Oxfam response to G8 statement on Africa

Published: 8 June 2007

G8 leaders announced $60 billion in funding for AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis today, trumpeting it as a promise fulfilled.

Oxfam’s senior policy advisor Max Lawson commented on the G8´s final outcome on Africa:

“We must not be distracted by big numbers. What the $60 billion headline means at best is just $3bn extra in aid by 2010. This means the G8 will still fall far short of their Gleneagles pledges.

The millions of poor people in Africa need the concrete annual aid increases they were promised – nothing less. Too much is at stake.

Before this summit, Oxfam showed that the G8 were set to miss their 2010 target by a massive $30bn.  Today´s announcement may only close that gap to $27bn.

The new money announced today is important in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to provide education for all, but it should be seen for what it is - a small step when we need giant leaps.”

G8’s $60 Billion Aid Announcement Analyzed

G8 leaders announced $60 billion in funding for AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis today, trumpeting it as a promise fulfilled. It is the only significant aid money in the G8 Africa communiqué. There are two things wrong with this figure. Firstly it is cumulative over an unspecified time period, at least five years, and has simply been totaled up to give as big a number as possible. Secondly a lot of it was existing aid and not new commitments.

Considering both these issues, the long timeline and the old trick of announcing what they are already doing as if it were new, this actually represents at best only $3 billion in new annual money by 2010, miles off the Gleneagles promise of $50 billion increase in overall new aid by that year.

Why it is only $3 billion?

First, the communiqué does not specify how many years the $60 billion is to cover, but one can presume at least five years, i.e. averaging $12 billion a year, but on a gradual increase from a lower figure.

Second, currently donors give $7.3 billion a year for HIV/AIDS alone, $5.4 billion of that is US continuation of current spending, announced last week. The $60 billion figure may also include other current health funding besides programs for these three diseases. This would mean the amount of new money would be even lower than $3 billion in 2010.

If we assume the disbursement will parallel that of the US program, which accelerates increases over five years [$7 billion this year; $8 next year, $10 billion the year after etc.], it would mean at most $3 billion in new funding in the year 2010, when the G8 has promised to provide $50 billion in overall aid, $25 billion of it to Africa.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and UNAIDS estimate the need for additional funding for these diseases just for 2007 totals $6 billion, and that this will likely grow to as much as $23 billion by 2010.

Promise of universal treatment for HIV/AIDS

The G8 statement also suggests that 5 million is the number of people under treatment in Africa which will constitute the “universal access” they promised in 2005. UNAIDS has taken it to mean 80% of those who need it, which would amount to 7 to 9 million in Africa by 2010, not 5 million. Other estimates are much higher.

Conclusion

The G8 announcement is at most a very modest step forward on funding for infectious diseases, and potentially a small step back on universal treatment for HIV/AIDS. But it is a HUGE promise unfulfilled on the $50 billion promised in Gleneagles for total new aid.

Oxfam estimates the G8 will fall $30 billion short in 2010 on current trends, and this announcement would reduce that by at most only $3 billion or 10%. At best they will miss their promises by $27 billion instead of $30.

What is needed are sustained year on year commitments by each country to achieve the $50 billion new aid promised.

 

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Amy Barry +49 (0)176 68118422;
Tricia O´Rourke: +49 (0) 176 6803 1077;
Jörn Kalinski: +49 (0) 171 8360 631