Blow to Chancellor as US snubs his `Marshall Plan' for Africa

The United States dealt a damaging blow to Gordon Brown yesterday, rejecting one of his key proposals to tackle African poverty.

The Chancellor sought to put on a brave face after a G7 finance ministers meeting in London broke up without agreement for an International Finance Facility (IFF).

The US Treasury under-secretary, John Taylor, left the meeting saying Washington opposes Mr Brown's plan, which would see the G7 underwrite a major investment boost for the continent.

"The IFF is something that the US cannot support because of our legislative process," Mr Taylor told reporters after the meeting. "This particular mechanism does not work for the US. It works for other countries, and that is fine."

Mr Taylor said: "We focus on the results on the ground rather than fractions of gross domestic product [devoted to aid]. We have never thought that fractions of GDP are a very good way to generate funding for aid. The American people are very generous. We feel as if we have a good way to provide assistance the way we are doing now."

Instead, Mr Brown was left hailing an agreement to offer up to 100 per cent debt relief to some countries. He said the IMF would also work on proposals for using its substantial gold reserves - likely to include gold sales - to help the debt relief effort.

"London 2005 will in my view be seen as the 100 per cent debt relief summit," the Chancellor said. "It is the richest countries hearing the voices of the poor. It is the first time that as much as 100 per cent debt relief has ever been detailed in a G7 communique."

Although Mr Brown insisted that support for the IFF was growing, the US stance is a big setback. If approved in full it would see around pounds 5.38bn a year invested in African projects in loans backed by the G7.

The IFF is a key part of Mr Brown's "Marshall Plan" for Africa, launched last month at the start of Britain's presidency of the club of rich industrialised nations.

Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, said it was still possible for it to be agreed by the end of Britain's presidency of the G8 (G7 plus Russia) later this year at a summit in Scotland.

"You don't need everyone on board to launch the IFF. It is inconceivable that the world will come to Gleneagles without finding ways of raising the additional money we know is needed," he said.

Jason Nisse, Business, page 2

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory