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Concern at expected fall in overseas aid this year

 Aid to developing countries in 2010 will reach record levels in dollar terms after increasing by 35 per cent since 2004. But it will still be less than the world’s major aid donors promised five years ago at the Gleneagles and Millennium and five additional summits. Though a majority of countries will meet their commitments, the underperformance of several large donors means there will be a significant shortfall, according to a new OECD review. 

 Africa, in particular, is likely to get only about $12 billion of the $25 billion increase envisaged at Gleneagles, due in large part to the underperformance of some European donors who give large shares of official development assistance (ODA) to Africa.

Africa is only likely to get half the aid promised at Gleneagles.

In 2005, the 15 countries that are members both of the European Union and of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) committed to reach a minimum ODA country target in 2010 of 0.51% of their Gross National Income. Some will surpass that goal: Sweden, with the world’s highest ODA as a percentage of its GNI at 1.03%, is followed by Luxembourg (1%), Denmark (0.83%), the Netherlands (0.8%), Belgium (0.7%), the United Kingdom (0.56%), Finland (0.55%), Ireland (0.52%) and Spain (0.51%).  

But others will fall short: France (0.46%), Germany (0.40%), Austria (0.37%), Portugal (0.34%), Greece (0.21%), and Italy (0.20%).

Other DAC countries made varying ODA commitments for 2010, and most, but not all, will fulfil them.  Overall, these figures result in additional aid of $27 billion from 2004 to 2010, but a $21 billion shortfall between what donors promised in 2005 and the OECD estimates for the 2010 outcome.  Of this shortfall, $17 billion is the result of lower-than-promised giving by the donors and $4 billion is the result of lower-than-expected GNI because of the economic crisis.

All these figures are estimates based on countries’ national 2010 aid budget plans where available and on early GNI estimates.

Eckhard Deutscher, Chair of the DAC, noted that: “Aid has increased strongly as 16 donors have honoured their commitments.  But underperformance by the others, notably Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Portugal, means overall aid will still fall considerably short of what was promised.  These commitments were made and confirmed repeatedly by heads of governments and it is essential that they be met to the full extent.”

Commenting on the figures, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “It is reassuring that most donors are recognising their international responsibilities. As we head into new rounds of discussions about funding climate change and food security concerns, I encourage all donors to carry through on their development promises.”

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Posted in Africa, aid, European Union, Gross National Income, International, OECD

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