06 December 2004

The Fat of the Land...

Sounds the American model of "the rich get richer" has gone global...


Oxfam Raps Rich Nations Over Aid

Rich nations need to do much more to overcome global poverty, the aid agency Oxfam says in a report.

In real terms, the aid budgets of rich countries are half what they were in 1960, the charity claims.

Oxfam also says that that poor countries are paying back $100m a day in debt repayments.

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

If the present trends continue, the agency warns that 45 million more children will die needlessly in the next 10 years.

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

'Moral obligation'

Oxfam says rich countries such as the US, Germany and Japan have broken a pledge made 1970 to make available 0.7% of their gross national incomes in aid.

In 2003, the average aid budget of wealthy countries was just 0.25% of national income, and just 0.14% for the US.

The report, Paying the Price, says this means that development goals agreed on recently by all members of the United Nations - halving poverty, providing education for all and halting the spread of major diseases - are unlikely to be met.

"Making this finance available... is a both a moral obligation and a matter of justice," it says.

Oxfam says that aid initiatives work, and that millions of children are in school in countries such as Kenya and Zambia, for example, who would not be had it not been for aid.

It also claims that aid is being used as a political tool, with some nations making combating terrorism an explicit aim of their aid programmes.

The report is designed as a call to action to the British government before it takes up the presidency of the G8, says the BBC's world affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge.

The agency wants UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to persuade his G8 counterparts to cancel all the debt of the poorest countries and double aid spending.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/12/06 02:41:08 GMT



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