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AU Urges the West Not to Cut Aid to Africa

The chairperson of the African Union, Tanzanian Jakaya Kikwete, urges the world not to cut back on aid to Africa. His call comes amidst a global financial crisis that threatens to curtail assistance to developing countries. President Kikwete told the AU that African leaders are concerned about skyrocketing oil and food prices, and about the possibility that money used to bail out western banks could weaken financial commitments made to Africa.

Elizabeth Stuart heads OXFAM's public relations efforts at the IMF and World Bank. She told VOA reporter Kim Lewis, "Cutting aid needs to be absolutely the last resort taken by the developed world right now. Even at a time of their own financial crisis. If you think back to when we had the last globally financial downturn, kind of 1990 to 1993, we saw donors cut aid by 25%."

Stuart says if this were to happen this time round at a time when poor countries are also being hit by their own food price crisis as well, this could "really spell disaster for developing countries, so this absolutely needs to be the very last thing that they do."