June 4, 2007


The true value of what the G8 gives in aid: As leaders of the world's richest countries meet, this is the proof that they could do much more for the poor (Paul Vallely, 04 June 2007, Independent)

Even the country which has done best in keeping its word, the UK, is projected to fall short of its promise of $14.9bn by $1.6bn. The country that has failed most so far, Italy, will be a whopping $8.1bn short of the $9.5bn it has vowed to give.

To those for whom such huge figures are meaningless, Oxfam offers some graphic illustrations. Last year, the rich world spent three times more on bottled water ($58bn) than it did on aid to Africa ($18bn). We spent 10 times more on military expenditure ($1trillion) than we did on aid globally ($104bn).

We Britons spent almost twice as much on champagne and other wine last year as we did on aid. The French spent more on perfume, German women more on shoes, Italians more on ice cream and the Japanese spent more on luxury goods such as Gucci bags and Prada sunglasses than their governments did on the world's poor. [...]

Will Heiligendamm change this? The word from inside the pre-summit negotiations is that Canada and Italy are being difficult. The current G8 president, Chancellor Angela Merkel, by contrast, on Friday announced a $750m boost to Germany's aid budget in 2008, with an extra $3bn over the next four years.

There are encouraging signs from Washington too. President Bush, who, surprisingly to many, has almost tripled American aid to Africa since he took office, has just announced his $15bn five-year President's Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (PEPFAR) will have its funding doubled from 2009.

Surprisingly? Are they really still suprised that George W. Bush is who they thought Bill Clinton was?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 4, 2007 12:00 AM

Surprising? Of course. Don't you know Bush is a racist, and Republicans want to kill the poor? Africa is black and poor, why would any racist Republican help them?

Posted by: ic at June 4, 2007 10:42 AM

That article was full of stupid metrics. By the way, one of the worst movies I've seen in recent years was The Girl in the Cafe. Anyone else see that? It was about a British official involved in G8 type aid funding.

Posted by: RC at June 5, 2007 4:41 AM

The library had Constant Gardener so I thought I'd try it. The chick stands up at a press conference and ask Rafe Fiennes why we're attacking the innocent Iraqis. The tiger quickly came out of the cage....

Posted by: oj at June 5, 2007 7:25 AM