Thursday, December 29, 2011

Slow on the uptake

Brazil was this week listed as sixth in the world economic league table, with a GDP of $2.5trillion, easing the UK into seventh place with a GDP of slightly less than that amount. So wealthy has the country become that BMW is rushing to build a new car assembly plant there.

Yet the Department For International Development admits to a current £730,000 aid programme to Brazil, in the form of a "large emerging economies programme" to "develop a shared agenda and promote global poverty reduction objectives". Furthermore, Brazil is not on the list of countries, to which it is planned to cease aid.

Bizarrely, through the IMF, Brazil is supplying aid to cash-strapped Europe, having already contributed $10 billion in loans to the fund since 2009, and has indicated a willingness to lend more from its $350 billion reserves, becoming one of the ten most influential members of the IMF.

Readers will nevertheless be comforted to learn that the EU is ahead of the game. Unlike the British government, the EU commission has recognised the new status of Brazil and has marked it down for the cessation of aid in its 2014-20 budget.

Referring to "mutual interests" that promote "European values" and issues of global concern (climate change and food security), counties such as Brazil are considered "more like partners of the EU in facing these global challenges", says EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

Perhaps someone should tell Andrew Mitchell this. He seems to be a bit slow on the uptake.