Abayomi Akinyeye, University of Lagos:

The Bush administration's attitude to the question of aid to Africa is strange indeed. This is because the US is among the most indebted part of the world to Africa. The details of this belong to the facts of history for those who care to be informed. Mr Bush should not send the impression that the US is concerned only when people who feel (either rightly or wrongly)that America has wronged them and want to get even with her. Also the message that the US cares more about voting money to pull down rather than build up. What the US requires to assist Africa (a whole continent ) is much too insignificant in relation to what the country is now spending on Iraq without the prospect of a visible impact. It is in this regard that one pleads with Mr Bush to even come with a Bush plan for Africa which will be much better than the Blair initiative. As for the Blair gesture, while the principle of assisting Africa is commendable,one has serious reservations about more aids. Aids of this nature in the past have always compounded the African problem by increasing the continent's debt profile. Hence if Mr Blair really wants to help Africa, what the continent needs is not more foreign aid but foreign grants. The aids of today are likely to be the debts of tomorrow. Hence, if the present outburst of concern is not to become another debt trap that will keep Africa in perpetual servitude, Mr Blair will do well to sing another tune about the African problem.