World Finance Ministers Pledge to Reduce Poverty, Fight HIV/AIDS; Critics Worry Lack of Money Will Hinder Efforts
April 26, 2004
World finance ministers on Sunday at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank pledged to strengthen their country's efforts to reduce poverty by improving education, relieving debt and fighting HIV/AIDS in developing countries, the AP/Boston Globe reports. However, critics expressed concern that the meetings "did not back up the warm words with cold cash," according to the AP/Globe. The final session of the meetings focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which include cutting poverty in half by 2015, increasing efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS and educating 100 million children who are currently not attending school, the AP/Globe reports (Crutsinger, AP/Boston Globe, 4/26). World Bank officials on Friday released the agency's annual World Development Indicators report, which says that more than 60 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS -- 70% of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa (AFX International Focus, 4/25). World Bank President James Wolfensohn said he was pleased that progress had been made at the meetings, the AP/Globe reports. He added that more wealthy countries are realizing that the $900 billion spent each year on military budgets cannot ensure international safety as long as only $50 billion is spent annually on foreign aid, according to the AP/Globe. "This imbalance is just so obviously ludicrous," Wolfensohn said, adding, "We need to focus on the causes of conflict and the causes of instability" (AP/Boston Globe, 4/26). In an International Herald Tribune opinion piece published on Saturday, Wolfensohn said that global poverty is a "force of instability," citing the prevalence of HIV in developing nations (Wolfensohn, International Herald Tribune, 4/24).
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