Helping Africa

I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend (don’t have the article anymore damnit) that said that President Bush had made a commitment to assist African nations. Most of what was reported was him demanding that certain heads of state quit, but the most striking omission in the report was any mention of the U.S. government subsidies to the U.S. agricultural industry that is artificially deflating the world market for many products, and is having a devastating affect on African countries in particular.

If the U.S. government is really wanting to help the poor in Africa, the best possible start is to stop subsidising local industries. Removing the subsidies is likely to negatively impact the U.S. agricultural industry, and alternative uses for the current $3.9 billion (according to Oxfam) that assist the local industry to become more efficient, or to re-train into new sectors or crops.

Find out more about Oxfam’s cotton campaign and Fair Trade coffee in Ethiopia.