produced by CSIDS –
Center for the Study of International Development Issue no. 15, July 11, 2004
Africa should nix repaying
Japan Times, July 7, 2004, p 7
Africa’s poorest ‘should not pay back debt’
Financial times, July 6, 2004, p 5 African Union
Jeffrey Sachs, a top advisor to the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi
Annan, has told a conference of African leaders that they should not repay their
debts to wealthy countries. Addressing the heads of state of the African Union (AU)
in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 5, he is quoted as saying “If they won’t cancel the
debts I would suggest obstruction; you do it yourself.”
According to UN (UNCTAD) statistics, the 34 poorest African nations, among
the poorest countries on Earth, had a combined foreign debt of $106bn in 2002.
More than 40% of the population lives on less than $1 per day and 200 million are
malnourished. According to Mr. Sachs, and others, the debts are unaffordable and
make achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs) impossible
Mr. Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, is
the special advisor to Mr. Annan on the MDGs. He spoke ahead of the opening of
the third annual AU summit.
The summit considered the AU’s role in conflict resolution on the continent as
well as its 3-plan for economic integration and growth.
Information on the African Union summit is available at
Experts’ views sought over ODA
Japan Times, July 8, 2004, p 2 Japan
In its first economic assistance assessment since revising the ODA Charter in
August 2003, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has confirmed the usefulness of
expert analysis of ODA.. The Charter, itself, emphasizes that aid should be
evaluated by expert third parties and an advisory panel of academics and experts
was established, in October 2003, This latest annual assessment was released July
Japan’s ODA charter (August 2003 revision) is available at
Aids a threat to advances in Asia, says joint report
Financial times, July 8, 2004, p 2
Moves to contain AIDs failing UNAIDS
Inter Press Service News Agency online, July 6, 2004
A report prepared by the Asian Development Bank and the Joint United Natios
Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has concluded that insufficient spending on
prevention and treatment of the disease may erode economic development in Asia.
Meanwhile, in the UNAIDS annual report, the agency’s executive director,
Peter Piot of Belgium, states that efforts to contain the disease are failing. “We are
now entering the globalization phase of the epidemic.” It is spreading out of sub-
Saharan African, where it seems to be stabilizing, to Asia and to Eastern Europe.
In Asia, if effective efforts are not made, some 10 million adults and children
will be infected by 2010, at an economic cost to the region of $17.5bn per year. If
effective efforts are made, however, these numbers could be significantly lowered.
Both reports have been issued in advance of the fifteenth international AIDS
conference in Bangkok, Thailand, being held July 11-16.
The ABD-UNAids report Asia-Pacific’s Opportunity: Investing to Avert an HIV/AIDS
Crisis, is available at
The UNAIDS report, 2004 Report on the Global Epidemic is available at
Information on the XV International Aids Conference is available at
Pleads with World Bank Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Standard (allAfrica.com), July 4, 2004 World Bank
Zimbabwean government officials have reportedly pleaded with the World Bank
for a resumption of assistance, especially agricultural aid. Joseph Made, Minister of
Agriculture and Rural Development, made the request of Hartwig Schafer, World Bank
country director for Central Africa.
However, Zimbabwe has stopped servicing its $280 million debt to the Bank; so
that Mr. Schafer told Mr. Made that there could be no more funds until the arrears are
Nonetheless, the Bank is seeking ways to help Zimbabwe through discussion
and limited technical assistance.
U.N.-backed body bars Congo
from diamond trade due to smuggling
Japan Times, July 11, 2004, p 17 of Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) has been suspended from
participation in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme due to apparent
smuggling of diamonds. The Kimberly Process, based in Canada, is a system for
tracking diamond trading to insure that the gems are not used to finance civil or
international conflict, particularly in Africa. Forty-five countries have agreed to the
process since its inception in late-2002.
A review mission in early-June determined that DROC was illegally transiting
millions of dollars in smuggled diamonds from other African countries to diamond
centers in Europe. The government and Kimberly Process officials are reportedly
discussing the situation.
Beware the cost of failure in the Doha talks
Financial Times, July 9, 2004,p 13
Let us set out time frame to meet
UN aid goal and liberalise trade
with developing countries
Financial Times, July 9, 2004, p 12
Prominent observers are urging the WTO negotiators to consider the dire
consequences of failure to complete the Doha Round. Former WTO director
general, and advisor to the current one, Peter Sutherland of Ireland, has written a
commentary in the Financial Times. In the same newspaper is a letter-to-the
editor written jointly by ministers of finance from Norway, Luxembourg, Sweden,
Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands.
G90 talks “threaten to derail” outline trade pact
Financial Times, July 9, 2004, p 6
G-10 talks make progress
Japan Times, July 7, 2004, p 14
Key WTO Officials to Hold Talks in Paris
Forbes.com, July 9, 2004
Agriculture differences delay world trade pact
Financial Times, July 8, 2004, p 6
Japan puts up fight over rice tariffs Japan
Japan Times, July 8, 2004, p 10
WTO negotiators are striving to accomplish a crucial step in the Doha
Round, completion by July 31 of framework agreements that will move the stalled
trade talks forward toward conclusion. In advance of those talks, several other
meetings are occurring, mainly related to the difficult issue of agriculture.
The G10 group of net agricultural importing countries met in Geneva on July
5 and agreed that they would consider reductions in import duties — so long as
they retain the right to exempt certain “sensitive” products. The G10 countries are
Bulgaria, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Norway, South Korea,
Switzerland and Taiwan. The position taken by these countries is that the
framework agreements should allow each one to set a certain percentage of
products, roughly one-third overall, for which customs duties would be “sufficiently
flexible.” For Japan, this would particularly apply to rice imports, which currently
are taxed on the order of 500 percent.
Another series of talks is set for Mauritius on July 12-14 among the G90
developing countries. This is a mixed group including the ACP countries with ties
to the EU, the UN designated least developed countries (LDCs), and members of
the African Union (AU). There is concern that the outcome of this meeting will be a
hard-line stance instead of the flexibility essential for success in the framework
discussions. The concern is that there will be a re-occurrence of the scenario that
caused the collapse of the Cancun ministerial talks in September, 2003.
Another meeting was scheduled for Paris on July 10 among key WTO
members striving to break the agricultural deadlock and move the Doha round
before the distraction of US presidential elections. These members are Australia,
Brazil, the European Union, India and the United States, some of whom are also
attending the G90 talks in Mauritius.
Already the complexity of agriculture has delayed by at least a week the
release of the first draft of an outline accord by the chairman of the WTO general
council, Shotaro Oshima. The outlook is becoming gloomy and some observers
fear that it will be impossible to reach accord in the short time left left.
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