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Aid rise plea for poorest countries

Published 26/05/2015

More of Britain's international aid should go to the world's least developed countries, development campaign One urged
More of Britain's international aid should go to the world's least developed countries, development campaign One urged

Britain should give a larger share of its international aid to the world's poorest countries, a new report from development campaign One 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% of national income on aid.

But it said that just 38% 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 - including David Cameron - in Germany next month, the One campaign is calling on all developed countries to match the UK's 0.7% aid figure and to ensure that half (50%) 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% target but must also ensure that a greater share - 50% - of development aid goes to countries who have the least .

"Justine Greening should push other ministers to keep rather than roll back on the EU's long-held promises."

In its annual Data Report, One found many donors missing their aid targets, and financial support for LDCs continuing to fall.

Although LDCs are increasingly home to those who live on less than 1.25 US dollars (£1.12) a day, they received less than a third (30.3%) of aid in 2014. One calculates that if that share was increased to 50%, an additional £24 billion 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 10 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.

A Dfid spokeswoman said: "Our investment in overseas development is creating a safer, healthier and more prosperous world. As we agree the next round of global poverty goals, other countries must match Britain's pledge and meet the UN's long-standing aid target.

"We have already refocused our direct aid towards the poorest countries and work with major multilateral agencies such as the World Bank to ensure aid reaches those who need it most."

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