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Commitment phobia

Rich countries will miss their targets for aid to Africa

THE Group of Seven (G7) industrialised countries met at Gleneagles in 2005, and pledged to raise their combined aid to sub-Saharan Africa. But at the end of last year, collectively they were only 44% of the way towards hitting the 2010 target according to ONE, a London-based lobby group. A few countries have met their goals, in some cases by setting low targets (as Canada and America did). Focussing just on aid can detract from big issues such as trade or migration. Promising a bit more aid is easier than dismantling food subsidies that favour Western farmers but devastate African ones. The importance of foreign aid from the West may also be exaggerated. China and other big emerging economies are also pumping in aid, though do not disclose amounts. Still, the failure to meet these promises is shameful.

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