Africa: G7 Country Overall Assessments

Rice fills stomachs, but empty in other ways, rice field outside Antananarivo.
25 May 2010
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Nearly five years after the G7 countries promised at their meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, to increase development aid to Africa, the global anti-poverty advocacy group, ONE, examines their records:

Canada

Canada surpassed its modest Gleneagles commitment in 2008 and remained  slightly above its target in 2009. In 2009, there was a decrease of  CAD$335 million ($294 million) after a large multilateral payment in the  2008 calendar year caused ODA to spike. ONE estimates that Canada will  increase its ODA to sub-Saharan Africa by an additional CAD$353 million  ($309 million) in 2010, meaning that it will have met 170% ($589  million) of the increases it promised at Gleneagles.

Despite Canada's commendable performance on its Gleneagles target, the  government's decision to cap its International Assistance Envelope at  2010–11 levels for the next five years threatens to undermine its  leadership on development, especially as the host of this year's G8 and  G20 meetings. In 2010, Canada should reconsider its budget decisions,  set a new, more ambitious ODA target and lead the G8 in the development  of a robust post-Gleneagles partnership with sub-Saharan Africa.

Within the G8, Canada has emerged as a leader in supporting basic  education as well as food security. It has also made some laudable  efforts to improve the effectiveness of its aid in recent years. Canada  is on track to meet its commitments to cancel debt to the world's  poorest countries, but like the rest of the G8 is failing to deliver on  its commitment to 'make trade work for Africa'.

France

France's development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa grew substantially  in 2009 with an increase of €853 million ($1.19 billion). This was a  welcome change after last year's decrease, and greater than what was  projected in the French budget. It was not enough, however, to put  France on track to deliver its Gleneagles commitments. French budget  documents indicate that 2010 ODA will be lower than what was reported to  the DAC for 2009. Based on these figures, ONE estimates that France's  ODA to sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 will fall by €448 million ($624  million), meaning that it will meet 25% of the increases it promised at  Gleneagles.

This projection is based on the most recent budget data available.  France's ODA in 2010 may ultimately be higher than projected if IMF  contributions remain high and if France continues to channel its ODA  through loans rather than grants. France must be commended for its  ambitious Gleneagles commitment, which was the largest of the G7 as a  proportion of GNI and the second largest in volume, and which focused a  higher proportion of resources on sub-Saharan Africa than the rest of  the EU. Although France's commitments will extend beyond 2010, with a  goal of reaching 0.7% ODA/GNI in 2015, it has no budget increases  planned until at least 2012.

France remains one of the core donors to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,  Tuberculosis and Malaria. In addition, its increase in health  commitments to sub-Saharan Africa in 2008 was driven largely by  increased investment in health systems. Support for primary education  has grown consistently since 2005, and assistance for sub-Saharan Africa  accounted for 59% of global primary education commitments in 2008.  However, France is not on track to meet its commitments to cancel debt  to the world's poorest countries (and may even be exacerbating debt  portfolios by focusing assistance on loans rather than grants), and like  the rest of the G8 is failing to deliver on its commitment to 'make  trade work for Africa'.

Germany

In 2009 German ODA to sub-Saharan Africa increased by only €56m ($79m) –  the smallest increase since the Gleneagles summit – despite efforts to  increase both global ODA and allocations to the region in the 2009  budget. ONE estimates that Germany will increase its ODA to sub-Saharan  Africa by €63 million ($88 million) in 2010, meaning that it will have  met 25% (€782 million/$1.089 billion) of the increases it promised at  Gleneagles.

Despite modest increases delivered in 2009 and projected for 2010,  Germany's original Gleneagles commitment was ambitious and its increase  in ODA of €719 million ($1.001 billion) to sub-Saharan Africa since 2004  is commendable. In 2010 and beyond, Germany needs to accelerate momentum  to reach its global 2015 commitment, with clear targets for the region.

Within the G8, Germany has been a steady supporter of water and  sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa. It has also emerged as a leader in  generating funding from innovative financing mechanisms, including being  the first country to direct financing from the sales of CO2 emission  certificates to development. Germany remains an average performer on the  effectiveness of its development assistance. It is on track to meet its  commitments to cancel debt to the world's poorest countries, but like the rest of the G8 is failing to deliver on its  commitment to 'make trade work for Africa'.

Italy

In 2009, the year of its G8 presidency, Italy's ODA to sub-Saharan  Africa fell by €238 million ($331 million). Since Gleneagles, Italy has  cut ODA to the region by €169 million ($235 million). This means that it  has delivered -6% of its commitment. Italy is not expected to salvage  this situation in 2010. ONE estimates 2010 levels of ODA to be the same  as those in 2009. Further, there is little evidence of a proposed  recovery plan to re-establish progress towards a new global target of 0.51% by 2013.

