Letter: Benefits of a Marshall Plan for Africa

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The Independent Online
Sir: I had hoped that there would have been a wider ranging discussion of the Marshall Plan for Africa suggested by Oxfam.

The idea of such a plan is not only appealing, but vital if Africa is not to remain the basket case of our globe. More effectively, it would be a way in which all available resources could be seen to be directed at solving identifiable problems of the continent.

There is no longer a Cold War, thus the superpowers do not need to court African countries (62 per cent of official US foreign expenditure was Cold War related). There is no indication as yet that the UN agencies work sufficiently close one to the other to make an

impact.

There is plenty of evidence that individual countries in Europe and elsewhere compete for 'sexy' projects on the ground, not with the aim of tackling a particular problem but to promote their own image. A plan under the spotlight would force projects to be channelled to widely accepted priorities.

Such a plan might also force us to change our priorities; perhaps sell fewer weapons; give money towards improving local education rather than to educational scholarships that benefit our universities more than the peoples of the receiving countries; use Africa less for the disposal of toxic wastes; cut back on the dumping of inappropriate technology in the Third World; help them to diversity their exports, and

so on.

With the increased role that international aid must play within international relations in the 1990s, surely a Marshall Plan for Africa deserves all our support.

Yours faithfully,

BENNY DEMBITZER

Director

Global Partnership '93

London, SE24

6 May

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