Rich nations are 'betraying' Africa

Brown and Geldof order G8 to honour Gleneagles aid pledges

The world's richest nations will today be told by Gordon Brown to stop backsliding on their pledges to double aid to Africa by 2010. The Prime Minister will risk a clash with world leaders at next week's G8 summit in Japan over their failure to honour pledges to boost aid made three years ago.

Mr Brown is backing Bob Geldolf, who warned yesterday that high energy prices are starving the super-poor in Africa. The prominent aid campaigner and the Prime Minister fear that Japan, France, Italy and Canada are using the global economic downturn as an excuse to scale back their aid payments to the world's poorest countries.

They believe the global food crisis makes it even more important to help Africa feed itself and that rich nations will make a catastrophic error if they turn their back on the continent at such a critical moment.

The Independent has learnt that the draft communiqué for next week's G8 summit in Japan stops short of a full commitment to the aid increase agreed at the landmark Gleneagles summit three years ago, which agreed to double aid to $50bn a year worldwide and $25bn annually for Africa.

Mr Brown will try to toughen up the wording and will warn the summit that China will increase its fast-growing influence in Africa if the G8 club of rich nations reneges on its promises. Mr Geldof, who will lobby G8 leaders for the ONE Campaign in Hokkaido, said yesterday: "It is tragic and absurd that people are still going hungry in the 21st century. I cannot stand the idea that a food crisis born out of high energy prices and increasing global prosperity is starving the super-poor in Africa. None of this is helped by bad trade and subsidy policies."

He said that Japan, which holds the chair of the G8 and is the world's second-largest economy, had a duty to "care for the hungry and ill". He added: "Given the resource crises of the world at this moment, we are dismayed at the low level of expectation emanating from the table of leaders of the wealthiest economies on the planet. It's about time their actions lived up to their perhaps misplaced stature."

Mr Brown, who believes that 2008 is a "make-or-break year" for helping the world's poorest nations, has long made the issue a personal priority and is worried that the momentum that started at Gleneagles may be lost. Although Germany, the United States and Britain are on track to meet their pledges under the historic deal, Italy is behind schedule, Canada's record is mixed, there are fears that France will go slower and Japan, while raising its support for Africa, has a shrinking overall aid budget.

"The Prime Minister wants the G8 to make a strong commitment to what they agreed at Gleneagles, not just to reaffirm it," one government source said. "It would be very stupid to give up on Africa because of the economic downturn – a big strategic error to save a relatively small amount of money. If we invest in agriculture in Africa, we could bring down the price of food. Half of the food produced rots before it gets to the market. It could become the breadbasket for the world."

Mr Brown's four-point plan for the annual G8 gathering includes a $60bn boost for health care in developing nations, to recruit more health workers; extra money to meet shortfalls in a $1bn fund to stop 72 million children missing out on a primary education; and a food-crisis package.

The Prime Minister will also work to find a resolution to the stalled world trade talks, arguing that failure in the next few weeks would deprive millions of a way out of poverty. As on aid, that could put him on a collision course with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President. Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, has accused M. Sarkozy of undermining his position in the talks by attacking his plans to cut European farm import tariffs.

The ONE Campaign is urging all G8 nations to increase the quality and quantity of investments in African agriculture for the next 15 to 20 years, raising global aid from $2bn to between £9bn and $13bn a year.

"More than half the population of sub-Saharan Africa depend on farming to survive, yet farming has been terribly neglected in economic development programmes," said Oliver Buston, a spokesman for ONE. "Increasing food production is critical to saving lives as well as generating sustainable long-term growth." He added: "Every G8 summit since 2005 has repeated the historic commitments made at Gleneagles. To dilute those promises would be a serious breach of trust and credibility."

Other issues on the summit agenda include climate change, the global credit crunch, rocketing oil prices and the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Click here to have your say

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick