G8 reaffirms aid pledge to Africa, NGOs unimpressed

July 8th, 2008 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Toyako (Japan), July 8 (DPA) The leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) highly industrialized countries vowed Tuesday to honour a pledge to raise by $25 billion the level of annual aid to Africa by 2010. “We are firmly committed to working to fulfill our commitments including increasing, compared to 2004, Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa by $25 billion a year by 2010,” the leaders said in a statement.

But critics hit back, saying their communique failed to provide assurances that they would indeed stick to their promise, first made at a G8 summit in Gleneagles three years ago.

“The poor of Africa will find little solace in the G8’s evasion tactics. Only when they come through with the $25 billion for Africa will we have cause to celebrate,” said Charles Abani of Oxfam International, a pressure group.

Oxfam argued that while G8 leaders did refer to the 25-billion figure in their statement, they offered “no details on who will do what to reverse the steady decline in aid since 2006.”

ODA aid by G8 countries in 2007 totalled $18.8 billion.

Non-governmental organizations also warned that the G8 was not doing enough to fund African education and health programmes, including those aimed at fighting diseases such as malaria and AIDS.

On Monday, the G8 leaders met their counterparts from seven African countries and with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who warned them that high food prices were “turning back the clock on development gains.”

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