Is the UK government's growing focus on the national interest set to dilute the impact of aid spending in the years to come or can a balance be struck where everyone wins? Elly Earls investigates in the latest edition of Overseas.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that the impact of the UK’s government’s overseas aid risks being diluted by its growing focus on the national interest in place of truly altruistic aims. By trying to ensure that UK organisations benefit, the think tank says, money is not being spent as effectively as it could be to alleviate global poverty. This is despite the fact that there’s little standing in the way of the UK’s government-funded aid being a win-win for all involved.
Historically, the majority of UK aid spending has been channelled through its dedicated Department for International Development (DFID), which, among many other achievements has helped over 300 million infants who have been treated with anti-malarial medicine developed specifically for children, more than 20 million farmers in Asia who now grow ‘scuba rice’, which has been specially developed to withstand flooding and 11 million people in Africa to be protected from malnutrition and disease with vitamin-enriched beans, maize and orange-fleshed sweet potato.
What has worried the institute over the past couple of years is that since the launch of the new UK Aid Strategy in 2015, entitled ‘UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest,’ less money has been channelled through DFID and more through other government departments, which don’t have the express purpose to end extreme poverty and build a safer, healthier, more prosperous world, like DFID...
... To read the full article, turn to page 30 of the latest issue, or read the online version of Overseas below.