries that practice banking secrecy (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/31). Chirac said he hoped he and German President Gerhard Schroeder could give the plan "new impetus" at the Group of Eight industrialized nations summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, according to the Times. British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown is seeking European support for the proposal, which he said could help fund his plan for a $100 billion International Finance Facility. The facility, which would aim to help Africa meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, would frontload development aid primarily through the purchase of bonds on the international market. However, some G8 members likely will oppose the tax, arguing it would further burden the airline industry, which is struggling with high fuel prices, the Times reports. At a meeting in May, finance ministers from the European Union -- particularly from countries dependent on tourism -- opposed the tax, which also has been criticized by the International Air Transport Association (Financial Times, 7/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.