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Some OECD Nations’ Development Aid Spending Down 4% In 2012, Report Says

“Government spending on development aid plunged by four percent in 2012, after dropping two percent the year before, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a statement on Wednesday,” Devex reports (Santamaria/Jones, 4/3). “The 24 member states of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) provided $125.6 billion in net aid in 2012, a drop of four percent in real terms,” AlertNet writes, adding, “The countries that cut their aid by the largest proportion were Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal — all euro zone states where cash-strapped governments have implemented major austerity measures” (Rowling, 4/3). “In contrast to the falls last year, some large donors, including the U.K. and Germany, are planning big increases in aid this year to make progress towards the international target for the developed world to donate 0.7 percent of gross national income to poor countries by 2015,” the Financial Times states (Giles, 4/3).

“There is also a noticeable shift in aid away from the poorest countries and towards middle-income countries, said the OECD,” The Guardian notes. Therefore, “aid is likely to stagnate to countries with the largest [Millennium Development Goal (MDG)] gaps and poverty levels, including sub-Saharan African countries such as Burundi, Chad, Madagascar, Malawi and Niger,” the newspaper writes (Tran, 4/3). OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said in a statement, “It is worrying that budgetary duress in our member countries has led to a second successive fall in total aid, but I take heart from the fact that, in spite of the crisis, nine countries still managed to increase their aid. As we approach the 2015 deadline for achieving the [MDGs], I hope that the trend in aid away from the poorest countries will be reversed. This is essential if aid is to play its part in helping achieve the goals” (4/3). “The U.S. remains the world’s largest aid donor by amount … , but falls far short of the rich-country average as a proportion of national income, contributing 0.19 percent compared with the 0.43 percent of the average rich country,” the Financial Times notes (4/3).