Italy provided leadership as the 2009 G8 host in prioritising  agriculture on the G8's agenda. However, it has made minimal progress in  improving its aid quality and also has not paid its 2009 commitment to  the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, raising  concerns that it will become the first country to outright default on a  Global Fund pledge.

Italy is also not on track to meet its commitments to cancel debt to the  world's poorest countries, and like the rest of the G8 is failing to  deliver on its commitment to 'make trade work for Africa'.

Japan

Japan has almost reached its 2010 commitments to sub-Saharan Africa  (made at Gleneagles and the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on  African Development – TICAD IV – in May 2008). In 2009 it increased its  total ODA to the region by ¥32 billion ($341 million). ONE estimates  that Japan will increase ODA to the region by an additional ¥46 billion  ($498 million) in 2010, meaning that it will have met 149% of the  bilateral increases it promised for 2010, and will have surpassed its  2012 target this year.

Despite setting weak targets, Japan's ODA increases to sub-Saharan  Africa in recent years (¥129 billion/$1.376 billion since 2004)  demonstrate a growing commitment to poverty reduction in the region.  Japan should solidify this commitment in 2010 by setting a transparent,  ambitious target for future ODA increases that includes both bilateral  and multilateral spending.

Within the G8, Japan has been a leader in providing technical assistance  and support for water and sanitation improvements in the region. It has  also been a consistent supporter of the Global Fund, providing $846.5  million between 2001 and 2008, the fourth largest contribution among  single country donors. However, Japan is not on track to meet its  commitments to cancel debt to the world's poorest countries, and like  the rest of the G8 is failing to deliver on its commitment to 'make trade work for Africa'.

United Kingdom

Since hosting the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, the UK has been a leader in  delivering on its commitments, and last year reached its target to  double bilateral ODA to sub-Saharan Africa.7 Despite a large increase in  global ODA in 2009 that raised the UK's ODA to 0.51% of GNI, ODA for the  region increased by only £240 million ($375 million). While still a  significant increase, this was lower than expected and represented only  one-fifth of the UK's global increase. Large volumes of 2009 bilateral  assistance are yet to be allocated and may alter the final figures once  reported.

If so, ONE estimates that the UK has fallen just short of its 2009  target to be on track. An ambitious projected increase of £1.2 billion  ($1.9 billion) for 2010 over the preliminary 2009 figures would, if  delivered, enable it to meet 93% of the increases it promised at  Gleneagles. A 2010 increase of this size would be greater than its £975  million ($1.52 billion) increase between 2004 and 2009.

In addition to its ambitious commitments, the UK deserves great credit  for maintaining its budget projections during the economic crisis.  Increases in the 2009 budget, reconfirmed in 2010, put it on target to  be the first G8 country to meet the UN goal of spending 0.7% of national  income in ODA. The UK continues to deliver large volumes of budget  support, being the second largest country contributor to sub-Saharan  Africa through this channel in 2008. Global education also remains a priority, with a new pledge to increase support for the  sector by £1 billion ($1.56 billion) annually between 2010/11 and  2015/16, half of which will go to Africa.

The UK has also responded to the international call for efforts to  support agricultural development, pledging $1.8 billion over three years  for the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative. The UK continues to be a  leader on aid effectiveness within the G8 and is also on track to meet  its commitments to cancel debt to the world's poorest countries. However, like the rest of the G8, the UK is  failing to deliver on its commitment to 'make trade work for Africa'.

United States

In 2009, US development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa rose by 14%  ($1.12 billion). With this increase, the US exceeded its Gleneagles commitment one year in advance of the target. In 2010, ONE estimates  that the US will increase ODA to the region by an additional $1.6  billion, meaning that it will have delivered 158% ($5.384 billion) of  the increases it promised at Gleneagles.

Despite its relatively smaller  commitment in 2005, the US has made the largest ODA increases by volume  to sub Saharan Africa among the G8. Although it has already committed to  double foreign assistance by 2015, this commitment is expected to be met  relatively easily given US interests in both sub-Saharan Africa and  strategic states. In the years ahead, the US should set a new ODA commitment (including an ambitious target for sub-Saharan Africa) as part of a  comprehensive national strategy on global development.

The US remains a  clear leader on global health programmes and has maintained a solid  record on investments in agriculture. Recent appropriations and proposed  budgets for other development sectors are likely to deliver higher ODA  disbursements in the future. At present, the US remains below a  proportionate share in some sectors, especially in education. It has also performed poorly on most aid effectiveness indicators  measured in this report. As the Obama Administration moves forward on two  new strategy and operational initiatives (one led by the White House and one by the State Department/USAID) there is hope that  aid effectiveness will be improved. The US is also off track to meet its  commitments to cancel debt to the world's poorest countries, and like the  rest of the G8 is failing to deliver on its commitment to 'make trade work for Africa'.

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