Monday 19 November 2007

Australian aid: meanest in the world

Sir Bob Geldof, who was in Brisbane tonight, says foreign aid that Australia sends overseas is pathetic.

"Australia's aid is behind the rest of the developed world," he said as he slammed the Howard government's response in contributing to the poorer nations in the world community.

"It's embarrassingly pathetic in fact it's one of the meanest on the planet."

"For a country that keeps boasting about its huge growth which is absolutely correct. Is 99.5% not enough for you? Is that not enough for you?"

"The entire political paradigm for our century would be one not of competition but cooperation. There isn't any other way to do this" Geldof says.

"Multilateralism is not for wimps, it's the only possible way to do this."

He was also was made an honorary ambassador to Brisbane, fastest growing city in the world.

Australia donates .3% of GDP ($726 billion), and we are number 15 out of 22 in foreign aid donaters. The UN commitment is for an agreement to donate at least .7% of GDP by 2015. France and UK have pledged to meet this target.

Over the last 20 years, annual overseas development assistance has been around $60bn but reached $100bn in 2005. The US is the world's largest contributor of aid in absolute terms ($15.7 billion), but the smallest among developed countries as a percentage of its GDP (0.14%). The UN target for development aid is 0.7% of GDP; currently only five countries meet this target.

Among developed and developing nations, Saudi Arabia’s aid is second only to the USA, however as a percentage of GDP, Arab states of the Persian Gulf are the most generous, with Kuwait contributing 8.2% of its gross national product and Saudi Arabia contributing 4%.

ABC interview with Geldof
History of ODA
OECD: Final ODA Data for 2004
Arab Aid


Anonymous said...

The US definition of "overseas aid" is interesting.

This article helps explain the breakdown and notes: “As in previous years, Israel and Egypt are the biggest bilateral recipients under the request, accounting for nearly five billion dollars in aid between them. Of the nearly three billion dollars earmarked for Israel, most is for military credits.”

Here's another reference: "Today, is spite of having a higher per capita income and only .001% of the total world population, Israel still receives about 1/3rd of the total foreign aid budget of the United States."

James Petras persuasively argues this should be regarded more as 'tribute' than aid.

Once again, this is information you are most unlikely to obtain via the limited news papers available in Australia. 'Our' ABC is generally silent about this too... as is the oh-so-diplomatic Mr Geldorf.

Note also that while our great ally continues to fund apartheid Israel and its continuing nuclear-armed expansionism, the impoverished residents of Gaza are being systematically starved and tortured with the collusion of the western world.

Israel won't even provide the UN with maps about where it dropped cluster bombs last year in The Lebanon - leading to many unecessary deaths including this British soldier last month.

It's revolting when you think about it. Part of our mass media's function is to help ensure that most Australians don't.

Anonymous said...

I lost all respect for Geldof when I saw him unloading seed products provided by monsanto in Africa.

Anonymous said...

sid walker's comments above about US aid to Israel is correct. Unforunately, it just isn't about "aid" any more in the US, Israel now controls the US Senate and Congress.

Anonymous said...

Bob Geldof rocks! We were once a proud nation and had an honourable reputation around the world with our generosity. You can pick the eyes out of what he's done and I bet in the end it is still a hell of a lot more than most of us. And if your you want to complain to him do it later in the week because *Bob doesn't like Mondays*