Oxfam calls on G7 to deliver for Africa

Published: 8 February 2007

G7 finance ministers meet in Germany.

Oxfam International today calls on the G7 finance ministers meeting in Essen, Germany (9-10 Feb) to deliver on their promises, and provide increased and better quality aid to Africa.

This is the first major meeting of the German G8 presidency and Chancellor Merkel has put poverty alleviation in Africa high on the agenda. However, despite promises to increase aid at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, development aid to Africa fell by 2.1 percent in 2005.

"The hypocrisy is that the G7 ministers are talking about governance and financial responsibility in Africa yet at the same time they are reneging on their promises and responsibility to Africa. The G8 has a choice: will 2007 be yet another year of broken promises to Africa or the year they finally put their words into action? Germany has got to take the lead on this," said Max Lawson from Oxfam International.

Oxfam is calling for more aid to go directly to the governments of poor countries so that it can be spent on essential public services such as health and education. In the past, aid for health and education has been short term and concentrated on individual projects rather than building public services that have the potential for the greatest benefit to the poorest people.

Progress on debt cancellation has enabled African countries to increase spending on poverty reduction but significant further finance is required if they are to have any chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Increased aid and debt relief has enabled the Tanzanian government to more than double its education budget over the last four years and substantially increase its health spending. The result is an extra 3.1 million children in primary school, infant mortality rates have been reduced by a third and mortality rates for under-fives have fallen by almost a quarter.

"It is unacceptable for the G7 to talk about development in Africa whilst reneging on their promises to increase aid. Well-targeted aid saves lives yet millions of children continue to die needlessly every year from preventable diseases. What is needed is more urgency and less excuses," said Lawson.

"Debt cancellation and the increased commitment by African governments to fighting poverty and spending resources effectively must be matched by increased and better aid from the world's richest countries if we are to have any chance of making poverty history."

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Tricia O''Rourke, Oxfam International Media Officer, on +44 (0)7989 965 359.