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BRICS aid grew ten times faster than G7

he foreign aid given by BRICS nations for global health and development initiatives grew ten times faster than that given by G7 countries between 2005 and 2010. This was disclosed in a report released by a US-based non-profit organisation, Global Health Strategies Initiatives (GHSi), ahead of the 2012 BRICS Summit in New Delhi this week.

The report highlights the contributions of the five BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in global development projects.

Between 2005 and 2010, Brazil's assistance spending grew each year by around 20.4%, India's by around 10.8%, China's by around 23.9% and South Africa's by around 8%. Russia's assistance increased substantially in this period before stabilising at $450 million per year.

While China and South Africa continue to be the largest and the smallest donors amongst the BRICS countries, the report points at the significance of India's foreign assistance spending in the past few years. As per the report, India's foreign assistance budget grew from $443 million in 2004 to $680 million in 2010. The report further says that since 2009, India committed at least $100 million to bilateral health projects in nearly 20 countries across South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa.

"India has already made a significant impact on global health. Millions around the world now have access to drugs and vaccines as a result of Indian companies. India is also leveraging its expertise in information technology to help other countries design and implement innovative tele medicine platforms," David Gold, attorney and principal of GHSi told this newspaper over email.

With India being the largest producer of low-cost drugs and vaccines, the report highlights the contribution of its private sector in driving down prices and improving access to HIV/AIDS treatments and vaccines. It says that India has invested almost $1.5 billion solely towards polio elimination. It also mentions the $1 billion innovation fund that has been launched by India to encourage research and development for problems afflicting developing countries.

"As global economic developments reconfigure the quantum of international assistance, the world is looking to emerging economies like the BRICS for new resources and innovations to improve health in less-developed countries," said Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology, who was present during the release of the report in New Delhi in March.

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