The Hill: Surrogates for Obama and Romney campaigns clash on foreign policy – At the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, surrogates for Obama and Romney agreed that “foreign aid is vital for U.S. security and economic growth but disagreed on who’d make the better use of it.” Sen. John Kerry explained that foreign aid accounts for a “tiny little 1 percent of the federal budget,” yet “we have folks who want to slash our foreign aid and development investments and who are somehow pursuing a formula for isolation and for shrinking influence, at a time when that is exactly the opposite of what is in the interest of our nation.” (Julian Pecquet)
NYTimes: China Pledges $20 Billion in Loans to African Nations – President Hu Jintao announced on Thursday that China will lend $20 billion to Africa for infrastructure and agriculture over the next three years, “with a new emphasis on grass-roots projects designed to help the people.” These loans are double the amount China offered in 2009, “a signal that China plans to press ahead with aid programs in African nations with abundant energy and mineral resources.” (Jane Perlez)
Bloomberg: East Africa’s Seasonal Rains Are Seen Improving by USAID envoy – The U.S. Agency for International Development announced in a report Wednesday that the rainfall outlook is promising for crop-growing areas in East Africa. After delayed rains postponed crop planting, the estimated “forecast is for sustained heavy rains across the west and north of the region in coming weeks,” which could ultimately lead to flooding and damages. (Rudy Ruitenberg)
Devex: Rough road to an AIDS-free generation – 34.2 million people continue to live with HIV, yet the HIV epidemic remains $7 billion short in funding. While many more people now have access to antiretroviral therapy (8.8 million up from 6.6 million in 2010), and new infections in children have fallen (330,000 down from 570,000 in 2003), 14.8 million people are still without access to ARVs. Although donors committed to $8.8 billion in funding for 2011, donor disbursements only reached $7.6 billion. (Jenny Lei Ravelo)
AP: Semenya to Carry South Africa’s Flag at Olympics – Three years after she was victimized by a gender-test controversy, Caster Semenya – a medal-winning runner – accepted the honor of carrying her state’s flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, the first Olympics she will compete in.