Daily Archives: May 16, 2007

Amid all the distraction of the Paul Wolfowitz affair it’s easy to forgot that life goes on – in abject poverty – for the billions earning less than a dollar a day.

Europe has been vocal in its call for the Wolf to leave his lair. It is once again burnishing its pro-development credentials. But are they all that they are cracked up to be?

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, the German development minister, said this week that the EU was ahead of its target to dedicate 0.39 per cent of gross domestic product to aid in 2006, hitting 0.42%. The bloc already provides half of the world’s development aid. While she is not known as "Red Heide" just because of the colour of her hair, campaigners beg to differ.

Concord, the alliance of European NGOs released a damning report last week. It said around a third of aid was debt relief, housing refugees in the EU and even paying for foreigners to be educated at European universities. Belgium even tries to pretend its peacekeeping mission in Congo is aid. No doubt any Congolese chicory growers are benefiting from the troops’ presence.

In short, G8 pledges to double aid to Africa were not being met.

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