Britain will in future focus its aid on fewer countries in a move designed to increase the impact of UK funding on the world’s poorest people, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced today.
A review will scrutinise the countries which currently share around £2.9 billion in UK bilateral aid.
The Government has made clear that the international development budget will increase - to 0.7% of gross national income from 2013 - but it will be better targeted to where it can do most good.
The redirected money will be channelled to priority countries and used for poverty reduction measures including programmes to improve maternal health, women’s right to family planning and protection against deadly diseases like malaria.
Andrew Mitchell has said that countries such as China, which recently hosted the Olympics, and Russia, a G8 member, will see a phasing out of UK development assistance as soon as practical and responsible.
The bilateral aid review will analyse DFID’s programme in each country to look at results, delivery and value for money. Around 90 countries will be included in the review.
The review, which will report after the comprehensive spending review in the autumn, will herald a new focus for DFID’s bilateral programme.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
“For some countries, aid is a vital safety net that saves lives every day. UK money should be spent helping the poorest people in the poorest countries, with every penny making a real difference by giving families the chance of a better future.
“It is not justifiable to continue to give aid money to China and Russia. Other country programmes which are less effective will be closed or reduced and the savings will be redirected towards those countries where they can make the most difference.
“I am determined to get value for money across my department’s work and focus on the big issues such as maternal health, fighting malaria, and extending choice to women over whether and when they have children.”
The bilateral aid review follows announcements of a new independent aid watchdog; a transparency guarantee to publish all details of DFID spending; and a review of how the UK spends money through multilateral agencies, like the World Bank and UN.