Monday, January 17, 2005

Dr Brown, I presume?

The African explorer David Livingstone set out in 1865, at the age of 52, on his final and famous journey to Africa. At roughly the same age, almost a century and a half later, Gordon Brown, another Scot with grand ideas, has travelled to the continent. Brown, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer or Finance Minister, leaves behind the alleged rifts between himself and Tony Blair for a fleeting six day visit to Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. As he grinds through his relentless schedule in Africa the tensions with Blair, which will ultimately determine whether Brown will follow him as British Prime Minister or not, may well seem a million miles away. Brown's African mission is to put Africa at the centre of plans for the G8, for which the UK holds the presidency this year. Remarkably, however, Brown was last on the continent seven years ago for a short stopover in Johannesburg. He can hardly claim to have a feel for the place. This has not stopped him, though, from routinely arguing for an aid injection and a debt relief strategy for Africa over the last ten years. But can he deliver the goods? Read more...