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Oxfam predicts biggest cuts in aid in 15 years

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Monday, 07 November 2011

Oxfam predicts biggest cuts in aid in 15 years

Aid from rich nations is likely to fall by at least $9.5 billion by the end of 2012 – the biggest drop in aid for 15 years, according to new calculations by international agency Oxfam ahead of this week’s G20 Summit (Nov 3-4).

Oxfam calls the figures “shameless and depressingly predictable” and show that poor people are being asked to pay for rich country austerity cuts. It calls on G20 leaders to reverse the cuts and agree to pursue new ways of raising money for poor countries being hit by the economic crisis and climate change.

$9 billion would be enough to educate more than half the 67 million children who cannot afford to attend school today. Aid cuts are already hitting poor countries now, like Bangladesh, Benin and Mozambique which are losing around half their basic education budgets.

Oxfam’s figures are based on existing and predicted OECD government aid budgets for 2010-12. The cuts in overseas development assistance total around $11.2 billion with Italy, the US, Spain and Netherlands the major “cutters”. The cuts are only partly off-set by a big increase in Australian aid and smaller rises in the UK and Germany, which keep their aid spending constant as a proportion of national income. Meanwhile, aid levels are flat-lining in other countries, including France and Canada.

Source: Oxfam