An Africa advocacy group has called for leaders of the G8
industrialized nations to keep their promise to double aid to Africa by
2010. In its report, the Africa Progress Panel warns failure to do so
will set Africa back by decades and could drive millions into abject
poverty. Tendai Maphosa has more in this report for VOA from London.
chairman of the Africa Progress Panel, former U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan launched the group's 2008 report. Mr. Annan said Africa has
posted impressive growth during the past few years, but that progress
is now under threat by the rapid increase in food prices.
hardest hit people are those who spend the largest proportion of their
earnings on food," he said. "So it is the poorest people in the
poorest countries who are feeling the brunt of this catastrophe, it is
not surprising that 21 of the 37 countries worst affected by high food
prices are in Africa including four of the five countries deemed to be
facing exceptional shortfalls."
The Africa Progress Panel calls
for measures to increase the quantity of food on global markets and to
provide greater financial assistance to international agencies such as
the World Food Program and to the governments of affected countries.
Annan warned that the cost of not acting would be measured by a rising
number of infant and child deaths across the continent. He also
reminded G8 countries to honor their promise made at their summit in
2005, and double assistance to Africa by 2010.
"Our report shows
that at the present rate of progress the G8's pledge to double
assistance to Africa by 2010 will not be fulfilled; there is a
shortfall of $40 billion in aid," he said. "We call on G8 countries
urgently to address this gap, set clear timetables for delivery and
increase transparency in order to improve the quality of aid."
Annan called for the G8 to address the shortfall at its summit in Japan
next month. He did not specify which countries are responsible for the
Oxfam senior policy adviser Max Lawson said countries
such as France, Italy, and Germany are some of the biggest defaulters.
He said the G8 represents 60 percent of the world's economy and the
shortfall is not that much for the world's richest countries, even with
the current economic crisis.
"The last six months the G8 has
found over a thousand billion dollars, that is a trillion dollars to
bail out their own banks, in comparison we are looking for $50 billion
for Africa by 2010," he said. "It really is a drop in the ocean."
Lawson adds the missing money could save at least five million lives.