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Thursday, February 23, 2017
Aid agencies welcome White Paper on world poverty
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¬†Church agencies working in the world's poorest countries have welcomed the ambitious goals of Monday's government White Paper on globalisation - with some reservations. Among a series of measures, the White Paper proposes to 'untie aid' - that is, ensuring that British aid money intended for a country is spent there. (Currently two-thirds of British aid money is spent in developing countries.) The government will be launching a new Africa trade and poverty programme to help developing countries compete more successfully in the global economy. And a £35m grant is being added to existing funds in a final bid to eradicate polio. Duncan Green from CAFOD said: "Eliminating world poverty is the greatest moral challenge of the 21st century and this White Paper represents a sea change in government thinking - a long overdue recognition that trade should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. "But the White Paper ducks the issue of how to reduce the world's grotesque levels of inequality. When the assets of the world's three top billionaires come to more than the combined economies of all the least developed countries and their 600 million people, dramatic measures are needed. "The White Paper sets out an ambitious agenda. Proof of the pudding will be in the years to come - can our government deliver?" CAFOD claims the White Paper is also stronger on reassurance to poor countries than on addressing the legitimate fears of being bulldozed into opening their economies; it seems more concerned about the sensitivities of transnational companies than protecting the poor. But the agency applauded the government's absolute determination to reform EU agriculture and fisheries policies, open its markets to the exports of the poorest countries, its call for the World Trade Organisation to make poverty its prime purpose and its moral leadership in shaming other governments by untying UK aid from April. Christian Aid spokesman Nick Curtis said: "Globalisation has put food from all over the world on British tables, but it has failed to guarantee a square meal for many people in poor countries who produce that food. We hope the new white paper will transform the many fine words spoken on poverty into action." For more information on globalisation visit CAFOD's website through our links page (see below).
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