Make Poverty History

It’s the big Live8 day tomorrow and I’ve just been watching the BBC South West news programme from the Eden Project. They are hosting Africa Calling, a day of African music as part of the MPH events.
If the G8 leaders have any sense, surely they will take the opportunity to slash debt for the world’s poorest countries.
Of course it’s not the only solution but it is something we can do and, more crucially, it is something we should do. If it is combined with more and better aid and proper trade rules it will make a difference.
At the Methodist Conference we heard from Bishop Robert Aboagye-Mensah, the Presiding Bishop of The Methodist Church in Ghana. He said: “You can see it like this. People talk about wanting a level playing field and if you have free trade then the playing field is level. However, we have a saying in Ghana that if the giraffe and the antelope are standing on level ground their situation is not equal if all the leaves are high up in the tree. We do not have all the advantages of the West the industry, the transport and the large commercial farming. Therefore we are not equal. Sometimes the antelope needs to be lifted up to be able to compete on equal terms.

What we need is flexibility that enables us to develop our own trade policies. At the end of the day we need fair trade not free trade.”

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