FRANCE BOOSTS GLOBAL FUND PLEDGES FOR AFRICAN DISEASES
Ahead of the G8 meeting of finance ministers of industrialised countries, France has increased its pledges to the Global Fund to combat key fatal diseases in Africa including HIV/AIDS and malaria. The French government will now boost aid under the UN-administered scheme to US$360mn in 2007, nearly double this year's spending.
Nevertheless, there will be inevitable suspicions that the move is politically motivated. In South Africa, NGOs have protested that the US government's unilateral PEPFAR initiative is undermining the Global Fund's work. France's move could thus be interpreted as a rival effort to PEPFAR, which has some differing aims to that of the UN-sponsored scheme.
Further, recent studies have indicated all current aid streams to key pandemic regions such as Southern and Eastern Africa have had only a marginal effect on consumption levels of life-saving pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the Global Fund's administrators continue to complain of a funding shortfall..