Sir Bob Geldof Equates Aid to Stimulus

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 4/02/2009 06:40:00 AM
I will say this much: aid fanatics certainly are persistent in their calls for more aid. Bono and Jeffrey Sachs have had their turn; now here comes Sir Bob Geldof. Rightly, I believe, he calls industrialized countries on splurging on stimulus mania while failing with their aid commitments from the Gleneagles Summit of so long ago. Since he's forcing a comparison between aid and stimulus packages, I must raise the question of whether either work. Anyway, from Sir Bob:
“Fiscal stimulus” is just another word for aid and “liquidating toxic assets” is not different from “debt cancellation” – the things that Africa has been demanding for years. It is no different except for the speed and scale with which it was delivered when we are the beneficiaries. It is all so wearing for an ageing activist. [Sir Bob: how have they made toxic assets disappear into the ether? I'm sure many would like to know.]

We now need a small fiscal stimulus for Africa. It will be a tiny fraction of what we are spending on bailing out the banks. The Overseas Development Institute and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research show that a counter-cyclical investment of $50bn (€38bn, £35bn) for Africa would start paying for itself immediately. US and Chinese exports would rise by $1.4bn in 2009, UK exports by $750m, German exports by $2bn. Currently the G20 is proposing more resources for the Asian Development Bank, but what about the equally critical African Bank? [I take it he means the African Development Bank.] Many “shovel ready” projects need funding. It is clear that African growth is part of the solution that reboots the global economy.

The G20 should insist that the Group of Eight leading industrialised nations deliver their political promises on aid to help pay for this stimulus. We should praise the UK, Germany and the US for living up to theirs, but rebuke Italy, the current president of the G8, for its shameful and cynical dishonesty in signing in Gleneagles a commitment to the poor of our world and doing nothing to meet it. Italy must address this before the G8 meeting in Sardinia in July. If they do not come up with a viable plan, their presidency should be withdrawn. What is the point of having a country leading a meeting that has no intention of living up to its word?