Independent Catholic News logo Welcome Visitor
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Agencies welcome UK aid increase for Africa but fear G8 inaction
Comment Email Print
¬†At a meeting with the Prime Minister and Clare Short yesterday, aid agency and Church representatives welcomed an increase in British aid for Africa to £1 billion a year. But despite intensive high-level negotiations between G8 countries and the UK move on aid, aid agencies are alarmed at indications that the G8 summit today in Canada will mean few new resources will be committed to the fight against poverty. The agencies say Mr Blair's pro-Africa stance, while shared by some other G8 leaders, is not matched by either the US or Japan. There is a real danger that the summit may founder on this obstacle. It looks likely that there will be little progress on debt relief, trade and funding for education. Africa today faces a crisis of massive proportions: 300 million people live on less than US$1 a day, more than 28 million people live with HIV/AIDS, 40 per cent of children receive no primary education, and 200 million people are malnourished. In the face of this poverty and suffering, western aid to Africa has been declining and the rules of international trade are increasingly stacked against African farmers and producers. At last year's summit in Genoa, Italy, G8 leaders committed themselves to "a new partnership with Africa, to support African efforts to solve African problems". They promised to respond to African leaders' own action plan, the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). And yet western policies continue to be characterised by inadequate aid, poor coordination, rigged trade and lack of action on conflict. CAFOD Director Julian Filochowski said: "Increased British aid to Africa provides some much-needed leadership - a weak response at the G8 summit would be a tragedy. There will be little chance for a new partnership between Africa and the rich world unless all the G8 leaders act together now." British development agencies, including ActionAid, Christian Aid, CAFOD, Oxfam, and Save the Children UK called on Tony Blair to make good on his promise of a new partnership, and push his fellow G8 leaders to take immediate action in four key areas: Trade: a timetable to phase out the agricultural subsidies in rich countries that wipe out the livelihoods of African farmers, to open western markets to African goods, and tackle the collapse in the price of basic commodities like coffee. Debt: debt relief to help finance African countries' linked to poverty reduction targets such as the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by the year 2015. This should include immediate agreement for a US$1 billion top-up to ensure that countries hit by the collapse in the price of basic commodities get the debt relief package they deserve. Conflict: intense diplomatic efforts to end wars in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo; and urgent action to address the role played by the private sector in the scramble for Africa's natural resources. Aid: a significant contribution towards the estimated US$25-35 billion a year in extra aid needed for Africa to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. This should include an extra US$4 billion a year to secure every African child's right to a good quality education. The increases in aid announced by the US and EU at Monterrey in May, although welcome, fell short of the UN target of 0.7% of gross national product. The increased US aid budget of $20 billion a year represents only 0.19% of gross national product. The increase in British aid to Africa is significant, in the region of 30-40% above levels in recent years. However, it will also not take the UK anywhere near the 0.7% target.
Share:  Bookmark and Share
Tags: None

Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: