The Spectator

Letters | 12 November 2011

• Democracy in Zambia
Sir: There are undoubtedly dubious countries in Africa but Daniel Kalder (‘Mr Blair goes to Kazakhstan’, 5 November) is wide of the mark in including Zambia among them. It may not be perfect but its record in terms of human rights and relative freedom from corruption is one of the best on the continent. Zambian presidents since independence have respected the will of the majority when their time was up. The recent election that led to a change of government is a shining example of the country’s political maturity, one which Mr Blair might usefully point to in his conversations with his more authoritarian clients.
Brian Neill
Edinburgh

 
 
• Supporting the diggers




Sir: My old friend Charles Moore (Notes, 5 November) has been misinformed. It is untrue that under this government DFID refuses to support projects in extractive industry. In fact, this is a key area of our work. To give just one good example, in Afghanistan we are supporting the Ministry of Mines to ensure mining revenues are a huge source of income. We are also lobbying to raise international standards, not least by supporting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Managed well, mineral extraction in poor countries will boost economic growth, create jobs and enable resource-rich poor countries to pull themselves out of poverty.
Andrew Mitchell
Secretary of State for International Development, London

• The truth hurts
Sir: Dennis Sewell (‘The generation game’, 5 November) makes a good case for the bewilderment of the older generation, who see themselves as innocent targets. But he protests too much. The Intergenerational Foundation has simply pointed out the uncomfortable fact that we have a housing crisis that is causing the younger generation to delay marriage and families or seek their fortunes abroad, and that one third of homes are under-occupied.

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