US is meanest donor in the world says aid agency - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
December 6, 2004

US is meanest donor in the world says aid agency

-6/12/04

The "meanest" donor in the world when it comes to overseas aid is the United States, says a leading aid agency.

Oxfam says that the US is spending more than twice as much on the war in Iraq as it would need to increase its aid budget five-fold.

Up to 45 million children will die needlessly over the next decade according to a new report from the aid agency, because rich nations are not giving enough money to tackle poverty.

The report echoes the sentiments of other agencies including many church organisations.

Christian aid, amongst others, has stepped up its pressure in the UK on the Chancellor Gordon Brown to increase spending.

The theological think tank Ekklesia has also pointed out that Government spending on the UKís own needs in such areas as defence, education and social security comes to approximately 40% of national income. This makes the Governmentís apparent inability to spend just 0.7% of national income on the rest of the world all the more embarrassing.

The aid budgets of rich countries are half what they were in 1960, while poorer nations are paying back a "staggering" 0 million a day (£55 million) in debt repayments, according to Oxfam.

The aid agency has urged the Government to double aid to poor countries, some of whom will spend twice as much this year on repaying debts as on educating their children.

Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam, said: "As rich countries get richer, they're giving less and less. This is a scandal that must stop.

"The world's poorest children are paying for rich countries' policies on aid and debt with their lives."

Oxfam said there is the chance of a "historic breakthrough" next year because of a G8 summit, a special session of the United Nations and a ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation.

The agency also urged Tony Blair to use Britain's presidency of the G8 next year to deliver a global deal that cancels poor countries' debt, doubles aid and makes trade fair.

G8 countries agreed to spend 0.7 per cent of their incomes on aid in 1970, but none of them has reached this figure and many have not even set a timetable.

Britain spends 0.34 per cent of its income on aid but the Government has now set a target of reaching 0.7 per cent by the year 2013.

The report added: "Everyday we see how aid and debt relief is getting children into school and paying for HIV treatment. Yet the amounts are tiny.

"This year Zambia will spend twice as much on repaying its debts than it will on educating its children. For rich countries, this is not about charity, it is about justice."

A spokesman for the Department for International Development said: "If Britain's proposal for an International Finance Facility are adopted, the objective of 0.7 per cent can be achieved by 2008-09.

"These additional resources will be used to increase UK bilateral aid to Africa to at least £1.25 billion a year by 2008."

US is meanest donor in the world says aid agency

-6/12/04

The "meanest" donor in the world when it comes to overseas aid is the United States, says a leading aid agency.

Oxfam says that the US is spending more than twice as much on the war in Iraq as it would need to increase its aid budget five-fold.

Up to 45 million children will die needlessly over the next decade according to a new report from the aid agency, because rich nations are not giving enough money to tackle poverty.

The report echoes the sentiments of other agencies including many church organisations.

Christian aid, amongst others, has stepped up its pressure in the UK on the Chancellor Gordon Brown to increase spending.

The theological think tank Ekklesia has also pointed out that Government spending on the UKís own needs in such areas as defence, education and social security comes to approximately 40% of national income. This makes the Governmentís apparent inability to spend just 0.7% of national income on the rest of the world all the more embarrassing.

The aid budgets of rich countries are half what they were in 1960, while poorer nations are paying back a "staggering" 0 million a day (£55 million) in debt repayments, according to Oxfam.

The aid agency has urged the Government to double aid to poor countries, some of whom will spend twice as much this year on repaying debts as on educating their children.

Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam, said: "As rich countries get richer, they're giving less and less. This is a scandal that must stop.

"The world's poorest children are paying for rich countries' policies on aid and debt with their lives."

Oxfam said there is the chance of a "historic breakthrough" next year because of a G8 summit, a special session of the United Nations and a ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation.

The agency also urged Tony Blair to use Britain's presidency of the G8 next year to deliver a global deal that cancels poor countries' debt, doubles aid and makes trade fair.

G8 countries agreed to spend 0.7 per cent of their incomes on aid in 1970, but none of them has reached this figure and many have not even set a timetable.

Britain spends 0.34 per cent of its income on aid but the Government has now set a target of reaching 0.7 per cent by the year 2013.

The report added: "Everyday we see how aid and debt relief is getting children into school and paying for HIV treatment. Yet the amounts are tiny.

"This year Zambia will spend twice as much on repaying its debts than it will on educating its children. For rich countries, this is not about charity, it is about justice."

A spokesman for the Department for International Development said: "If Britain's proposal for an International Finance Facility are adopted, the objective of 0.7 per cent can be achieved by 2008-09.

"These additional resources will be used to increase UK bilateral aid to Africa to at least £1.25 billion a year by 2008."

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.