22 June 2010

Assessing the Gleneagles Commitments

Last month One.org released their DATA REPORT 2010: Monitoring the G8 Promise to Africa. It just hit my desk today.

Key findings:
  • G7 commitments on aid to Sub-Saharan Africa have been more than half met. The target increase for 2009 was about $18bn, with actual G7 increases standing at $9.9bn.
  • UK is the star performer on aid in terms of increasing proportion of gross national income to aid, and the US is the G7 country with the highest increase in absolute aid (but with a lower increase in the proportion of GNI to aid than the UK)
  • not enough progress on aid quality
  • investments in agriculture, primary education, malaria, HIV/AIDS and child survival are rated as good, but water and sanitation have lagged behind.
  • the G7 has failed on trade, but G7 foreign direct investment has increased
  • the G7 has delivered on some debt cancellation, but not all donors have followed through
  • lessons learned: need to engage with new partners (e.g. new non G7 donors); accountability of donors and African governments is key; Africa is "teeming with new opportunity"
  • what is needed beyond 2010: strengthening the accountability of African leaders to their citizens; developing initiatives that regulate natural resource extraction and capital flight; fairer trade and investment rules - globally and within Africa; investments in renewable energy; develop smart aid mechanisms for areas in which success is lagging - e.g. maternal health
  • the TRACK principles for aid are introduced (Transparent, Results-oriented, Additional, Conditional, Kept)
Quick reactions?
  • An impressive amount of analysis in this report (the last but the meatiest in the series)
  • Still too much of a focus on aid--probably because this is the easiest to monitor and has some good news. But I would have liked to see more on trade and investment
  • The K in TRACK will be the most difficult to monitor and is the area where most innovation is needed
  • The report would be so much more powerful if it were written by an African group of analysts and advocates
  • The way forward says that no group of countries have put forward a comprehensive and collective plan focused on how to help support the vision of "an Africa driven by its own citizens", but it would have been useful to provide a forum in this report for African voices to say where and how they would like that support to be focused.

This is the last in a series of very useful reports, but I hope the next set will be less about aid and more about development and less about donors and recipients and more about development partners. I also hope it will be led by Africans.

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