What We’re Reading 8/4/09

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The Guardian (UK): Gordon Brown Backs Free Healthcare for World’s Poor
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has offered to help some of the world’s poorest countries to make healthcare free – starting with pregnant women and children – in a push to widen access to doctors across Africa and Asia. The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) has pledged to spend £6bn on health by 2015. Britain plans to make free healthcare in developing countries one of its key campaigning issues in the run-up to the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh.

Reuters: Economy Hurts South Africa’s Anti-Poverty Fight – Minister
South Africa is committed to fighting poverty but is constrained by recession, and more effective leadership is needed to tackle the problem, its housing minister said in remarks broadcast on Tuesday. He said part of the problem was local government officials, some of whom he described as “unscrupulous.” President Jacob Zuma is under pressure to help the living conditions of the poor, but is constrained by recession and the fear of worrying investors by changing economic policies.

AP: U.S. to Pledge More Aid for Somalia
Officials say that on her tour of Africa this week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will pledge more U.S. assistance, including military aid, to Somalia’s shaky government as it fights against Islamist extremists. The Obama administration plans to give the country additional weapons supplies to double an initial provision of 40 tons of arms. The United States also has begun a low-profile mission to help train Somali security forces. Clinton is meeting with Somalia’s interim president in Kenya on Thursday.

Financial Times: Governors Resist Nigeria Oil Reform
Nigeria’s attempt to overhaul its struggling oil industry faces broadening resistance as leaders join oil groups in opposing the biggest reform in the country’s history. A draft bill before parliament would secure greater revenues for the state while making Nigeria’s resource industry more transparent. The bill’s architects argue that, while oil companies will be expected to hand over more of their proceeds, the costs associated with corruption will fall. But Western oil groups and influential Nigerian governors are halting the progress of the bill.

-Grace Lamb-Atkinson

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