- celebrating war
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- G8 countries spending on arms
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Five of the G8 members are responsible for 89 percent of arms sales to developing countries.
Global military spending has been increasing steadily in the last six years and has now passed $1trillion and is fast approaching the highest level reached in the depths of the cold war. Military’s expenditure, the cosseting or arms manufacturers, the heavily subsidised arms sales and the associated corruption are a major drain not only on poor countries but on all of us. The gap between what governments spend on the military and what they set aside for aid is vast as the map above shows.
At the G8 summit 3 years ago George Bush promised billions of dollars for the millennium account to help Africa. So far less than $100,000 has been spent.
A generation ago in 1969 The Canadian President Leicester Pearson proposed that all developed countries should commit 0.7% of their GDP for overseas aid. The UN adopted the proposal the following year and most countries - though not the US - signed up to it. Only a few of the smaller European countries have reached the target. If all the countries had reached the target the total available for global assistance would have been £100 billion. At present it is less than a quarter of that and the pledge made ahead of Gleneagles would bring it to $50 billion.
Not featuring on the G8 agenda are the problems caused by the arms trade, the drain on professional workers there are more Malawian health workers - in Birmingham than in Malawi or the role of London in the corruption payments which so damage Africa costing around £75 billion a year.