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Social services

News

Bank announces major AIDS funding

11 August 2000

The World Bank announced in early July that it is to make available $500 million in loans to help countries combat the growing threat of AIDS. The new AIDS program will make funds available to any African country which sets up a national AIDS program. Nearly 24 million people in Africa currently live with HIV/AIDS and the epidemic continues to ravage the continent’s development prospects. While this was widely welcomed, others pointed out that the World Bank could do more in other ways. UNAIDS program scientist Paul Zeitz, for example calculated that relieving Africa of half of its external bilateral debt would permit a doubling of spending on HIV/AIDS. Oxfam also released a statement opposing new loans and calling for more debt relief and measures to change intellectual property regimes so that cheaper generic drugs can be made available.

After the AIDS conference, G7 Finance Ministers released a statement urging the Multilateral Development Banks, and especially the World Bank, to “deepen their engagement in global issues such as infectious diseases and environmental problems closely related to development”.

G8 statement available on: www.g8kyushu-okinawa.go.jp/e/documents/index.html