Hidden harm of austerity: Aid flows drop as economic crisis hits Europe’s promise to Africa
BRUSSELS – New analysis published today shows Europe’s economic crisis has taken its toll on aid flows, with aid from the European Union declining for the first time since 2002, and 14 EU countries decreasing aid in 2011.
The report, by anti-po
verty group ONE, holds governments to account for their promises to the world’s poor, with a specific focus on commitments made to Africa. It shows that some countries, including Germany, succeeded in increasing aid last year. The Netherlands, the UK and Ireland have also protected their promises to the poorest people during the crisis. However, aid to Africa has been hit with Europe falling far short of delivering the aid it promised to the continent.
As EU heads of state gather in Brussels this week, ONE has called on leaders to protect aid for the poorest people during the negotiations on the next seven-year EU budget. Current proposals include €51 billion in development assistance to the poorest countries. If this proposal is kept it would help Member States get closer to their target of investing 0.7% of national income in aid, helping to secure vital funding for the drive to meet the Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015.
Eloise Todd, Brussels Director of ONE, said:
“These negotiations could not have come at more crucial time for Europe’s promise to Africa. Leaders, whilst under pressure to keep overall spending down, must secure a fair proportion for the world’s poorest people. If they miss this opportunity they are at risk of allowing the economic crisis to derail the final push to meet the Millennium Development Goals. That’s a matter of life and death for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
The 2012 DATA Report – which for the first time analyses the commitments made by the EU – finds:
- In 2011 aid from EU countries fell for the first time since 2002, with a drop of 1.5%.
- The EU as a whole fell €18 billion short of its 2010 interim aid promise.
- The EU15 remains significantly behind on promises to increase aid to Africa. Between 2004 and 2010, the EU15 increased aid to Africa by only €5.04 billion, far short of their target increase of €15.58 billion.
- Only 4 countries of the EU15 spend more than 50% of their aid in Africa.
- Published budget projections by the European Commission foresee further cuts by many countries, including Spain, Greece, together with only small increases from key donors like France and Germany.
- Aid delivered through the EU is more effective than ever. The EU is now a leader on aid effectiveness, coming first on transparency measures and rated higher than standard-bearers Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands on maximising efficiency.
Eloise Todd continued:
“This report reveals that those bearing the brunt of Europe’s economic crisis include some of the world’s poorest people. As austerity bites across Europe, we can now see the impact it is having on life-saving aid programmes.
“Huge cuts in aid from Greece and Spain are not unexpected in this time of turmoil but the poor record almost across the board is worrying. Countries like Denmark, the UK, and Ireland demonstrate that it is possible through determined leadership and smart choices to protect aid budgets. Their example must be replicated.
“As European leaders mobilise huge sums to bail out their close neighbours, they must not forget their promises to Africa. The deal struck to protect Spain’s banks this month is worth five times what would be needed to get Europe back on track with its aid promises. While real progress has been made in Africa in recent years, the fact remains millions of people still rely on life-saving programmes funded by smart aid.”
Notes to editors
- ONE is a global grassroots advocacy and campaigning organisation backed by 3 million people that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information, please visit www.ONE.org
- Since its inception, the DATA Report has held the world’s wealthiest countries accountable for their commitments to the world’s poorest countries. For the past six years, it has tracked progress against the Gleneagles commitments made by the G7 in 2005. Those commitments expired in 2010. The 2012 DATA Report turns its principal attention to the European Union (EU) and its bold commitments to continue increasing development assistance up to 2015. This year, the DATA Report monitors EU commitments to reach a target of 0.7% of gross national income to be provided as official development assistance (ODA/GNI) by 2015 and to provide half of its ODA increases to Africa.
- In June 2011, the European Commission put forward its proposals for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. The European Council meeting on the 28th and 29th June will mark the first debate on the MFF by European leaders.
- The current proposal for the MFF includes €51bn for development. This consists of €21bn from the Development Cooperation Instrument, and €30bn from the European Development Fund (at current 2011 prices). Our analysis shows that if these proposals are adopted, an estimated additional €2bn would be added to the EU’s aid by 2015.
- In 2005, the European Council set the target of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid by 2015, with 50% of all aid increases to Africa.
Eloise Todd email@example.com +32 495 323507
Katherine Sladden firstname.lastname@example.org +44 20 7434 7554
Verena von Derschau email@example.com +33 1 40 64 17 02
Sergius Seebohm firstname.lastname@example.org +49 30 319 891 570
Ari Goldberg email@example.com +1 202 330 3577