Thursday, May 17, 2007


Aid Working in Africa, But G8 Countries Seriously Off Track in Meeting Promises, says DATA Report from 2007,05.15.07

Bono, Bob Geldof, Herbert Grönemeyer, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) call for an "emergency session on G8 promises to Africa and credibility" and outline new evidence that effective aid works in Africa...alarming new data about low levels of forthcoming aid...a new path for G8 countries to avoid a crisis of credibility and keep their commitments

Berlin, Germany - May 15, 2007 - Africa advocacy organization, DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), today released a report that shows aid is working in poor countries, but that most G8 nations are seriously off track in delivering on the historic promises to Africa they made in 2005. The DATA Report 2007 finds that the G8 increased aid by less than half the sum needed from 2004-2006 to meet their 2010 goals. Estimates of forthcoming aid flows in 2007 show that the G8 are planning to do only about one third of what's needed to get back on track.

"The G8 are sleep walking into a crisis of credibility. I know the DATA report will feel like a cold shower, but I hope it will wake us all up. These are cold facts, but I know they will stir up some very hot arguments. These statistics are not just numbers on a page, they are people begging for their lives, for two pills a day, a mother begging to immunize her children, a child begging not to become a mother at age 12," said Bono, U2 lead singer and DATA co-founder."It's not our job to tell a government how to execute what they promise to do – it is our job to sound the alarm when they look like they are about to break a promise to the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. Breaking a promise to us in the development community is one thing, to your citizenry is another, but we can't stop thinking about that mother and her child's sacred life," said Bono."The price of credibility is two cents in 100 euros to get back on track. If the G8 fail to keep these promises, the price we pay will be infinitely more expensive. This will create a generation of cynics in our own countries, and in dangerous times, give those in the wider world a reason to distrust us when we need to do the exact opposite," said Bono.

The DATA Report 2007 demonstrates that aid is effective in poor countries and improving the lives of millions of people. Because of assistance to global health programs, every day 1,450 Africans living with AIDS are put on life-saving medications. Due in part to debt cancellation and increased aid, 20 million more African children are going to school for the first time in their lives.This good news, however, only makes the bad news worse. The G8 are not increasing aid substantially enough to meet their commitments and are in serious danger of breaking these historic promises.President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Africa's first woman president, says in the foreword to the report, "Even as we have tangible proof that aid is working and that our governments are becoming more accountable, the G8's commitment to Africa seems to be faltering."

Today in Berlin, Bono, Bob Geldof, German musician and activist Herbert Grönemeyer and former Nigerian Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called for an emergency session on the G8's Africa commitments at the Summit in Heilegendamm next month. "Africa will be a priority at Heilegendamm to the immense credit of the German public, government, Chancellor Merkel and her peers and the Pope. But the Chancellor's efforts will be wasted if the entire G8 do not recognize this current crisis of credibility. Keeping these promises is the price of leadership," said Bob Geldof, a DATA principal and leading Africa advocate.

DATA also looked at predicted funding for Africa for 2008. DATA's analysis shows that next year the G8 are set to increase by approximately $1.7-2.3 billion – about a third of the $6.2 billion dollar increase they need to be on track to keep their commitments. "I'd like for you to consider whether nations who break these most precious of promised commitments – the commitment to save a life or send a child to school – should be considered leaders at all. If they fail to keep their word, should they even be allowed in the G8? If the serial offenders make no effort to get back on track, maybe we should save them the embarrassment of being called ‘world leaders, '" said Geldof."Keeping to the commitment would mean the G8 increasing aid by $6.2 billion this year. That is just two cents for every $100 of G8 wealth. None of us would feel a thing," said Geldof."

As this year's DATA Report highlights, Africa is more important than ever for reasons of the global economy, global health, global security and global warming. The G8 were profoundly right to make bold promises and profoundly wrong to slip onto a track which will break them. The condition of Africa is not a passing fashion; it is a permanent imperative," said Jamie Drummond, Executive Director of DATA.

