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EU vows to keep aid pledge

NAIROBI, November 24 – The European Union (EU) has re-affirmed its commitment to meet its aid pledges to developing countries ahead of the United Nations conference on Financing for Development to be held in Doha later this month.

The EU’s pledge comes in the wake of the global financial crisis that has affected the economies of majority of its member countries. The Doha conference has been slated for November 29 through to December 2.

European Union Director for Aid Effectiveness Maciey Popowski says member countries have common goals which they hope to achieve despite the on-going financial constraints.

“Although we may have no legal instruments to enforce that our members meet their commitments, none of us are ignorant to the ramifications of not meeting them,” Mr Popowski said.

This is the first time the issue of donor aid will be discussed in the forum with the United Nations having expressed concern previously that if these commitments do not come through, most developing countries would not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

This issue is expected to be formally addressed for the first time in the Doha forum which has been organised by the United Nations.

In the first UN conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey in 2002, EU member countries pledged to give more aid and have repeated the promises at various G8 summits and given clear timetables and figures.

“The idea then was to increase development aid to meet the UN development goals in 2015,” said Mr Popowski

It further promised to substantially increase its development aid with commitments being expressed in a ratio between Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Gross National Income (GNI).

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The EU promised to collectively reach 0.56 percent ODA/GNI by 2010 and 0.7 percent by 2015 with the absolute figure for 2007 amounting to €46 billion.

In absolute terms these EU promises mean development aid should be nearly doubled between 2004 and 2010 from €34.5 billion to €67 billion with at least 50 per cent of this increase going to sub-Saharan Africa. 

Kenya will be receiving a grant of Sh10 billion from the 10th European development fund with the previous tranche ending in June this year.

Most of the funds from the previous tranches were used for infrastructure development in the country.

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