DAKAR, 27 July 2007 (IRIN) - Food imports are keeping Sierra Leone from realising agricultural self-sufficiency and meeting the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating hunger by 2015, experts say. In a country where 80 percent of food is imported, mostly from the USA and Europe, the local agricultural industry is feeble and local farmers struggle to compete.
There's three main areas that I have been focusing on in studying this Federal Budget:
- Environmental management
- Millennium Development Goal No.1 on foreign aid
- Tackling indigenous poverty
And the Government is not scrubbing up too well in these areas.
Let's start with foreign aid, and the two opening paragraphs from Alexander Downer's press release on the Overseas Aid budget announcements:
"The Government will continue to support the UN goal of 0.7 per cent ODA/GNI as an aspiration and endeavour to maintain aid at the highest level, consistent with the needs of partner countries, our own capacity to assist and other priorities for Australian Government expenditure. In September 2005, the Prime Minister announced Australia’s intention to increase its overseas aid allocation to about A$4 billion a year by 2010. Such an increase will represent a doubling of Australia’s overseas aid from 2004 levels."
"Dear Mr Bono, Jeanette and I would be delighted to meet your good self and Cher on your next visit to Sydney." - the joke I didn't get to use after all.
There are, however, reports that Little Johnny said, after being told that his U2ness would be at Telstra Stadium this Saturday night, "I didn't know there was a footy game at Telstra Stadium this Saturday. Who's playing?"
What do our pollies in Australia care for microcredit? On September 4 Peter Garrett initiated a debate in the House of Reps urging the government to support the Microcredit Summit goals. As usual, six MPs got five minutes each to speak to the motion, and then the debate was adjourned indefinitely. (Refer my item of September 17 re Darfur.)
The award to Orhan Pamuk of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature put a smile on my face, but I was utterly delighted, if somewhat surprised, to see Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank announced on Friday as winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.
So often, the Peace Prize is awarded to inappropriate people, UN bureaucracies and so forth - there can have been no more daft award of the Peace Prize than to Le Duc Thi and that great humanitarian Dr Henry Kissinger in 1973. And there are people who genuinely believe that George W Bush would be a worthy winner.
Needless to say, they're rather proud of Yunus' award in Bangladesh. Today's coverage of the Nobel Prize from the Daily Star: