Letter: Aid transparency

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I CANNOT allow Paul Malan's letter (13 June) on Third World debt cancellation to go unanswered. Of course we must not repeat the failure of the richest nations in the past to ensure that money given as "aid" is not corruptly misused. And, indeed, there is evidence enough of aid being given for political reasons with a clear understanding that it would be used for, for example, arms purchases, rather than on health and education.

There is a heavy moral duty on both lender and receiving nation to ensure that any debt cancellation releases money for health and education. There can be no relief without such mechanisms. It requires world leaders to insist that the IMF and the World Bank work with the UN to implement just this. It is happening in Uganda today. It can be made to work elsewhere.

What the protesters in Cologne this weekend will be doing is trying to persuade the leaders of the G8 nations to make a gesture truly commensurate with the end of a thousand years. Outright cancellation is what we seek. All that is needed is transparency in what is done.

PETER CLARKE

Benson, South Oxfordshire

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