Rich Nations Failing To Meet Aid Promises To Africa

ONE Campaign, supported by U2 singer Bono and rocker Bob Geldof, has provided an annual scorecard of the Group of Seven nations’ progress in meeting pledges they made at the 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

The G7 leaders’ summit promised to increase aid by up to $50 billion from $25 billion, write off the debts of 18 of the world’s poorest countries, and cut trade subsidies and tariffs under the Doha round of global trade negotiations.

A final verdict on the Gleneagles targets may only be forthcoming next year, but ONE Campaign said it had enough data to show that the G7 — Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan — fell short of its promises.

The report said Italy was “an utter failure” as a G7 member, saying it had retreated on its promises by cutting aid from 2004 levels, which brought down the G7 average.

ONE declared Britain “the indisputable overall leader” in meeting the Gleneagles commitments and said the United States, Canada and Japan delivered on, and surpassed, modest targets. France and Germany both set ambitious targets but are on course to deliver on only a quarter of them.

The report called for a new era of development to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, in which more than 150 heads of state signed on to eight goals that include halving poverty by 2015.


The report said G7 members are on track to provide a combined $13.7 billion of the $22.6 billion in aid they promised at the G7 summit.

These figures are based on a projected $3.8 billion in aid from G7 in 2010, according to budget calculations and discussions with G7 governments, the report said.

It said the G7 had fulfilled its promise to cancel the debts of the poorest countries but failed on its trade commitments as momentum to complete the Doha round dissipated.

“The real challenge with judging the G7’s promises to Africa is that the awful inaction of governments like Italy’s clouds the commendable performances of the UK or the United States,” said Jamie Drummond, ONE executive director. “This suggests the need for a renewed coalition of the wiling.”

The report said where aid had been delivered the results had been impressive in providing drugs to fight HIV/AIDS and to reduce deaths from malaria, Africa’s biggest killer.

Thanks to savings from debt relief, nearly 75 percent of children are now enrolled in school across Africa, compared with only 58 percent in 1999.

“What is clear is that elements of those promises kept by the G7 have delivered positive lifesaving results in the hands of African men and women,” Geldof said in a statement.

He said the deadline for the Gleneagles targets should also be the beginning of a new era for development policy that would “require a different fresher path towards sustainable growth and decent governance.”

The ONE report said the focus beyond 2010 should should be on meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which include targets to halve global poverty by 2015.

Any new development strategy for tackling poverty should include donor countries outside the G7, increased accountability of African leaders to their citizens, equitable and sustainable economic growth and more effective aid. Reuters