July 8, 2005

G8 says to more than double aid to Africa

GLENEAGLES, Scotland (Reuters) - The leaders of the Group
of Eight industrialized nations said on Friday they would more
than double aid to Africa by 2010, boosting it by about $25
billion a year to help lift the continent out of poverty.

The G8 leaders also pledged that they and other donors
would increase total aid for all developing countries by about
$50 billion a year by 2010.

"We agreed that we and our African partners had a common
interest in building on (that) progress to create a strong,
peaceful and prosperous Africa," said the G8 president, British
Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"We know this is only the beginning, we must build on the
progress we have made today."

But aid agencies, who had called for that amount
immediately plus debt cancellation and fairer trade terms, said
the move was too little, too late for a continent where poverty
claims a child's life every 10 seconds.

"The G8's aid increase could save the lives of 5 million
children by 2010 -- but 50 million children's lives will still
be lost because the G8 didn't go as far as they should have
done," said Jo Leadbeater, policy head for aid group Oxfam.

Blair, who has described Africa as a "scar on the
conscience of the world" put tackling its poverty at the heart
of his G8 presidency this year.

The G8 leaders also backed a long-term deal to wipe out
more than $40 billion of impoverished nations' debt and said
they would work toward making trade fairer.