Pressure on G20 to Continue Aid Programs Build Up as Summit Approaches

World leaders pose for a family photo during the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada in June 2010. Photo by: The Prime Minister's Office / CC BY-NC-ND

Donors should continue providing aid to developing countries despite the current economic slump and the slew of austerity measures being implemented across the globe. Bill Gates is expected to make this call in a plan he is set to present at the G-20 summit in France this week.

“If we really look at how the world’s improved in the past few decades, it’s very impressive how we’ve reduced poverty, reduced malnutrition, reduced the under five death rate,” Gates said, in an interview with ABC News. “And we need to take lessons, the generosity, the innovation, and carry that forward despite the fact we have this economic crisis.”

Gates recognized that foreign aid budgets, particularly that of the United States, are at risk of being cut because of the economic crisis and of efforts to focus more on nation-building investments at home. There is now a debate on whether countries should slash their aid budgets and by how much or to preserve it even as other budget accounts take a cut, Gates noted.

But Gates said it is all the more important now for rich countries to continue supporting development and providing aid to some of the world’s poorest countries.

“I’m reminding [G-20 countries] that every dollar makes a huge difference,” Gates said.

Gates’ report is also expected to propose the implementation of a financial transaction tax, among other new ways, to raise development finance, Reuters says, citing a draft of the report.

Leading U.S. and international development non-governmental organizations have made similar calls, urging G-20 countries to step up their commitments to boost global food security and outline ways to boost economic growth in a way that also benefits the poor.

“If they come out of Cannes with yet another internal discussion and nothing conclusive on institutions or financing, how many more G20’s are we going to wait before we get what the global economy needs, which is a little bit of foresight and consensus around course correction,” Paul O’Brien, Oxfam America’s vice president for policy and campaigns, said, according to Reuters.

G-20 leaders are meeting in Cannes, France, on Nov. 3 and 4 for their annual summit.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.