Thursday, October 16, 2008

Takes on the global credit crisis from Kofi Annan and Jefferey Sachs

As stated on the previous post, aid commitments from wealthy countries are falling far short from being payed out. The nations pledged $12.3 million dollars, but only $1 billion has been disbursed so far. The pledges came from an emergency meeting earlier this year that was called to deal with the jump in food prices.

The wealthy nations blame the credit crisis for not fulfilling their pledge. But two people we respect a lot say that it is wrong to.

From this Associated Press article found in the the Santa Cruz Sentinel, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says poverty should not be ignored.

"The financial crisis deserves urgent attention and focus. But so does the question of hunger. Millions (this year) are liable to die. Is that any less urgent?" Annan told journalists at the Fighting Hunger conference attended by 200 foreign-aid experts from Europe, Africa and the United States.

"I agree that politicians being what they are, and under pressure from their own voters to improve their own local economic conditions—they will take their eyes off of poverty," he said.

Annan suggested that the US$12 billion pledge was an illusion.

"How much of that $12 billion has been paid out? How much of that $12 billion was new money? How much of it had been pledged before and pledged again?" he said.

Meanwhile, Jeffery Sachs said the credit crisis excuse was a false one.

"Even during the boom years, it was impossible to get traction on this issue. So, honestly, now that we're in tougher times, you ask me: Now is it hard? It's always been hard—period!" said Sachs, a Columbia University expert on Third World development who has been a special adviser to Annan and his successor, U.S. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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