The BBC is reporting that Gordon Brown is calling for 100% debt cancellation for the world’s poorest countries by the end of 2005. He was speaking at the World Economics Forum (WEF), an annual gathering of business and political leaders that seems to have had a much stronger emphasis on global poverty this year.
As yet, there don’t seem to be many details of the content of Gordon Brown’s speech. The WEF blog has this piece about the final plenary at which “South African activist Kumi Naidoo of Civicus and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty chastized the World Economic forum for not doing enough to address poverty and inequality.” But the UK Treasury doesn’t yet have the speech in its archive and little analysis is yet to be found online.
Whatever the specifics, this is undoubtedly a good thing. Gordon Brown, while not going as far as many campaigners would like, has always been more engaged in the cause of debt relief than most of his colleagues, and this is precisely the time of year to be setting the agenda for the G8 summit. Hopefully more will emerge, particularly on the key issue of conditionality, after the upcoming meeting of G7 finance ministers.