Aid is Nice, but Transparency is Key

June 11th, 2009

An article in the Financial Times today uses a report from One to highlight the fact that France and Italy have not met the development goals set by the G7 at the 2005 Gleneagles Summit:

A leading development lobby group has condemned Italy and France for failing to meet targets to increase aid to sub-Saharan Africa and called on the G7 and other international organisations to take sanctions against such breaches in future…

One made the call as it published a new report assessing the progress of G7 countries in meeting targets to increase aid to Africa made at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005.

It’s certainly unfortunate that Italy and France have not met their development goals. However, even if France and Italy had met their development goals, it would not have made the necessary impact. The article states that Italy, which was donating about US$1.4 billion in aid to Sub-Saharan African countries in 2005, promised to increase their aid to just over US$5 billion; Italy has only raised their aid levels to $1.57 billion – roughly $3.5 billion short of the target. However, as GFI’s latest report points out, illicit outflows from developing countries total about $1,000 billion per year – outpacing foreign aid by a roughly 10 to 1 ratio.

Certainly keeping your word is a good thing, and Italy should not be forgiven for it, but the real problem here is the international financial structure which drains the purses of developing countries. If we really want to solve the problems in Sub-Saharan Africa, we need more than just aid – we need reform. We need transparency.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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