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Compliance with G8 Commitments:
From Denver 1997 to Birmingham 1998

~ Compliance Content ~

Compliance Studies by Issue Area:


"We will work with African countries to ensure adequate and well-targeted assistance for those countries which have the greatest need and carry out the necessary broad-based reforms. The assistance will include support for democratic governance, respect for human rights, sound public administration, efficient legal and judicial systems, infrastructure development, rural development, food security, environmental protection, and human resource development including health and education of their people".

France: Score: -1

In 1997, France maintained 1996 levels of aid at 38.1 billion francs. Since then, France has made reductions in all areas of official development assistance. Africa received 49% of France's ODA which amounted to 18.7 billion francs in 1997. President Jacques Chirac has already stated that French ODA levels will be reduced to 0.41% of the GDP. Furthermore, while Africa received 49% of French ODA in 1997, it will receive 44% in 1998. French Government officials have been emphasizing reform in aid programs and explaining that implementation of these reforms have negated the adverse effects of ODA reductions. Although France takes pride in being one of the strongest aid donors to Africa, its overall levels have decreased. As such, France has not complied with its commitments as outlined in the 1997 Denver Communiqué.

United States: Score: +1

In March 1998, the Clinton Administration requested that Congress approve $730 million in development assistance for FY 1999, compared with $700 million in FY 1998, for the African budgetary category that finances spending in such areas as the environment, food security, human rights, democratization, governance, health, and education, all of which were identified as spending priorities in the commitment under consideration. Included in the FY 1999 budget request is new spending totaling $21 million for African food security, as well as $26 million in support of education for development and democracy. Although the total funding request for Africa ($924.8 million) is actually $82.3 million lower than in FY1998 once all budgetary categories are considered, this reduction is entirely attributable to significantly lower expectations regarding the need for emergency food assistance for the continent in FY1999. This budgetary category, however, is not directly covered by the above commitment, and therefore, is not directly relevant for compliance. Therefore, despite the overall decline in spending for Africa, the increased spending request for those areas covered by the above commitment, including the adoption of two new programs to support food security and democratization, justify a positive one grade for the United States.

United Kingdom: Score: +1

Despite the high levels of aid given to Africa in recent years, the continent's development performance has been quite disappointing. The need to continue high levels of aid, deal with the continuing poverty of much of the continent, and find a way to attract private foreign capital has never been greater. International political support has declined recently, and such important achievements as improved infrastructure, health and education, agricultural technologies and other areas of development are jeopardized.

Recognizing these realities, the United Kingdom has shown tremendous support for alleviating the continents difficulties. As promised in the Manifesto of the new Labour Government prior to its election, the Department For International Development (DFID) was established to bring development issues back to the forefront. The DFID has a broader mandate than its predecessor, the Overseas Development Administration. It manages the UK's aid programme, contributions, and advocates a general coherence in policies relating to the environment, trade, investments, agriculture, and economic reform. The eradication of poverty and the attainment of sustainable development, however, remain the fundamental goals of the Department. Areas such as human development, education, healthcare, access to safe water and increased opportunities for women are being focussed upon.

In a White Paper published on 5 November, 1997 and entitled "Eliminating World Poverty: a challenge for the 21st Century" the DFID outlined how these policies would be undertaken. It reaffirmed the UK's commitment to UN targets of 0.7 per cent of GNP; and to reverse the decline in the British development budget. It advocated the fostering of increased partnerships with the private sector and multilateral development institutions.

Important initiatives undertaken by the UK include the large programme of aid to South Africa worth 22 million in 1997 alone. Britain has focused on eduaction, health, enterprise development, and land and agriculture to help that nation in its difficult transition. What may be Britain's greatest contribution, however, is its strong support for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt initiative (HIPC) and similar efforts through the Paris Club. One example is the DFID's contribution of $10.5 million toward reducing Uganda's debt to the African Development Bank. All this effort has sought to ensure that sustained economic growth and the formation of strong societal institutions occurs in order to help Africa's people help themselves.

