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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June 2005, 01:04 GMT 02:04 UK
Wolfowitz seeks more Africa aid
By David Loyn
BBC Developing world correspondent

Mr Wolfowitz visiting a children's orphanage in Kigali, the Rwandan capital
Mr Wolfowitz has seen for himself the challenges Africa faces
The new head of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, has called for a big increase in US aid to Africa.

Mr Wolfowitz's comments came at the end of his first visit to the continent.

He signalled that he was willing to put pressure on Washington to increase aid, even to the point of reaching the international target - 0.7% GDP.

The move would mean more than trebling the US aid budget. Mr Wolfowitz also said he would like to see an end to farm subsidies.

I'd like to see increased levels of US assistance by whatever means we get there, particularly for Africa
Paul Wolfowitz

US subsidies on cotton in particular have caused severe hardship to African producers who have found it hard to compete.

Drumming support

The appointment of Mr Wolfowitz, a close political ally of US President George W Bush, was the most controversial as head of the World Bank for many years.

But after his Africa trip he signalled that he was prepared to put pressure on the US administration.

"I'd like to see increased levels of US assistance by whatever means we get there, particularly for Africa," Mr Wolfowitz said.

I came here to grow beautiful flowers on the ashes of genocide
Rwandan businesswoman

"I think there are some large political constituencies in the United States on both sides of the political aisle that I believe can be mobilised to support that."

Next month, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is hoping to secure an aid increase to Africa from the G8 nations, but has so far failed to persuade Mr Bush of his case.

But Mr. Wolfowitz said too that money needs to come from private donors.

He stressed that aid increases needed to be linked to performance, and to improvements in transparency, since too much aid money has disappeared into the pockets of corrupt leaders.

Africa's potential

He spoke warmly about the potential of people he met in Burkina Faso and Rwanda as well as Nigeria and South Africa.

He was clearly moved by the people he met, particularly women, who he said would provide the key to Africa's progress.

In Rwanda, he met a woman who had set up a successful flower-exporting business.

She told him: "I came here to grow beautiful flowers on the ashes of genocide."




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