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OECD Says Rich Countries Will Fall Short of Aid Commitments

Lisa Bryant

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says rich nations are expected to fall billions of dollars short of aid commitments they made five years ago.

Rich nations pledged five years ago to increase assistance to poorer countries by $50 billion by 2010. Those promises were made at two summits - the G8, in Gleneagles, Scotland and a conference on the United Nations Millennium Development goals. They translate to a total of $130 billion in aid by 2010.

Five years later, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates total aid will only be around $107 billion - a record figure, but still billions short of those 2005 pledges.

Yasmin Ahmad is head of the OECD's data collection unit:

"What has happened is with the economic crisis and lowered commitments made by some donors - especially some large G8 donors - the $130 billion is not going to be met," said Yasmin Ahmad. "And the current projection is it's going to be around $107 billion."

Ahmad says Africa is the biggest looser. The OECD expects that less than half, or $12 billion of the promised $25 billion in aid to Africa will come through. These figures are based on OECD estimates. The final numbers will come out next year.

The OECD says that  a small slice of the shortfall - about $4 billion - is due to the economic crisis.

"But the main reason is donors have not lived up to their commitments: They have not budgeted the amount they promised for in their aid budgets," she said. "So its basically a political decision."

The OECD says the biggest culprits include France, Germany, Austria, Japan and Italy.

But others, like the United States and New Zealand, are expected to meet their promises of assistance. The OECD predicts nine countries - including Sweden, The Netherlands and Britain - will exceed their aid commitments.

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