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 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'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'.
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'.
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 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'.
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'.
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'.