Despite Global Economy, Aid Flow To Poor Countries Continued To Grow In 2009, OECD Report Finds

“Governments in developed countries continued to increase the amount of aid they gave to poorer countries in 2009, despite the financial crisis, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] said,” following the release of its annual review of aid, the Wall Street Journal reports (Hannon, 4/14).

“Overall, aid by 23 rich countries monitored for the OECD report rose by 0.7 percent in 2009 to $123 billion, from $122 billion in 2008, the Paris-based agency said. Most of the rise came in new loans to poor countries,” the Associated Press/Forbes writes. “Excluding debt relief – which varies widely year-to-year, for example when creditor countries write off billions of dollars worth of debt accrued over decades in one swoop – the rise was 6.8 percent,” according to the news service (4/14).

Despite the overall growth in aid money, an OECD press release notes “Africa, in particular, is likely to receive only about USD 11 billion of the USD 25 billion increase [by 2010] envisaged at [the 2005 G8 summit in] Gleneagles, due mainly to some European donors who give large shares of their official development assistance (ODA) to Africa not meeting their ambitious targets” (4/14).

“Development aid is dramatically stagnating” because its value is lower now in poor countries because of rising prices there, said Sebastien Fourmy of Oxfam France, the Associated Press/Forbes reports. “At this pace, the chances of attaining the Millennium Development Goals are essentially nil in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said (4/14).

The Wall Street Journal notes, aid increases in coming years “could prove troublesome. The governments of Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal have been struggling to control very large budget deficits, and last year cut their aid budgets,” the newspaper writes. “Aid budgets also fell in Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia” (Hannon, 4/14).

The OECD “forecast that official development assistance would come to $US108 billion ($A116.3 billion) in 2010 after $US119.6 billion ($A128.8 billion) in 2009,” Agence France-Presse/The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

“The United Nations has recommended that rich countries commit 0.7 percent of their gross national income to development aid,” the news service writes. According to the OECD, “Sweden is expected to surpass this year with a commitment of 1.01 percent,” and “Luxembourg, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, Finland, Ireland and Spain are … on track to meet the 0.7 percent goal,” AFP/Sydney Morning Herald writes.

The U.S. in 2009 was the largest donor by volume at $28.7 billion, which represents 0.2 percent of its gross national income, the news service adds (4/14). According to the press release, the U.S. “pledged to double its aid to sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2010 and already attained this goal in 2009 (4/14).

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