The media often publishes one story after another arguing that giving aid to poor countries is a waste of money. It’s disappointing – not only is it untrue, more aid is urgently needed if the world is to have any chance to halve worldwide poverty by 2015.
In 2000 countries all over the world agreed to go for this goal and for seven other ‘millennium development goals’, such as getting all children to school, promoting gender equality and reducing child and maternal mortality.
Aid does work. Thanks to aid, in many countries more children go to school and more people have access to basic health services. In Tanzania for example between 2000-05 child mortality decreased by a third and the number of children going to school increased from 4.4 to 7.4 million. In 2004 alone, the government built 10 thousand classrooms and trained 10 thousand teachers. In Mali, the government stepped up investments in primary education and the number of children going to school increased from 38% to 51% between 2001-05.
Unfortunately, there are some occasion aid does get wasted. Sometimes this is because corrupt governments steal the money or use it to their own personal gain. But rich countries are also to blame. They often demand that poor countries implement economic policy conditions that can increase poverty. Or they require that poor countries spend the money given to them on expensive experts from rich countries.
That’s why Oxfam and other don’t just ask for more aid – we also ask for better aid. And at the same time, we support partners in poor countries that work hard to fight corruption.
In 2005 the richest countries in the world promised to double their aid by 2010. But for 2 years in a row, global aid is on the decline. European Ministers of Development are currently meeting to talk about aid to poor countries at the General Affairs and External Relations Council.
Oxfam was there to demand that rich countries will keep their promises, and give more and better aid to fight global poverty. We were there with Aidwatchers & GCAP Europe, and through our calculations we’ve estimated the the EU is currently a staggering €75 million short on the aid they promised.
If they fail to keep their promises, the aim of halving poverty by 2010 will be missed for sure. And that is no option.
Aidwatchers & GCAP Europe stunt outside the EU meeting