Editor’s Notes:
DATA Report 2007 analysis on effective aid: The UK and Japan are on track to meet their promises. The US and Canada are off track. Germany, France and Italy are dangerously off track. The G8 needed to increase aid by $5.4 billion between 2004-2006 to be on track. They only increased by $2.3 billion during this period. Of that $2.3 billion, most of the increase came from the UK and Japan. To get back on track the G8 must increase by $6.24bn in 2007.
DATA is very alarmed that whereas the G8 need now to increase by $6.2 billion to get back on track, currently we can only predict increases worth $1.7-$2.3 billion for 2007 according to information available about current budget processes. Of all G8 nations, only the USA is planning sufficient increases next year. The rest of the G8 either haven’t presented clear data or are not planning adequate increases in their forthcoming budgets. The DAC donors as a whole needed to increase by $6.5 billion but only managed $2.8 billion. They need to provide $7.4 billion to get back on track in 2007.

DATA Report 2007 analysis on trade: All G8 countries are off track on trade. This is a travesty. Every year without an agreement on trade means more wasted opportunities to help African economies grow. Even without an outcome on Doha, the G8 must fulfill its promise to make trade work for Africa. New and additional resources need to be committed to build Africa’s capacity to trade.

DATA Report 2007 analysis on debt: The G8 are all on track on debt.However, campaigners must be vigilant to ensure the G8 provide financing as promised for the International Financial Institutions. The multilateral debt relief initiative and Nigerian debt cancellation deal were historic events; but the way in which debt relief is being accounted for has been bad news. In fact, the accounting method adopted by the G8 accountants obscures underlying real aid levels and makes it difficult to accurately track the G8 donors’ true progress toward their goals.

DATA Report 2007 analysis on health: The G8 are off track but have shown some strong leadership on AIDS, malaria and innovative financing.We have seen some significant progress on AIDS, malaria especially from the United States and innovative financing from the UK and France; but G8 donors are not meeting their commitments to strengthen broader health systems. Even the historic increase of 530,000 Africans receiving AIDS treatment in the past year is less than what is needed to achieve “near universal access” to treatment in Africa by 2010. Meeting this goal will require at least 655, 000 Africans being placed on medication each year.

DATA Report 2007 analysis on education: The UK and Canada are on track, but the rest of the G8 are off track.On the whole, the G8 have not scaled up aid to help African governments provide universal primary education. Despite leadership from the UK and to some extent Canada, collective funding for education from G8 donors has been static or declining over the last two years. The US Congress has also recently taken a leadership role on education, though their efforts do not show up in this year’s data.

DATA Report 2007 analysis on water and sanitation: Germany, Italy and France are on track, but the rest of the G8 are off track.G8 investments in the water and sanitation sector continue to drop, rather than increase, despite clear linkages between clean water and sanitation and improving health and education. Germany alone provides its equitable share and is on track. G8 donors provided less than half of what they needed to in 2005 to fulfill their promise on water and sanitation.

DATA Report 2007 analysis on governance: Progress on governance is hard to assess. The US, the UK, France and Canada are relatively on track. Germany, Italy and Japan are relatively off track.Although G8 countries have demonstrated a broad commitment to supporting governance reform in Africa, the commitment must go beyond signing and ratification of conventions. G8 countries must begin enforcing these international anti-corruption conventions, increasing investments in civil society and independent watchdog groups and taking immediate and forceful action to return some of the $20-$40 billion in illegally stolen assets that are estimated to be held in rich countries.

DATA Report 2007 analysis on peace and security: Progress on peace and security is hard to assess, but all G8 countries are off track on their agreed responsibility to protect, especially in Darfur.The G8 is broadly committed to boosting Africa’s peacekeeping capacity, but there are a number of systemic needs that the G8 have yet to specifically address. These needs include institutional capacity at the African Union (AU), transport and logistic support, harmonizing troop training programs and increasing cash assistance to the AU’s peace support operations. The lack of progress to stop genocide in Darfur and the daily atrocities occurring there make it clear that the G8 and the broader international community have not fulfilled their obligation under the Responsibility to Protect principle unanimously adopted by heads of state and government at the UN World Summit in September 2005.

About DATA:DATA aims to raise awareness about and spark response to the crisis of AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa. At the core of DATA’s mission is a view that these issues are not about charity, but about equality and justice.We also call on Africa’s leaders to strengthen democracy, accountability and transparency in government to ensure that increased support benefits the people that need it most. The Africa Monitor will be launched in Johannesburg on May 29, 2007. Whereas the DATA Report helps hold the G8 accountable for their commitments to Africa, the Africa Monitor helps hold African leaders accountable for their commitments.

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