In The Field

AU Summit: The donors are coming

International donors are out in force at the summit and practically falling over themselves to fund African development projects.

First up yesterday was incoming UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, followed by Unesco’s Koichiro Matsura who made a strong public pledge that Unesco (not always the biggest of donors) is ready to invest in African Union science initiatives. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a four-strong team here. Italian Prime Minister Prodi flew in briefly yesterday, and Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan is still here.

The reason for Turkey’s presence at the summit becomes clearer after spending a few minutes at the Turkish stand in the summit exhibition hall. Visitors are invited to take away two glossy leaflets. In one, ‘Turkey: A New Partner for Africa’, a smiling Erdogan in pin-stripe suit is pictured on the cover surrounded by poorly-clothed African children each waving a Turkish flag. The second leaflet is called Turkey: Candidate for the United Nations Security Council. Enough said.

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