Africa receives about a third of the total aid given by governments around the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Much of this has conditions attached, meaning governments must implement certain policies to receive the aid or must spend the money on goods and services from the donor country.
The World Bank, which is reviewing its conditionality policies, argues that aid is far more effective, and less vulnerable to corruption, when coupled with improved governance.
There was a sharp drop in rich countries' relative spending on aid in the late 1990s.
The Make Poverty History campaign urged the G8 to raise an extra $50bn more in aid per year and to enforce earlier pledges for developed countries to give 0.7% of their annual GDP in aid.