Rich nations urged to act against poverty

The Guardian

London, April 13:

Rich nations must act boldly this year if global poverty is to be reduced, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday.

Ahead of today’s bi-annual summit of the two organisations, they said the developed world had to double aid by 2010 and speed up global trade talks if the millennium development goals were to be met.

James Wolfensohn, the bank president, said, “Without early and tangible action to accelerate progress, the goals will be seriously jeopardised — especially in sub-Saharan Africa, which at current trends will fall short of all goals.”

One millennium goal is to halve world poverty by 2015. In the report, the World Bank and IMF said Africa needed at least 10 years of sharply accelerated growth, at an annual rate of seven per cent — or double the current rate — for this to happen.

As most Africans rely on agriculture, persuading rich countries to stop subsidising their farmers and create a fair global market would dramatically reduce poverty in the continent, the report stated.

Zia Qureshi, a senior adviser at the bank, said, “Achieving a global fair trade environment is critically important for achieving the millennium goals.”