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July 8, 2008

G-8 Countries Pledge Aid to Skeptical Africa

Activists were disappointed in African aid packages proposed this week by the Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting in Japan, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports (afp.google.com 7/8).

World leaders on Tuesday, July 8, set a five-year deadline to provide $60 billion to fight disease in Africa, but similar, unfulfilled promises were made three years ago. Aid workers said the pledge meant little to the continent’s poor.

“Only when they come through with the $25 billion for Africa will we have cause to celebrate,” said Charles Abani, Southern Africa regional director for Oxfam International. “The money is a pittance for the G-8, but for poor Africans it could mean a future with lifesaving medicines and the chance to learn to read and write.”

The G-8 said that aid from “the G-8 and other donors to Africa should be reassessed and may need to be increased for the period after 2010, beyond our current commitments.”

This year’s meeting comes at the halfway point of the United Nations-backed Millennium Development Goals, which set the target of eradicating the world’s worst poverty by 2015.  Japan called for the current summit to focus on health and development.

“I'm disappointed although I must say we didn’t expect much from this G-8,” said Bob Geldof, founder of the Live Aid concert for Africa in 1985. Aid pledges were meaningless unless individual governments allocated funds in their budgets, he said.

For UNAIDS/Kaiser Family Foundation’s complete analysis of available HIV/AIDS funding from the G-8, the European Commission and other donor governments in 2007, click here.

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