G8 Leaders Pledge $25 Billion a Year for Africa

AUCHTERARDER, Scotland, July 8, 2005 (ENS) - The G8 and African leaders have come away from their meeting today at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland with what British Prime Minister Tony Blair called "a beginning not an end." The commitments of the G8 and other donors will lead to an increase in official development assistance to Africa of $25 billion a year by 2010, more than doubling aid to Africa compared to 2004.

The leaders of the world's wealthiest countries were joined at the summit discussion on Africa and development by the leaders of Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania and by the heads of the African Union Commission, International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Welcoming the agreement, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a native of the African nation of Ghana, stressed that it was "only a beginning" and that only sustained commitment would ensure Africa's self-sufficiency.

In the Chair's Summary Document, the G8 leaders said they "welcomed the substantial progress Africa has made in recent years," citing more democratic elections, increasing economic growth and the end of some long running conflicts.

The African leaders made a personal commitment, reaffirmed at this week’s African Union summit, to reduce poverty and promote economic growth; deepen transparency and good governance; strengthen democratic institutions and processes; show zero tolerance for corruption; remove all obstacles to intra-African trade; and bring about lasting peace and security across the continent.

The G8 in return agreed a comprehensive plan to support Africa’s progress. They agreed to double aid for Africa by 2010 to $50 billion per year.

The G8 also agreed that all of the debts owed by eligible heavily indebted poor countries to the International Development Association, the World Bank affiliate that provides assistance to the world’s 81 poorest countries. They agreed that the debts to the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Fund should be cancelled, as set out in the G8 Finance Ministers agreement on June 11.


Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigerian President and head of the African Union, addresses the G8 leaders, expressing the will of African nations to eradicate poverty and disease and fight corruption. (Photo by Richard Lewis courtesy G8)
They also welcomed the Paris Club decision to write off around $17 billion of Nigeria's debt.

A group of G8 and other countries will also take forward innovative financing mechanisms including the International Finance Facility (IFF) for immunization within the World Bank, and an IFF to deliver and bring forward the financing. A working group will consider the implementation of these mechanisms.

In addition, the G8 approved an air-ticket solidarity levy backed by Annan, which would impose a levy on international airline tickets to help finance the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. The proposal is part of the agreement to boost investment in health and education, and to take action to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other killer diseases.

The G8 agreed that the World Bank should have a leading role in supporting the partnership between the G8 countries, other donors and Africa, helping to ensure that additional assistance is effectively co-ordinated.

In addition, the G8 leaders agreed to provide extra resources for Africa’s peacekeeping forces, and to provide enhanced support for greater democracy, effective governance and transparency, and to help fight corruption and return stolen assets.

The G8 agreed to stimulate growth, to improve the investment climate and to make trade work for Africa, including by helping to build Africa’s capacity to trade and working to mobilize the extra investment in infrastructure which is needed for business development.

Annan welcomed the progress on debt relief, but said the G8 failure to remove agricultural subsidies was a disappointment. "I had hoped that G8 leaders might also have committed themselves to a clear, unambiguous date for ending export subsidies," he said. "They will have another opportunity to do so in December, at the World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong."


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Sir Bob Geldof, and Bono at Gleneagles Hotel today. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota courtesy G8)
The G8 leaders agreed to back this plan with substantial extra resources for countries which have strong national development plans and are committed to good governance, democracy and transparency. "We agreed that poor countries must decide and lead their own development strategies and economic policies," they said.

The G8 leaders "deplored recent events" in Zimbabwe. "The forced demolition of buildings there has left hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans without housing or livelihoods, and caused great human suffering. We call on the Zimbabwean authorities to end this campaign now, address immediately the situation they have created, and respect human rights and the rule of law."

Sir Bob Geldof, member of the Commission for Africa and creator of Live 8, called the Gleneagles summit, "a qualified triumph." Having rallied the attention of billions of people who watched the free Live 8 concerts Geldof spearheaded, he said, "What is true is that never before have so many people forced a change in policy onto the global agenda, and that policy has been addressed. The beginning of the end of making poverty history starts now."

"A great justice has been done. We are beginning to see the lives of the poor of Africa determined not by charity but by justice," he said.

This has been without equivocation the greatest G8 summit there has ever been for Africa," said Geldof. "Today gives Africa the opportunity of beginning to end poverty over the next 10 years. We need Live 8's three billion people to make sure it gets done."


President of the World Bank Paul Wolfowitz arrives at the G8 Summit at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland (Photo by Stephen Pond courtesy G8)
Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa), said, "A mountain has been climbed only to reveal high peaks north of us. But for this moment, let's stop and look back at just how far we've come. The world around us has changed."

Bono said the $50 billion per year in aid that will go to the poorest of the poor, $25 billion of which is going to Africa will mean that the financing is in place to halve deaths from malaria by 2010.

"Six hundred thousand people will be alive to remember this G8 in Gleneagles who would have lost their lives to a mosquito bite," said Bono, reminding the world that 3,000 Africans, mostly children, die every day from malaria. "Every country who delivers a credible plan to put their children in school will have the money to do so."

"If the words are followed through, nine million people across the globe will have access to lifesaving AIDS drugs," he said. "The world spoke, and the politicians listened. Now, if the world keeps an eye out, they will keep their promises."

Bono had words of praise for U.S. President George W. Bush, who last week pledged $1.2 billion in additional aid for Africa.

"We always want more on the numbers but there's no questioning the man's commitment to Africa," said Bono. "His money on malaria has been matched, leaving this President in the enviable position of leading the charge against the world's most wanted killer diseases - HIV and malaria."

In a joint statement, 11 of the world's largest aid organizations said they are "encouraged" by the G8 commitments.

Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan USA, Save the Children US, World Concern, and World Vision, said, "The ONE campaign is encouraged by the commitment at the G8 Summit to fighting the crisis of extreme poverty and global AIDS. The 1.4 million Americans who have joined the ONE campaign take satisfaction in the recent commitment to double U.S. aid to Africa and President Bush's commitment of more to come. We will remain vigilant to ensure that those promises are made a reality."

"It isn't all everyone wanted," said Prime Minister Tony Blair, "but it is progress, real and achievable progress; it is the definitive expression of our collective will to act in the face of death, disease and conflict that is preventable."