LOS ANGELES, June 15 (Xinhua) -- A group of prominent Seattle business leaders are
pressuring the U.S. to do more in helping end global poverty by increasing
its annual aid, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday.
Founding members of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) are trying
to "educate, cajole and, if necessary, shame America into helping the poorest of
the world's poor", said the paper.
The group's top priority is getting the U.S. to boost its annual spending
on anti-poverty programs to 36 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 20 billion
U.S. dollars, according to the paper.
Those funds, which would include government and private sector money, could
go toward bed nets to prevent malaria or the elimination of school fees to boost
education. Other means to reduce poverty include providing clean water,
schooling and adequate healthcare for the 1.2 billion people who exist on less
than 1 U.S. dollar a day.
The group includes Bill Gates, father of the Microsoft Corp. and William
Clapp, whose family helped found the Weyerhaeuser timber company.
Alarmed by America's sagging image and the growing disparity in global
wealth, the group has been trying to convince skeptical company executives that
by helping end global poverty, America's future prosperity and security could be
ensured in a world "preoccupied by terrorism threats and rising gasoline
The Bush administration has been accused of sullying America's image abroad
by pursuing an unpopular war in Iraq and spurning multilateral initiatives such
as the Kyoto environmental treaty.
Members of the group have traveled around the country to promote their
cause. The persistence of the Seattle-based organization has earned the support
of anti-poverty experts such as economist Jeffrey D. Sachs and the attention of
President George W. Bush.
The group holds its national summit on global poverty in Washington, D.C.
on Thursday. Bush has agreed to appear at the meeting.
The chief executives of many of the Northwest's leading companies,
including Microsoft, Starbucks Corp. and Recreational Equipment Inc., have
joined the cause, said the paper.
The World Bank and the United Nations have estimated
that it would take an additional 40 billion to 60 billion U.S. dollars a year to
make "substantial progress" in eliminating extreme global poverty. The
initiative has proposed that the U.S. contribute about one-third of that amount,
which would equal its share of global gross domestic product. Enditem