Overseas aid effectiveness


The UK spends 0.7% of our national income on overseas aid. We’ve already said that we’ll keep to this goal in 2013.

However, when times are tight - as they are now - we have an increased responsibility to make sure we get the best value for every pound we spend on overseas aid.

This means we have looked very closely at all the aid cash we plan to spend in 2013 and beyond. This should help target it at people and places who will benefit the most from our money.


Making sure the right people get the money

We’ve done a complete review of where UK aid is spent. We’ve now ended aid to 16 countries that no longer need it – Russia and China for example. We’ve identified the 28 countries where people are most in need of UK aid and where it can have the greatest impact.

We’ve increased aid to some fragile states such as Pakistan and Afghanistan to help them counter the terrorist threats they face.

Making sure the right organisations get the money

We’ve looked at the performance of all 43 international organisations that get British aid. We’ve ended funding to 4 of them as a result, and channelled more cash to the best, such as UNICEF.

Following the money

We’ve started a new ‘payment by results’ approach to aid. In future, in certain circumstances, we’ll only be handing over new money once visible results have been achieved.

We’ve also set up an Independent Commission for Aid Impact to look at all our aid spending and tell us whether UK aid cash is having a positive impact or not.


We believe that helping the poor in other parts of the world is the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do - helping other countries move towards prosperity could help create trading partners for the future.

Our strategy is to attack the root causes of poverty, rather than just trying to treat the symptoms. We look for ways to target UK cash at long-term solutions rather than ‘quick fixes’.

We think it’s in everyone’s interests to encourage stability in areas where conflict and terrorism might otherwise dominate. That’s why we think it’s important to keep up overseas aid payments, even though money may be tight at home.

In 2011 we published the results of our multilateral aid review and bilateral aid review.