In May 2013, Eurodad member ONE launched its 2013 DATA Report, which examines progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). ONE followed this up with a Special Report Tracking Development Assistance, which holds European governments to account for their promises to the world’s poor, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Worryingly, the preliminary figures show that investment in the region fell by 19% compared to an overall decline in overseas development aid (ODA) of 7%. While this is the second year running that overall aid has declined, it’s particularly shocking to see that sub-Saharan Africa has been hit so disproportionately this year.
The report finds that, while many poor and middle-income countries are making great progress, the performance of a number of countries continues to lag behind. The authors also look at financing trends in sub-Saharan Africa in sectors related to the MDG targets (health, agriculture and education) and map these investments against the progress being made towards achieving MDG targets in these countries. The analysis shows that, on average, where domestic budgetary resources and aid have been directed towards catalytic sectors, progress on the related MDGs has been more positive.
In this briefing, the authors mainly summarise the findings of the DATA report and look specifically at aid levels from EU Member States and institutions. The European Union (EU) is heavily involved in the debate about what to do after the 2015 MDG deadline and EU member countries remain, collectively, the biggest donor in the world. While developing countries are rushing to meet these development targets, ONE’s analysis shows that developed countries are failing to meet their commitments on development assistance. Specifically, ONE is seeing disproportionately deep cuts in aid to sub-Saharan Africa from EU countries. These cuts threaten to undermine both the progress towards the MDGs and the strong partnership between the EU and the countries that have the most to gain from MDG progress.
The report ultimately argues that now is not the time to cut aid. Much progress has been made in sub-Saharan Africa towards meeting the MDGs by 2015, but many countries are still lagging behind. Together with developing countries’ own investments in health, agriculture and education, aid can have a massive impact on progress. ONE believes these cuts should be reversed, and investments should be made in areas such as health and agriculture that will improve the lives of millions of people living across the region.
Read the report here