Rich nations accused of failing to keep their African aid promise

Leaders of the richest nations were accused yesterday of abandoning their historic pledge to double aid to Africa and the world's other poorest countries, made at the Gleneagles summit five years ago.

At their annual summit, this year being held near Toronto, the G8 was expected to downgrade the landmark commitment to boost its annual aid to developing countries to $50bn (£33bn) by this year – with half of it going to Africa.

Aid groups claim the club of rich nations is falling between $10bn and $20bn short of the Gleneagles goal, one of the high points of Tony Blair's premiership and Labour's 13 years in power. Italy, Germany, France and Japan are well behind their share of the target. The US has already met its quota, while Britain and Canada are on track to deliver theirs.

Attending his first G8 summit, David Cameron had hoped to secure a specific reference to the Gleneagles deal in the final communiqué. But last night, British sources suggested that the G8 was expected only to refer to the Millennium Development Goals, a separate series of targets agreed by the United Nations.

Mr Cameron is disappointed that the G8 has not delivered on its 2005 promise. He said: "It is frustrating that world leaders sign up to ideas and then do not deliver them... Britain has stuck to its promises and will stick to its promises under my premiership."

Mr Cameron went on to warn the G8 meeting that it would lose credibility if it did not stick to its pledges. Even in tough economic times, it should maintain aid levels, he said.

An Oxfam spokesman said: "If the commitment to Gleneagles is not there [in the communiqué], the G8 is making 'Make Poverty History', history."

Bill Nighy, the actor and Oxfam "ambassador", said: "Any attempt to drop the $50bn aid promise rich countries made to the world's poorest at Gleneagles would be a betrayal of billions of poor people and the millions who campaigned to make poverty history."

Aid agencies expressed concern that this year's G8 summit initiative – a drive to cut maternal and child mortality – would be limited in scope. Meredith Alexander, head of G8 policy at ActionAid, said: "The last thing poor people need from this G8 is big new promises of aid. Headlines for world leaders don't help the billion people who go to bed hungry every night. Instead, leaders must focus on delivering their past commitments. It's possible that leaders will walk away from their Gleneagles promises in the very year they were supposed to be met."

Britain's coalition government has protected the overseas aid budget from cuts and reiterated Labour's policy to boost the share of gross national income spent on it to 0.7 per cent.

Analysis by Oxfam suggests that Britain is set to contribute $14.1bn in aid to poor countries this year, only $415m short of its Gleneagles target. Italy is $5.8bn behind schedule, France $3.9bn, Germany $3.8bn and Japan $3.4bn.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power