Global aid rose in 2009 but missed target: OECD

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Aid to the world’s poorest countries rose marginally in 2009 but EU aid fell because some European donors gave less than promised, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says.

The OECD, a club of the world’s largest economies, said aid from 23 leading donor countries increased by 0.7 % in real terms to $119.6 billion in 2009, representing 0.31 % of their combined gross national income (GNI).

Total worldwide aid increased by less than 1 % in real terms, dented by the financial crisis, the figures showed. Africa and Asia are the regions receiving the most aid and development assistance, including debt relief.

While most donors are meeting their commitments, the OECD said the overall figure fell short of a promise made at a G8 summit in Scotland in 2005, when major donors said they would double their aid to $130 billion by 2010.

Aid from the European Union — the world’s largest aid donor bloc — actually declined in 2009, the OECD said.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, expressed disappointment at that shortfall and said the financial crisis should not be used as an excuse.
“The slight decrease in 2009 should be quickly reversed if we are to respect the commitments we took to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” said Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development.

At current levels the EU will not meet its Millennium Development Goal of providing aid worth 0.7 % of GNI by 2015, aid organisations say.

Credibility

The OECD said most countries had maintained their aid commitments for 2010, but others, including some large donors, had reduced or postponed pledges they had made for 2010.

It said Africa was likely to receive only about $11 billion of the $25 billion increase envisaged at the Scotland summit, mainly because some European donors are not meeting targets.

Aid agencies said the EU, still the largest donor to developing countries as a bloc, could lose its credibility if it failed to maintain momentum.
“Europe has shown itself to be ahead of the game by setting ambitious aid targets but it’s falling behind on its promises,” said Elise Ford, head of Oxfam International’s EU office.
“While some countries such as Britain, Spain and Belgium are taking serious steps towards meeting their aid promises, it’s frustrating that big economies such as Germany and Italy are still far from catching up.”

Countries such as Belgium, Finland and Britain are on track to meet their targets, but aid from Germany fell by 12 % and Greece cut its aid budget, also by 12 %.

OECD figures showed that the United States was the largest single nation donor in 2009, providing $28.7 billion in development assistance, a real 5.4 % increase from 2008.

Source: www.af.reuters.com