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Sub-Saharan Africa hit disproportionately by European aid cuts

New analysis published today shows that sub-Saharan Africa suffered disproportionately from cuts to aid spending by EU member states last year, with investment in the region falling by 19% compared to an overall decline in overseas development aid (ODA) of 7%.

The ONE Campaign’s 2013 DATA Report European Union briefing holds European governments to account for their promises to the world’s poor, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa.  The preliminary figures show 11 of 15 EU countries studied made double-digit percentage cuts to aid to sub-Saharan Africa between 2011 and 2012.

The EU collectively committed in 2005 to increase financial assistance to sub-Saharan Africa.

On 27 June, EU leaders will meet for a summit in Brussels and review progress on Europe’s overall commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on development aid by 2015.  The report warns that it will be very difficult for the EU as a whole to fulfil this commitment if the largest donors do not step up their efforts.

Eloise Todd, Brussels director at ONE said:

“While this is the second year running that overall aid has declined, it’s especially shocking to see that sub-Saharan Africa has been hit so disproportionately this year.

“Now is not the time to cut aid.  Much progress has been made in the region on the Millennium Development Goals, but many countries are still lagging behind.  Aid, together with developing countries’ own investments in health, agriculture and education can have a massive impact on progress.

“These cuts should be reversed, and investments made in areas such as health and agriculture which have wide benefits. “

Despite sub-Saharan Africa being home to some of the least developed countries, several donors, invested less in the region in 2012 than in 2004.

Aid from the EU institutions also contributes towards member state aid targets, but this is likely to be frozen at current levels until 2020 following a political agreement by member states on the next long-term EU budget at a summit in February.  The EU institutions combined are the world’s second largest aid donor and therefore crucial to development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Eloise Todd continued:

“In light of the cuts to aid to sub-Saharan Africa by European member states, it’s critical that spending by the EU institutions prioritises the region.  Key decisions on the breakdown of EU development aid spending until 2020 will be taken in the coming months.  The EU should focus spending on the poorest countries and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”

Notes to editors

The full report can be downloaded from one.org/data.

  • ONE bases its analysis on OECD aid statistics, 2012 figures are based on preliminary data. All our figures are net of debt relief, and expressed in 2012 constant prices. Our aid statistics for Africa include not just bilateral aid, but also imputed contributions via multilateral institutions.

Co-founded by Bono, ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of more than three million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease… because the facts show extreme poverty has already been cut in half and can be virtually eradicated by 2030.  Learn more at ONE.org.

For further information or to arrange an interview with Eloise Todd please contact Dudley Curtis on +32 485 379945, [email protected]