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ONE reveals 32.5 million children could go to school per year if the EU aid budget is increased

ONE’s brief, An EU budget that invest in potential, reveals that if half of an EU aid budget of €140bn was spent on education, health and social needs in the least developed countries and fragile states in Africa this could deliver:

  • Access to pre-primary, primary, and lower-secondary education to 32.5 million children per year (almost half of the French population)
  • Access to basic health care and nutrition for 43.5 million people per year (more than half of the German population)
  • A social safety net that could support 50.3 million people per year (targeted transfers in cash or social services addressed to those living in or at risk of poverty) (almost three times the Netherlands population or 10 million less than the Italian population)

But this profound impact will only be achievable if the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) proposal for aid amounts to 140bn. This figure will allow EU countries to meet the international obligation to devote 0.7% of national income (GNI) to aid (ODA) by 2030. Currently, the European Commission’s MFF proposal, at just 123bn, will not put the EU and its member states on track to meet this commitment.  

EU leaders will gather in Brussels on 13-14 December to discuss the MFF budget and spending priorities from 2021 to 2027, taking us to three years before the 2030 deadline for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

Friederike Röder, EU and France Director for The ONE Campaign, said:

“The next MFF will determine the EU’s position and credibility as a global leader on development cooperation which is committed to reaching the 0.7% target.

However, the EU aid budget goes beyond geopolitics and international influence. It is about human lives. Leaders have the chance to make a real difference in the life of more than 32.5 million children per year who could go to school or the 50 million people living in, or at the risk of, poverty. Investments in African countries, where the greatest need will be, could deliver access to basic health and nutrition to 43.5 million people per year. That’s more than half of the German population.

We have a window of opportunity to act now. It is time to increase investments in education, health, nutrition and social sectors to build a healthier, educated and more prosperous world for all.”

Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said:

“The EU and member states have collectively committed to direct 0.7% of GNI to official development assistance. Member States are moving forward towards that goal; they  were around 0.5% GNI/ODA last year. From our side, we will continue working on reaching that goal for the European budget.

If we manage to reach a higher EU development budget, this will be a major breakthrough in EU’s capacity to keep its leadership role as the biggest global actor in development.”

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, said:

“Now there is momentum. A window for the European neighbourhood single instrument and the European neighbourhood, destiny, mainly, is Africa. Let’s fight for a high investment in the interest of the people in Africa.”