Sunday, May 20, 2007

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

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.

Link to Data.org - Debt AIDS Trade Africa