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G7 Aid Delivers ‘Impressive Results,’ Commitment Falls Short Of 2005 Pledge

According to an annual ONE report, which tracks progress on aid commitments made at the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. – is “on track to deliver 61 percent of their combined commitments to sub-Saharan Africa, or $13.7 billion of the $22.6 billion increase they promised,” allAfrica.com reports. The ONE report says that “there has been great progress in the past five years but … we have enough data to know that the [aid] targets and their ambitiously hopeful outcomes have not been met,” according to allAfrica.com (Allen, 5/25).

Based on current projections, ONE found that the U.S. will increase aid by more than 150 percent above its 2005 pledge, while “Canada and Japan would both comfortably exceed their[s],” the Guardian reports. “Germany and France were both on course to increase assistance by only 25% each, while Italy’s aid budget would be 6% lower in 2010 than in 2005,” the newspaper writes (Elliott, 5/25). “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,” according to Reuters (5/25).

According to the report – which noted achievements in HIV/AIDS, malaria, agriculture and child survival – aid produced “impressive results in targeted areas, especially when matched with investment and political will by African governments,” allAfrica.com writes. The “one lesson to take away,” according to the report, “is that the exercise of setting bold, collective goals in the fight against poverty yields results,” allAfrica.com reports. 

The ONE report also points out that through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015 target date, “neither the G8 nor any other grouping of developed or emerging nations has put forward a specific, comprehensive collective plan focused on how to help support the vision of ‘an Africa driven by its own citizens.'” ONE called for a new framework to be drawn up at the G8 and G20 meetings and at a U.N. MDG summit in September, cautioning that 2010 should not end “without a roadmap for the future,” allAfrica.com reports (5/25).

In a ONE press release (.pdf), President and CEO David Lane said, “In the five years since the Gleneagles Summit, the G7’s aid to Africa has increased at almost three times the rate it did in the first half of the last decade. That support has helped put more than 40 million African children into school, halved malaria deaths in a string of countries, and funded innovative projects such as using mobile phones to help African citizens hold their authorities to account. Effective aid and debt cancellation have delivered measurable, life changing results” (5/25).

Jamie Drummond, ONE’s executive director, said, “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.” He added, “This suggests the need for a renewed coalition of the willing,” Reuters reports (5/25).

BBC reports on a “parallel report” from the African Progress Panel, which is chaired by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan (Plaut, 5/25). The report examines “Africa’s progress since 2005 and assesses future opportunities for the continent,” according to an African Progress Panel press release. It calls Africa’s progress over the last five years, “a truly mixed picture,” noting that “remarkable progress has been achieved in many fields, but … a number of set-backs, chronic problems and the effects of the global economic crisis and climate change combine to threaten the gains made since 2005” (5/25).

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