Is the 0.7% aid target still relevant?
Photograph: Pier Paolo Cito/AP[/caption]
The commitment made by 'economically advanced countries' to spend 0.7% of their gross national income on aid may no longer be a major factor in the progress of developing countries
As soon as the first African countries became independent, NGOs started lobbying countries to provide development assistance to help the new states realise their development plans. In 1970, the UN general assembly agreed that "economically advanced countries" should make efforts to provide 0.7% of gross national income as official development assistance (ODA). The initial idea was that donors should achieve this target by the mid-1970s, but most EU member states have not reached the figure, and are not likely to do so in the near future. Over the decades governments have continued to affirm their commitment to the 0.7% in international policy statements.
But to what extent does reaching this target actually matter for developing countries' progress? The European commission highlighted in a recent report that by far the biggest source of financing for development (pdf) available to global south governments is domestic revenue. The declining amount of global ODA ($133bn (£85bn) in 2011) is outgrown by remittance flows from migrants to developing countries ($327bn in 2011) as well as net equity inflows to developing countries ($571bn in 2010). On top of that, emerging donors, such as Brazil or China, are increasing investments in south-south co-operation, without reporting them as official ODA.