BRITAIN should give a larger share of its international aid to the world’s poorest countries, a new report has said.
The report hailed the UK as “a global leader in development” after the government enshrined in law the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid.
But it said that just 38 per cent of the total £12 billion aid budget in 2014 went to the 48 states classed by the UN as the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) – most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ahead of the G7 gathering of leaders of the world’s most powerful economies in Germany next month, aid campaign group One – who carried out the research – is calling on all developed countries to match the UK’s 0.7 per cent aid figure and to ensure that half of their aid cash goes to LDCs.
Diane Sheard, UK director of One, urged International Development Secretary Justine Greening to put pressure on fellow EU nations to commit to aid targets at a financing conference in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in July.
“The UK has set a clear example in legislating to protect its aid budget,” said Ms Sheard.
“Across the EU, governments must not only recommit to the 0.7 per cent target but must also ensure that a greater share – 50 per cent – of development aid goes to countries who have the least .”
In its annual Data Report, One found many donors missed their aid targets and financial support for LDCs continued to fall.
Although LDCs are home to those who live on less than 1.25 US dollars (£1.12) a day, they received less than a third (30.3 per cent) of aid in 2014.
One calculates that if that share was increased to 50 per cent, an additional £24bn would have been available to those who need it most.
New “Global Goals” to promote development are due to be agreed in September, replacing the UN Millennium Development Goals, which expire this year.
The One campaign argues that, for the new goals to succeed, world leaders must make a concerted effort to target the most disadvantaged countries, otherwise lives will be lost and years of development progress risks being undone.
It is also calling for a focus on women and girls in developing countries, with a Poverty is Sexist campaign backed by Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
One’s global policy director Eloise Todd said: “2015 could be a game-changer for the world’s most vulnerable people, but decisions taken in Addis Ababa will determine whether the opportunity is seized or squandered.
“We won’t see an end to extreme poverty unless leaders shift focus to the poorest countries and the poorest people, especially girls and women.”
According to the Department for International Development, the largest recipient of UK bilateral aid in 2013 was Pakistan, which is not classed as an LDC.
The top ten also included non-LDCs India, Nigeria, Kenya and Syria.
The five LDCs among Britain’s biggest aid destinations were Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
WHAT THEY GIVE
United Kingdom 0.72%
New Zealand 0.26%
United States 0.19%
South Korea 0.13%
Czech Republic 0.11%
Slovak Republic 0.09%