I was very pleased to see Gordon Brown visiting Africa and making a meaningful contribution to debt relief. He spent time in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa, so he covered alot of ground in a few days. He spent time with HIV/AIDS victims in Kenya and Cape Town. The fight against HIV/AIDS is very prominent this week, with the funeral of Nelson Mandela's son, who died from AIDS.
Gordon visits schools in Tanzania where children have to pay to go to school. Brown has already cancelled all the debt owed by Tanzania to the UK. He then pledges to pay 10% of the foreign debt bill of Tanzania, provided that the money is spent on health, education and welfare. Not surprisingly, the Tanzanian government bite his hand off! He signs the same deal in Mozambique.
The big task is now to persuade other countries to pick up the other 90% of the debt. Britain's leadership of the EU and G8 in 2005 will be vital in this.
Gordon also announces a "Marshall Plan for Africa" - named after the European reconstruction plan after the second world war. This will bring a new aid package to Africa with many aims including providing free primary education for all African children.
The three planks of making poverty history are more and better aid, dropping the debt and trade justice. Making good progress on two fronts, in a single week, is great news.