Bono says G-8 is falling behind on promises to Africa

DATA report shows that G-8 increased aid to Africa by $2.3 billion but an additional $3.1 billion is needed.

bono G8 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
bono G8 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Rocker-activist Bono said Tuesday the world's biggest industrial countries are failing to keep up with financial promises they made to Africa, calling a new progress report "a cold shower" for the Group of Eight. G-8 members in 2004-2006 contributed less than half the amount needed to make good on promises to double Africa aid to $50 billion by 2010, according to a report released by DATA - Debt, Aids, Trade, Africa - an Africa advocacy group founded by the 47-year-old lead singer of U2. "The G-8 are sleep-walking into a crisis of credibility. I know the DATA report will feel like a cold shower, but I hope it will wake us all up," Bono said. Bono is urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who chairs a G-8 summit in Germany next month, to ensure that members contribute what they said they would. The report shows that the G-8 increased aid by $2.3 billion, but says they need to increase aid by an additional $3.1 billion to substantially help the people of Africa. "These statistics are not just numbers on a page," Bono said. "They are people begging for their lives, for two pills a day, a mother begging to immunize her children, a child begging not to become a mother at the age of 12." The DATA report said that aid money that does arrive has an effect. "Every day 1,450 Africans living with AIDS are put on life-saving drugs," the organization said, and 20 million African children are going to school for the first time thanks in part to debt cancellations and aid increases. Still, Bono warned that insufficient increases in aid could reverse progress already made. DATA says the G-8 must contribute $7.4 billion in 2007 alone to reach its goal. If Germany makes good on its promises to help Africa, he said, the other G-8 members will do the same. Britain and Japan have contributed most of the aid increase so far, it said.