[A-List] Competing and collaborating imperialisms: Monterrey
Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Mon Mar 25 08:50:38 MST 2002
Lock up your daughters, sons and everything else. Jeffrey Sachs is coming to a global village near you. Once again the maestro is going to be given an opportunity to reshape the lives of millions as he designs another blueprint for economic reform following his crowning successes in the former Soviet Union. Of late, A-listers will know Sachs has been busy. For 2 years he headed a World Health Organization "Commission on Macroeconomics and Health", which basically laid plans for the privatisation of health care provision in less developed countries (and more developed ones, by the way) by suggesting how good for their economic development, and world economic growth, more healthy populations would be. Now he's been let loose to further the Monterrey agenda, one in which the emerging blatant imperialism of Paul O'Neill (you get our money if you do as we say) and the softer tones of the World Bank (hey, we'll help you achieve "best practice") meet in the ominous encouragements of "Bolivians and Tanzanians to get really angry if their governments fall behind on achieveing the goals". No word about how the goals were set, who set them and what options are really available to the governments of Bolivia and Tanzania. No doubt they are inherently corrupt, so why bother with even nominal concern about their local accountability, autonomy, sovereignty, etc. Halliburton, well-known for its sensitive policies as regards Burma, has come up with a really innovative idea -- let's employ local people! Actually it seems that at least one prominent US citizen has seen the light, of sorts...
Aid boost allows greater UN goals
Financial Times; Mar 21, 2002
By ALAN BEATTIE
The United Nations' Development Programme yesterday launched a strategy to raise the profile of the Millennium Development Goals, as the UN conference in Monterrey digested Tuesday's announcement that the recent boost to US aid was twice as big as previously thought.
Mark Malloch Brown, the head of the UNDP, said the plan would underpin the goals - which include universal primary education and the halving of extreme poverty by 2015 - with a research project and a public campaign across both rich and developing countries.
"What we want is for Bolivians and Tanzanians to get really angry if their governments fall behind on achieving the goals," he said.
The research project, which will examine how to achieve the MDGs at a national level, will be led by Jeffrey Sachs, the economics professor from Harvard.
Mr Malloch Brown said the conference in Monterrey had been galvanised by the two US announcements: last week's news of a Dollars 5bn (Pounds 3.5bn) fund over three years from 2004, and Tuesday's revelation that the three-year total would be nearly Dollars 10bn, followed by a permanent increase of Dollars 5bn a year.
He ascribed the change, described by some administration officials as a clarification, partly to "gentle competitive pressure on aid between the Europeans and the US". The recent European Union agreement on increasing aid would deliver nearly Dollars 20bn between now and 2006 and Dollars 7bn a year after that, Mr Malloch Brown said.
Prof Sachs said the "corner has been turned" within the US administration on the need for more development aid. The eight millennium development goals, which also cover infant and maternal mortality and environmental protection as a target of policy, received a boost after being mentioned in President George W. Bush's speech announcing the aid increase last week.
Prof Sachs said there was "not a place in the world" that could not meet the MDGs by their target date of 2015, given sufficient help.
Full article at:
Soros condemns 'deceptive packaging' of US aid
Financial Times; Mar 20, 2002
By JOHN AUTHERS
George Soros, the hedge fund manager and philanthropist, yesterday used the UN's Monterrey conference on financing for development to launch an attack on President George W. Bush's proposals for raising the US aid budget.
While attacking the US president's so-called Millennium Challenge he also tried to revive interest in his proposal that the US Congress should ratify Dollars 27bn in special drawing rights (SDRs) of the IMF, approved in 1997, which could then be earmarked for infrastructure projects in the world's poorest regions.
He said the SDRs, which function much like a credit line from the IMF, could be a "valuable" mechanism as they would allow a stimulus for developing economies without departing from fiscal discipline. "We could certainly use it right now and I think it's something that we may need because globalisation is setting up deflationary pressures," he told the Financial Times.
