50 years of Broken Promises: The $5.7 trillion debt owed to the poorest people

Publication date

23 Oct 2020

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This year marks an historic chapter in the story of international aid. On 24 October 2020, it will be 50 years since high-income countries committed to spending 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) on aid to low- and middle-income countries. 

This paper examines how aid has helped to improve the wellbeing of people in low- and middle-income countries. It discusses how donors’ broken promises on the 0.7% target have limited the potential of aid to reduce poverty and inequality. Oxfam has calculated that in the 50 years since the 0.7% promise was made, high-income countries have failed to deliver a total of $5.7 trillion in aid. Finally, this paper reflects on the future of aid.