Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, took center stage Monday at a London meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to urge donor countries to increase aid to Africa. He met with Brown to plan with 11 other African leaders an agenda for the G20 donor meetings to be held April 2.
Listen for more about Meles' speech in the Amharic service's Tuesday Business News.
Meles voiced a warning to the
gathering that some African nations could "go under" if they are not
helped through the global economic downturn.
In his speech, which was carried by several international media, Meles
said the result could be "total chaos and violence."
"They should care about Africa because it is in their interests," Meles said. Countries like his own that have come out of conflict in the recent past could find their stability threatened by the downturn. In the end, the cost of violence is going to be much higher than the cost of supporting Africa, he said.
Meles also said it made sense to invest in Africa, since the money went further. "The global stimulus impact of every dollar spent in Africa is higher than if it is spent in the US or the UK," he said. He also argued that the aid has greater monetary value in Africa than in other needy regions of the world. "Any stimulus money spent in developed countries is going to have less global impact than if the same amount of money were to be spent in Africa," he said.
Meles was among representatives of 11 African nations who voiced their concerns about the economy ahead of a Group of 20 world leaders summit. The African countries represented at the preliminary meeting included Liberia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
South Africa is the only African country in the G20. However, Meles will attend the full G20 meetings as the chair of the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Brown said the global economic
crisis should be used as an opportunity to move towards creating a fairer and
more equal world order. Prime Minister
Brown said he will take all of the leaders' concerns to the April meeting.