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Canada expands aid targets

The Harper government is adding five countries to its foreign aid priority list, widening the pool of potential recipients to the same level set by the former Liberal government.

However, the government is not adding any new funds to cover the expansion of the list of target countries to 25 from 20.

Last month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Canada to boost overall foreign aid spending to 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product from its current level of less than 0.3 per cent.

Development Minister Christian Paradis tells The Canadian Press that the government will shuffle existing funds to cover priorities while putting in place new accountability measures to ensure the money is well spent.

The government shortened the list of priority countries to 20 in 2009, and drew fire for cutting several African recipients.

The new list also adds three African countries, including Congo, where rape as a weapon of war has been widely criticized by many, including Canada.

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