Posted by: davidjolson | 05/16/2011

The 2011 verdict on 2005 G8 promises on Africa

GENEVA — A little more than a week before the G8 meets in France, the anti-poverty group ONE has come out with its annual assessment of how well the G8 leaders are doing in meeting the lofty financial commitments they (or their predecessors) made to sub-Saharan Africa at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005.

The 2011 DATA Report, the only tool that holds G8 countries directly accountable to their 2005 promises, shows mixed results, and finds that the G7 collectively delivered only 61% of the aid they promised by 2010. However, that paltry performance masks both decent and horrendous records by individual countries.

  • For example, the overall performance of 61% was possible only because of the U.K. “making commendable progress towards its very ambitious target, and the U.S., Japan and Canada surpassing their relatively modest targets.”
  • Again this year, Italy was the worst performing G8 country, falling far short of its commitments.
  • France, the 2011 G8 and G20 host, and Germany set more ambitious targets, and failed to meet them.

“It’s worrying that President Sarkozy and France are so far behind in a year when so much is expected of them as hosts of the G8 and G20, and at a time when African development, peace and democracy is at the top of the global agenda,” said Jamie Drummond, executive director of ONE. “It is also hugely disappointing that Germany – which has weathered the economic storm so well – has performed so badly on its development promises.”

However, the DATA Reports doesn’t only condemn and points out that  there have been historic increases in aid to sub-Saharan Africa since 2000, and especially since the Gleneagles G8 Summit in 2005. And emerging economies such as the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have boosted their assistance to sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, along with increased trade and investment with African countries.

But because the G8 is not meeting its collective commitments, and because even if they did, it would not be sufficient to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, the DATA Report also presents six ideas for generating innovative financing for development, ranging from financial sector levies to African diaspora bonds.

France, which has the presidency of both the G8 and the G20 this year, is a staunch proponent of innovative financing, particularly a financial transaction tax, while the U.S. opposes such a measure. The development community will be looking on in with great interest next week when the G8 leaders gather in Deauville, France and decide how to respond to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people of the world.

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