Mark Malloch-Brown, head of the UN Development Programme, gave Mr Soros' plan strong backing. He said: "The great virtue of SDRs is that there's Dollars 27bn of extra liquidity for development if the US Senate or Congress hold one vote. It's an almost free lunch."
Mr Soros accused the developed countries of "deceptive packaging" in announcing their contributions. "I particularly take issue with the Bush proposal which is trumpeted to provide Dollars 5bn a year over the next three fiscal years, but in fact it only starts in the fiscal year of 2004," he said. "It's been crafted so that it costs nothing next year."
He admitted that his proposal on SDRs, given a lukewarm reception when announced last year, appeared too complicated.
He offered a compromise position. "Simply move forward the creation of the Millennium Challenge for a year, and ask the other countries to contribute proportionately," he said.
Private sector urges greater development role for government agencies
Private sector leaders have called for a strongly expanded role for government trade agencies in financing development at this week's United Nations Conference on Financing for Development, John Authers reports.
James Harmon, a former chairman of the US Export-Import Bank and chairman of the Corporate Council on Africa, a private sector body devoted to boosting investment, said such agencies could treble the Dollars 75bn in annual long-term credit that they provide to developing countries "at a relatively modest cost".
Expansion of the agencies' role was one of several ideas for governmental co-operation with the private sector presented at the Monterrey conference.
Other proposals included an idea from Halliburton, the US oil services company, that US businesses should use local staff to complete infrastructure projects in Africa, bringing only trained technicians with them to help local companies.
The company proposed that the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank affiliate, could organise the programme.
But as Paul Underwood, executive director of the Business Council for the UN , said: "Not one of these proposals can be done by business alone. All of these ideas require input and support from governments and financial institut-ions."
Full article at:
Carter heartened by US signals on helping the poor
Financial Times; Mar 21, 2002
By ALAN BEATTIE
Jimmy Carter , the former president, has been ploughing a lonely furrow of liberal concern for developing countries within the US in recent years. Attending the United Nations conference on development finance in Mexico, and watching the flurry of US announcements on aid over the last week, he thinks the country may at last be moving in his direction.
Backed by the Carter Center think-tank he set up after leaving office in 1980, Mr Carter has become a quiet but determined advocate of more help for poor nations.
Speaking to the Financial Times, he said that the vivid horrors of the Aids pandemic in Africa and the realisation that poverty-stricken nations are more conducive to terrorism have been instrumental in changing the US public's mind. "Investment in increased foreign aid assistance can be a factor in reducing the level of violence and animosity towards the United States," he said.
As well as joining the chorus of criticism that even the new enhanced US aid effort is inadequate, he is concerned that the as-yet-vague conditions for who gets the aid may also repeat old mistakes. "They may yet be heavily fraught with political considerations," he says. "My guess is that President Bush and (secretary of state) Colin Powell and (Treasury secretary) Paul O'Neill haven't decided yet."
He also strikes an unusually sceptical note on the new mantra that aid must only go to well-run countries. On a recent visit to the Central African Republic, he said, he saw a Aids clinic that was largely confined to distributing food to sufferers. "They didn't even have a typewriter to apply for money from the (UN-run) global health fund," he said.
Mr Carter 's interventions may attract accusations of liberal do-gooding. But for a former US politician, his willingness to admit past mistakes and criticise insular US development policy makes him an unusual contributor.
After criticising US agricultural protectionism during a press conference at Monterrey, he faced the inevitable question: why did he not do more to reduce it when he was president himself? "I wish I knew then what I know now about its effects on the Third World," said the former peanut farmer. "I have learned from my mistakes."
Full article at:
NOTE: This article was entitled "Carter speaks up for poor nations" in the European print edition of the FT. It may or may not be significant, but that gives a far less glossy impression of the article's contents than the online version. Carter is hardly "heartened" by the present agenda, as the article would have it.
Mercuria Business School
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
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