OECD Reports $21B Shortfall In Aid Pledges By Wealthy Countries

There is a $21 billion shortfall between aid promised in 2005 by some of the world’s richest countries and actual payments, according to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, released on Wednesday, Reuters reports (Buffery, 2/17).

Five years ago, countries at the G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, and at a separate U.N. Millennium Development Goals summit “pledged to increase aid by 48 billion dollars over 2004 levels. Of that total only 27 billion dollars (19.6 billion euros) in the additional aid has been allocated,” Agence France-Presse writes. According to the report, $17 billion of the missing $21 billion is because of payments that are lower than pledges and $4 billion are due to “weaker than expected economic growth in donor countries,” AFP reports (2/17). The OECD found that “Africa will bear the brunt of these arrears, receiving just $12 billion of the $25 billion envisaged at a G8 summit in Scotland,” according to Reuters (2/17).

According to Tasmin Ahmad, head of OECD’s data collection unit, the “main reason” for the shortfall is that “donors have not lived up to their commitments: They have not budgeted the amount they promised for in their aid budgets,” VOA News reports. She continued, “So its basically a political decision” (Bryant, 2/17).

The report acknowledges that “aid is at record levels in dollar terms,” and it highlights “under-performance” by France, Germany, Italy, Japan and other countries, London’s Times reports (Bremner, 2/18). “Four countries – the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – appear on track to meet their varying 2010 aid commitments,” AFP writes. “Nine others will exceed specific goals of earmarking a minimum of 0.51 percent of their gross national income in overseas development aid. They include Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium, the OECD said” (2/17).

An OECD release noted: “All these figures are estimates based on countries’ national 2010 aid budget plans where available and on early [Gross National Income] estimates” (2/17).