Earlier this month, during the German government’s 2010 budget negotiations, ONE ran a campaign asking the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to keep her promise towards people living in extreme poverty. Germany has committed itself to invest 0.51% of its gross national income to development by 2010 and to increase this share to 0.7% by 2015. So the question was whether these commitments would be reflected in the new budget.
Angela Merkel has repeated this promise several times, and we expected her words to be matched by action even in difficult budgetary times and with a new German government in office. Thousands of German ONE supporters joined us to voice this expectation by signing our petition to the Chancellor. And many even phoned the government‘s hotline to personally stress the importance of living up to our commitments.
Unfortunately, it looks like this time our voices have not been heard. Last week, the government presented the draft budget and there is only one way to describe it: the budget proposal equals a breach of promise, as the following figures illustrate.
- 300 million Euros – the increase the new Development Minister, Dirk Niebel, had asked for before the start of the budget negotiations.
- 67 million Euros – the increase he was able to get. This equals an increase of the development budget of no more than 1.2%
- 13% – the growth of last year’s development budget when the ministry was still lead by Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul.
- 3 billion Euros – what would have been necessary in addition to last year’s budget for Germany to reach its target for 2010. The fact that Germany is now missing this target means that from 2010 on, Germany will have to increase its development budget by 1.5 billion Euros every year to reach the target for 2015.
So as 2009 ends the news isn’t as great as we hoped here in Berlin. But we have to look forward. 2010 is going to be a very important year for Africa. It’s the year our promises are due, and it’s also the year of the football World Cup in South Africa. The whole world will be looking at the continent – at the challenges it is facing, but also at the amazing African success stories. We have to take advantage of the public attention and get the German government back on track towards the 0.7% goal.