Germany: Score: +1

Germany is one of the major donors of financial assistance to developing countries. In the past, Germany's official development assistance (ODA), amounting to some US$7.6 billion in 1996, has been continuously increased. In relation to its GDP, Germany's official development assistance amounts to 0.33%, which is the second largest ratio among G7 countries. Germany's commitment to fulfil its obligations towards developing countries is particularly evident in the replenishment of the African Development Fund, to which Germany contributions close to 9% of its development. With a share of 27.4%, Germany is the largest contributor in financing the 1998 EU budget. Germany has not hitherto benefited from a special "correction mechanism" to limit its net contribution.

Japan: Score: 0

Japan's commitment to aiding Africa has been one of mixed success. While Japan recognizes the need for foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa, it has been constrained by its own domestic political and economic uncertainties which have only mitigated any real and coherent aid programme. Still, however, Japan has made some contribution to alleviating the continent's problems. One of the these was the two-day meeting hosted in Tokyo on Nov. 10 to prepare for an international conference on development for sub-Saharan Africa slated for October 1998. This preparatory meeting for the second Tokyo International Conference on African Development brought together representatives from 47 of Africa's 53 countries, 11 Asian non-donor countries, 14 international donor countries and six international and regional donor organizations. The event, co-hosted

by Japan, the United Nations and the Global Coalition for Africa; a prestigious Washington-based organization, helped focus attention on the plight of the continent.

While this event certainly was encouraging, the economic realities of Japan's economy has forced the government to slash financial contributions to international institutions for fiscal 1998 as part of efforts to trim government spending on official development assistance. The cuts stem from the government's recent decision to pare overseas aid by 10 per cent in 1998 as part of efforts to contain the nation's fiscal deficit. Even though these fiscal priorities have forced an overall reduction in aid, some notable efforts on Japan's half are worth mentioning. Junichiro Koizumi, the Health and Welfare Minister visited Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa for an 11-day trip in order to discuss cooperation on health and public sanitary matters. The Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi also visited for 10 days. He visited South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire and became the first official foreign minister to visit the continent in nearly 13 years.

Japan's direct emergency aid for the continent amounted to $250, 000 for Kenya to help those suffering from the aftermath of flooding and torrential rain, and also Angola, where Japan provided $1.3 million in aid to assist in a peace process. Some 100,000 soldiers belonging to two former warring factions are being disarmed, and Japan, through the International Organization for Migration is working to disband the troops. Certainly these efforts, along with the hosting of events has been admirable, but overall the shifting of priorities towards domestic economic realities means that Africa is clearly not a priority for Japan. As a result, its efforts can only receive a 0.

Italy: Grade: -1

The Italian Government is planning to reduce its official development assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa in 1998. In 1997, Italy spent US$ 283.9 million in Africa. From 1998-2000, Italy plans to spend a total of US$731.9 million, or approximately US$ 244.0 million per year. Since it seems likely that the intent of the commitment under consideration was to supplement support going to the African continent, Italy's apparent reduction in assistance would justify a score of -1.

It should be mentioned, however, that since exact annual spending is not available until the end of the fiscal year, the above budget for 1998 is a rough estimate. Second, a break down of the 1998 budget according to programming areas for Africa was not available. However, Italy's overall ODA program priorities reflect those in the Denver communiqué, including support for poverty reduction, private sector development, institution building, and human resource development. Finally, the proportion of Italian aid going to Africa from 1998-2000 will increase to 31% from 22.7% in 1997. This means that spending on Africa is falling at a slower rate than the ODA budget as a whole, thus demonstrating at least recognition that Sub-Saharan Africa deserves special consideration in ODA spending allocations.

Canada: Score: -1

Canada has reduced the percentage that regions are receiving from the International Assistance Envelope by 8.0-8.3%. Only Africa has been exempt from these reductions. Canada has maintained the percentage of its International Development Envelope that is administered to Africa at 44%. Nevertheless, Canada has been implementing a budget initiative for the last five years that has seen the International Assistance Envelope reduced by $767 million. This has meant a reduction in aid to Africa from $976.8 million in 1997 to $906.8 million in 1998. Canada's development aid reductions coincide with efforts to increase the efficacy of aid. It is believed that the effects of the reductions can be counter-balanced, if not eliminated, by such efforts. Canada is thus not meeting its development commitments towards Africa as stipulated in the 1997 Denver Communiqué.

Russia: n/a

Report produced by Mike Youash, Jason Krausert, Maja Nazaruk, Nick Nikopoulos

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