Merkel vows to press G8 on Africa aid pledges

Merkel vows to press G8 on Africa aid pledges

BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel, holder of the G8 presidency, said on Tuesday she would press rich nations to fulfil aid pledges to Africa made two years ago but some critics said Germany itself was a laggard.

Under Britain’s presidency in 2005, the Group of Eight leading industrialised countries promised to double aid to Africa by 2010 and wipe out more than US$40 billion of poor nations’ debt. Aid campaigners have warned those targets are at risk.After meeting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who chaired the 2005 G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Merkel said she would ensure aid kept flowing to the world’s poorest continent.”We have made clear there will be continuity.We are going to take things up where Gleneagles ended,” she told reporters.Annan said the Africa Progress Panel, set up to monitor rich nations’ progress on development targets, was not asking for new promises but for the implementation of previous pledges.”Unless we step up our efforts …we will not make the (Gleneagles) target,” he said.On current spending levels, Germany – Europe’s biggest economy – stands no chance of reaching a UN target of spending 0,7 per cent of national income on aid and neither is it giving as much as it has promised, said the Oxfam charity.Merkel said the Africa Progress Panel would meet again later in the year to discuss the implementation of targets.Blair said much had been done for Africa but more was needed.”We also know there are still far too many Africans who die when their death is preventable with our help,” he said.Nampa-ReutersAid campaigners have warned those targets are at risk.After meeting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who chaired the 2005 G8 summit at Gleneagles in Scotland, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Merkel said she would ensure aid kept flowing to the world’s poorest continent.”We have made clear there will be continuity.We are going to take things up where Gleneagles ended,” she told reporters.Annan said the Africa Progress Panel, set up to monitor rich nations’ progress on development targets, was not asking for new promises but for the implementation of previous pledges.”Unless we step up our efforts …we will not make the (Gleneagles) target,” he said.On current spending levels, Germany – Europe’s biggest economy – stands no chance of reaching a UN target of spending 0,7 per cent of national income on aid and neither is it giving as much as it has promised, said the Oxfam charity.Merkel said the Africa Progress Panel would meet again later in the year to discuss the implementation of targets.Blair said much had been done for Africa but more was needed.”We also know there are still far too many Africans who die when their death is preventable with our help,” he said.Nampa-Reuters

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