Presidential candidates summarize plans for Africa

Writing for Vanity Fair in July 2007, Bono wrote the following about the 2008 presidential election:

As an Irish bystander, I think the candidate most likely to succeed is the one who most people believe can build respect for the American flag in the wider world. Figuring out how to do that is America’s great challenge. Our global challenge is figuring out what to do about the extreme, stupid poverty which sees millions die each year because they are too poor to live. Nowhere more than in Africa.

Is it too much of a stretch to think these challenges could be connected? It’s hard to hate a country which puts your kids in school and gives medication to save your husband’s life. We asked the candidates what they would do for the poorest in the world, if they got the job.

The full article contains statements from all the main Democratic and Republican primary candidates (read it here).  Here are the responses from the general election candidates:

Barack Obama, senator, Illinois   In Kenya, my father’s homeland, I witnessed the struggles and suffering caused by poverty and H.I.V./aids, reinforcing my belief in our common responsibility to uphold our common humanity. As president, by 2012, I will double to $50 billion annually our foreign investments, much of which will go to sustainable development and poverty reduction, and I will expand the President’s Emergency Plan for aids Relief (pepfar) by providing at least $1 billion a year in new money. America must do more than take a few steps—we must lead a global march to make this a more just and equitable world.

John McCain, senator, Arizona    Fighting disease and extreme poverty in Africa is in America’s strategic and moral interests. If elected, I will fund aids treatment and prevention at levels befitting a wealthy and great nation, and establish a goal of eradicating malaria—the No. 1 killer of African children under five—from the continent. I would link other forms of aid to good governance and economic reform, because no amount of assistance can succeed when governments fail their people. And I would pursue policies that enable African entrepreneurs and exporters to increase their access to international markets.

Here’s the response from Obama’s VP pick (I’ll try to update this when McCain announces his running mate):

Joseph Biden, senator, Delaware    First, I’d end the war in Iraq. That would restore the freedom, flexibility, and credibility we need. On H.I.V./aids, I’d stop playing domestic politics by diverting vital resources to abstinence-only programs that don’t work. Violence against women contributes to the spread of disease; I’d work to protect them. Conflict cripples our assistance programs. We must end the Darfur genocide and empower Africans at peacekeeping. Our thirst for African oil fuels inequality, conflict, and environmental disaster. That’s another reason to diversify. I have worked with Bono to relieve Africa’s debt; now we have to build the capacity of its countries to govern effectively and create sustainable economies.

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~ by h.e.g. on August 26, 2008.

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