Lottery plan to raise cash for Africa

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Indy Politics

Fancy a flutter on the lottery and the chance to help make poverty history in Africa at the same time?

With rich nations failing on their promises to double aid to Africa by 2010, a worldwide lottery draw is one idea being floated to plug the multibillion-dollar hole and stop a decade of progress unravelling.

The Africa Progress Panel – set up to monitor pledges made at the 2005 Gleneagles summit – chastised the G8 nations for dragging their feet over aid, warning that they were currently £20bn off track.

"It is increasingly clear that traditional budgetary measures are too overstretched to meet aid pledges," the panel said in its inaugural report. "Possible new sources of funds include currency transaction taxes, global environment taxes, taxes on international air travel and freight transport, and a global lottery."

The panel – chaired by Kofi Annan with Bob Geldof and Tony Blair on the board – urged Japan to lead the way when it hosts the G8 meeting in Hokkaido next month. Mr Annan suggested that a tax on carbon emissions might be the place to start. "Where I think one could see real difference – and the big bucks – is a tax on greenhouses gases," said the former UN secretary general. "Given the impact of climate change on Africa ... I would want to see a substantial part of that tax helping African countries."

He acknowledged that starting a worldwide lottery with proceeds going to good causes in Africa might be tricky to set up – "I'm not sure it would be easy to get off the ground" – but said it was an option that "has been discussed". And there are transnational lottery precedents, including the Euro Millions draw, held every Friday night in nine European countries from Austria to the UK.