African Aid: Promises Made, But Not Kept

The G-8 nations are not meeting their commitments to African aid, according to D.A.T.A., a group founded by Bono. Here is the New York Times Report:

Italy, France and Germany have what the report by Bono’s advocacy group, DATA, called “a particular crisis of credibility.” Bono said in a telephone interview yesterday that their failure to increase aid has been masked behind artificially high debt-relief write-offs.

Excluding debt relief and adjusting for inflation, DATA, which stands for Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa, calculates that Germany’s aid to Africa has grown only 2 percent since 2004, France’s has fallen 1 percent and Italy’s has decreased 30 percent.

. . .

In its country-by-country analysis of aid to Africa, DATA found that the seven wealthy nations in the G-8 — the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan (the other member is Russia) — have increased aid by less than half of what would be expected to reach the goal they set in 2005 to double aid to Africa by 2010.

Japan and Britain have increased aid enough since 2004 — 62 percent and 40 percent, respectively — to be on the right path to achieving the goal, DATA said. It said the United States had fallen behind in 2006, but seems to have gotten back on track since the new Congress, controlled by Democrats, adopted a 2007 budget that gave President Bush even more than he requested for Africa — at least an extra $1 billion, mostly to fight AIDS and malaria.

“We’re on a trajectory to exceed the target laid out by the president in Gleneagles,” the Scottish golf resort where the G-8 met in 2005, said Bobby Pittman, a special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council.
Canada has increased aid 25 percent since 2004, still not at a rate that would double aid by 2010, DATA said. Russia, which has canceled a large amount of debt owed by African countries, did not pledge in 2005 to double its aid to Africa.

The group’s report focuses on G-8 aid to Africa, but its findings are broadly consistent with overall patterns of giving described last month by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based on figures provided by 22 donor nations that are its members. The total aid to developing countries — $104 billion — in 2006 was 5 percent below the 2005 level, the O.E.C.D. found. Aid to Africa grew 23 percent, but once debt relief to Nigeria was subtracted, it rose only 2 percent.

Read it all.

For once, the U.S. story is not a bad one. The appropriations for international assistance for both the current fiscal year, and next fiscal year, suggest that Congress intends to meet the commitment to double foreign aid. Sadly, this trend is not the same in other G-8 countries.

Here is the DATA Report.


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