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Could aid squeeze help Africa?

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GUINEA/The dire state of rich countries’ public finances is likely to squeeze aid to Africa in the next few years, although it may be the bitter pill the fast-growing continent needs to wean itself off handouts.

Even though sub-Saharan economies grew at a pacy 5 percent before the 2009 global slump, aid to the poorest continent also rose after the Group of Seven (G7) richest states promised in 2005 to double development assistance.

The ONE Campaign led by Irish rockers-turned-lobbyists Bob Geldof and Bono said last month the G7 would miss that target, but was on track to provide $13.7 billion of the $22.6 billion extra pledged at the landmark meeting in Scotland.

Despite Africa’s huge population — now more than a billion — such increases have undoubtedly had a positive impact, especially in areas such as public health.

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