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Saturday, June 09, 2007

G 8 Promises To Africa Again?

Leaders reiterated an overall pledge made at the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005 to raise annual aid levels by $50-billion (U.S.) a year by 2010, $25-billion of which is for Africa.

But Africa Monitor reported before the summit that those targets are not being met.

Between 2005 and 2006, overall donor aid fell by 5.1 per cent and aid to Africa increased by only 2 per cent.

For donors to be able to meet their commitment of doubling aid to Africa by 2010, their contribution would have had to increase by 3 per cent every year until 2010, according to Africa Monitor's study.

Those who have been pushing for increased aid to Africa were scathing in their criticism of yesterday's G8 deal.

"The G8 are $8-billion off-track this year on meeting their Gleneagles aid pledges, although you wouldn't guess it from reading their Africa Declaration," said Collins Magalasi, ActionAid's director of South Africa.

"The G8 should have been identifying steps needed to deliver $50-billion extra in aid by 2010. Instead, they have restated what we already knew from two years ago."

MEDICAL AID TO FIGHT AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA

G8 leaders pledged to spend $60-billion fighting the three diseases.

But the declaration set no specific timetable, saying the money would flow "over the coming years."

Neither did it break down individual countries' contributions nor spell out how much of the sum had been previously promised.

Even Canada, attacked by campaigners for blocking a more ambitious deal, was critical, with a senior official saying the pledge was "an aspirational statement."

"The projection is based on an extrapolation into the future of existing funding," the official added.

If, as Oxfam estimated, the time frame for disbursing the money is at least five years, it will average out at $12-billion a year.

"Currently donors give $7.3-billion a year for HIV/AIDS alone; $5.4-billion of that is U.S. continuation of current spending, announced last week.

[U.S. President George W. Bush recently announced plans to double Washington's financial commitment to the anti-AIDS fight to $30-billion over five years, which was included in the $60-billion.]

The $60-billion figure may also include other current health funding besides programs for these three diseases. That would mean the amount of new money would be even lower than $3-billion in 2010.

"The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and UNAIDS estimates the need for additional funding for these diseases just for 2007 totals $6-billion, and that this will likely grow to as much as $23-billion by 2010," Oxfam said in an analysis of the Group of Eight's numbers.

***GLOBE AND MAIL NEWSPAPER

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