William Kramer

Live from Edinburgh 2

The conference “Raising Living Standards in Africa: A Role for the G8” began this afternoon in Edinburgh.? The former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, opened the event.? Mozambique is considered among the ’success stories’ of the effectiveness of aid in recent days.? Absolute poverty is being reduced, a peaceful transfer of political power was accomplished, and the growth rate is high.? Peter McPherson, former head of USAID under Reagan, and a principal advisor on the economic reconstruction of Iraq (among his many roles), set the agenda — charity isn’t enough; development must be enterprise-driven, and in the case of Africa, it is African leaders themselves who are leading the way, and their leadership is absolutely critical.?

After a link-up with the Business Action for Africa conference in London (don’t know the link, but am sure there is one), on?a panel of trade experts, the EU Trade Minister, Peter Mandelson, delivered a set of remarks.? It was startling to hear him re-configure the statistics in a new way, noting that a one percent increase in the existing trade level would?be equivalent to a sevenfold ?increase in the existing total of donor aid.? Puts the relative merits of trade v. aid into perspective, doesn’t it?

In his remarks, the former president of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo (now running a development program at Harvard) noted that the Doha round, to be continued in Hong Kong in December, is very unlikely to succeed, particularly on technical issues.? He suggested that this G8 meeting can actually be influential, as the essential problem is political.? If the G8 takes strong political steps, it will encourage the developing countries to bit the bullet and do the same.?

A bit more later, on Paul Wolfowitz’s remarks.