G8 cover-up of aid failure a sign of progress?

The Financial Times recently published this report based on an alleged cover-up by the G8 — the U.S., France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia — regarding some rich nations’ failure to keep their promises on foreign aid.

Cover-ups always sound bad, but in one sense this is a good thing. The fact that the G8 is trying to hide this failure to deliver on foreign aid is at least an improvement over previous years, in which rich nations didn’t even care if anyone knew that they hadn’t kept their promises to poor nations.

Says the Financial Times:

The world’s leading economies are attempting to cover up their failure to meet past promises on aid to the poorest countries, a leaked Group of Eight document seen by the Financial Times reveals.

The Guardian also recently reported on the advocacy group ONE’s complaint that the Group of Eight, which will be meeting next week, has delivered only about 61 percent of the aid they had promised to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2005. Says the Guardian:

In its annual analysis of progress towards meeting the promises made by the G8 at the 2005 Gleneagles summit, the development charity One said that rich countries had delivered 61% of the extra financial assistance pledged to sub-Saharan Africa six years ago.

It wasn’t across the board. Britain did fairly well and the U.S., Canada and Japan delivered as promised — but, it should be noted, promised very little (as a proportion of GDP). Most of the scorn was reserved for France, Germany and Italy for failing to provide some $7 billion in promised aid to Africa.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.