We work in South Africa to encourage growth, job creation and the rights of women and children, and to improve health services and the public sector.

The Secretary of State for International Development (the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP) announced on 30 April 2013, that the UK and South Africa will be entering a new phase in their development partnership. At the Times CEO Africa Summit, she stated that from 2015 onwards the UK will no longer provide direct financial aid to South Africa. However, the UK will honour all current commitments and will complete all existing aid projects by 2015.

UK and South Africa working together in partnership

From 2015 the UK’s development role with South Africa will be concentrated in 2 main areas:

  • we will provide technical assistance programmes focused on sharing skills and expertise to reduce poverty and tackle inequality
  • we will build a regional and global development partnership beyond South Africa’s borders

Through this partnership the UK and South Africa will work together to reduce poverty and drive economic growth by supporting South Africa’s growing role as a provider of development cooperation in its own right, as well as its position as the region’s major trading hub.

A significant contribution to progress

Since DFID started to engage with South Africa in 1994 the bilateral aid programme has made a significant contribution to progress. After the transition from apartheid to democracy in 1994, DFID provided assistance to the new South African government, supporting the transformation process towards multi-party democracy.

As HIV prevalence in South Africa rose dramatically during the early 2000s, DFID implemented several effective HIV prevention and treatment programmes. More recently DFID has enabled 5.5 million people to open low-cost, readily available bank accounts in South Africa, and focused on regional trade issues to drive forward growth.

South Africa has undergone a remarkable transformation since the advent of democracy in 1994: a transformation in which the UK can be proud to have played its part. The country accounts for over a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP and its development since 1994 has been a crucial factor in the economic growth taking place across the African continent.

South Africa’s global influence

As a member of the BRICS grouping, South Africa’s global influence is also growing and with the establishment of the BRICS Development Bank and the South Africa Development Partnerships Agency this trend looks set to continue.

Of course South Africa still faces a number of domestic issues: it has one of the world’s highest levels of inequality, and unemployment is at least 25%. But today it is increasingly able to finance its own development programmes and take the lead in tackling the many challenges which it still faces. The growing two-way trade between the UK and South Africa means that the time is right for a new partnership based on shared goals and shared knowledge, not on financial aid.

Southern Africa

DFIDSA spend for 2014/15 regionally is a total of £31.7m

Many of Africa’s challenges and opportunities are regional in nature and affect multiple countries, requiring regional interventions that complement global and country programmes. In particular:

  • Regional integration and trade expansion are critical to sustained and shared economic growth across the continent, particularly for land-locked and small economies
  • Regional collaboration is the best way to manage scarce trans-boundary resources (such as water), and also to tackle issues of peace and security
  • Regional co-operation and lesson learning are essential for dealing cost effectively with common issues facing the continent – economic but also political and social, and for supporting national efforts to reduce poverty

DFID Southern Africa has traditionally delivered a complex programme portfolio with limited scope for integration across the thematic areas. Over the coming years, DFIDSA anticipates a more focused and inter-related programme portfolio built around 3 themes:

  • Human Development
  • Economic Prosperity
  • Climate Resilient Growth

A significant drive will be given to economic growth and resilience within the region. Programmes will be focused on those areas where the office can add real value. A much stronger focus will be placed on driving coordination and delivering in partnership with other parts of DFID and the broader UK family in Southern Africa. We will work in a pragmatic and variable approach, engaging with the Regional Economic Communities to determine priorities and to build on their convening power.

For detailed information on our programme and what the UK spends on development in South Africa, see the DFID South Africa operational plan 2013. See also our Development Tracker to explore international development projects funded by the UK government by country and sector. For detailed information on our programme and what the UK spends on development in South Africa, see the DFID South Africa operational plan 2014. See also our Development Tracker to explore international development projects funded by the UK government by country and sector.

DFID funds many organisations who are working to end poverty through open competition. Find out more about how our funding schemes work and the application processes.

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DFID South Africa

255 Hill Street

South Africa