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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 17:57 GMT
Brown sets out anti-poverty aims
Gordon Brown
The chancellor believes international aid should be doubled
Chancellor Gordon Brown wants to harness worldwide horror over the fate of Asia's tsunami victims to drive forward the agenda for helping Africa.

In a long-planned speech Mr Brown has restated his goals for doubling aid and eliminating the poorest nations' debt.

Mr Brown says 2005, in which Britain holds the EU and G8 presidencies, offers a "once-in-a-generation" chance to eradicate global poverty.

He wants a "Marshall Plan" for Africa, like that which rebuilt postwar Europe.

True test?

The chancellor urged rich nations to deliver full debt relief, and urged that in addition to donations there should be an international financial mechanism to lever in additional money from the international capital markets.

The challenge that faced the world was to provide enough aid to help the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami tragedy and to tackle ongoing poverty in Africa and developing parts of the world.

We have been humbled by the power of humanity - the awesome power of nature to destroy, the extraordinary power of human compassion to build anew
Gordon Brown

"The true test of the international community will be how we can fund and assist both the immediate day-to-day emergency services needs but also the long-term reconstruction of these countries," he said.

"We must ensure that countries affected by the tsunami are not prevented from paying for essential reconstruction because they are having to fund the servicing of their debts."

Diverting help from Africa?

The chancellor's goals for the UK's EU and G8 presidencies include doubling aid from donor countries as well as eliminating debt owed by the poorest nations.

Earlier this week Mr Brown agreed there was a danger efforts to tackle the aftermath of the tsunami disaster might absorb resources that were previously bound for Africa.

"We have got to release the funds that are necessary - after all 30,000 children are dying every day unnecessarily each day [in Africa] because of hunger, because of a failure to deal with the problems of developing countries."

Mr Brown added that people had realised as a result of the Boxing Day disaster that "what happens to the richest citizen in the richest country affects the poorest citizen and the poorer country".

"Just as we've seen the power of nature to destroy, we've seen the power of human compassion to build and it's on that moral sense of 'something's got to be done' that we build."

Mr Brown's speech in Edinburgh lasted nearly an hour and was made to an audience of more than 200 people including aid workers in the newly opened extension to Scotland's National Gallery.

It came ahead of a week-long tour African states including Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa.

Gulf Daily News New 'Marshall Plan' is urged to aid poor states - 11 hrs ago
Independent Brown: 'Marshall Plan' will eradicate poverty - 12 hrs ago
Herald Tribune Britain Calls for Massive Aid for Africa - 16 hrs ago
The Ledger Britain Calls for Massive Aid for Africa - 17 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited PM and Brown urge help for poor - 24 hrs ago
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